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Dylan Smith has always had a passion for firefighting. He began volunteering at the Huntingtown Fire Department in 2008, at the age of 14. At the age of 16 he began riding in the engine, making him one of the youngest firefighters in Southern Maryland. For the next 8 years Dylan would volunteer as a fire fighter. At the age of 23 Dylan had received the following awards
· Rookie of the year at the age of 15
· 5 Green Cross Awards for cutting out & bringing back to life car accident victims
· 2 Medal of Courage awards; one for rescuing a child from a car accident and one for rescuing his best friend who fell through the floor of a burning building
· 1 National Medal of Honor for pulling a lady out of a fire
· 15 Life Save awards
In March of 2011, Dylan’s senior year of high school, he became hospitalized with 3rd degree burns to his hands. He also burned his face, shoulders, and back, tore his rotator cuff, and broke bones in his back from jumping out of a second story window of a burning house. Even from a young age, Dylan gave of himself to others.
In November of 2016, Dylan was diagnosed with grade 3 brain cancer, Anaplastic Astrocytoma. If you google Anaplastic Astrocytoma and firefighter, there is story after story of firefighters with this horrific disease. Dylan had two brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. In November of 2019, an MRI showed that the cancer had returned. Dylan underwent another brain surgery and doctors have recommended the same treatment plan. Dylan and his family know this only buys him time; it is not a cure.
A doctor in Germany and a newly founded company CeCaVa GmbH & Co. KG, which is based in Tübingen, Germany have created an individualized vaccine. Using a tissue sample from the patient’s individual tumor, doctors there are able to create a vaccine that can be tailored to the specific mutations in the respective tumor. One of the reasons that treatment for brain cancer hasn’t progressed in decades, is because brain tumors are heterogenous, no two tumors are alike. They must all be treated differently.
This treatment requires testing of the tumor, 4-6 weeks to create the vaccine, a ten day stay in Germany and two years of traveling to Germany every two months to receive the injection. The tumor tissue from Dylan’s surgery in December of 2019 can be sent to Germany for testing, but it must be done immediately. This cutting-edge treatment is not covered by insurance, but it offers Dylan a chance at a cure.
Dylan’s family needs financial assistance in order to access this cutting-edge treatment necessary to give Dylan the best possible chance at a cure. Please consider making a generous one time or ongoing donation if you are able. Contributions of any size are welcome. Sharing this page can help the Smith family during this difficult time. Prayers are always appreciated and welcome. Thank you for your generosity and support at this time.