By Kyle Lovern
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Ryan Dotson, 16, of Matewan, suffers from a rare disease, Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a malignant bone cancer that typically and sadly strikes children and adolescents.
However, his medical battle will be set aside for a few days for this brave young man to fulfill his dream of going to the Super Bowl.
Ryan was diagnosed in July 2012. He had a tumor on his skull and the cancer had spread to his lungs. After 14 rounds of chemotherapy over 46 days in the hospital, he has endured 41 radiation treatments on his head and lungs.
Ryan has undergone countless blood and platelet transfusions. His last chemotherapy was last February and, thankfully, his scans have been clear. But he has a very difficult journey ahead of him with plastic surgeries for skull replacement and skin grafting.
“I want to thank everyone at the Lexington Dream Factory for doing this for Ryan,” said his mother, Andreana. “Ryan said this was a dream come true. He says he can’t believe he’s going to the Super Bowl. I’m so thankful to the Dream Factory for making this possible. He deserves it. He has been through so much.
“It warms my heart to see him happy,” she said. “I’m so glad I get to share the experience with him; something we will never forget. Ryan is my hero.”
The dream was granted by the Lexington Dream Factory, a volunteer organization that works to make dreams come true for children across the Commonwealth and neighboring areas who suffer from critical and chronic illnesses and bravely battle pain and infirmity each day.
“They are children who dream the dreams of all children,” said Chapter President Todd Wallace. “We are dedicated to the mission of providing dreams so children can just be children for a moment — take a time out away from their illness — to solely focus on having fun. Their smiles and laughter will be etched in your memory.”
Dreams are granted through the generosity of corporate sponsors and the kindness of individual donors and volunteers in the communities. Dreams can include a trip to Disney World, a computer of the child’s very own, meeting a favorite celebrity, or another meaningful dream for that child.
The largest fundraiser for the Lexington Dream Factory is its black-tie-optional annual gala event. The 2014 Sweet Dreams gala will be hosted on Saturday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. at R.J. Corman’s hangar in Nicholasville. The event features live performance artists, Burning Las Vegas; catering by South Van Events; special tastings; and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $125 per person, or $1,250 for a table of 10. Reservations are recommended by calling (859) 254-9474.
The Dream Factory Inc. was founded in 1980 in Hopkinsville by Charles Henault. Headquartered in Louisville, The Dream Factory boasts more than 38 chapters nationwide. One of its largest chapters, the Lexington Dream Factory, is led by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, with more than 90 percent of funds raised going directly to granting dreams. The past year marked the Lexington chapter’s 25th anniversary, celebrating the nearly 700 dreams that came true for local children through the group’s efforts.
To nominate a child for a dream, please go to www.lexingtondreamfactory.inc.
Kyle Lovern is the sports editor of the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33, or Twitter @KyleLovern.