Marcus is a bright-eyed, happy little boy. His sweet disposition remains intact despite having undergone a life altering operation at CHEO. Given his young age he has no recollection of the delicate eight hour surgery that could have left him paralyzed from the knees down, but it’s a time his parents will not soon forget.
It all began when Hana went for a routine ultrasound during her pregnancy. She and Adamo learned that their baby had spina bifida, a birth defect which is an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal column. Their initial reaction was fear but soon the caring staff at CHEO was at their side to ease their anxiety.
Marcus was born on March 28, 2015 and was immediately whisked to CHEO’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Examinations determined that Marcus’ spine had ‘slipped out’ when it was developing so his spinal cord was lower than it should be and had attached itself to fatty tissue resulting in a large lump on his lower back. This condition is called lipomyelomeningocele. It’s the type of spina bifida that cannot be prevented by taking folic acid and is six times more rare.
With so much fear for his quality of life Marcus’ parents were soon put at ease when Neurosurgeon Dr. Vassilyadi and his team would use their skill and expert equipment to untether his spinal cord and remove the excess fat. At risk was the function of Marcus’ lower legs but just days after surgery he was doing remarkably well. He had the best possible outcome his parents could hope for.
Marcus will need physiotherapy to help build up the strength in his legs. His future is now brighter thanks to CHEO. His parents are so grateful for the care and access to such world-class medical equipment and skilled surgeons. “We are blessed,” says Hana. “He’s the happiest baby ever. We’re just waiting for him to start running.”
With his beautiful personality and determination, Marcus will continue to develop and thrive and once he gets moving nothing will stop him.