Dylan Askin’s parents had made the very difficult choice to remove their two-year-old son from life support. Dylan had contracted an extremely rare form of lung cancer, and he ended up in a coma.
Before the life support machine could be turned off, however, the little boy stirred; he would go on to make a miraculous recovery.
Dylan was so ill that his parents actually had him Christened in his hospital bed on Good Friday in 2016. He was at Queens Medical Hospital in Nottingham.
Two years later, the boy has beaten the illness that doctors were sure would claim Dylan’s life. Dylan’s parents did not think he would survive, which is why they agreed to take him off of life support.
Dylan would wake up shortly after stirring on Good Friday. By Easter Sunday, he was stable.
Two years after the ordeal, Kerry Askin is saying that she strongly believes that Dylan is an “Easter miracle”. She said she’s not “massively religious”, but she nonetheless does believe it was a miracle.
When they told their eldest son about it, he said that Dylan was “like Jesus”—he had been learning about it in school, she said.
It was on Christmas Day of 2016 that Dylan had to be rushed to the hospital due to breathing problems. He ended up at Derby Royal Hospital, and it was discovered that he had a collapsed lung.
Further tests would go on to show that the little boy’s lungs were 80 percent covered in cysts. The diagnosis was Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis, or PLCH.
At first, Dylan would recover well enough to leave intensive care; however, he would soon end up contracting bacterial pneumonia. He also had a febrile seizure.
His lungs began to fail. At one point, they were barely functioning.
Kerry said that on Good Friday of 2016 medical staff told the family that things were looking “bleak”. She was told they weren’t getting him back.
She said that all of the settings on the machine were at their highest; however, the little boy was still struggling. That’s when the parents decided to have Dylan christened. Family from all over came to say goodbye to Dylan, including his older brother.
However, as staff began to withdraw his medicine and sedate him, Dylan’s heart rate normalized. He was actually taken off life support on April 4, which is the date of his parents’ anniversary. His oxygen levels stabilized, and by Easter he had stabilized.
He was sent home on the 16th of May, and he finished his cancer treatment in on the 21st of July.
His parents, Mike and Kerry, are now supporting CLIC Sargent, which is a charity that assists young people who have cancer. Founded in 2005, CLIC Sargent is the United Kingdom’s leading cancer charity for kids, and it helped Kerry and Mike during their time of need.
The organization’s main fundraising and awareness event is in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
A senior account manager at CLIC Sargent, Kate Lightfoot, described Dylan as a “lovely little boy”, adding that everyone is delighted to hear of his progress.
The causes of Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis are unknown, but cigarette smoking can and often does play a role—as Dylan was only two when he got sick, cigarettes likely weren’t a factor in his case. Actually, the illness typically occurs in white people who smoke and are between 20 and 40 years old. The illness affects males and females equally.
Signs of Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis include fatigue, fever, nonproductive cough, pleuritic chest pain, and dyspnea. However, roughly 15 percent of those with PLCH are asymptomatic; it is not uncommon for it to be diagnosed when a chest x-ray is taken for an unrelated reason.
The 5-year survival rate for PLCH is 75 percent, and the median survival is about 12 years. The main treatment for the condition is the cessation of cigarette smoking. One third of patients experience symptom resolution as a result of quitting smoking. Corticosteroids and other drugs are also used in the treatment of PLCH, and sometimes lung transplantation is needed.