Lake County students raise money for classmate who from suffers rare medical condition

Island Hedstrom, 9, to undergo surgery to fix malformed esophagus

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor
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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Students at a Lake County elementary school are getting results for a classmate who suffers from a rare medical condition by raising funds to help cover his family's medical expenses.

Island Hedstrom doesn't eat lunch like the rest of his classmates at Grassy Lake Elementary School. He hasn't eaten a solid meal since he was born.

"That's my final dream and finally it's coming true," Island said.

The third-grader was born with a rare medical condition. He has a malformed esophagus that is not connected to his stomach.

Island said he can eat some soft foods, such as grapes and noodles. He gets most of his nourishment through a feeding tube.

But his mother hopes that will change soon. The family is preparing to leave for Boston so the 9-year-old can undergo surgery at a hospital there. Doctors will create a connection between his esophagus and his stomach.

"This is what we've been expecting his whole life for. This is what we are hoping," his mother, Madestin Hedstrom, said.

Island's entire school is getting results for his family by raising money for medical and travel expenses.

Students, faculty and staff celebrated "Island Day." Students who gave a donation could ditch their normal uniforms and wear island clothing. They raised $2,300.

"We were amazed," teacher Iteliza White said.

"We couldn't believe it," teacher Lindsay Rychert said.

Madestin Hedstrom, a single mother of three, said that money will help when they have to temporarily move to Boston for the surgery.

"I don't know what's going to happen from there. After that, maybe a lot of therapy because he needs to learn how to swallow after that," she said.

Right now, the family said, it is waiting for the doctor to schedule the procedure.

Island and his mother said they are thankful for his school and all of itssupport.

"I will have a whole new life change on me," Island said.

"Amazing. I don't have any words to say thank you. I couldn't believe it," his mother said.

Island's mother is also raising funds through a GoFundMe account. So far, almost $12,000 has been raised. Click here if you would like to help.

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