Meet Dylan, one of our 2016 Walk With Me ambassadors
Dylan was born a happy and healthy baby boy, but shortly after his birth, he began having difficulty feeding. After a few days, his parents took Dylan to the hospital where he was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis – a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract – and he needed surgery to correct it.
During the initial incision, Dylan’s heart stopped for nearly 45 minutes leaving him with brain damage, cerebral palsy, difficulty managing seizures and cortical blindness.
“When you have children and they’re born, you have all these hopes and dreams,” said Lauren, Dylan’s mom. “He was 22 days old when a nurse told me that his heart stopped they weren’t able to get it started again. She told me they wanted a chaplain to come pray with us. We were then told to go home and consider if we wanted to donate his organs. He was just so little and all of our hopes and dreams for him were taken away in an hour.”
Doctors told his parents that Dylan may never be able to sit, stand or walk and only time would tell what other disabilities he would have in relation to sight, hearing, cognition and behavior.
At 4 months old, Dylan’s parents found Southwest Human Development after he was beginning to show postural instability and visual delays. His doctor felt Dylan would work better in a home-based environment instead of an inpatient hospital. Dylan began receiving weekly in-home occupational therapy from Southwest Human Development and just a few weeks after beginning services Dylan learned to sit on his own. This was something his parents never thought would be possible.
His parents credit the services they have received for giving them the knowledge and skills to be able to help his development on a daily basis. Where they once felt helpless, they now feel empowered to give Dylan the tools he needs to grow.
“What I liked best about this program is that the early intervention is geared toward working with us as a whole family so that we can continue to work with him every day,” said Lauren. “We’ve had to rebuild everything for him so he can someday have the best quality of life he can have and every opportunity available to him. We thought he would be 20 years old and in a wheelchair not able to do it. It’s definitely encouraging.”
Dylan is now able to pull himself up to stand, cruise around furniture, crawl, and this past November, Dylan started walking on his own. His parents hope he will be able to lead his team across the finish line on his own two feet at this year’s Walk With Me.