By Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A father is celebrating a milestone that doctors said his son would never live to see with a six-week birthday celebration.
Dallan Cloward will turn 30 in August. When he was born, doctors told his parents he wouldn’t live past 2 years old.
“I still so remember thinking, ‘I can’t get too attached because it will hurt more when we lose him,'” Dallan Cloward’s father, Chad Cloward, told KPNX. “Then after a day or two of thinking that — it hit me — that if I don’t give him every ounce of love I can, I will regret that for my entire life once he passes.”
Dallan Cloward was small and had a cleft lip and cleft palate when he was born in 1986. His parents later learned he had been born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a rare developmental disorder that causes delayed growth.
Chad Cloward discussed the family’s experience in a 2008 interview with The Arizona Beehive, a newspaper for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dallan Cloward weighed 4 pounds when his family took him home “wearing the only thing that fit, a Cabbage Patch doll outfit,” according to the Beehive.
Doctors told the Clowards that Dallan Cloward would basically “have no learning ability and would be in a vegatable state,” Chad Cloward said.
But Dallan Cloward defied expectations. He sat up at 16 months and started crawling at 2 1/2 years old. He earned the nickname “The Battler” as he dealt with sudden seizures, frequent doctor visits and a regimen of medications, the Beehive reported.
He went to school. He started walking at 15 years old. And in 2008, when he was 21 years old, he graduated from high school, according to the Beehive.
And now he’s defying expectations again by reaching his 30th birthday.
Chad Cloward told KPNX he plans to celebrate the achievement with a six-week celebration of his son’s birthday.
“He never thinks of the past and doesn’t worry about tomorrow, he enjoys the moment,” Chad Cloward told the news station.