COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Findling family has experienced a stressful few months after Elissa Findling noticed her 9-year-old son Dylan was not acting like himself last spring.
“We started to notice he was having balance issues. He was having issues tracking when he was reading,” Findling said.
The Findling family thought Dylan might have ADHD, but an emergency room visit in May turned up something else entirely.
“They found something on the MRI. He was diagnosed that day with a very rare brain disorder called Adrenoleukodystrophy -- ALD," Findling said. “In a matter of weeks, he went from being able to do (so much) to being wheelchair bound.”
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That’s when the Make A Wish Foundation of Michigan stepped in.
Dylan Findling wanted nothing more than to design a sports jersey. When asked for which team, Dylan chose the Detroit Pistons.
Dylan was able to communicate his design wishes, and players Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard joined the call.
With the help of the Pistons dancers and mascot Hooper, a runway fashion show was held in the Findling’s driveway. The family said the most important thing to them was seeing Dylan smile.
The Findlings hope that other parents think about ALD and consider requesting a blood test.
“This ALD is such a horrendous disease that hides like ADHD, and it is a very simple test that could be done. The key, as with most things, is to catch it early,” Findling said.
The family said their wish is to pay it forward and raise awareness. ALD affects one in 18,000 people.