Community works to raise funds for a sick Whitestone infant and his family

Young Whitestone resident Stevie Skaats, who is receiving treatment for a rare genetic disease
Photo via GoFundMe/April Leavy

Whitestone residents are coming together to help a local family as they care for their sick infant.

Five-month-old Stevie Skaats was born with a rare genetic disease on June 4, according to a GoFundMe page created by the child’s aunt, April Leavy. Local residents and parents Ann and Steve Skaats were recently able to bring their new addition to the family home after he spent 150 days in the hospital receiving treatment.

“Ann has opened up their lives to us and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly with each of us on a daily basis,” April Leavy wrote on the fundraising page. “What an incredible journey we have all shared.”

Care for Stevie includes medical equipment to facilitate breathing and eating, as well 20-hour care from a registered nurse. Mother Ann Skaats has had to leave her job to care for her son, who is slated to to have an upcoming medical stay in Canada, where he will receive life-saving treatment, according to Leavy.

“Everyone has their own issues,” Leavy wrote. “I was hoping together, we can make Ann, Steve, and Stevie’s a little easier.”

So far, nearly $15,000 has been raised through the page from friends, family and concerned community members. Donors have commented with prayers, good wishes and words of encouragement for the new parents.

Stevie’s anxious grandparents, who are also longtime Whitestone residents, reached out to Alfredo Centola, president of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association, for help spreading the word. The campaign has since been shared via the civic’s email list and Facebook page to drum up support.

According to the latest update on the page from Leavy, the sick infant went through surgery on Nov. 29.

Visit the GoFundMe page by clicking here. Contact information for Leavy can also be found on the page, as well as updates on Stevie’s condition.

In the past, Whitestone residents have stepped up for other young residents struggling with medical conditions numerous times. Just earlier this year, community members came up with creative ways to raise funds to support medical treatments for Chloe Mitchell, a first-grade student at P.S. 193 diagnosed with leukemia, and Sofia Rabello, a sixth-grade student at Holy Trinity Catholic Academy diagnosed with a brain tumor.