A bear that is set to travel across the globe made a stop in Whonnock
By Sylver McLaren, The Times August 25, 2011
Photograph by: Sylver McLaren , TIMES
They are happy and healthy siblings who are just like regular kids, the only difference is that they were born with a rare blood disorder for which treatment was available.
The condition Colton and Payten-Raye Marfleet had is called Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopnia (N.A.I.T.).
Now the duo are part of a global awareness campaign to educate people about N.A.I.T. and about implementing prenatal or anti-natal prevention during pregnancy.
The program is on naitbabies. org. Two bears, one named Nait and one named Naitalie, are making their way around the world visiting the families of those who have been effected by N.A.I.T. The Marfleets will keep this bear, Naitalie, for about a week before sending it on to the next family.
The organization hopes to bring awareness to their cause.
“We hope that one day doctors can construct a vaccine so that no other baby or family has to suffer,” said mom, Shelley Marfleet.
When Colton was born in 2003, the disorder caused him to have a stroke in utero.
N.A.I.T. is in the mother’s blood. Shelley’s blood platelets attacked the unborn baby’s platelets.
Colton is without a left temporal lobe because he had a posterior and anterior bleed, which is a stroke.
He’s going into Grade 3 at Whonnock Elementary and Shelley said this is the time that learning disabilities might emerge.
“He is a thriving eight-year-old boy but had many specialists appointments and has had some difficulties caused by the stroke,” Shelley said.
In 2005 Shelly and her husband Will had another child.
This time, their daughter Payten-Raye, who also had N.A.I.T., was born with less risk because Shelley was able to undergo the necessary treatments during the pregnancy.
The treatment is immunoglobulin transfusions once or twice a week, prednisone (steroids), and sometimes a cordocentesis can be done to check the baby’s platelet level.
Cordocentesis is a procedure in which a sample of the fetal blood is removed from the umbilical cord.
Shelley underwent these procedures and had 17 blood transfusions during her second pregnancy with Payten-Raye, who was born premature but healthy. “They call her the $1-million baby because the transfusions are so expensive.”