Hunter was born December 2017, 7 weeks premature and weighing only 3 pounds, 12 ounces.
The pediatric team spent the first 5 minutes trying to get Hunter to take his first breath. Soon after Hunter was rushed to the local NICU and immediately put on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and numerous other machines. A few hours after Hunter's birth he was transferred to the Stollery NICU where he would spend the first 3 and a half months of his life.
Hunter's biggest fight was going to be the breathing difficulties that go along with being premature and his diagnosis, Pierre Robin Sequence. Pierre Robin Sequence consists of a small lower jaw (micrognathia), and a tongue that is placed further back than normal (glossoptosis), and blockage (obstruction) of the airways. For Hunter, this was accompanied by severe central apneas (temporary cessation of breathing) as well as obstructive episodes which both meant ultimately, he wasn't breathing.
In order for Hunter to be released from the NICU he needed to be stable – this would require either an invasive jaw distraction surgery, a tracheostomy or a CPAP machine.
Hunter was still so small that he required more specialized C-PAP equipment which is expensive and would place a huge financial burden on the family, or potentially be unable to bring Hunter home. With the help of the Lung Association, Hunter was able to secure a Philip's Respironics BiPAP system. For Hunter’s family it meant they could finally take their baby home without him requiring surgery right away. This was so important as Hunter was still so small and fragile.
Today, Hunter is thriving. He’ll turn two on December 20th. He still wears his CPAP at night as he still has obstruction and apnea episodes. He has become a champion at helping to put on his CPAP at bedtime.
Despite all of the obstacles Hunter has had to overcome, he is the most loving, happy boy. His favourite animals are cats and he LOVES bathtime!
- Parents, Tessa and Steven
For generations, Canadians have supported The Lung Association through the annual Christmas Seal campaign. In the beginning, the funds were used to combat tuberculosis, the most deadly disease of the time. Today, the Christmas Seals campaign supports families just like Hunter's, among other things. This year give the gift of breath. Donate today to Christmas Seals. Because when you can't breathe, nothing else matters.
1. Donate online
To make a secure donation online, please use the following online donation form.
2. Donate by phone
To donate by phone, please call us at 780-488-6819 or toll free in Alberta at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864)