The first day of school is a milestone for every child and their parents, but for one Chesterfield County family it was an extra special day worthy of a celebration.
A few years ago, if you were to ask India and Shirley, the mothers of 5-year-old Dylan Lipton-Lesser, if they thought they'd ever see their son walk through the doors of a school, they would probably say no.
Just after birth, Dylan was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. The extra fluid causes the spaces in the brain to widen, which can lead to serious complications. Hydrocephalus can affect both cognitive and physical development, but with surgery, therapy and rehabilitation, affected children can lead normal lives with some limitations.
Dylan's journey with hydrocephalus has been a long road, but his family never gave up hope. The little boy has already been through countless hospital visits and underwent 22 surgeries to treat his condition.
In 2013, he developed a moderate hearing loss problem, but about a year later he was fitted with hearing aids. His parents filmed the special moment, which ended up going viral.
Now, four years since the world first heard Dylan's story, he has taken some amazing strides and like every child his age, he has enrolled in school and looked super adorable on his first day.
Dylan's family had a lot to celebrate this week as he attended his first day of kindergarten.
“To see him going to kindergarten, wow! Is that possible?” India told WRIC.
His parents are calling it a miracle that he was able to overcome everything life threw his way to get to this point.
“It is nothing short of a miracle that he is able to attend school and really do as well as he is,” India continued.
“Through his 22 surgeries and all his hospital visits, it’s just been an amazing team to help this boy grow and attend kindergarten it’s amazing,” Shirley added.
Due to his medical needs, Dylan will require special attention and care from his teachers, but his parents are already impressed by the school's efforts in helping their son integrate and feel comfortable in his new setting.
“The fact that we have a school system that can accommodate and in fact help students with disabilities to become the best that they can be, is one of the great things about living in this county and this state and in this country,” Shirley said.
The proud parents are excited for what the future holds for Dylan now that he's been given a chance to be a normal kid.
“The promise of what he can become is exciting for us,” Shirley said. “We are terrified, but it’s all good.”
You can keep up with Dylan and his journey on his Facebook page here.