In 2004, Dalton became very sick when his esophagus narrowed to the point that it almost closed, rendering him unable to eat. Another symptom he endured was acid reflux, causing aspiration into his lungs.
Undergoing three unsuccessful fundoplications, a surgery in which the upper stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus, to treat the esophageal stricture, Dalton was unable to attend traditional school and rarely enjoyed other activities that most children take for granted.
In spite of all the health problems and living in the hospital for over three years, Zandra Williford, his grandmother and caretaker, says he is a sweet boy with a strong spirit. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Dalton says he hopes to be a scientist for the Centers for Disease Control. He wants to help find cures that will save lives. To make sure that dream becomes a reality, he attends school online. Williford says he is an above-average student, which is remarkable considering his health condition.
In 2011, he underwent yet another surgery to reconstruct a failed fundoplication; however, due to major complications from the procedure, Dalton suffered severe organ damage, according to Williford. Now Dalton is waiting to be healthy enough for a multivisceral transplant, one in which multiple organs are transplanted at once.
“Basically Dalton needs all new organs, everything except his heart and kidneys,” said Williford.
Due to the fact that his intestines were removed, he cannot eat or absorb nutrients from food, so he receives his nourishment from total parenteral nutrition, also known as a TNP, an intravenous therapy drip about 20 hours a day.
Dalton and Williford make regular trips to the transplant clinic at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where Dalton has numerous doctors. When Dalton is home and needs hospital care, they go to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta at Egleston, which is a 51-mile drive one way. Last week alone they made two trips to the hospital, which was over 200 miles of driving. Williford, who cannot work because she cares for Dalton 24 hours a day, says her husband is the sole worker in the home and it is challenging to meet all the expenses on just one income. “We spend most everything we have on Dalton’s care. I try to pay the house payment and the minimums on the credit cards to keep our credit good,” said Williford. She explained there are many things the insurance does not cover and she is forced to charge those expenses.
Thanks to generous people and organizations like Just For Heart, Williford has received some assistance. The organization helped out by paying their house payment for three months. Also, Make A Wish Foundation took Dalton on a shopping spree where he purchased items he could use from his hospital bed like an iPad and video games. Sarah Sullivan, a lady Williford met on Facebook, is making keychains to sell and donating all the proceeds to help fund Dalton’s health-related expenses. Brasfield and Gorrie, a construction company, installed a concrete wheelchair ramp for Dalton; Brandon and Jamie Smith, along with many volunteers, built a porch so he could sit outside.
While all these contributions have been greatly appreciated by Dalton and the Willifords, the cost for his medical care is great. An account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank under the name of Dalton Robinson or Hope for Dalton. For more information or to purchase a key chain, see the Facebook page Hope for Dalton, https://www.facebook.com/HopeForDalton.