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An island family has been flown to Edmonton for a potentially life-saving surgery for their nine-year-old son.

Andrew Nesbitt is undergoing a liver transplant at Edmonton’s Stollery Hospital. His parents Ben and Sylvia Nesbitt and five year old brother Liam are forced to wait.

“Emotionally I’ve been just trying to be strong, putting on the mom hat and just living minute-by-minute, and so far it’s working,” says Sylvia.

Monday afternoon Andrew came home from school feeling lethargic. He woke up the next morning with yellow eyes and a yellowed complexion and was taken to Victoria General Hospital. 

They were told a trip to Vancouver's BC Children’s Hospital might be necessary in a couple of days, but Andrew’s condition worsened. 

The helicopter arrived to transport them to Vancouver, but with liver failure imminent doctors made another change. They were flying them to Edmonton. 

Andrew was bumped to number one on the list for liver transplants in Canada. “I was scared when I heard that,” says Ben.

“We’ve been told that this is the best possible place that he could be for a liver transplant,” says Sylvia, who says the family of four has stayed together in Andrew’s hospital room all week.

If the surgery is successful Andrew faces a rehab of up to four months in Edmonton, and costs will spiral. 

A GoFundMe campaign has been established by Ben’s friend Craig Semkow. The two worked as servers at the Deep Cove Chalet in North Saanich before the restaurant was closed last October due to a fire, and hasn’t reopened. 

Nesbitt has since started working at the Fireside Grill, but hasn’t had solid full-time employment in almost six months.

He’s the sole earner for the family of four, and the campaign will help ease the considerable financial burden. 

With the goal of raising $25,000, the fund has almost reached $18,000 in a single day. 

“It has taken off tremendously,” says Semkow. “Everybody has been really generous and little amounts add up to a lot.”

Yesterday after recovering from surgery to relieve blood clots in his chest, Andrew was responsive and could squeeze his dad’s hand. “We got to tell him we love him. That really calmed us.”

Ben says his active nine year old has a lot of interests, but gets the most joy out of being a big brother. “He holds his little brother’s hand all the time. Not because we tell him to, but because he wants to keep him safe.”

Earlier this week it was little brother Liam offering words of comfort. In a video provided by the family, Liam is beside his big brother’s hospital bed saying, “Would you like some hot chocolate when you’re feeling better?”

If you’d like to support the Nesbitt family via Go Fund Me, you can do it here.