Son’s rare medical condition inspires parents to give back to other families

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Doctors told Ashlyn Dugan when she was 20 weeks pregnant that he baby boy had spina bifida, a rare birth defect where a baby’s spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.

Just two days after he was born, Liam Dugan needed surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

That’s when the Ronald McDonald House stepped in to help cover costs.

Now, one-year-old Liam has a new walker and ankle braces, and the Dugans want to be there for other families going through what they did.

“He’s a little boy that is determined and will keep us on our toes, for sure,” Ashlyn Dugan, Liam’s mom, said.

When they went back to Philadelphia to get Liam’s walker from C.H.O.P, the clinic asked the Dugans to give the walker back when Liam outgrew it because that was their last one.

“When we went down there to get the walker, they’re like ‘We used to have a foundation that bought these walkers for us, but this is our last one so when you’re done with it…when he grows out of it, you have to give it back. That really made me feel sad because they don’t have any walkers left, so me and my husband were like ‘We should use for Laps for Liam. We should use the money to buy walkers for the spinal bifida clinic, so they had walkers for other kiddos.’ So that’s what we did.”

Ashlyn Dugan

Through the second annual Laps for Liam fundraiser, they raised $5,000 to buy 25 walkers so kids like Liam could get up and go.

“Me and my husband went through a lot, so we wanna help them through the hard times just because it’s always nice to have somebody else there know what they’re going through and everything. He did go through some challenges but it made him who he is now,” Ashlyn said.

Their nonprofit, Love from Liam Foundation, will host a spaghetti dinner-to-go on October 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m at Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department.

Tickets will be $9, and all of the money will benefit the Ronald McDonald House as they gear up to buy Christmas gift for the kids.

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