Gabriel, like myself and many members of my paternal family, was born with hereditary pancreatitis, a condition arising from inflammation of the pancreas that results in terrible temprorary abdominable pain (often compared to kidney stone pain). Gabriel was different from many of us, however, because whereas many of our family members only suffer this pain intermittently--say, one or twice a year, often going even longer between bouts--Gabriel's pain has been more chronic. Every two to three weeks at times. It's affected his relationship with food, with eating, sometimes slowed his bodily growth (because he eats very little, and very narrowly), and often makes it difficult to involve him in any ongoing activities, like sports or school.
In an effort to improve Gabe's quality of life, his mother and I have decided that he should undergo a special surgery perfected by the folks at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital known as Total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation. What that entails is the complete removal of Gabriel's pancreas, the harvesting of insulin-producing islet cells from his pancreas, and the re-implantation of those same cells into Gabriel's liver, where they will, after six months or a year, create a sort of surrogate pancreas that gives his body insulin, while sparing him the chronic inflammation and pain of the pancreas itself. His recovery will consist of 5-7 days in ICU; another two to three weeks in the hospital; then another month or two of regular outpatient visits to the doctors in Minnesota (requiring Gabriel, myslef and the rest of his family to be in Minneapolis for about three months total, away from our homes and jobs). During the months that his liver works to propogate those islet cells, Gabe will also be on an insulin pump, like a type-1 diabetic. He will also need to take digestive enzymes every time he eats for the rest of his life--but that's a definite improvement over constantly wondering when the next pancreatic attack will set in.
Gabe is scheduled for surgery on July 28. We should be in Minneapolis through the middle or end of October.
Your donations to this fundraiser are intended solely to aid with Gabriel's medical expenses, from the surgery itself to his hospitalization costs to the medications that will be required afterward. Any amount you can spare is appreciated.