Holidays in the hospital for Nate after receiving gift of life
December 23, 2020
The Starycki family of Maymont, Saskatchewan, didn’t know they would be spending this year’s holiday season in hospital.
Instead, they are at the hospital bedside of their 12-year-old son, Nate, who recently received a life-altering multi-organ transplant.
The family of five had been separated ever since Nate and his parents, Jennifer and Dane, flew to Toronto for the surgery that changed everything. At that time, their two younger children were taken into the care of grandparents back home. After weeks of isolating to ensure they are safe to visit Nate, a flight was booked thanks to the generosity of a close friend. Now, the Starycki family is that much closer to being together for the holidays.
“We are incredibly thankful and grateful. It’s early Christmas for us,” said Jennifer. “Even though we can’t all be together at once, and we’re in the hospital with Nate, there are many things to celebrate and be thankful for.”
Nate received his gift of life after nearly two years on a list for a multivisceral transplant due to intestinal and liver failure. Surgeons removed his small and large intestine, liver, a large portion of his stomach, duodenum, pancreas and the top part of his colon. It’s one of the most substantial procedures there is, and it hasn’t been without hurdles.
“If we can control Nate’s pain and move forward, it will be a magical Christmas. He just needs to get past this darn infection to start thriving and feeling good again,” said Jennifer. “It’s so close. We know he can do it. One more bump in the road of a long journey to recovery, and we’ll be holding him up every step of the way.”
This past weekend, Nate underwent another procedure that allowed doctors to flush out his abdomen in hopes of clearing his infection. The procedure was physically and emotionally tough on Nate, but the cards, gifts and words of encouragement he receives in hospital from supporters is keeping his spirits high. Above all, the most relieving part for Nate, his family and his transplant team is that there are still no signs of rejection.
“Our hearts are full to see the Starycki family reunited for the holidays. We are cheering them on all the way from their home province and hoping their Christmas is full of miracles, no matter how big or how small,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Nate carries a true spirit of bravery and courage. This young fighter inspires us every day, and we know he can take on anything that comes his way.”
Over the last year and a half, Nate has been a part of the ambassador family at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. He continues to fundraise and share his story as a way of supporting the sick and injured kids of Saskatchewan just like him who require specialized pediatric care. His dedication to giving back landed him the Youth in Philanthropy award at the 2020 Saskatoon National Philanthropy day.