Hunter Nielsen is magnetized and loving it

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

After a very successful garage and bake sale, Hunter Nielsen, with his loved ones by his side, made the journey down to Shriners Hospital to have his reciprocal magnetized vest fitted.

Nine-year-old Hunter suffers from pectus excavatum, also known as funnel chest. As a result of the condition, Hunter's sternum has sunk deeper into his body as he grows, pushing his heart toward his spine. This creates difficulty with eating, swallowing and breathing, and is a source of chronic pain.

Hunter said, "I was scared at first because I thought the doctor was going to have to do surgery again to put this part on, but he didn't."

The new vest has a recognizable weight to it and collects data in addition to pulling the surgically placed reciprocal magnet -- and Hunter's chest -- outward.

The original surgery took place over a month ago. The vest had to wait for a month before it could be fitted. This wait was to allow time for Hunter's body to heal from the surgery which placed a back plate on the inner side of his ribcage and then wired it to the reciprocal magnet on the outer part of his ribcage under the skin.

The vest goes on the outside of a plain shirt with no graphics due to graphics blocking the data. In addition the vest is very warm and does cause some discomfort to the skin.

Doctors have assured Hunter that there will be minimal pain to remove the magnets.

Hunter's mom, Tiffany Nielsen, said things have been going great with the vest.

"We have had it for two weeks and already I can see improvement in the movement of his chest bone," she said. "Hunter has so much more energy and is eating way better now since some of the pressure on his stomach and lungs has been relieved already."

Hunter says the operation has already improved his life.

"I used to barely eat anything and now I am going back for seconds," Hunter said. "I have so much more energy."

The Nielsens looking into the future are planning to have another garage sale in August to continue to offset the expenses.

"It was awesome," Hunter said of the garage sale. "We had so many people there and they were all very nice."

Anyone interested in helping in any way can contact Jim and Tiffany Nielsen at 725-2580.

Photo caption:

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Hunter Nielsen relaxes outside his Fortuna home sporting his new vest, which has helped give him newfound energy and appetite.

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