Make the McKenzie Connection!

Community aiding Leaburg youth

Friends of family set up online medical fund








LEABURG: Jessica and David Saydack’s young son, who was rescued from the McKenzie River last month, has been recovering from that ordeal at Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital in Portland.

On Sunday, October 21st, Xander got into the McKenzie river in the family’s front yard.  With the help of paddle boarders, Jessica got Xander from the water and began chest compressions until McKenzie Fire & Rescue transferred him by medical helicopter to several facilities, ending at Doernbecher’s. Because of the quick intervention from his mother and all who responded, Xander is alive. He is currently responding to treatments and showing signs of recovery. However, his short time in the water will have lasting consequences.

Xander has a rare genetic condition called Kabuki Syndrome, which the family has relentlessly battled since birth. Xander’s condition has affected every part of his body, including causing delays in his development, eating abilities, and language skills. The family has been to hospitals many times  over the last few years, seeking the best for his care and becoming experts in his condition. However, they are now in a hospital stay like no other.

After the birth of their second son, Lucas, Jessica changed her career path from the Public Defenders’s office to private practice to be more available for Xander’s care and raise both boys. Now, both Jessica and Dave have stopped all work to live in the ICU and focusing on their family. They plan to return to work, but dates are unknown. The family is looking to relocate to the central Eugene/Springfield area.

They say Xander’s physical therapy is going very well at Legacy Emanuel Randall’s Children’s Hospital, the step down unit he was moved to after OHSU. He will likely be released in the next two to four weeks. He can walk, run and stand with assistance, but he can’t do any of those things for a sustained period of time yet.  Although amazingly, every day he regains new skills. Also, he is scheduled to return to school on January 7th.

To help the Saydack family a support fund was set up on October 22nd. Since that time, 172 people have raised  $23,045 in 21 days, with contributions ranging from $25 to $400. To make a donation or learn more, go to:


McKenzie River Reflections


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