Balloons of various colors are taped in a row across the wall. Twenty
yards away, 8-year-old Dylan Berio announces “yellow,” pulls back the string of
his bow, then releases – smiling as he hears the “pop.” His arrow successfully
pierced the yellow balloon.
Archery requires focus and precision – something Dylan has in ample
quantities. That would be impressive in its own right – but it’s even more
remarkable given that he’s been on and off chemotherapy since age 3 ½ to treat pilocytic
astrocytomas (brain tumors). As a result of the tumors, he has lost most of
the vision in one eye and he needs glasses for both eyes. Nevertheless, when
Dylan stands with instructor Chris Reedy at the archery range, he is focused
diagnosed with brain tumors in 2011. He had two surgeries and receives
chemotherapy. To monitor potential changes, Dylan has an MRI every three
months. Currently, Dylan’s tumors are stable, but an MRI last
January had revealed progression in the tumors.
When Dylan’s mom, Dawn, shared that news on Dylan’s Facebook page,
Chris Reedy, owner of Reedy’s Archery in Middleborough, Massachusetts,
immediately reached out. He suggested Dylan stop by his archery range and learn
to shoot arrows. He thought it might prove therapeutic.
Dylan took to archery right away. After a few sessions of borrowing
equipment, Dylan received a gift from Reedy – a bow and arrows of his own.
Dylan chose a black bow with a green string, and arrows with orange and white
On a day in late July, Reedy sits beside Dylan to coach him along. But
when Dylan shoots the arrow – it’s his own muscle and focus that direct the
arrow into the balloons. “He has his good days and his bad days,” says Reedy.
“But I can tell when he’s focused.”
Sometimes, Dylan sees people stare at his bald (or near-bald) head or
the scars on the back of his head – and he doesn’t like it. That’s because Dylan
wants people to see him as he sees himself: He is active and playful. He can shoot
an arrow with the precision needed to pop a balloon 20 yards away. He also
loves Legos toys, Matchbox cars – and to ride a kid-sized 4x4 off-road vehicle
with a friend outside the archery shop.
September is Childhood Cancer
Awareness Month – and this month, Dylan and other children at
Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s are sharing this message: We are more than you
see. Don’t focus on the side effects of our treatment – see who we really are.
Learn more, see more stories, and join the campaign at DanaFarberBostonChildrens.org/MoreThanYouSee
U.S. News & World Report ranked Dana-Farber/Boston Children's the #1 pediatric cancer hospital in the nation.
In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the children and teens at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s are sharing this message: We are more than you see.