Austin Brown was diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome at three months of age. An uncommon blood disease, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome results in a weakened immune system. Thanks to a stem-cell bone marrow transplant, Austin will be able to enjoy Christmas disease free. Follow his story below, or at the original source to learn more.
Within five weeks of his birth, Austin had a rash covering his head. It wouldn’t go away. At first glance, doctors suspected eczema. It wasn’t until Austin later contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease that Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome was correctly diagnosed.
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome affects boys far more than it does girls. Even so, the rate of incidence for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is less than one in 100,000. One consequence of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is that the body isn’t able to produce platelets from bone marrow. This causes a susceptibility to bleeding. Suppression of the immune system also increases risk of infection and heightens the risk of illness. People with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome are also more susceptible to other autoimmune diseases. They suffer a higher risk of arthritis, and increased risk for some forms of cancer. To learn more about this rare disease, click here.
Anthony Nolan, a charity that assisted with Austin’s treatment, advised that stem-cell bone marrow transplant was key. Some forms of treatment for Wikott-Aldrich syndrome kill stem cells in the body’s bone marrow. Since the body needs these cells to survive, it’s necessary to find a donor before pursuing treatment. As Austin turned nine months old, a donor was found for his treatment.
This time last year, Austin hadn’t been diagnosed. His parents knew something was wrong, but it was impossible for them to know what. Austin’s dad says that feeling was always in the back of their minds.
Immediately after treatment, Austin had a compromised immune system. It was incredibly weak. Austin and his family had to be very careful around friends and family. They could not afford for Austin to get sick in his weakened state.
The process up until now has been tough for Austin and his family. Everything proceeding on scheduling, it looks like this Christmas will be a turning point in Austin’s treatment and recovery. It will be a time when Austin and his family can finally begin to relax and resume a normal life. They’ll be able to enjoy themselves at the holiday.
Austin, his family, and the staff at Anthony Nolan are all excited to see them celebrate the holiday. It’s a special time of year, and this year it’ll be a sort of double celebration for the Brown family.