Have you ever wondered what IWK stands for? Officially “Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre” but to me it means, “Investing in Wonderful Kids”. It is a truly inspiring place that we, as Maritime parents, treat as an insurance policy – we want to have it if we need it but hope to never have to use it. At least that was our philosophy until the day we needed it and our appreciation for the IWK became a reality.
That day came for us shortly after Ben’s fourth birthday. Our healthy active boy came down with a cold. It was just a cold, not so bad as to require medical attention but enough of a cold to keep him home from daycare. Then, little purple dots appeared all over his body and this Mommy went into panic mode. We went to see his family doctor immediately. Those purple dots were petechiae – an indication of low platelets which a blood test confirmed. We were admitted to the Prince Country Hospital in Summerside, PEI.
It was here that Ben was given his first round of IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin – a plasma protein replacement therapy that is given to immune deficient patients who have decreased antibody production capabilities) to help boost his platelet count. During this transfusion he had a reaction and the transfusion had to be stopped. This was the day our relationship with the IWK began through consultation with our local hospital. When Ben’s numbers failed to rebound we were sent to the IWK for an appointment with hematology and for bone marrow testing. Bone marrow results revealed that everything was working fine and because of his history of reacting to the treatment we again decided to give his body time to repair.
As time went on his platelet numbers failed to increase. He underwent another bone marrow test and consult with oncology. The results once again revealed that his bone marrow was working perfectly fine. Next we were sent to immunology. Here his immunologist, hematologist and oncologist thoroughly tested Ben for every possible cause. All of these tests resulted in a diagnosis – Ben suffers from autoimmune conditions called thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. Ben has had bone marrow testing, ultrasounds, MRIs, x-rays, blood work, and even dental checks at the IWK to ensure his health is being fully and continuously monitored.
While his team hasn’t been able to isolate the cause of his condition they have safely and confidently found a way to manage his platelet count which allows him to run and play!
So why should we give to the IWK? The answer is simple; you don’t know when you are going to get a phone call saying that the specialists there want to see you the next morning. You never know what lies ahead for you, your family or friends. Having a facility that focuses on children and all their intricacies in our region is worth supporting.
Please consider supporting the upcoming IWK Radiothon on 95.1 FM CFCY presented by Credit Unions and the Co-operators Agents of PEI.
Sincerely, Heather Harris (Ben’s mom)
Learn more about Ben and other PEI IWK patients during the IWK Radiothon on 95.1 FM CFCY, presented by Credit Unions and The Co-operators Agents of PEI – broadcasting live October 30, 2014. Thank you to our generous sponors: 95.1 FM CFCY, Credit Unions, The Co-operators Agents of PEI, Charlottetown Mall, Rodd Hotels, and Global Convention Services.