June 15, 2021

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Community helps support youngster battling disease

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A bank account has been opened at Morris Bank to help a family dealing with their toddler’s rare disease.

Daniel Paul Herin was born Oct. 1, 2019, and within days was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease. The disease affects the colon, and Daniel Paul’s battle with the disease started with a biopsy when he was 2 days old.

His parents are Daniel and Bethany Mitchell Herin, and he has an older sister, Rylee Ann, who is 4.

His maternal grandparents are Billy and Rebekah Mitchell, and his paternal grandparents are Paul and Amanda Herin and Mary Ann and Andrew Branigan.

The toddler had his first surgery when he was eight days old. The surgeries and procedures have been a constant in his life.

During a surgery in February of 2020 to remove part of his colon and give him a colostomy, it was discovered that Daniel Paul also had malrotation, another serious condition that can be fatal.

The colostomy was reversed in August and since then he has had several hospitalizations because of infections. Daniel Paul has to be on several antibiotics in an attempt to keep him out of the hospital and treat his ongoing infections.

The cost of the antibiotics has created a battle with insurance companies that do not want to pay for the costly medications.

The toddler is unable to digest solid foods and is only able to have pureed foods.

His mother had to leave her job at GEICO to care for him due to his daily care, surgeries and hospitalizations.

Morris Bank has made the process for making donations easy. Those who want to help can do so by going to the drive through at the bank and simply saying they would like to donate to Daniel Paul.

The family is also asking for prayers of support.

A Facebook page has been setup, Daniel Paul Prayer Warriors, to help people wanting to support the family and keep up with his progress.

The toddler is currently at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta, accompanied by his mother, finishing a 10-day course of IV antibiotics and waiting for the test results of another biopsy.

Bethany said the results they are waiting for is whether or not there are ganglion cells in Daniel Paul’s colon.

“The doctors tell us they have never seen a case like his,” she said.

The mother said although Hirschsprung’s disease is rare, most of the babies diagnosed with it have good results from their first surgery to remove the damaged portion of their colon.

That has not been the case with Daniel Paul. Bethany said her son thrived while he had the colostomy, and he may end up with another.

Brandy Round has been the driving force behind the recent fundraisers. Round was a teacher at Rylee’s preschool, and she heard about Daniel Paul when she was sent information about a greeting card fundraiser for the toddler.

Round contacted Bethany after hearing Daniel Paul’s story and immediately started to help. She began by posting his story on Facebook, and people started asking her how they could help.

That led to the opening of the Morris Bank account and the creation of the Facebook page.

Round set up the page and takes care of posting updates from Bethany.

Round said Dairy Queen has also announced plans for a fundraiser for Daniel Paul.

The mother said the donations have allowed her to take care of her son.

“People are so wonderful. With their help, I can stay home and our needs are covered. It’s been amazing,” she said. “I give all the praise to God. He put Brandy in our lives.”

The pandemic has presented the family with more challenges, but Bethany said she is thankful her husband is an essential worker so he has been able to work through it.

She said her family has been wonderful, especially in helping take care of Rylee. In addition to dealing with Daniel Paul’s medical condition, Bethany’s parents are dealing with her father’s stage four cancer.

Bethany always stays with Daniel Paul when he is in the hospital. She is hopeful that after the 10-day antibiotic regimen is over, they will at least get to come home, even if it is for a few days.

That will give her time to see her husband and daughter before they get the test results and make a plan for what comes next.

She said, despite everything, when the treatments are over, her son is still a happy little boy.

“His smile gets me through it,” the mother said.

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