First norovirus, then a rare genetic disorder diagnosis

Rowan’s story


Rowan came into this world just like any other child. But at six months old, his parents noticed that he had strange bruises all over his body.

As the weeks went on, his bruises started to appear abnormally large. When Rowan was 15 months old, his entire family contracted norovirus. Rowan, however, had far more serious symptoms, including excessive bleeding. He spent the next 11 days at the hospital in Victoria—but when his platelet level didn’t rise, he was referred to BC Children’s Hospital.

After several months of testing, Rowan was diagnosed with a rare genetic bleeding and immunodeficiency disorder called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. As a result, Rowan’s bone marrow wasn’t producing enough platelets, which are required for clotting. He also had a compromised immune system. The only cure for the disorder was a painful bone marrow transplant.

“When we were told the details of treatment for Rowan’s condition, we went back to our hotel room and I just cried,” Kirsten said. “My husband Chris and I knew we had no choice. We had to bring him in for a transplant.”

Rowan and Kirsten were confined to an isolation room for several weeks of treatment. After overcoming complications from the transplant, they learned that it had been a success.

Today, Rowan is on the road to recovery and will continue to be monitored by doctors as a kid and into adulthood. But Kirsten says it shouldn’t deter her “spunky, talkative kid” from enjoying a normal life.


“When we were discharged from the hospital, it was amazing seeing Rowan just be a kid again. Moments like that make me so thankful that BC Children’s Hospital exists.”

— Kirsten, Rowan’s mom

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