It’s truly heart-wrenching to think of any young child going through the pain of cancer. They show such incredible bravery, yet too often, they face tough battles.
Yet, there are also stories of remarkable kids who overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
When Dylan Little was born nine years ago, doctors immediately noticed something was amiss. His entire body was covered in unusual birthmarks, except for his back, which had dark red skin.
Dylan was swiftly taken to the NICU. Unfortunately, it became clear that he was suffering from a dangerous condition called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus, which covered about 80% of his tiny body in birthmarks.
Kara, an air traffic controller from Atlanta, Georgia, was understandably shocked when she saw her beloved son. During her pregnancy, there had been no indication that anything was wrong. The ultrasounds and checkups had all gone as expected.
But when she first laid eyes on Dylan, he was unlike anything she could have imagined.
“When Dylan was born, his back was entirely black and bleeding, his face, arms and legs were all covered in moles. The largest one was from above his ears all the way down to his bottom, so it went all the way down around his shoulders, belly and entire backside. There were hundreds of satellites where the moles ranged from half the size of a dollar to the dot of a pen,” she explained in 2016.
At just five weeks old, Dylan had already undergone a PET scan and an MRI to screen for melanoma. Due to his rare condition, affecting only one in 20,000 people, he had multiple melanin deposits in his brain.
Around four months old, the baby boy began experiencing seizures as a result of the “spots” in his brain. Doctors informed Dylan’s parents, Kara and Nikki, that he would require multiple procedures throughout his first few years of life.
Congenital melanocytic nevus patients face a significant risk of developing skin cancer. Thus, they must be vigilant about monitoring their birthmarks.
While most of Dylan’s back was covered by a large mole that doctors wanted to surgically remove, the procedure wasn’t straightforward. As Dylan grew older, his medical team decided to proceed with more complex procedures. They had to place implants, similar to breast implants, in the boy’s body to generate enough skin for transplantation.
Dylan carried the implants for three months, causing him to develop extra skin. After removing the enormous mole on his back, the plan was to cover the area with this excess skin.
Dylan has undergone numerous operations so far. Approximately half of the boy’s massive mole has been removed after 26 procedures.
“We’re holding onto hope that the moles never turn on and become cancerous, but he could develop cancer at any point,” his mother, Kara mentioned. “He has surgery every three to six months, dependent on which area of the body.”
Despite all the operations and recovery time, Dylan remains a cheerful young boy, proving his doctors wrong thus far.
“We are trying to do what’s best for him, we want to give him the fullest, longest life we possibly can,” Kara said to the Telegraph.
“Dylan amazes me constantly, he always has a smile on his face and feels like he owns the hospital, all the nurses know and love him.”
Dylan is aware of how unique he looks compared to other kids. When he’s out in public, strangers often pause and stare. When this happens, Dylan simply explains the reasons behind his appearance. People are generally understanding. But there have been instances of extreme cruelty.
“Once in a supermarket a store manager asked us to leave because one of their customers was upset about having seen our child, which was very upsetting,” Kara said.
Yet, Kara rightly refuses to hide or be ashamed of her boy.
“I’m not afraid to take him out at all and I don’t want him to be worried or think there is something he should be ashamed of,” she explained.
Dylan’s parents set up a Facebook profile so that anyone who wants to track his recovery can do so. Kara frequently provides updates on how the family is doing. Additionally, she is making a lot of effort to raise awareness of Dylan’s condition.
“We don’t know what his future holds at this point, he could have days, weeks, years or decades – which is why we are doing everything we can to keep him with us,” Kara said in 2016.
Dylan has had 33 operations as of right now, yet he still maintains a good attitude on life. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing baseball, and going fishing.
He is living life to the fullest and is healthier than ever at the age of nine. Dylan still possesses a few moles, though, and these need to be closely watched to ensure a positive change doesn’t occur.
Sadly, Dylan is still frequently admitted to the hospital. But up to this point, every operation went as expected. Dylan has bounced back from setbacks like the warrior he is. Just take a look at this adorable kid you have become today.
Your parents must be so happy to be able to share this life with you and see you blossom into a man, filling them with pride. I would be extremely grateful if I possessed even half of your superpowers. Dylan, may the Lord richly reward your bravery! Continue to try!
Life is, regrettably, unfair. Dylan Little, a courageous 9-year-old child, is engaged in a struggle that no one should ever have to go through. No parent wants to see their child in pain, and they will go to any lengths to restore their happiness. We truly hope the remainder of his journey goes without a hitch.
Please share Dylan’s story to honor this little fighter.