Relief At Last For Brock
SHERRODSVILLE, OH – “When he had his first seizure, it was very scary. We thought he was dying,” said Kim Huff about her son, Brock Dayton. “We had no idea what was happening. He was only eight months old; he was just sitting there, and suddenly, he turned blue and went limp like a rag doll. That was how it was when he first started having them. There was no shaking—he’d just stop breathing and turn blue.”
That first occurrence led to a seven-day stay at Akron Children’s Hospital, where doctors finally discovered Brock was having seizures.
Born at 34 weeks, Brock Allen Dayton spent his first five days on a ventilator, then seven more in the NICU with jaundice. After that first seizure at eight months, more have followed every single day. 35 different medicine combinations over the years have found no success with completely controlling the seizures, and they have gotten worse as he’s grown older. Diagnosed with severe MR/DD, cerebral palsy, intractable epilepsy, and scoliosis, he did not walk until age three, and by age eight, he was confined to a wheelchair due to neurological damage from the constant seizures.
In October 2010, Brock contracted an illness that stripped him of most of his basic functionality.
“He couldn’t smile, he couldn’t even lift his own head,” Kim remembered. “He was basically the equivalent of a 79-pound newborn. He was having 27 seizures a day and confined to his bed. We were in and out of Akron Children’s for a month and a half. Not one doctor or specialist could tell us what was wrong, and in November 2010, they told us Brock wouldn’t make it to Christmas and sent us home with hospice care.”
Suddenly, the week before Christmas, he slowly began regaining strength. Every day, he was a little more awake, a bit more alert. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he was able to sit up on his own for the first time in nearly three months.
“Short of a Christmas miracle, nobody knows,” said Kim. “The doctors don’t know, we don’t know… But Christmas Eve, there he was, sitting on the couch with presents in his lap. He has limited hand dexterity and his strength was low, so he wasn’t ripping the presents open, but he was very slowly trying to open them.”
At the end of January 2011, Brock was released from hospice care, but it took almost a year of physical therapy to fully recover after losing strength and ability during the worst of his illness. He remains, however, on a feeding tube, and the daily seizures continue; six different seizure medications since his recovery have still failed to provide a true solution.
Now 19, Brock lives at home in Sherrodsville, Ohio, with Kim, younger brother Ethan, and stepfather Joe Huff, who’s been with the family since Brock was 4 and is simply “Dad.” The family also includes two older brothers and a stepbrother.
“Look, we live paycheck to paycheck,” Kim said with weary honesty. “We have medical bills piled upon medical bills. They go to collections and we send a little at a time. We do what we can do, because we have other kids too. The biggest thing for us is when we can’t do something, we don’t say, ‘We can’t do this because we don’t have the money because of medical bills.’ We don’t want the kids to think it’s Brock’s fault. It’s not his fault. He didn’t choose this and he can’t help it.”
Still, there are good times. Brock, now 19, typically has a “super happy” disposition. Possessing the cognitive ability of a toddler, he loves cartoons and enjoys watching Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer, and anything involving Mickey Mouse. To that end, in 2007, Brock and the entire family were sent to Walt Disney World for a week courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“Brock loves being outside,” Kim said. “It doesn’t matter what he’s doing or what’s happening around him, he just loves being outside. It’s almost like we can’t tell him when it’s too cold. He doesn’t care. We have horses and a little duck pond, and in the summertime he likes to feed them. Our dog likes to swim in the pond, and he’ll throw stuff and she’ll bring it back, and he gets so upset when it’s time to come into the house.
“Disney World was a great time for us,” she continued, “because the whole family, even grandma, got to go. We stayed in a little house for seven days and we were outside most of the time, so you know he loved that. He got to go on a few of the rides, and he just loved watching the people and seeing all the excitement. He got to the Disney Hollywood Studios part and that was his favorite because Dora and Spongebob were there. And flying on the airplane—oh, heavens. He loves airplanes. He sits outside and watches for them, and he can somehow see and hear them long before anybody else.”
Kim believes a service dog would make life less stressful for the entire family.
“If a dog could pick things up when Brock drops them, alert us when he’s having a seizure or needs something, or could simply be there to comfort him on his bad days or when we’re at the doctor or the hospital, it would be a huge help. But we live in a small town, and it will take us a very long time to raise this money without help from the community and media.”
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Brock. His family has committed to raising $14,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach their goal with your help. If you can help with a tax-deductible donation, please visit our 4 Paws Donation Page or mail a check with Brock’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Brock Dayton
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385