Boy, 16, with Crohn’s disease who survives on baby formula could face starvation after recall.

Boy, 16, with Crohn’s disease who is allergic to ALL food and survives on baby formula could face starvation after FDA recalls only brand he uses due to possible deadly bacterial infections

  • Will Rowan, from Vienna, Virginia, only eats EleCare Jr powdered infant formula because of his extreme deadly food allergies 
  • His mother Claire says that her son is ‘basically allergic to all food’, has a permanent feeding tube and consumes 10 cups of the formula every day 
  • The Food and Drug Administration announced the recall on February 17, the day after the family had just received a delivery of 58 cans, which cost about $40 each, of the amino acid-based hypoallergenic formula 
  • The organisation was forced to recall the product alongside other lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas because of complaints of bacterial infections linked to the products 
  • And as a result of a desperate plea on Facebook, helping mothers in Ms Rowan’s community have managed to source an extra 10 cans of the formula to tide Will over for a while although it is unclear how quickly he gets through the product 

A 16-year-old boy with Crohn’s disease is facing starvation because the brand which makes the baby formula he survives on is recalling the product. 

Will Rowan, from Vienna, Virginia, only eats EleCare Jr powdered infant formula because of his extreme deadly food allergies.  

His mother Claire says that her son is ‘basically allergic to all food’, has a permanent feeding tube and consumes 10 cups of the formula every day

And as a result of a desperate plea on Facebook, helping mothers in Ms Rowan’s community have managed to source an extra 10 cans of the formula to tide Will over for a while although it is unclear how quickly he gets through the product. 

The Food and Drug Administration announced the recall on February 17, the day after the family had just received a delivery of 58 cans, which cost about $40 each, of the amino acid-based hypoallergenic formula.  

The organisation was forced to recall the product alongside other lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas because of reports of alleged bacterial infections linked to the products. 

It is now investigation three reports of children who were hospitalized and one who died.  

In her desperation to find food for her son, high school teacher Ms Rowan took to Facebook to plead for anyone in her area to let her buy any spare cans they may have. 

She wrote: ‘Long shot but I am desperate….the FDA just recalled tons of infant formula due to a dangerous bacteria. My 16 year old is solely tube fed with ELECARE JR FORMULA.

‘I just checked and all 62 cans we have are recalled. As of now, he has no food. None.

A result of a desperate plea on Facebook, helping mothers in Ms Rowan's community have managed to source an extra 10 cans of the formula to tide Will over for a while although it is unclear how quickly he gets through the product
A result of a desperate plea on Facebook, helping mothers in Ms Rowan’s community have managed to source an extra 10 cans of the formula to tide Will over for a while although it is unclear how quickly he gets through the product ..

We are willing to pay if anyone at all has even a can or two we could buy. We will drive anywhere… I am working to try to get new cases but everyone in America is too. Our choices are no food or likely anaphylaxis so we are putting this out to our community for any help we can get.’

The community responded in droves to try and supply the desperate mother with the formula she needed to feed her son and later the same day Ms Rowan said she had managed to source four cans, with another mother in Utah sending her a further six. 

Ms Rowan wrote: ‘I can’t thank you ALL enough for all your thoughts, sharing and help…

‘At this point, with community help- we have 4 cans. We are still waiting to hear from doctor if we can try anything else..

‘We are quite confident that anything found on a shelf or online currently is not safe. Everything nationally has been pulled so we are hesitant to ask anyone to ship without being able to confirm.

‘A fellow tube mom in Utah is sending us 6 cans!’

Will stopped growing at the age of seven and was then diagnosed with a litany of health conditions including Crohn’s disease, eosinophilic esophagitis and gastroenteritis.  

Ms Rowan said that as soon as he began tube feeding with EleCare formula in October 2019 ‘he wasn’t so pale and he started growing and he had energy. He grew almost four inches in the past year,’ she told the Washington Post

Ms Rowan is a teacher at James Madison High School, where Will is a sophomore.

She was left completely overwhelmed by the levels of support her community showed in her hour of need. 

Strangers hunted through local supermarkets for cans that hadn’t been recalled and also called Abbott Nutrition – the company that produces the formula – and wait on hold for hours.  

The company said in a statement: ‘We are sorry to hear about Will. We value the trust parents and caregivers place in us, and ensuring the safety and quality of our products is our top priority. 

‘As part of Abbott’s quality processes, all infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella and other pathogens, and they must test negative before any product is released. No distributed product from our Sturgis, Mich., facility has tested positive for the presence of either Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella.”.


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