Ethan Tkalec at Lurie Children's Hospital | PROVIDED

Fourteen-year-old Riverside resident Ethan Tkalec is doing pretty well a week after major back surgery. 

Ethan, a Riverside-Brookfield high school freshman who suffers from a rare and incurable disease called giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) had spinal fusion surgery last week at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago to strengthen his back and prevent his spine from collapsing on his organs.

The surgery, which will strengthen Ethan’s back was successful, Ethan’s mother, Gelse Tkalec, said. 

But, Ethan has been bothered by hiccups, which make it difficult for him to sleep through the night and strains his system. He remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at Lurie, but he and his family hope that he may go home later this week.

“He’s doing OK; he’s not doing fantastic,” Gelse Tkalec said on Monday afternoon. “We’re having problems getting rid of these hiccups, and that’s just awful for him.”

Gelse Tkalec said that the surgeon was very pleased with how the surgery went.

On April 27, Ethan’s schoolmates and RBHS staff threw him a party as he left school to prepare for the surgery.

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