Shriners Hospitals Helps Dallin Lead an Active Life
“You know, I’m feeling good about saddling up Gypsy tonight,” 11-yearold Dallin said with a smile.
His mother, Daralyn, smiled back. “We’ll see,” she answered, glancing out the kitchen window to the pasture where the family’s horse was sleeping.
What made her happiest about her son Dallin’s statement were the words, “I’m feeling good.”
These are special words, since Dallin was not able to walk six years ago, much less ride horses.But because of the care he receives at Shriners Hospitals for Children— Salt Lake City, he’s able to count horseback riding among his favorite activities.
Dallin was born prematurely and with cerebal palsy. When he was 2years old, a family friend who worked at the Shriners Hospital suggested they apply for their son to receive treatment there.
“We didn’t know a lot about Shriners Hospitals, so we figured they wouldn’t accept us because we made too much money,” Daralyn explained. “But that’s one thing the hospital
makes very clear – they don’t care how much money you make or what you do. All they care about is taking care of the kids.”
Dallin was accepted and began treatment, which, over the course of nine years, has included 12 surgeries. Kristen Carroll, M.D., Dallin’s orthopaedic surgeon, has lengthened tendons in his legs, put screws in the bones in his feet and provided other
treatments to increase his mobility.
Each surgery is followed by extensive physical therapy, two or three times a week for several weeks.
It’s a lot of work, to be sure – but the careful attention the family receives at Shriners Hospital makes the process a positive one.
“Dr. Carroll and her staff treat Dallin as if he were their own son,” Daralyn said, adding that it’s the little things that make Shriners Hospital such a special place. “There’s no question in my mind that Dr. Carroll really cares about her patients. In fact, everyone at the hospital treats you like family and makes sure that all of us are very well taken care of.”
This extraordinary care enables Dallin to go about the business of being a typical 11-year-old boy: riding motorcycles and four-wheelers, playing with his dog, Kotah, and riding horses, which is actually part of his therapy, as it relaxes his tendons and teaches him to balance. And while motorcycles aren’t as therapeutic as horses, they are every bit as fun for Dallin, who has followed his two older brothers into racing.
Even if he tips the four-wheeler over once in a while, competing is worth it for Dallin, because he likes the trophies.
Do incidents like that worry Mom and Dad? “Oh, no,” Daralyn said. “He does pretty well, he’s pretty stable. We’ve done it for so long that it’s just another day.”