By Meaghan Craig
SASKATOON – Eight year old Jaden Halliday is one-of-a-kind. He’s a big brother, likes Lego, the Lego Movie and also needs a new heart.
“The chances of him recovering on his own are very, very small – if none at all – so he just needs the heart.” said Jaden’s mom Sheryl Burke.
“Once we got to Edmonton for the transplant assessment, the team there believes it’s a rare disorder called cardiomyopathy and they don’t really have an explanation as to why it happens or anything, there’s no explanation for it.”
As a result, in the beginning of November Jaden was placed on a transplant list.
“I’d take it right now, we are just hoping and waiting we can stay at home as long as we can and get the heart sooner than later and things can start to go back to normal for us.” Burke said.
While many days are considered “good days” for Jaden since falling ill in August, the family says the distance between their home and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton has been a struggle.
“It’s pretty difficult. We have the support system in Edmonton that has been extremely helpful for us but it’s hard to be away from your family,” Burke said.
It’s a statement echoed by the youngster who said he misses the comforts of his own bed and sleeping at night with his dog.
“It’s the travelling and I’m far away from home,”Halliday said.
Donations are being accepted for the family and are being used to cover the cost of medication, travel, equipment. The family is also saving up for the estimated three-month stay out-of-province when the heart transplant takes place.
The family is also appealing to the public for something money can’t buy.
“I would love to see more people become organ donors because it is an invaluable gift that you can give anyone and I personally have been on one forever and encourage other people to do it because you never know when your going to need that help from someone else,” Burke said.
A second chance at life for someone and for Jaden, a chance to do two things he longs for.
“Swimming and riding my bike,” Halliday said.
As for how long the family is expected to wait, the doctors have told the family some children receive a heart the same day, others wait two years.
To donate to the family you can log onto Jaden’s Donation Jar. To become a donor, request a donor sticker for your health card from Saskatchewan Health at 1-800-667-7551. Provincial health officials also suggest you tell your next of kin your decision to donate.