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A local Superhero receives support from the community
At just five years-old, one Grand Island preschooler has already had more than ten brain surgeries.
Saturday night, family and friends held a fundraiser at the Third City Christian Church in Grand Island in the young girl's honor.
News 5's Lauren Conley brings us her remarkable survivor story.
"She really just wants to be a kid right now," said Melissa Tolen, Dylan's mother.
When Dylan was only a year old she fell down the stairs in her home.
"A couple weeks later she was acting kind of funny so we thought maybe she had had a concussion," Tolen said. "She wasn't able to walk, sit, stand, crawl for small amounts of time."
But, what they found was far worse.
AVM or arteriovenous malformation, which is a congenital disorder.
It's like a tangled clump of arteries and veins in the brain.
"I just kind of dropped to the floor and cried," Tolen said.
Since that day, it's been a constant battle with symptoms, surgeries and recovery.
"She'd walk with her head tilted, or just be tired throughout the day and we could tell something was wrong," Tolen added.
A stroke, double vision, dizziness and nausea are just some of the side effects Dylan has suffered through most of her life.
Dylan's dream career is to be a superhero, but these t-shirts show that she already is one.
"She's our superhero, because she's just been amazing through all of this," Tolen said.
She's had so many brain surgeries her family has lost track.
"We think 10 to 12 embolization's before they did a craniotomy and went into her brain and actually removed the AVM," Tolen said.
The Tolen's hope this one will be the last.
"After her craniotomy it was like she was a baby again," Tolen explained. "She couldn't sit up by herself, feed herself. She couldn't walk or crawl or do anything for herself."
Dylan has learned to walk three times.
Her younger brother Jake is her motivation.
"She'd want to get down on the floor and play with him and get out of bed and he's a great source of strength for her," Tolen said.
Dylan still has at least one more year of therapy ahead of her.
She still uses a walker at school, but doctors say they expect her to regain full ability to walk.
If you'd like to help Dylan's cause you can donate to the Dylan Tolen Benefit Fund at the Central Nebraska Credit Union in Grand Island.
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