When you see a hashtag, do you ever think about who is attached to it?
For instance, #Dyllenstrong belongs to a very special KELOLAND family. Dyllen is going through a very tough time, and has been in the hospital more than a nine-year-old boy should. Thankfully, he’s not alone.
When KELOLAND News met Dyllen Yockey, he was connected to a chemotherapy machine, and making the long journey back to a hospital room. It’s not easy talking to a little boy about his cancer. So, we found a better way to connect. We talked about movies.
Brittany Christensen: “What movie did we just go see?”
Dyllen: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”
Brady: “Ok, I just saw that, too! What did you think about the movie?”
Dyllen’s right. Without spoiling the plot, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the latest in the epic dinosaur film series. It features, of course, the beloved T-Rex fans call “Rexy,” and the scene-stealing Velociraptor named Blue. She’s Dyllen’s favorite.
Dyllen: “She’s a good fighter.”
Brittany: “Kind of like you, right?”
Dyllen’s voice may be soft, but his mom says he’s facing his disease with a mighty roar.
“It’s hard to watch your child go through it. You can’t take it away,” Christensen said.
In January, Dyllen had severe stomach pain.
“I had that mom instinct that I knew something was wrong,” Christensen said.
Doctors found a baseball-sized tumor, and then diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma in April. He’s been going to the Sanford Castle of Care for chemo, and will soon receive treatment number six. Dyllen may have the spirit of a fighting dinosaur, but he reminds us it’s ok to be human.
“I just want to be done with it,” Dyllen said.
The family posts these ups and downs on social media, through #DyllenStrong.
“Definitely humbling to know so many people are praying for us and people we don’t even know,” Christensen said.
It’s allowed Brittany and Dyllen to get to so many people, and connect with other families. #DyllenStrong is giving them all strength.
“Knowing there are people who have also gone though this, and sharing their story and people who are going through this that you meet here, definitely helps you get through your day,” Christensen said.
No matter how many toys are around, being sick isn’t fun and games for a kid. Dyllen looks forward to the day when he can go back to school, get back on a horse, and leave cancer and chemo in the dust.
Brittany: “He just keeps going. It’s the same with Blue. She’s this tiny little raptor and he’s just this tiny little boy and…”
Dyllen: “She’s a velociraptor!”
Brittany: “velociraptor, yeah.”
Whether it’s schooling his mom about movies, scrolling on social media, or sharing something a little more personal; Dyllen and his mom show us an important truth for this long journey.
Connection goes hand-in-hand with healing.
Brittany: “We’re not going to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has its own worries. We worry about today.”
Dyllen: “One day at a time.”
Brittany: “One day at a time.”