‘If it wasn’t for them, I might not be here’: Saanich boy thanks community after successful liver transplant

'If it wasn't for them, I might not be here': Saanich boy thanks community after successful liver transplant
WatchIt's the time of year we like to focus on giving, and it turns out, Vancouver Islanders are some of the most generous in the country.

Ten-year-old Andrew Nesbitt is back at Campus View Elementary in Saanich after a successful liver transplant. He became suddenly ill this past spring, and that illness nearly took his young life.

“I was eating breakfast, my mom looked in my eyes, they were yellow, then [she said] actually instead of going to school I think we’re going to the hospital,” Nesbitt said.

His liver was failing fast and he was taken by air ambulance to Edmonton two days later, where he eventually received a liver transplant.

READ MORE: Victoria couple asking others to donate blood as their 9-year-old son recovers from emergency liver transplant

“It was a long process, it was a lot of ups and downs, we had a lot of support along the way,” said Ben Nesbitt, Andrew’s father.

Some of that support came in the form of blood donations, which was something Andrew relied on to stay alive. But there was also financial support.

Ben Nesbitt had been out of work for eight months after the restaurant he worked at, the Deep Cove Chalet in North Saanich, was gutted by fire.

Now the family was facing the added expense of relocating to Edmonton for several months so people rallied, raising nearly $67,000 in a GoFundMe campaign.

“Knowing that I had support the behind me, and I didn’t have to think about money, it was quite amazing, [I could] focus on Andrew, focus on his little brother Liam and our family together,” said Ben.

And the Nesbitt’s aren’t the only family on Vancouver Island feeling the support of their community.

A new report shows Victoria and Nanaimo are among the top five most generous cities in the country, based on the number of GoFundMe donations per capita, following only Kamloops, Chilliwack and Kelowna.

Andrew Nesbitt made it back home in time for the school year, was able to go trick or treating with his brother, and is even back to playing some of the sports he loves.

And he has a message for everyone who helped him along the way.

“I’m just really happy I’m right here, right now, thanks to them,” Andrew said.

While he still has monthly doctor visits in Vancouver, he’s back to being a regular kid, and like many kids, his focus now is celebrating Christmas with his family.

His dad says if you aren’t sure what to get someone this year, you can always donate blood.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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