Parents of baby born with rare condition help Victoria General Hospital NICU


WATCH: Some of Vancouver Island’s tiniest patients to benefit from the Little Warriors Library at Victoria General Hospital.  Tess van Straaten reports.

Fifteen-month-old Quinton Bowler loves books.

“He likes to watch me stumble through Dr, Seuss — that’s this favourite, me getting tongue-tied,” laughs Quinton’s dad Cameron Bowler.

Quinton is a happy, thriving toddler now but he spent seven weeks of his young life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Victoria General Hospital.

“Having a child in the NICU can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time and it can be hard to bond with your child,” says Bowler.

Quinton was born at 33 weeks with omphalacele, a rare condition that results in an infant’s intestine or abdominal organs being on the outside of the body.

In Quinton’s case, it was his liver that was on the outside of his body and he had to undergo three surgeries.

“The care Quinton received here was nothing short of amazing and we just wanted to find a way to give back,” Bowler says.

Instead of presents to celebrate Quinton’s first birthday, his parents decided to collect donations to establish a Little Warriors Library at VGH.

“We figured, as opposed to asking for gifts, this would be the perfect way to be able to give back to the NICU and do something that is near and dear to our hearts,” says Caitlin Brown, Quinton’s mom.

That’s because research has found babies who aren’t at home can have delays in their language development.

“Babies who spend those first days and weeks and months in a hospital environment actually get short-changed in the language department,” says Island Health’s Lynda Dominey. “They often end up with a cognitive deficit.”

The Little Warriors Library will give a book to babies who are in the NICU for four days or more to help with language development and bonding.

Quinton’s family says it’s just a small token of their appreciation and they hope it will make a difference.

“We’re looking forward to having Quinton be part of this as he gets older,” explains Brown. “It’s really something we wanted to teach him is to give back.”

How you can help

Donations for the Little Warriors Library, or toward vital equipment for the NICU, can be made through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.


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