As Dylan Hall sprints around the swing set at Tanglewood Park in Bryan, he looks like any other six-year-old boy. Energetic, always on the move, and brimming with a sincere happiness, it seems as if there's nothing that could hold him back.
Except for one thing.
Dylan has duchenne's muscular dystrophy, a disease that slowly breaks down the body’s muscles.
“He's not confined to a chair yet, and that's a great feeling to know that he still gets to walk and do things," said Kim Hall, Dylan's mother. "He gets there a little slower, but he's still like any other child out there."
Over time, the disease takes away the victim's freedom of movement, eventually relegating them to a wheelchair. And at some point, in the worst cases, a person with duchenne's will only be able to breathe on a respirator as the disease continues to attack the body's most important muscle -- the heart.
By this point, Lee and Kim Hall have heard all the bad information about the disease. But for now, they’re only focused on the good. With the help of the MDA over the last year, they’ve made big steps in the right direction.
“The progress over the last year has been amazing," Kim said. "Riding a bicycle. Getting up off the floor by himself. Not having really to utilize a table or chair. Climbing. He’ll pull drawers and climb up them and get on top of the cabinet looking for candy. And that’s something he wouldn’t have done before.”
The MDA has helped the Halls with the disease, from therapy sessions to steroid medications to leg splints, it’s all benefited Dylan. But there’s one thing that’s been invaluable to the family.
“Probably the biggest comfort is that we have met families with duchenne’s muscular dystrophy," Lee said. "And it’s horrible that they’re going through it, but because the families we’ve met are a step or two or three ahead of where we are, it’s really reassuring to know...and reassuring sounds like a horrible thing to say that your child is going to be in a wheelchair, and it’s reassuring to know what that’s going to be like...but it really is. The families all tell you it’s not the end of the world.”
And while the Halls are holding out hope that the MDA finds a cure soon, they still know that the disease is slowly working its way through Dylan.
So for now, they’ll just focus on the good, which includes watching Dylan run around the playground, laughing hysterically.
“He’s a normal little boy, climbing and getting into things and doing normal little boy things right now. And we want to keep it that way. As long as we can," Lee said.
For more information on how to help out the MDA, visit http://www.mda.org/.
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