The Sound of Hope: Dylan's Riley Milestone
14-year-old Dylan Crossley has the spirit of a 5-year-old, an infectious laugh, and a colorful collection of toys that go everywhere with him.
He has reached a happy milestone in a long, tough journey.
Dylan has been a Riley kid since birth. He was born with Costello syndrome, a rare genetic condition that has affected him in many ways, including increasing his risk of cancer.
Last summer, Dylan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. He began treatment in the Riley Cancer Center—treatment that included three surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy.
During the toughest parts of his treatment, Riley Child Life Specialists helped Dylan find comfort and hold onto his signature sense of humor. On one memorable day, Nurse Practitioner Cheri Lee agreed to Dylan’s humorous suggestion that she “marry” one of his toys, a Captain Hook doll.
Other Riley staff members served as a bridal party and guests as Dylan played “minister” and officiated the mock wedding.
But now, with treatment completed, Dylan has a chance to be the center of attention in a different type of ceremony.
It’s his turn to ring the bell in the Riley Outpatient Center Hematology/Oncology clinic.
Dylan’s father Scott lifts him up while his mother Lori looks on with tears in her eyes. Dylan pulls the cord, and the sound of hope filled the hall.
Smiling nurses create a human tunnel with their upraised arms. Dylan takes a victory march through the sea of support, stopping along the way to give hugs.
“We’ve just been through so much,” Lori explains as she wipes away her tears. “And Dylan has smiled and laughed through all of it. As parents, we want to give him strength, but he is the one who has given us strength.”
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