Former Sylvan Lake resident getting Christmas gift of a lifetime

Former Sylvan Lake resident getting Christmas gift of a lifetime

Desmond Verbeek alongside daughter

A former Sylvan Lake resident is in for an extraordinary and unusual Christmas gift this December from her father.

For the last two years it’s all Stephanie Verbeek, 21, had hoped for and on Dec. 2nd, she will get the gift of a life time from her dad, Desmond one of his kidneys.

Stephanie, now living in Edmonton, to be closer to her dialysis centre and the hospital as her kidney transplant nears, began experiencing issues with her kidneys at age 16.

She remembers feeling tired, explaining it was the kind of tired that sleep couldn’t fix. No matter how much she slept, still her fatigue stayed put. It wasn’t until her legs began to swell to be quite large one day that her mother decided it was time for her to visit the doctor.

A string of tests and doctor visit ensued with no results stemming. Finally Verbeek and her mother visited the right doctor, who performed the right test informing the then teenage that her kidneys were failing.

“I could just sleep and sleep and sleep I would sleep all day,” She remembers. “My mom finally took me to the doctor. They ran a bunch of tests and they found out it was kidney failure, then just recently we found out that there is a gene missing in my body and that’s what is causing my kidney failure.”

She began her dialysis treatment and for the past two years has been spending four hours a day in the hospital three times a week.

“You do get used to it, but you don’t at the same time,” she said of dialysis. “I’m used to it in the sense that I know how my body will react and what it will do, but in the same sense you never get used to having to take the time out of your day to go in and sit there for four hours it’s so hard to live on something like that.”

This means it is near impossible for Verbeek to work and post-secondary education is out of the question until after her transplant.

Verbeek explained she plans to attend hair school following her healing from the transplant.

She added it has been a long and trying road to transplant and that she is incredibly thankful for her father.

“They gave us the okay for me to start telling my family they could get their kidneys tested to see if their blood matched mine and he was the first one to go in and get tested and was also a blood match so they just kept going from there and it turns out he’s going to be giving me my kidney,” she explained. “I was completely speechless I had no idea what to say and I still thank him every single day. I thank everyone every day for all of the support they have shown me.

“If I wasn’t to get this kidney I would be living on dialysis for the rest of my life or waiting for an organ donor transplant which can take years.”

Her father Desmond said when he found out he was a match, it wasn’t a matter of if he would be giving her his kidney but rather when.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make at all,” explained Desmond. “I had went in there and said I would give her my kidney no matter what that’s what a dad does. Now that it’s getting a little closer it’s a little nerve racking, I worry about her mostly,

“There was excitement there for me to be able to go into the operation beside her and not just sit back and have to watch her go through it again I can take her by the hand and we can go in it together. This time I kind of feel like it’s a team effort and from a father’s perspective that feels nice.”

Desmond said he is proud of his young daughter for taking her dialysis ‘like a trooper’, adding he hopes he is able to provide for her his daughter a life free from the hospital waiting room.

Currently the Verbeek family has set up a GoFundMe page for Stephanie to help alleviate the financial burden she may face following surgery as she will be unable to work for another three months following the transplant. Visit the family’s go fund me page at or by Google searching ‘Fundraiser for Stephanie Verbeek.’


Just Posted

Annual AACS golf tournament putting for success

The Urgent Care Committee will host the golf tournament on Aug. 10

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Sylvan Lake and Eckville

The storm system is expected to start in the area before moving northwest

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff’s vehicles were also involved in the collision that closed down one lane

Hlinka Gretzky Cup trophy tours Sylvan Lake this weekend

The famed trophy will make its way around town July 20-22

PHOTOS: Shoppers Free BBQ

On Thursday Shoppers Drug Mart celebrated its 10 year anniversary in Sylvan Lake.

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

WATCH: Chuckwagon races wrap up at Westerner Days

Reed Rosencrans was the 2018 champion of the chuckwagon races in Red Deer

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Stettler hosts antique tractor pull

Participants come from across Alberta

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

WATCH: Joe Hittel is the number one fundraiser in Northern Alberta for Rope for Hope

Hittel of Red Deer raised $14,000 for Make A Wish event

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Most Read