LAGUNA BEACH – Cool, Pacific temperatures didn’t dissuade 12-year-old Dalton Moyer from wading into the ocean, nor did his jeans.
After a morning scrambling around the tide pools at Treasure Island beach, his mother Tracey Moyer called to him that it was time to go inside for lunch. Even during a carefree vacation day at the beach, the family is mindful to keep to a schedule and keep track of Dalton’s blood sugar.
The routine can’t be forgotten, but the Moyers got a chance to leave behind their daily life in northwest Ohio for Southern California through the Kids Wish Network. Their four-day trip included a stay at the Montage in Laguna Beach, a cruise around Dana Point Harbor and surfing lessons.
“I wanted to go as far away as I could,” Dalton said.
Dalton’s doctor referred the family to the nonprofit organization, which grants wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses. As an infant, Dalton was sick much of the time because of an immune deficiency. Though his frequent infections subsided after he turned 6 years old, the next year he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“We kind of started all over with something just when we thought we were done,” Tracey Moyer said.
What Dalton eats, stress and physical activity are among the things that can affect his blood sugar, which is dependent on insulin shots.
“It could be five shots a day, or it could be 12 shots a day,” she said.
Twice now, Dalton’s blood sugar has dropped to dangerous lows, causing seizures. There’s an extra level of watchfulness to the family’s life, and at home, a baby monitor is set up in Dalton’s room in case of an overnight seizure.
“We just have to watch it really closely,” she said. “It’s a lot of planning every day.”
There’s also always the fear of how the condition will affect him long-term, whether it’s organ damage or an amputation – low blood sugar isn’t the only issue.
“That’s what’s hard with a kid,” she said. “He doesn’t see what it does to the rest of him.”
The extra care Dalton must take in his eating and activities doesn’t keep him from his favorite things. At school, he plays basketball and runs cross country. As a skateboarder and snowboarder, Dalton decided on his California wish because he wanted to try out surfing.
On Friday, Dalton, his mother, father Randy, brother Saige and sister Chloe got a taste of beach living in a way they never dreamed they could. After waking up in the two ocean-view bungalow rooms donated by the Montage, the family headed to the beach where Billabong pro surfers met them with coffee and breakfast on the sand. Tracey Moyer said she expected the family to watch while Dalton tested the waters, but their surf instructor had a surprise.
“He starts whipping out surfboards for everybody,” she said, adding she was proud all five Moyers managed to get upright on their boards.
Surfing turned out to be easier than Dalton expected, probably, he said, because of his experience skateboarding and snowboarding. He proudly wore new sunglasses, another surprise among gifts from Billabong and Hurley.
With his wish coinciding with the Hurley Pro, he also got a chance to go backstage at the surf contest and meet winner Kelly Slater. Among their keepsakes from the trip, the family has a photograph of Dalton smiling and holding up Slater’s jersey.
Orange County Register
Orange County, California