Community rallies around sick child

Every night, five-year-old Jacob Vandermeer is hooked up to a peritoneal dialysis machine for 10 hours.
This bright little boy with inquisitive dark brown eyes and a round face is fighting acute kidney failure. Some days, his parents can only watch helplessly as he has seizure after seizure.
But last Wednesday, dozens of friends and family members gathered for a fundraising dinner at the Couchiching Bingo Hall, raising $2,314 for the family’s medical expenses.
“I felt kind of good seeing the community come together, seeing that all these people actually care about my son,” Jacob’s father, John Vandermeer, said Monday.
“I actually felt kind of honoured in a way that people would come out.”
Jacob’s kidneys failed at Christmas. Since then, he’s had to get used to doctors’ appointments and trips to Winnipeg to see specialists.
“He has appointments at least once a month or more often, depending on side effects, or seizures and stuff,” he explained. “His kidney’s have basically stopped.”
Even more frightening than the prospect of daily dialysis is the seizures.
“Sometimes he has 15 to 20 in a day and they go over two or three days, and then stop for a week or two,” Vandermeer said. “It’s really hard watching your kid do that. We take it day by day.”
As to how Jacob is coping with his health problems, Vandermeer said he’s a pretty positive child. On his good days, Jacob likes to play with his four sisters or dote over his new baby brother.
“He likes to fish. That’s why they brought the [Basscot to the dinner],” Vandermeer said. “He seems to take it better than his parents.”