Out of the Hurricane and Into a Coma

Amber and Ryan Dollinger were preparing for the birth of their second son just as Hurricane Harvey was plowing toward them dead-on.

They fled their Beaumont, Texas home and found exile in Amber’s childhood home of Layton, where her family was waiting for them. They gave birth to a happy healthy son who they named John. When the hurricane debris settled and just as they made plans to head back home, tragedy struck.

Their 3-year-old son Parker woke up screaming and crying in agonized pain in the middle of the night. They took him to Primary Children’s Hospital where they put him into a medically induced coma.

When Parker was just 6 months old, he had been diagnosed with Sturge-Weber Syndrome. This rare disease is characterized by a strange “port-wine” mark on the face. Patients with it are born with abnormal blood vessels and the loss of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex. To learn more about Sturge-Weber syndrome, click here.
In addition, Parker suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and glaucoma.

In a Facebook Live video, Amber Dollinger said

“It’s been a crazy roller coaster for our family.”

As if fleeing from a hurricane wasn’t enough (and what a journey that had been), they had to flee their hometown of Beaumont after the city’s water system crashed, resulting in zero running water in the entire city!

Source: Giphy
Every road leading out of Beaumont was closed but they managed to sneak out of the city through Pleasure Island. They rounded through Louisiana, through Dallas, then headed North to Utah and all the while, their newborn son John was waiting, giving them enough time to flee to safety, before he was ready to join the topsy-turvy world.

“I really didn’t want to have a baby on the side of the road,” Ryan said.

Their children are their top priorities now as they treat Parker and welcome John into their family. They remain optimistic and are grateful for the love and support from family and friends.

“We just really appreciate all the prayers and all the support and love we’ve received,” Ryan said. “It really helps us to kind of keep our spirits up as well.”


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