When Dallan Cloward was born, the first thing his father, Chad, noticed about him was his big, beautiful blue eyes.
As a small baby, he only weighed 3.5 pounds. The only thing amiss about this newborn was his cleft lip and palate. Later the family learned that Dallan was born with a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, which only affects about 500 people in the United States. The condition would cause delayed growth and development, which resulted in intellectual disabilities and seizures.
Dallan was giving a terminal diagnosis, doctors saying he wouldn't live past 2 years old as a result of his disability.
“I still so remember thinking, ‘I can’t get too attached because it will hurt more when we lose him,’” Chad told 12 News. “Then after a day or two of thinking that—it hit me—that if I don’t give him every ounce of love I can, I will regret that for my entire life once he passes.”
That's when Dallan defied the odds.
Three decades later, Dallan now stands 4 foot 6 and weighs 55 pounds. Although he can't communicate well or walk long distances, his fighter mentality continues to take over.
“There were many times we almost lost him, but he always pulled through,” Chad told PEOPLE.
Dallan is the eldest of Chad's five children.
"He loves doing all kinds of different things, and as he got older, I haven’t done as many things with him because of raising other kids," the 53-year-old father said.
Chad and his second wife have 8 kids between them, ranging in age from 17-27 years old.
"When he was really little I was really focused on doing everything with him and going everywhere with him," Chad said.
For his 30th birthday, his dad had some great plans up his sleeve to celebrate this major milestone in his son's life.
"It started at 29, I just kept thinking I need to do something really special for his birthday next year," Chad told ABC News.
He had planned 30 fun activities that lasted a period of 6 weeks for he and his son to enjoy together, calling the project 30 for 30.
The activities included, a movie marathon, salsa tasting, camping at the Grand Canyon, riding a roller coaster, visiting Disneyland and fulfilling a dream to ride an adaptive bike.
Dallan's condition has given Chad, a real-estate broker from Phoenix, Arizona a new perspective on life.
“When you’re constantly faced with the possibility of especially your firstborn and your son passing away at an early age, you kind of focus on life … instead of just trying to make a living,” he told ABC News.
There is no treatment for Dallan's syndrome, which causes him to have a mental capacity of a 2-year-old. His father still considers him lucky to have him in his life.
“The beauty of Dallan is that he doesn’t know how wonderful he is,” he tells PEOPLE. “He doesn’t live for tomorrow, or for clothes or for money. He just enjoys today. I feel very blessed every day to have him in my life.”