Taking a Chance for their Son’s Sight When Nicole and Doug Dillon noticed their newborn son’s eyes twitching, doctors shrugged it off. But when Dougie was 3 months old and not making eye contact, their concerns were justified— Dougie had optic nerve hypoplasia, an underdevelopment of the optic nerves that causes visual impairment. “It was really hard to accept,” says Nicole Dillon, who lives in Maple Shade, New Jersey. “You have so many dreams for your child, and this felt like a bulldozer over them.” Dougie had some light perception but very little vision. Doctors told the Dillons there was no cure. But after doing their own research, they found a promising stem cell treatment in China. The Dillons ensured that the treatment did not use embryonic cells, but solely adult stem cells. A year later they were busy raising $45,000 to travel to the other side of the world to help their son. The Deptford and Winslow Lions Clubs came through with the final $4,000 needed. The Dillons were soon embarking on their one-month stay in China. “We were nervous, but excited that we could do this for our child,” says Dillon. Almost immediately, Dougie’s eye control improved. After they got home, 2-year-old Dougie began walking. Over the next months, he was recognizing colors, letters and objects. “One day I asked him to look at me and when he looked—really looked into my eyes—I cried,” says Dillon. Dougie, now an animated 4-year-old who loves to play music, continues to make strides. The Dillons may go back for more treatments, but for now, Dillon says, “We’re just loving spending time as a family and enjoying life.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Thank+You/1881930/237959/article.html.