Dryer's Journey - Seth's Battle with AFM

Thank you to At Home with Gary Sullivan for featuring Seth's journey and to Deer ParkCommunity City Schools for hosting #SethStrong - AFM Awareness Week, Dec. 9-13. 

Financial support for the Dryer family is needed. Will you consider a year-end donation to help the Dryer family? Donate here on Seth's  GoFundMe page. Read on to discover other ways you can help.

Seth's Story:

At the worst point, the only part of Seth’s body that wasn’t paralyzed were his eyebrows. He battled for his life in the ICU for four weeks.


Seth was a typical 15 year old. He spent his free time hanging out with friends, playing baritone in the Deer Park High School marching band, and playing video games. What isn’t typical about Seth is that he is a great listener and always showed extra concern for his peers.  At his high school, he volunteered in a program where troubled students came for support.  He was even recognized as a special contributor to this program. Everything changed for Seth in September of 2018. After several trips to the doctor and local hospital battling vomiting, weakness, neck pain and the inability to swallow, Seth was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on September 20th. By the next morning he was taken to ICU where he battled for his life for the next four weeks.

37012942_1550749743665101_r.jpeg
Since that time Seth has been diagnosed with a rare and devastating Polio-like disease called Accute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) and has been fighting every minute to recover. Each day brings tiny steps toward recovery, but he is still almost completely paralyzed. The doctors warn that the road will be long and difficult and will involve many surgeries and therapy, if full rehabilitation comes at all.

Currently Seth can only move his legs and feet, his left wrist and fingers (yet still weak) and his face.  He is unable to swallow (eat or drink) and has a G-tube in his belly for nutrition. He cannot move or turn his head, move his shoulders or arms or his right hand (he is right-handed).  He has had a tracheostomy and needs the help of a ventilator. He requires to be suctioned by mouth and by trach.

Imagine what it would be like to not be able to turn your head even an inch either way.  Or to have an itch that you cannot scratch. To not be able to talk for months at a time or taste food.  Can you imagine how stiff and sore your muscles would get from not moving? Even though Seth is paralyzed, that doesn’t mean he can’t feel. He can feel pain, he can feel discomfort.  

After almost 13 months at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital, Seth came home on October 2, 2019, thanks to the help and prayers of many people. Now that Seth is home, will you help them with the transition to everyday life? 

How you can help:

Some of the immediate needs include:


Trach Trained Home Health Aid: As in the hospital, Seth's recovery since coming home has been complicated. He requires 24 care by trach trained staff and family.  Keeping medical staff for the 40+ hours of medical care that Seth's waiver allows has been impossible.  Seth's mom Joni or brother Jake must be with him whenever medical staff is not with him. Because there is a shortage of home health aids, Joni or Jake are providing almost all Seth's care. The family is need of home health aids. Please reply to this post if you would like to refer a home health aid.

Wheelchair Accessible Van: The Dryers need a wheelchair accessible van so they can take Seth out. Currently, they are dependent on a medical transport to get to doctor appointments. The transport service is appreciated, but at times difficult due to having to wait up to 90 minutes for a ride home after stressful medical appointments. But most of all, they have no way to take Seth on unplanned outings.

Carport/outdoor space for Seth: Donation and installation of a carport so the family can spend time together outside in a wheelchair accessible space.

Accessible bathroom: This project may be covered under the waiver Seth is hopefully getting, but expertise in this area is needed.

Long-term changes to make life better:
Because the Dryer home is 1200 square feet, space is limited for the family to function and accommodate medical supplies and full-time medical staff. A new house designed for Seth's long-term care would be a dream. In lieu of a new house an addition to their current home would help:
Having a second bathroom in the house or renovating the current one (not enough square footage to accommodate Seth’s needs)
A larger bedroom for Seth with access to a sink
A larger master bedroom
Laundry moved to first floor

If you are able to help with any of these needs


Original GoFundMe explaining Seth's battle with AFM begins here:

At the worst point, the only part of Seth’s body that wasn’t paralyzed were his eyebrows. He battled for his life in the ICU for four weeks.

Seth was a typical 15 year old. He spent his free time hanging out with friends, playing baritone in the Deer Park High School marching band, and playing video games. What isn’t typical about Seth is that he is a great listener and always showed extra concern for his peers.  At his high school, he volunteered in a program where troubled students came for support.  He was even recognized as a special contributor to this program. Everything changed for Seth in September of 2018. After several trips to the doctor and local hospital battling vomiting, weakness, neck pain and the inability to swallow, Seth was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on September 20th. By the next morning he was taken to ICU where he battled for his life for the next four weeks.

Since that time Seth has been diagnosed with a rare and devastating Polio-like disease called Accute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) and has been fighting every minute to recover. Each day brings tiny steps toward recovery, but he is still almost completely paralyzed. The doctors warn that the road will be long and difficult and will involve many surgeries and therapy, if full rehabilitation comes at all.

Currently Seth can only move his legs and feet, his left wrist and fingers (yet still weak) and his face.  He is unable to swallow (eat or drink) and has a G-tube in his belly for nutrition. He cannot move or turn his head, move his shoulders or arms or his right hand (he is right-handed).  He has had a tracheostomy and needs the help of a ventilator. He requires to be suctioned by mouth and by trach.

Imagine what it would be like to not be able to turn your head even an inch either way.  Or to have an itch that you cannot scratch. To not be able to talk for months at a time or taste food.  Can you imagine how stiff and sore your muscles would get from not moving? Even though Seth is paralyzed, that doesn’t mean he can’t feel. He can feel pain, he can feel discomfort.  

Since September 20, Seth’s family has been at his bedside 24 hours a day. The stress and financial burden on the family, including loss of income and travel expense from having at least on family member with Seth at all times has been immense. As they think of the next steps in Seth’s recovery - bringing him home - they are overwhelmed. Their family home of 28 years in Deer Park, Ohio is 1200 square feet, with two small bedrooms, one small bathroom, and family room and kitchen on the first floor and one bedroom on the second floor. In its current state, the house cannot accommodate any of the accessibility equipment Seth requires including a wheelchair, hospital bed, lift, a shower chair, ventilator, feeding machine, monthly shipments of supplies, and the technology that will help monitor Seth’s health.

Seth’s family is in desperate need of financial help to either renovate their current home or purchase a different home so they can provide for Seth’s immediate and long term needs as they go together through the coming years of rehabilitation and recovery. They need a safe place for Seth that can accomodate the equipment that will be needed for his care and rehabilitation as well as an environment that will be conducive to the needed team of support that it will take to care for Seth. As a long-time friend of the Dryer family, I am asking for any help that you can offer to make the road ahead a little easier for Seth and his family.

John and Joni Dryer and their nine children have had more than their fair share of tragedy in their lifetime, including a house fire and losing their third daughter/sister at the age of 19 to cancer. Will you please join me in showing the Dryer family that they are not alone by helping to prepare a handicapped accessible home for Seth?

Donations (0)

  • Julia Knispel 
    • $300 
    • 55 mins
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,000 
    • 2 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $175 
    • 8 d
  • Colleen Riddell 
    • $50 
    • 19 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $35 
    • 20 d
See all

Fundraising team: Team Seth (10)

Andrea Bowsher 
Organizer
Cincinnati, OH
Joni Dryer 
Beneficiary
Abby Wilfong 
Team member
Jake Dryer 
Team member
Lindsay Dryer 
Team member
Shelly Dawson Henderson 
Team member
See all
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more