Hunter's hope represents at Shriners

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Hunter Nielsen and his go-to mom Tiffany traveled to Livermore and Burlingame to represent the study that Hunter has been participating in over the last year.

As reported in April of 2013, "Hunter Nielsen is every other 9-year-old boy who is full of hope, humor, love, and endless energy for life. Hunter is additionally unique and strong as he suffers from pectus excavatum also known as funnel chest."

Tiffany Nielsen said, "Hunter and I recently had the opportunity to thank over 250 Shriners and their families for all that their Hospital has done for out 10 year old boy. Shriners Children's Hospital and the doctors, staff and donors have changed his future by allowing him to participate in a trial research study."

Due to the continued normal growth as a child, Hunter's sternum began to grow deeper into his body pushing his heart backwards into his spinal column. This created difficulty with eating, swallowing, pain, and breathing. It was this chronic pain that led the Nielsen's to investigate options for their son. They discovered a trial at the Shriners Hospital and Hunter was the third child entered.

The study is called the magnetic mini-mover trial study and will require monthly trips to Sacramento for the next 15 months while Hunter wears the vest. Tiffany said, "Hunter had a magnet implanted in his chest, in front of his breast bone in March of 2013. A few weeks later he was given a vest to wear with a very strong magnet in it -- now he looks like Iron Man."

The magnetic pull from the stronger outside magnet has pulled the implanted magnet along with Hunter's breast bone out quite far. He can now breath easier has no pain and he can eat more. "In the last nine months, Hunter has gained 14 pounds. He has always eaten small portions and meals, because his stomach didn't have room to expand. Now he is catching up," Tiffany said.

Shriners invited Hunter and his mom to present at AAHMES Shrine in Livermore and ASIYA Shrine in Burlingame, where they shared a slide show picturing Hunter's journey and his story.

Hunter opted not to speak in front of the crowd but visited with many throughout the events. His mom Tiffany used her love for Shriners, her family, and children in general to reach the hearts of many throughout the events.

Although Hunter has been in the trial for almost a year he has over 15 months left. The doctors are very happy with his progress to date.

Hunter's Hope is raising funds to help with Hunter's Transportation costs, including gas, food, lodging and vehicle maintenance. "We are blessed to be a Shriners Family and now we would like to start giving back." Tiffany said. Hunter's Hope will be holding another yard sale on Feb. 15, where half the funds will be donated directly to our local Shriners for the transportation fund to help other kids. If you would like to donate yard sale items, call 725-2580.

submitted photo

Hunter Nielsen and his mother Tiffany Nielsen traveled to gatherings for Shriners Hospital to discuss and share the progress of Hunter since he joined its study in March of 2013. Hunter has seen great progress physically, emotionally and mentally since he gained his magnetic vest to correct his chest bone deformity.