Jacob Gurko.

Jacob Gurko, 6, of Sparks, is facing his second open-heart surgery, at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford on Feb. 21.

Jacob was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which includes heart defects. Even though his condition puts him at a higher risk during surgery, his family has no real choice.

He had his first open-heart procedure when he was 11 months old, but now needs a second operation to reconstruct his pulmonary artery. His short life has included a litany of doctor visits, medical tests and procedures aimed at giving him a normal life expectancy.

His dad, Joe, said the family’s insurance may not cover his surgery, and even if it does, there will be additional costs for lodging, transportation and food during the three-plus weeks the family will be at Stanford. The Gurkos are asking the community for help.

“Jacob is a fan of superheroes,” Joe Gurko said. “I’m asking that people be his.”

Joe also asks that people also pray for his son.

The family’s GoFundMe is at gofund.me/21aff528.

Updated Feb. 3 to correct Joe Gurko’s first name.

Jacob Gurko was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which includes heart defects.

Join the Conversation


  1. Thank you If so much for posting this because it means the world to us. We are cutting it so close in the our glass is almost out of sand.

    We desperately need to try to raise the rest of what we need which is $487k.

    It seems hopeless but we are having faith that a miracle may happen.

    We have talked to the The doctors and the surgeon and they said they are going to try again to try their best to get the insurance company to approve it. But they said it may not be likely and if it’s not then we will have To pay the bill.

    Jacob will need several more surgeries before he reaches adulthood and if this happens then we are in trouble.

    If we file for bankruptcy then that will destroy our relationship with the only hospital and the only surgeon that can do this procedure since he has William syndrome.

    At this point we definitely need a miracle. And I know somewhere out there there may be somebody that can truly help.

    Or even just a bunch of people helping and it would add up.

    Be the way we thank you so much for posting this and we thank everybody for caring about our boy.

    We Hope everybody has a fantastic week 💙

  2. Also my name is Joe (full name Jordan) not Jason. The publishers out of state accidentally mixed up my name but thats ok. I want to let everyone know in case you were confused 💙🙏😊

  3. While I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding the “publishers out of state,” apologies for the mistake. We’ve fixed in the copy.

  4. I was asked by some people who wanted to donate about my name being different in the newspaper and I talked to frank and he said that since the business expanded to California as well sometimes communication mistakes happen which I understand.

    It’s hard enough at my work to get proper communication through and we are on the same property 😅

    Thanks though I appreciate it Jim. You are awesome for doing this.

  5. Be strong. We never know a miracle can happen. We also pass by the same. Our son “ALGAS” is now 19 after many surgeries since 2004 at 8 months old.
    ALGAS is now BIG BOY. We even open a center “Centre-Alliance” to nurture (take care) of children in similar or same conditions as our son. COURAGE

  6. Just an update,

    Little man had his procedure but ended up having two heart procedures instead of one. Made it much more expensive but they were able to at least make sure he survived and he’s recovering currently. His next procedure will be a catheterisation through the heart valves.

    Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive. We love you guys so much and we love reno news interview for all they’ve done To tell jacob’s story. 💙🙏🥹

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