Happy birthday Dylan!
In Florida, Dylan celebrated his 10th birthday and is Casey Cares' 640th birthday this year!
Casey Cares knows that for a critically ill child, each birthday is a special milestone celebrating life. For the children in our programs, it not only marks another year, but it also demonstrates a great achievement. Casey Cares staff and volunteers work hard to send out each of our kids a special birthday package through our Birthday Blast program - we send over 1,000 a year! This simple act of kindness delivers joy and hope to our kids who are undergoing treatment.
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Casey Cares focuses on providing free programs for the entire family, not simply the sick child, to enjoy. Since joining in 2022, Dylan and his family have gone to see the stunts at Monster Jam, received Movie & Pizza Night packages, watched Paw Patrol Live, and saw the dinos at Jurassic Quest!
His mother Kayla states, "Monster Jam and Disney On Ice have been the family favorites. We are always excited when a Casey Cares box arrives!"
Kayla appreciates, “Knowing that people care about families like ours. When hospice first stepped in, they kept telling me that we needed to focus on quality of life and not quantity. Casey Cares has given us multiple opportunities to do just that. Casey Cares meets families where they are. We have had movie and pizza boxes delivered to our hotel rooms post hospital discharge. We have been provided tickets to go have fun during a healthy weekend."
She adds, "I have appreciated it and I hope our children have memories of joy in even our worse moments as a family.”
"Dylan was born with tetralogy of fallot, a congenital malformation of heart, and by four we realized just how medically complex he medical was. There will be ongoing procedures for the rest of his life," says Kayla.
As a mother of five, Kayla notes that time is the biggest challenge of being a parent to a critically ill child.
"Finding time for all the appointments, medication, education, fun, self care, and rest. Time is precious and we try to make the absolute most of it. I am and will be forever thankful for the time we have and will hopefully continue to have," she states.
As her son celebrates his birthday, Kayla reflects, "I cannot believe Dylan is turning 10. Most moms cannot believe how fast their children grow up. I cannot believe we did it. He made it to 10. He is officially double digits. Before this birthday we have treated every other birthday knowing it could possibly be his last. This year is different. This year he is the healthiest he has ever been. This year we don’t already have the next surgery or procedure planned. We get to celebrate not only another year but we get to try and plan the future."
She concludes, "In the last year, Dylan underwent another open heart surgery and did amazing. He came home and took off. He learned to ride a bike, swim and we learned he is good in archery. We were able to send his oxygen back and he gained 20 pounds! We are so proud of him! He is an amazing child is so many ways."
Want to bring some birthday joy to children like Dylan? Learn more here!