Four-year-old Dylan Hierlihy is a happy, well-adjusted child with a winning smile and an irrepressible spirit.
In April 2010, at nine months of age, Dylan suffered a bacterial infection that nearly claimed his life. He lost his left leg below the knee, most of his right foot and the tips of fingers on his right hand. Dylan spent three months in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and one month in the step-down unit before he could go home.
In the following fall Dylan was referred to the Prosthetics and Orthotics Service at Chedoke Hospital where he was fitted with prosthetic legs. Prosthetist Dan Cribbs and physiotherapist Nicole Gustopolous helped Dylan get used to his new legs and taught him how to walk with a walker. Progress was slow at first, but within a few months, Dylan was “whizzing around” with little difficulty.
Dylan recently reached a major milestone when he stood for the first time without his walker. Always willing to go the extra mile for his patients, Dan took photos and a video so that proud parents, Denise and Allen, would have a souvenir of the big moment.
In the years to come, Dylan will need new prostheses to fit his growing body. He’s a huge sports fan and loves to watch his dad play hockey and baseball. His parents are hopeful that one day, he will be able to do more than sit on the sidelines.
In September, Dylan started junior kindergarten. The school is only two doors down, so Dylan is able to walk there with his new best friend. So far, the adjustment has been smooth. The other students have been incredibly kind, even protective towards him. There is no doubt that Dylan will continue to face challenges along the road of life but with each step he takes, he grows stronger.