Houston Crocker is a vivacious and social boy who loves music and is thoroughly enjoys school. Unlike most young kids, Houston has faced enormous challenges as a result of his health issues and, today, continues to receive treatment in 14 different areas of care at BC Children’s Hospital.
Diagnosed at a year old with Noonan syndrome, a complex genetic disorder, Houston has endured numerous surgeries, has vision and hearing loss, and has been tube-fed his entire life. Through it all, his parents say, he has surmounted every obstacle with a smile.
During a routine pregnancy ultrasound, Houston’s mom Carly first learned that her son would have a long health-care journey ahead. “The doctors discovered a heart defect, and fluid surrounding his heart and lungs, and we knew there were also markers that indicated some possible genetic issues,” she recalls. “Essentially our world just came crashing down at that very moment.”
Houston had his first surgery while still in his mother’s womb. At two-and-a-half months premature, a team of more than 20 medical staff helped to deliver Houston by emergency C-section. Carly and her husband Mark had one quick look at Houston before their baby was rushed off for life-saving treatment that included a major surgery at five days old and a three-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “We were told by the NICU doctor at the time that he was the sickest boy in BC,” says Carly.
Even with this rough start, Houston never gave up. The first 18 months of his life were spent in the hospital, fraught with bouts of illness and recovery from his many treatments. Even then, Carly describes her son as an ever-smiling, happy and loving little soul. “People are drawn to Houston,” she says. “He has gone through so much, and yet, he has this phenomenal ability to be light in all that darkness.”
Affectionately known by his hospital caregivers as “mini Bublé” because of his love of Michael Bublé’s music and the outfits he wears to match, Houston is so joyful and full of life that it’s still hard for his family to believe what he’s gone through.