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Meet Markus - One of many reasons Westland supports Jean's Day!

May 04, 2017

Westland employees are wearing jeans today in support of BC Children’s Hospital Jean’s Day. There are many reasons Westland Insurance supports this cause and we would like to introduce you to one of those reasons, his name is Markus.

Markus is the son of Westland Commercial Insurance Advisor, Charisse, who has kindly shared Markus’s story.


Markus was born on November 10, 2014 at Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH).

A day and a half after birth he started having seizures and slipped into a coma. He was considered brain dead by a NICU doctor at SMH and we were transferred to BC Children’s Hospital where we were told there was an expert doctor who may be able to diagnose our son.

Markus was diagnosed with a metabolic condition called OTC deficiency – a genetic disorder where the enzyme (ornithine transcarbamylase) primarily functioning in the liver was malfunctioning – or wasn’t functioning at all. This enzyme is part of the urea cycle. Due to the malfunction, the body cannot rid itself of ammonia, which is toxic to the brain and it builds up in the system.

The “cure” for this disorder is a liver transplant.

When we were admitted at BC Children’s, Markus’ ammonia level was over 2000 – they gave him blood transfusions and placed him on constant blood dialysis in the PICU. For comparison, a normal ammonia level is between 0-30.

We were told that Markus had a slim to none chance of survival and if he did come out of his coma and survive, the damage done to his brain from the ammonia would leave him in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. At the time, he didn’t qualify for a liver transplant due to the assumed damage to his brain from the ammonia.

Even though his chances for survival were almost nonexistent, our teams (ICU nurses and biochemical diseases team) at BC Children’s Hospital didn’t give up on Markus!

It was at BC Children’s hospital where our hope was poured back into us!

Markus came out of his coma and had his liver transplant 8 months later.

Today our son – alive and thriving – is a normal 2 year old boy who runs, laughs, sings, and even plays the drums at church (their miracle baby – as they call him at the biochemical clinic)!

I can’t thank BC Children’s hospital enough in one lifetime!

Our family wouldn’t be where we are today – enjoying our baby boy who fills our hearts with so much love and joy – if it wasn’t for our teams at BC Children’s hospital!

- Charisse

Meet Markus

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