From the time he was an infant until he was in fifth grade, Joey received the majority of his nutrition through a G-tube protruding from his stomach. Joey lived with his G-tube until 2000 when his doctors fitted him with the MIC-KEY* tube, which according to Joey, “has truly allowed me to live an even better life!”

Two things have been true for Joey Schwartz since he was born prematurely in January 1989-he has always been a fighter and he has received most of his nutrition through a feeding tube.

Only a few weeks after he was born, Joey developed an infection called necrotizing enterocolitis that resulted in the need for doctors to remove most of his large and small intestine. At that time, only 20 percent of children with this condition lived beyond infancy, but Joey’s doctors were not willing to give up and neither was he.

From the time he was an infant until he was in fifth grade, Joey received the majority of his nutrition through a G-tube protruding from his stomach. Joey lived with his G-tube until 2000 when his doctors fitted him with the MIC-KEY* tube, which according to Joey, “has truly allowed me to live an even better life!”

joey-schwartz-2Joey’s parents strived to make sure that his childhood was as normal as possible and that he was able to live life to the fullest. The MIC-KEY* feeding tube also enabled Joey to go to school without having to wear gauze to hold his tube in place, giving him an extra boost of confidence. With his MIC-KEY* tube, Joey was a four-sport athlete in high school participating in football, wrestling, cross country and track. Because of the MIC-KEY* tube’s low profile, Joey was able to compete without worrying that his tube would get pulled out or caught up on his uniforms. In addition to participating in sports, Joey also served as editor-in-chief of his school paper and vice president of his class.

Today, as a senior majoring in human development and family studies at Penn State University, Joey is just as active, running and participating in student government. Giving back is also important to Joey, and he uses what he’s learned through his own experiences to help raise money for childhood cancer.
joey-schwartz-4Although he is now able to eat whatever he wants, Joey has a limited opportunity to absorb calories due to his compromised GI tract, so his body absorbs about 60 percent fewer calories than the average person. As a result, to boost his nutritional intake, he uses his MIC-KEY* tube for supplemental feedings four evenings each week.

Joey’s doctors are hopeful that once his metabolism slows down, they will be able to remove his feeding tube. Until then, Joey continues to serve as an example of a young adult leading a very active and productive life with his MIC-KEY* tube in place. In his own words, “I encourage kids to not limit themselves because of a tube. It doesn’t mean that things are impossible and that you can’t do it.”