Dallis is 17 years old and is a member of the bowling team at Creston High School. He participates in the Special Olympics and is an avid video game player.
When Dallis was just eight months old, his mom, Amy, knew something was wrong with him when he was screaming constantly for seemingly no reason. Doctors initially thought he was suffering from reoccurring ear infections, but a seizure sent them to the emergency department where they received devastating news: Dallis had a brain tumor.
“We were in absolute shock. It took awhile for the news to set in that our eight month old had a brain tumor and needed brain surgery at such a young age,” said Amy. “There is no way to prepare a parent to see their child recovering from brain surgery and hooked up to a ventilator in the PICU.”
Dallis had surgery to remove the tumor and the surgery was successful. Unfortunately, over the past 16 years, Dallis has had to battle an additional three brain tumors. Each one has appeared in a slightly different location of his brain and has been removed with surgery. Dallis’ entire life has revolved around tests, scans, doctors’ appointments, brain surgery and recovery, and travelling throughout Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa for treatment.
“Despite all the hardship, Dallis has always had a very positive attitude. He does not get upset that he does not get to do a lot of things as a normal kid, because this is his normal,” said Amy. “He takes everything in stride. He doesn’t complain. He just goes with the flow.”
In June of 2018, Dallis’ medical team found a 5th tumor in his brain. His family consulted with several medical experts throughout the country and decided a change in treatment was needed. This time, they are attempting to get rid of the tumor with chemotherapy. Dallis does his chemotherapy treatments at Blank Children's as well as speech therapy and physical therapy. He also loves his pediatrician, Lisa Menzies, M.D., at the Blank Children's General Pediatric Clinic.
“Dr. Menzies is an amazing doctor who has done incredible things with special needs kids like Dallis. All of my boys and even my grandkids see her and adore her,” said Amy. “We have loved all of the staff at Blank Children’s Hospital.”
For Dallis’ 17th birthday, the staff at the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center went above and beyond by giving Dallis gift cards for ice cream and tickets to see the Lion King. They also decorated the rooms with Iowa State colors, which he absolutely loved. Dallis and his entire family are huge Iowa State fans and cannot wait to attend their very first game there this fall!
“I am so incredibly proud of Dallis’ strength. How many kids could endure something like this and not complain?” said Amy. “He doesn’t ask for much, but being a Kid Captain means the world to him.”