Teen turns to Internet fundraising website to find needed support

Resident sets up gofundme page to raise funds for vehicle to get to medical appointments in Lower Mainland.

Kourtney Saviskoff and her dog LG.

An 18-year old Sicamous resident has turned to an Internet fundraising website to find the means of support to get to medical appointments in the Lower Mainland.

Kourtney Saviskoff’s GoFundMe page is titled Please help raise money for a car. Not a new car, just something that won’t need a lot of maintenance.

Saviskoff says she set up the page because she didn’t know of any other organizations or websites that provide financial support for people like herself living with Byler’s disease. She says she was diagnosed with Byler’s at seven months. The disease, referred to by medical professionals as progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, is described as progressive, leading to liver failure and death in childhood without a liver transplant. Saviskoff said she had two liver transplants at age 9. Ongoing blood work and treatment, as well as visits with specialists in Vancouver, are now a regular part of Saviskoff’s life, as is relying on others for transportation – be it for medical appointments or trips to the grocery store – as neither she nor her partner has a vehicle and she, for medical reasons, is unable to drive.

“I haven’t heard of anything going on about donating for my type of disease or trying to help,” said Saviskoff. “I’ve heard for cancer and stuff, but that’s about it, and then I saw the (GoFundMe) page and thought maybe I’ll give this a try and see what happens.”

Saviskoff says her illness leaves her mentally and physically drained, jaundiced and struggling to maintain a healthy weight. She notes how since turning 18, there has been a dramatic difference to the way she is treated by the medical system.

“When I was in paediatrics before I turned 18, they would help me with everything that I needed,” said Saviskoff. “I called them, I’d say something was really wrong, and my doctor would admit me into hospital, find out what was wrong and help me deal with it. I was able to get my pills for my bipolar and everything. And here I’ve been waiting almost a year to get my medications, everything except my anti-rejections. I’m still trying to bug the doctors about it but they’re like, we can’t do anything, we can’t push it any further.”

Saviskoff says she has gotten used to receiving bad news, having been told since age six that her prognosis is grim. Now she’s reaching out to others to get some good news for herself.

“I never really ask for much at all, because everybody keeps telling me there’s nothing else they can help me with or do for me,” said Saviskoff.

Saviskoff’s GoFundMe site is at https://www.gofundme.com/pm9zqa3s.