Bad Baby Formula Led Michigan Family to Baby’s Cancer Diagnosis
This year's baby formula recall and subsequent shortage led a Michigan family to the emergency room where their infant daughter was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
Little Mariah can light up a room with her smile, so you'd never imagine what she's been through in just 15 months. Jared and Mary Ritsema tell WOOD-TV that Mariah is their rainbow baby. Mary has a 26-year-old son and when the couple married they attempted to have a child together. They gave up on the idea after a miscarriage, but then along came Mariah.
Tainted Formula Leads Family to the Hospital
Months after Mariah was born, the Grand Rapids couple noticed that she was lethargic and grew concerned that she was sick. They ended up in the emergency room and traced Mariah's illness back to tainted baby formula. The Ritsemas were one of many families whose children were sickened by the Michigan-made product that was later recalled, leaving families across the U.S. scrambling.
Mary Ritsema tells the TV station that the formula recall was a blessing in disguise. After taking Mariah to the ER, they received a devastating diagnosis. Their baby girl had a cancerous tumor, a stage four neuroblastoma. While the initial diagnosis indicated the tumor was low risk, subsequent tests indicated a high-risk neuroblastoma.
“It’s more aggressive. It’ll come back if you don’t go through the extensive treatments,” Mary Ritsema explained.
The scope of Mariah's treatment plan has now increased to about two years.
Jaren Ritsema says he's lost his job since Mariah's journey began. He's now dedicated to being at home full-time, taking care of her medical needs.
Through it all, the parents marvel at their daughter's happy demeanor even though she's had many hospital stays.
“We’re all here together and we’re in a room and it just makes her happy for all of us to be together and spending time together,” Mary Ritsema says in the video below.