With the name Hunter, it was probably inevitable that one of his favorite activities is hunting. So far, this 15-year-old Holmen high schooler has an eight-point buck and a 230-lb. black bear to his credit. While brag-worthy for any kid, it’s a remarkable feat for Hunter who is also living with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA2), a neuromuscular disorder.
In addition to the daily challenges of living with SMA2, Hunter has faced many surgeries. Hunter’s parents Peg and Dan report, “Hunter has had several surgeries, from a gastrostomy (G-tube) placed in his abdomen, growth rods to support his spine and procedures to fight pneumonia. Hunter also has been in and out of the hospital several times a year because of respiratory problems.”
For Hunter’s frequent hospital stays, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® has been there to help the family with food
vouchers and gas cards.
“CMN Hospitals provides support both financially and emotionally,” say Dan and Peg. “Most people don’t realize the strain it puts on families when their child is extremely ill or has special needs.”
In 2016, Nusinersen (Spinraza) became the first FDA-approved treatment for SMA2. It may help decrease breathing problems and other health issues associated with SMA2.
With it the family is hopeful, “Hunter has been getting stronger and healthier. He still requires hospital stays a couple times a year, but with Spinraza injections he is getting stronger in his arms and is able to hold his head up without assistance.”
Despite SMA2, Hunter is like other kids in many ways. He looks forward to more hunting adventures, loves to cheer for the Packers and enjoys watching Marvel movies. Hunter aspires to be an animator for Pixar when he grows up. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll help animate an adventure story about a kid with SMA2 who went hunting and got himself a bear.