A baby boy born without an immune system. A family who had already experienced the tragic loss of an older son to the same disorder at 18 months.
Parents – who knew that the best chance their infant child had for survival, following chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant before he was three weeks of age – was to shield him from infection and contact, while they relentlessly supported every step of his care.
Justin Lau, now 6, was that baby born with rare Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID). Celia and Marcus are his parents, who experienced the devastating loss of their first child Cameron when his diagnosis came too late.
Working with the help of the Centre and health care professionals, they safeguarded their second son in myriad ways to ensure a different outcome – one that would allow Justin’s immune system to be strengthened and his skills and abilities to develop.
Today, the family is in a better place than during those frightening first months of hope and despair. Justin is clinically cured, walking, communicating, and thriving.
Along the way, there were incredible challenges. There was a long struggle for Justin to learn to eat, as he fought a feeding tube and any oral stimulation. Restricted from contact and spending much of his early life indoors, the Centre’s therapists worked with Justin and his parents so he could learn to eat, use utensils, gain mobility, and acquire communication skills that would eventually lead him to pre-school and kindergarten.
His mother Celia remembers those early days. “It felt like it was a dream, that he’d be a healthy and happy boy — but here he is. You just believe in yourself, believe in your child, and never give up no matter what … I don’t think we could have come this far without the help of the therapists from the BC Centre for Ability.”