July 18, 2019 11:52 am
Updated: July 19, 2019 7:37 pm

Hundreds attend donor drive for ‘Mighty Hudson,’ Alberta baby with rare immune disease

WATCH: (July 13) A family is hoping to find a bone marrow match through drives to help their baby, who is living with severe combined immunodeficiency or SCID.


Albertans are coming together to fight for Mighty Hudson, a baby boy with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID).

SCID, which is also known as “boy in the bubble” disease, essentially means Hudson Cowie was born with no immune system.

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Hudson was born June 23 in Sturgeon County. About five days later, his parents Ian and Hayley got a call from their doctor.

“He said, ‘Listen, you’re going to get a call from pediatric immunology in about five minutes. I wanted to call you first because I wanted you to hear this from a familiar voice.'”

Hudson was diagnosed with SCID.

“Immediately, at that point, we were put on isolation precautions,” Ian said.

“We were given a rundown of what the illness entails and what we would have to do to prevent infection, essentially protect him from any kind of illness that could pose serious harm to him.

“We Lysol everything all day, every day,” Ian added. “We’ve got hand sanitizer bottles in every corner of our house now… The hand-washing has gone through the roof.”

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The Cowies are permitted to have four regular caregivers for Hudson — further exposure would put him at too much risk of infection or illness. Because of the potential danger to Hudson, neither Ian nor Hayley have been able to return to work.

“It’s horrific,” Ian said. “But we know what we’re dealing with, we know we can fix it, and we have a plan and we’re doing it.”

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Hudson needs a bone marrow transplant within two to three months to replace his faulty immune system with a functioning one.

“I’m calling it his oil change,” Ian said. “He’s getting an oil change, but yeah, fundamentally he’s getting a brand new immune system.”

Family, friends and co-workers have helped organize a series of donor drives, hoping to encourage more people to get their cheek swab and tested as potential donors.

“Even if our campaign doesn’t find a specific match for Hudson, if it can find a match for somebody else, then somebody else hopefully has found a match for us.”

“Being sad about it isn’t going to help,” Ian said. “It isn’t going to help my boy. So we just know what we’re going to do and we’re going to do it.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, which helps. We know this is curable.”

Over the weekend, two donor drives in St. Albert and Edmonton registered 237 people as potential donors.

Another donor drive is scheduled for Tuesday, July 23 from 12 to 8 p.m. at the Stony Plain EMS station (3000 – 48 St.).

“It’s cool,” Ian said. “It’s surreal, really, to think he’s making such a difference already.”

Being swabbed at one of the donor drives doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be a match for little Hudson. It puts your results in an international database where you could potentially help someone else in need that you match with.

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Family friend Jeff Sparks was helping out with one of the drives on the weekend.

“It’s devastating,” he said. “Ian and Hayley are fantastic human beings. They are two of my favourite people in the world. Watching them go through this is challenging.

“They’re two of the toughest people I know. They are doing everything they can to get through this. They have a lot of support… We’re here to support them.”

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