Hope for Jackson

$44,021 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 284 people in 14 months
Created September 21, 2017
Hello family, friends, and those we have yet to meet,

Many of you have had the honor to have been touched in some way by the story of the Funke family. Whether sharing a laugh with Brianne or being welcomed to chat at Funx Auto with Collin, many of you have been impacted by the friendship of the Funke’s. The Funke clan welcomed their son Jackson into their world on April 2, 2014, and started on what all young families hope will be an adventure of a lifetime. However, shortly after Jackson was born it was discovered that he had Biliary Atresia, a condition that causes his bile ducts to not eliminate bile which then stays in the liver. This condition caused the rapid breakdown of his liver and after a few months, Jackson was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton to await a liver transplant. He received his first transplant on November 24, 2014. This first transplant came with many unexpected challenges, however Jackson is a fighter in every sense of the word and he was discharged from Edmonton shortly after his first birthday in April.  

When Jackson returned to Calgary, however his troubles were not over. Throughout the last 2 and a half years,  Jackson has been admitted to the hospital 12 times with various complications ranging from bacterial infections to internal bleeds. Amazingly enough, despite the multitude of challenges Jackson has faced, he has grown into a radical and spunky little man. Jackson is full of character and charm and daily amazes his parents, loved ones, and medical staff with his brilliance, bravery, resilience, and perseverance. Jackson continues to roll with the punches (and there sure are a lot of them!) and manages to find a smile every day.

Throughout the summer of  2017, Jackson began to face increasingly serious complications with blood clots which affected the blood flow to his liver. The blood clots caused issues with maintaining his blood pressure and resulted in several admissions to the hospital in Calgary to manage these pressures. The building pressure, as a result of the clots, began to create issues with internal bleeding at the site of his very first surgery. The Alberta Children’s Hospital did everything they could for Jackson, but despite their best efforts it was decided that Jackson needed to be taken to Edmonton immediately. On August 4, Jackson was rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton where the specialist doctors could manage Jackson’s care and determine what the next steps would be. After many lengthy and intense discussions, It was decided that in order to best care for Jackson, he and his family needed to be in close proximity to the transplant team in Edmonton, due to the complexity of interventions that needed to be in place to keep Jackson stable. Shortly after Jackson’s arrival in Edmonton, it was determined that the best course of action would be a second liver transplant. Jackson had faced chronic rejection with his first transplant and due to a number of complications and variables, it was decided that the best case for Jackson will be a living donor. At this time Jackson and his family are in Edmonton awaiting the news of a viable donor and a surgery date.

In order for Jackson’s family to be in Edmonton to support him, they have had to put their lives on hold. As parents their energy is going solely into the love and care for their child, which means they have had to take on a large financial burden. For the last three and a half years,  Brianne has been unable to work due to the significant efforts in caring for Jackson’s health. Collin, who owns a small family business, has struggled to keep the business going while needing to be away in Edmonton to be with his family. Throughout all of this, the Funke family has shown tremendous courage and fortitude in facing what can only be described as a nightmare situation.

At this point many of you are probably wondering how you can help. Because one of the MOST important things right now is the family being able to be together in Edmonton, without having to constantly be worried about their financial situation, a monetary contribution through the gofundme website is one of the ways you can show your support.

Other ways to show your support are:

Donate blood at your local blood donor clinic. Jackson will require a great deal of blood from the blood bank, and you can send your love to him through this simple act. www.blood.ca
Consider becoming a live donor. To be considered for this, the Living Donor services are looking for the best possible match to Jackson. This will be someone who is blood Type A or O; between 18 & 58 years old; has a BMI of 30 and is smaller in stature (5’10 and under); free of chronic disease or illness and be able to be in Edmonton for the work up procedures. If you feel you meet these criteria, please call Living Donor Services at 1-866-253-6833.
While we appreciate so much your generous efforts to be a donor, to avoid an influx of calls please do consider the criteria before you make the call.  

Finally, if you are local to Calgary there is a fundraising event being held on September 28 at Pulcinella’s (1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB) from 5-12pm. Those who have donated and those who are wanting to donate in person are welcome to come for pizza, appetizers, beer and cocktails.    

I would like to end with attempting to express the deepest gratitude to those of you who have been supporting Team Funke over the last three years. Without your continuous love, encouragement and support, facing this situation would have been all the more worse. There are no words great enough to say the Thank You that is needed. The truth in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is so evident here. Thank YOU for being a part of the village that is caring for Jackson, Brianne and Collin.

