On October 24th, 2004, Jack Lalonde come into this world fighting for his life. Doctors suspected something was wrong shortly after his birth, and after numerous tests it was determined that Jack’s liver was not working properly. After several invasive procedures to determine the cause of his failing liver, baby Jack was placed on the transplant list. Before he was one year old, he had endures countless painful procedures and received his first liver transplant. Initially, Jack responded very well and his parents were able to breathe their first sighs of relief since Jack’s birth nearly 8 months earlier. Unfortunately, this live-saving operation would only provide temporary relief.
A year after his transplant, Jack developed a stricture which is an abnormal narrowing of the common bile duct, the tube that moves bile from the liver to the small intestine. This resulted in Jack developing numerous septic infections. The immediate and temporary fix for this was fitting Jack with drains and bile bags which he lived with for a year as doctors tried in vain to reverse the damage to his liver. Unfortunately, nothing worked, and it became heartbreakingly obvious that Jacks liver was failing for a second time. On the night before Jack’s 8th birthday, the Lalonde family was once again thrust into the nightmare of having a child who requires a life-saving organ transplant. They were told Jack would need another liver transplant to survive, and over the course of the next year, Jack Lalonde was hospitalized 13 times as doctors tried to control the steady decline of his liver and buy him enough time to find a suitable donor. Finally, a match was found and he was airlifted with his parents to SickKids in Toronto, where the family had to temporarily relocate. They stayed in the Ronald McDonald house and various hotels as they tried to be there for their son while simultaneously trying to assure their four year old daughter back home that they had not abandoned her.
On November 24th, 2013 Jack received the gift of life for the second time. After Jack’s liver transplant he remained in Toronto for one month for recovery during which his parents shuttled back and forth between his bedside and their hometown where relatives cared for his sister. Thankfully, Jack’s recovery went amazingly well and he was able to return home with his family after a month and be reunited with his little sister. Today he is a healthy young man for the first time in his life.
We cannot thank the David Foster Foundation enough for what they do for families like ours. When you are in a dark place, the foundation sheds light and takes some stress away when you feel like you are drowning in the stress and financial strain of having a child go through and major organ transplant. The foundation was pivotal in our ability to concentrate on the health of our son Jack and relieve the worry about finances. Jack is now a healthy and thriving 10 year old boy and we pray he continues on this path of health! – Nicole Lalonde