Instead of reveling in the joys of becoming new parents, Chad Cloward and his wife were delivered devastating news. Their baby boy, Dallan Cloward, had developed Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, which left him with a cleft lip, cleft palate and a tiny frame. The boy weighed 3.5 pounds when he was born. He was so small that his parents could only find one outfit to dress him in—the clothing from a Cabbage Patch doll.
His tiny stature and facial disfigurement wasn’t the worst of doctors’ news. Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome is a rare developmental disorder that affects 1 in every 95,000 births. It can result in delayed growth and development, intellectual disabilities and seizures.
Most babies die by age 2, which is what the medical staff predicted for Dallan.
Chad recalls not wanting to get too close to his son because he was fearful that forming a relationship with the infant would make it even more difficult to mourn his loss when his son died.
He quickly had a change of heart knowing that he’d regret not giving his son every ounce of his love while he was alive.
Dallan has defied the odds and will soon be celebrating his 30th birthday in August. To celebrate the milestone that Chad thought he’d never see, he is planning a 6-week birthday celebration, 30 for 30, to mark this incredible moment.
He wants to partake in 30 fun activities that he and Dallan can do together. He’s recruited friends for suggestions and the two have already visited the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah.
Although Dallan’s mental capacity is equivalent to a 2-year-old, it doesn’t detract from his father wanting him to enjoy this time in his life.
He’s a special person who has brought his father tremendous joy and he’s grateful to have had his son by his side for so many years.
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