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Fort McMurray father fights for vaccinations as son fights for his life

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Fort McMurray father fights for vaccinations as son fights for his life

At just one year old, Liam Wrice has endured more than most adults.

The Fort McMurray toddler was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour in November of 2015 and has been undergoing treatment in Edmonton and Calgary ever since.

Known as an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour, or AT/RT for short, the tumour commonly affects children under the age of 3, with a prevalence rate of 1 in 3 million. In the United States, approximately 30 children are diagnosed each year, with no statistics currently available for Canada.

Despite the typically poor prognosis for AT/RT patients, Liam has responded favourably to chemotherapy so far.

The Wrice family dealt with an unexpected obstacle in March when Liam was exposed to a case of the measles at Edmonton’s Stollery Hospital.

Unable to receive his routine measles vaccination at 12 months old due to his compromised immunity, his system had no defence against the illness. As soon as doctors discovered the measles Liam was put on intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), antibodies that help to protect weak immune systems from germs and viruses.

In addition to the IVIG drugs Liam had to be placed in isolation for 21 days, the incubation period of the measles virus.

Liam is now free from the measles but the scare has prompted his father Jerry Wrice to take action on vaccinations. Admitting that he had never paid much attention to the ongoing childhood vaccination debate before his son became ill, Wrice says the recent ordeal has changed his mind on the subject.

He is in consultation with officials from Alberta Health Services and has started a petition to present to the provincial government to change vaccination laws.

“More and more people these days are choosing not to vaccinate,” said Wrice. “Someone’s got to do something to get these viruses back under control.”

The Wrice family are currently in Calgary where Liam is receiving his latest chemotherapy treatments at Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Tune in to Mix 103.7 today at 12:00 p.m. to hear a full-length interview with Jerry Wrice on Fort McMurray Matters.

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