Cowichan child’s open heart surgery leaves family in need of funds: grandma

As his three-year-old son and only child Hunter recovers from major openheart surgery, Jeremy Gruber wants desperately to be by his side.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t get paid leave from his job, so his mom and Hunter’s grandma, Cindy Dosen, is asking the Cowichan Valley community to help out.

Dosen has started a campaign on to raise some money to help Jeremy pay the bills while he takes time off with Hunter. The goal is to raise $5,000, and the campaign had passed the halfway mark on Wednesday, the day Hunter had his surgery.

"That should sustain the family and get them through the rough part," Dosen said.

Hunter was born with Tetralogy of Fallor, a combination of four heart defects that results in low blood oxygen due to the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the left ventricle. He is also missing a pulmonary artery.

Just getting Hunter to the operating room was a challenge, as doctors were hesitant to operate on him. When it did go ahead, several doctors took the opportunity to observe the procedure.

"He’s got a heart that none of them have seen before, so there were a lot of surgeons in there," Dosen said. "Nobody wanted to touch it, but finally they found a surgeon who would."

Hunter had his surgery at the BC Children’s Hospital, and he will be in an induced coma for a week afterward as his body heals. After that, he will be moved to Canuck Place, as his condition is still considered terminal.

Recovery isn’t out of the question, however, for a little boy who has already overcome so much.

"He wasn’t supposed to come into the world," Dosen said. "But he did."