April 14, 2017
We can learn so much through the strength, wisdom and determination of children. Our struggles can sometimes seem so heavy but somehow little ones have a bigger way of looking at life to see the full picture. This beautiful little boy may not know it now but he is inspiring many as he plows on with his enthusiasm for life. I was fortunate to learn of Dylan Leslie as he lives in my own community of Oviedo, Florida. Dylan's mama shares his story...
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My son, Dylan, was born with Infantile Fibrosarcoma (Cancer). He was misdiagnosed for the first 3.5 months of his life as having a benign hemangioma on his left foot. As this mass continued to grow, rapidly, our concern grew as well. To make a long story short, we found a doctor in Charleston, SC who agreed with our concerns and offered to perform a biopsy. After that procedure, we learned Dylan's tumor was, in fact, cancerous. He began chemotherapy within days in effort to shrink the tumor to allow for surgical recession. After four months of chemotherapy, the doctors deemed his foot unsalvageable and performed a Syme's amputation (through the ankle). Dylan had several subsequent surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy before he was declared cancer free. Dylan is now four years old and walking and running like a champ on his sixth prosthesis. He continues routine scans at the local Children's Hospital to monitor his blood, bone marrow, heart etc. due to the amount and intensity of chemotherapy received at such a young age.
We are beyond grateful for his healing and pray that Dylan continues to remain cancer free. He has endured more than most adults in his short four years and his strength and determination inspires us daily. We believe that Dylan will also be a walking testimony to others for years to come. During Dylan's journey we (as a family) found comfort in the Bible verse Isaiah 40:31 "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint."
Dylan, it may be hard to understand why you were born with these challenges. As a child it can be difficult to be "different" from others. One thing I am sure of though is that we are put here on earth for a reason and often times the things that can seem like challenges actually end up being our biggest gift. Through those beautiful eyes, that wild happy smile and enthusiasm for life; there is no doubt that your gift is to inspire others to embrace who they are, live life to the fullest and to believe that you can reach for the stars no matter what! Thank you Dylan for being a Personal Hero!
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