Robert Johnston-Harper (extreme left) with his siblings. The 13-year-old will get a prosthetic eye after a recent injury led to the removal of his eye. His grandmother Laura Johnston has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her “miracle” grandchild who has been fighting medical conditions since birth. (Submitted photo)

Robert Johnston-Harper (extreme left) with his siblings. The 13-year-old will get a prosthetic eye after a recent injury led to the removal of his eye. His grandmother Laura Johnston has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her “miracle” grandchild who has been fighting medical conditions since birth. (Submitted photo)

A Vancouver Island grandmother is raising funds for grandson’s prosthetic eye

An injury led to the removal of 13-year-old Robert Johnston-Harper’s left eye

A Vancouver Island grandmother is raising funds for her 13-year-old grandson, Robert Johnston-Harper, to get him a new glass eye after he sustained an injury resulting in an eye amputation.

Laura Johnston set up a GoFundMe campaign for the young Sayward resident to raise $3,000 and almost 25 donors have come forth to support the cause in the past four days.

“I’ve never done this before,” said Campbell River-based Johnston about organizing a virtual fundraiser. The response from donors left Johnston “teary-eyed” and “grateful.”

She is especially grateful that the fundraiser led her grandson to have a sense of community and belonging.

“He feels a bit of an outsider and oddball at times,” she said about Johnston-Harper whose family moved to Sayward valley five years ago.

“When I told him that almost 75 per cent of the goal money was raised, he was surprised and told me ‘I never thought people liked me,”’ she said.

Johnston considers her grandson a “miracle baby” after he and his twin were born at 26-weeks gestation due to complications.

While his twin died after five days, Johnston-Harper, at 450 grams, continued to fight medical conditions. The excessive oxygen required to keep him alive during this time left him blind in his left eye.

In July this year, his left eye was seriously injured when Ralph and his sibling were playing on a trampoline.

Despite surgery, Johnston-Harper’s eye continued to hemorrhage, so after consultation with a specialist at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, it was suggested the eye be removed. The family is waiting for a call from hospital for a surgery date.

A prosthetic eye will be fit in eight weeks after his eye has been sewn shut.

In the meantime, Johnston is raising funds for the family that has to drive over an hour and a half to visit his ophthalmologist in Courtenay. Several more trips are expected in winter to the hospital on the Mainland as the boy recovers.

The family runs a farm in Sayward and Johnston-Harper and his four siblings were being homeschooled after the pandemic began.

Knowing that only some of the costs will be covered and that the family will require financial support to get through this, Johnston decided to raise funds online for them.

“As a grandmother, I worry about their trips from Sayward, BC to Vancouver, BC without assuring their vehicle is winterized and I want to ensure that Johnston-Harper receives the best possible care and the best possible prosthetic eyeball with as little stress as possible to either him or his family,” said Johnston.

She also spoke about Johnston-Harper’s resilient spirit since he was a baby– he underwent heart surgery, two laser eye operations and a retina reattachment surgery.

After 13 surgeries, the young boy is a “strong young man” with an “amazing sense of humour,” according to his grandmother.

“He is witty and loves to make people laugh, and he enjoys helping me bake when he is visiting. He works hard to adapt and is an active young boy, despite his limitations,” said Johnston in her fundraiser message.

READ ALSO: Sayward all candidates meeting cancelled ahead of Nov.21 byelection

READ ALSO: Sayward RCMP alerts residents after highly toxic carfentanil found in village

HealthSayward

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River dock fire spread slowed thanks to security guard

Creosote docks pose challenges for fire fighters

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Safety concerns run Campbell River Minor Baseball out of Nunns Creek Park

Parents say ‘needle and feces sweeps’ have become part of everyday life for the baseball community

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read