A golf tournament will take place this month in honour of a special young boy.
The Lukey’s Light Charity Golf Classic is set for Aug. 23rd at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club. It will be a fun-filled day with 18 holes of golf including a number of prizes, hole activities, draws, raffles and silent auction items.
The tournament will be in memory of a Lacombe boy who passed away earlier this year.
Lukas Stephen Matthew Oszust was born Aug. 15, 2011 with a severe, undiagnosed heart defect.
Five days later he became lethargic and was off-colour at home. After rushing into the Red Deer Hospital, Lukas was transported via STARS to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Days later when Lukas stabilized the family learned of a rare condition that Lukas was diagnosed with called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Lukas’ heart was not formed properly. He basically had only half of a functioning heart and the left side was completely underdeveloped.
Matt and Kathy, Lukas’ parents, also learned Lukas would require three open-heart surgeries that would take place over the course of a three-year period.
On Aug. 29, 2011, Lukas went into the operating room for his first procedure. After the surgery took much longer than Matt and Kathy had anticipated, the surgeon spoke with them and said they had trouble getting Lukas’ heart to start up again and he would be hooked up to a machine called ECMO which pumped his heart and provided oxygenated the blood through his body.
The surgeon said if Lukas’ heart didn’t begin beating on its own within 10 days, then it probably wouldn’t happen.
The family began watching the monitor for any signs and on Sept. 3rd, 2011 his heart began to beat by itself without any help.
Due to being on the ECMO and the needed blood thinners to run the machine without clotting, Lukas developed some damage to his brain. His kidneys were also damaged, but still worked with a bit of help from some medicine.
Lukas spent the next nine months in the hospital recovering and working towards the second heart surgery.
On May 1st, 2012 Lukas had his second surgery. Again, Lukas’ body did not react how the doctors thought it would. There were adjustments needed so they had to go back and re-do the surgery two days later. Things did not work and the doctors could not figure it out. Lukas was incubated and his head was swelling and the blood in his head could not drain as fast as it was collecting.
Doctors decided it was time to go in and perform his third openheart surgery within days of each other. After the surgery, the Oszust family was still left without answers. Lukas’ head was still swollen and he still required a breathing tube. His central IV line had also now developed a fungal infection which had started growing in his blood.
Miraculously two weeks later the infection was gone.
On June 25th, 2012 the breathing tube was removed and Lukas was doing much better. His kidneys did not recover from the string of surgeries though and he would rely on peritoneal dialysis to filter his blood.
Lukas spent the next five months getting stronger.
On Dec. 1st, 2012 after spending 16 months in the hospital, he made it home. Due to his requirements, the doctors wanted 24/7 care for him. They were able to secure some government funding and hired night care workers.
Lukas needed oximeters to monitor his oxygen levels and a blood pressure machine to check his vitals daily. A special crib was also needed for Lukas to maintain a proper incline to allow his blood to drain normally. There were also scales, IV poles, feeding pumps and more. While some of the equipment was covered under assistance programs, not all of it was. But the Oszusts made it work and decided having Lukas home with them and sister Lylah, 6, was the most important thing.
On Jan. 21st of this year, Lukas was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital with an infection in his dialysis line. The next day he underwent a procedure to remove the infected line with the hopes of putting a new one back in a few days later. That didn’t happen. Lukas passed away on Jan. 24th with his family by his side.
“Lukey was a light that shone in our lives. He taught us a lot about how to take a small thing and how it can be made into a really awesome thing – something as simple as a smile – and make everyone’s lives so much better.”
“To see the relationship between him and his sister even though there was never a word spoken, yet, more love than I have ever seen in my life between those two, “ said Kathy. “People are excited for the golf tournament and to see us not just laying around, grieving him sadly, but doing this to remember him by. Lukas was a lot of fun and brought so much joy into our lives. We want to be able to show his joy through something fun.
“His little short life has changed our lives and so many lives of others for the better and I wouldn’t take any of that back for anything. We get to bless other people through our little blessing too. We want people to know that yes it’s been hard and it’s dark at times, even now, but it can still be made into something beautiful.”
Matt and Kathy wanted to honour his memory and thought a golf tournament would be a great way to do so. Proceeds raised will go towards helping families with sick children attain medical equipment to maintain their child’s health at home. As well, the Oszusts’ hope is to include a room sponsorship at the Ronald McDonald House of Northern Alberta. These funds would help cover operating costs to run the House, while at the same time remembering Lukas and the room the family stayed in for so long (Room 225). The funds would also help provide ‘Home for Dinners’ at the House.
The hope is Lukey’s Light Golf Classic will take place every year. There is also talk about doing a fundraising event in the winter.
To register or for anyone interested in being a sponsor, visit www.lukeyslight.com.