“When Oliver finally received the diagnosis, my husband and I both cried tears of relief to have a name and an answer for what was going on,” says mother, Robyn Brown.  

At nine years old, Oliver wasn’t gaining weight or growing the way he should for his age. His mother and father, Robyn and Graham Brown, took Oliver for tests and made some changes to his diet, but nothing was working.

Oliver’s symptoms started to worsen. He developed a fever and consistent lethargy. After five weeks of this with no explanations, Robyn and Graham grew more concerned.

“We were terrified,” says Robyn. “I tried not to go down the ‘Google rabbit hole’ but when you’re trying to find answers it’s tough to avoid.”

Oliver’s pediatrician sent Oliver to be admitted to HSC Children’s Hospital. There, numerous tests and medical procedures including an endoscopy confirmed Oliver was in a medium to advanced state of Crohn’s Disease — an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

“We rode waves of emotion for what his life would look like going forward,” says Robyn.

At 10 years old, Oliver started infusions and treatment for Crohn’s Disease.

“No one in our family had any experience with this,” says Robyn. “We were held up by the incredible team at Children’s Hospital as they coached us on how to navigate this new diagnosis.”

After treatment at HSC Children’s, Oliver was discharged on a strict liquid diet for 6-8 weeks, weekly injections for Methotrexate, and a rigorous schedule of appointments for bloodwork and infusions.

With proper diagnosis and treatment, in just one year Oliver had gained 20 lbs, grown four inches, and gone up three shoe sizes. He learned to manage his infusions, injections, and diet with the help of his family and HSC Children’s health care teams.

“There were good days and bad, but everyone got us to where Oliver is today,” says Robyn.

“My child and our family felt like we had an army of support behind us thanks to donors we didn’t even know.”

Oliver’s health has changed for the better. He plays soccer, participates in classroom discussions, takes music lessons, and volunteers for several clubs — all activities he didn’t have the energy to do before his diagnosis and treatment.

Oliver has been able to wean off his weekly injections and meds but continues infusion appointments every eight weeks at the hospital. There is no cure for Crohn’s Disease, but it can be monitored, and infusions can help keep symptoms in check.

“We have a newfound appreciation for the Children’s Hospital after experiencing their care first-hand,” says Robyn. “It’s tough to understand just how much good they do until you’ve had to be deep in the trenches of needing help for your child.”

For the most part, Oliver is enjoying life. He’s a huge fan of the Ghostbusters and has even met the Winnipeg Ghostbusters who collect donations to support HSC Children’s. He loves Mario Kart and visiting arcades — he’s a pro at the Claw Machine!

Oliver, Robyn, Graham and Oliver’s sibling, Elodie, are thankful to the donors of the Children’s Hospital.

“When your child is in hospital, you can’t help but look around and think how that support makes a difference,” says Robyn. “Everything from the colouring books, TV station, medical equipment, and the volunteers.”

“Every piece of the puzzle makes a difference in some way.”

Stay in touch!

Sign up for e-news to get updates on the latest events, news, and stories.

sign up for the newsletter