Dylan Austin is just 16 months old, but he's already fighting two diseases — including a rare bacterial infection in both his blood and bones.
His parents, who live in St. Cloud, said they have received prayers from all over the word in support of their son.
Dylan is fighting Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, also known as FPIES. A few days ago, Dylan's parents took him to the emergency room because they thought he had a broken leg. They found out he had FPIES, which is a severe systematic response to food protein. It typically occurs one to four hours after the ingestion of the causative food.
"The really rare thing is he has an infection in his blood too that usually Iraq (war) veterans come home with," said Sharon Krzyzanowski, Dylan's grandmother and a registered nurse at a Central Florida hospital.
According to Krzyzanowski, the bacteria is found in soil in the United States, but infectious disease doctors indicate they have seen a lot of cases of it in soldiers after getting wounded in Iraq.
Dylan and his family continue to fight, though.
Dylan's father, Kenny Austin, said the FPIES makes it difficult to ease the boy's pain or administer antibiotics because even dyes in oral medicine trigger Dylan's allergies.
"Ever since we've been in the hospital since he was 2 weeks old, we've been praying for a break," Kenny Austin said. "(The) last two months were kind of seeing a break and then we ended up here with another rare thing to fight off."
The family said a team of doctors is doing everything they can for Dylan.
"They are stumped," Krzyzanowski said. "The doctors here at Nemours (Children's Health System) have put together a group of specialists to work on his case where they are not only looking at the bone infection, they are looking at the weird organism."
Dylan's family remains optimistic, but they also know the bone bacterial infection in one of his legs could lead to amputation.
It's a worst-case scenario, and it's something the Kenny Austin hopes won't have to happen.
"He just started walking two months ago and to see him not being able to do what he loves — all he does at home is run around and play with toys," Kenny Austin said. "To see that taken away from him because of this infection in his bone is heartbreaking."
A fundraising page has been set up for Dylan Austin.
The family hopes Dylan will be able to leave the hospital in the coming days. It will then be a waiting game to see if a strong dose of non-oral antibiotics can fight off the bacteria in his leg.
"We have faith and we put it all on God," Kenny Austin said. "He's helped us out this far with help from people we don't know and people we do."