With love and infinite gratitude,

Auntie Gurrgle
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Hello family, friends, and all of Team Funke’s supporters!
First, thank you, as always, for your prayers and words of support from near and far. It is this support system that helps Team Funke hold strong when things have not been ideal.
A number of events have developed since Jackson and family returned home to Calgary, many of which will require continued prayers and support in the coming weeks. Following Jackson’s second liver transplant, he developed a rare reaction called Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD). This is where the cells in his new liver essentially are rejecting Jackson’s own cells. This has resulted in a skin reaction and is being treated with a fine balance in Jackson’s immunosuppression drugs as well as with a gruelling steriod regime.
Complicating this is another development that occurred in late April. Jackson was diagnosed with a type of cancer that affects a small number of transplant patients called Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD), a form of lymphoma. In response to this cancer, Jackson has received treatment, including chemotherapy, in order to have the cancerous cells respond and shrink. These cells have selectively responded, but not in the way the doctors could have predicted.
In the meantime, he has also acquired the Parvovirus.
While determining the best course of treatment, Jackson has undergone a number of tests and procedures, meaning Jackson has been in hospital in Calgary for the majority of the summer months.
As you can imagine, this has been an incredible toll on him and his family, but he continues to amaze everyone daily with his chipper and positive attitude, his hilarious vocabulary, and his preciously sweet disposition. He really is a one of a kind kid!
This brings us to the latest development in the treatment of the PTLD, which requires a bone-marrow transplant. This will require Jackson’s blood cells to be removed and replaced with donor blood cells. In light of the GvHD, the risks associated with this procedure are very complicated. Jackson and Team Funke will need all the prayers, support and good vibes they can muster over the coming weeks. Again, thank you for the continued support you all have sent. It really does mean the world to Jackson and Team Funke.
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Today is such an amazing day for Jackson and Team Funke!! Not only is Jackson turning Four years old, but today also marks 6 month post second-transplant, which is a huge milestone in transplant recovery. There is so much to be celebrated as Jackson continues to be the super man we know and love. He is now home in Calgary and the whole Funke family is readjusting to and embracing life at home. There is a significant amount of care for Jackson as he is still on a number of medications to help balance his blood pressures, manage his body’s response to the newest liver, respond to and manage the Graft vs Host, and finally to rehabilitate strength and maintain his health outside of hospital.
Jackson’s donor, Uncle Craiger, continues to recover well!! We thank him endlessly for the superhero that he truly is! He and Jackson share a most incredible bond.
Jackson gets stronger by the day and is fully embracing life just being a kid.
The sunshine in Calgary is certainly helping Jackson get outside and enjoy the fresh air!
Throughout this journey it has meant the world to Team Funke to have the love, prayers and support from all of you; words cannot express the gratitude team Funke has for continually keeping the family in your thoughts. Thank you always for the love, prayers and support!
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Hi Everyone!
First, thank you so so so much for the continued prayers, love, and support for Team Funke. As with all major surgeries, the recovery process is very slow. There have been some highs and lows along the way, but overall Team Funke is still hanging in there as Jackson recovers.
A few weeks ago, Jackson was given the go ahead for discharge, meaning that he was strong enough to continue his recovery outside of the hospital in Edmonton. He still had daily blood work and numerous appointments, but at least he could be with Bri and Collin at Valour Place overnight. With Jackson, the phrase “expect the unexpected” has become the motto, and while discharged Jackson developed a rare skin reaction giving him a very itchy & intense rash. So in light of finding out what was causing this, Jackson went back into the hospital where he has been monitored and tested to develop a clearer reason as to what caused the reaction. It has since been discovered that Jackson has a rare reaction with transplant patients called Graft vs. Host. Because of this, he remains in hospital to be monitored and develop a plan to manage this reaction. On top of this, in the past Jackson has had clotting issue near the liver, these issues have resurfaced and Jackson will be monitored closely to make sure the blood supply to the liver isn’t blocked. Another hurdle Jackson is overcoming is relearning to walk. Because of the disruption to his abdominal muscles caused by the surgery, and the many hours lying in bed, his muscles have become underused and he has to learn to make them work again. He is doing great with this but it is not easy!
Before the confirmation of what was causing the reactions and the discovery of the clotting, Jackson had been able to enjoy overnight & weekend passes to go back to Valour Place with Bri and Collin for the night and back to the hospital the next day. These passes really did lift his spirit and are a much needed break from hospital life. Also, Santa made a special appearance via Skype to talk to Jackson, and then the very next day gave him a hospital visit. He was sure excited!
There is much to be thankful for with Team Funke and still much to keep in our hearts and prayers. If you are considering any charitable giving over the holiday season, the link for the Hope for Jackson gofundme page is below, we are so close to our goal!. Additionally, Valour Place is a support home similar to a Ronald McDonald House that the Funke’s have been living in. Please consider visiting their website and donating to this great cause.

Thank you again for reading until the end ;) and for continuing to keep Jackson and Team Funke in your hearts and minds. Much love to you all!
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Hello everyone!
It’s time for an update on Team Funke! Over the last week Jackson was extubated (his breathing tube was removed), then he spent a few more recovery days in the Pediatric ICU and has since moved to a step down room on a unit. This room is intended for those who require a higher level of care and observation before transitioning to a room on the unit. The goal for Jackson at this point is to get him weaned off of the heavy amounts of drugs he is on that are required for pain and sedation post transplant and to get him back to his happy chipper self! Right now he is very groggy and sleepy, but he has started to give little smiles and has started to talk a bit. Keeping Jackson infection free is a huge part of this process too, especially as flu season approaches. As Jackson’s liver continues to grow and get stronger and he becomes more awake, he will start working on his fine motor skills again as he has not moved very much over the last few weeks. Uncle Craiger has been resting and recovering at home, and is slowly but surely getting back to normal. Bri and Collin are continuing to be by Jackson’s side through his recovery process and continue to be grateful every day for the love and support from you all. Please continue to keep Jackson and Team Funke in your thoughts and prayers as they start down the long recovery process. Prayers for staying infection free, for successful and smooth weaning from medications, and for strength in the rehabilitation process are what Team Funke needs!
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$44,021 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 284 people in 14 months
Created September 21, 2017
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