Grayson Scott Dunham
July 29, 2014-August 15, 2016
We never thought at this point in our lives we would be sharing the story of losing our first child, yet here we are. We could talk about our sweet Grayson for hours, sharing with you every little memory and detail of his life, but that may take us a long while. We want to share with you some of the things Grayson loved and enjoyed, places he's been and the impact he's left on our lives.
Everywhere we went people would always comment on his blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. His smile was so infectious and his little laugh would melt your heart. Grayson was such a sweet soul. Always so serious when he was little, and as he grew he fell in love with being outdoors and always wanted to ride in his "dad's truck". He was very quick to learn. He could count to 15 and say his ABC's before he was two. He could name almost all the parts of his body, enjoyed making animal sounds, playing with tractors, building with blocks, watching Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig, singing, dancing and riding the gator.
Grayson was often considered the ‘world traveler' by many of our friends and family. He got to see many amazing places in his short two years. He’s visited Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Central Park, Staten Island, he’s seen the Statue of Liberty and Grand Central Station. We’ve walked Wall Street, toured Ground Zero, and attended the Today Show. He slept the whole time at the Macy’s Day Parade and sat so patiently at Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular. We celebrated his first birthday at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania, and we took our first family vacation all around Michigan a few weeks prior to his second birthday. Grayson’s been on the set of Chicago Fire the TV show, he’s been to Dover International Racetrack in Delaware, and the Monmouth Horse Racetrack in New Jersey.
On July 29th 2016, we celebrated Grayson’s 2nd birthday. I spent the day prior making him a homemade tie-dye birthday cake, chocolate covered sprinkle bowls to hold his ice cream and wrapping his new Magna-Doodle and Mickey Mouse tools that he would get to open the next morning. The following day we celebrated with a paint themed birthday party at the park with family and friends. Grayson loved to paint and we did just that at his party. The kids painted their our own canvases and decorated their own cupcakes.
Little did I know that would be the last birthday party I would get to put on for our sweet Grayson. Seventeen days after turning two, Grayson passed away from a rare and aggressive disease called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is caused by an E.coli infection. Grayson was only sick for four days prior to his death. During those four days we were told of four different diagnoses before we reached the 5th and final positive diagnosis roughly ten hours before he was taken from us.
Grayson was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome due to the complications of an E.coli infection. Grayson contracted Shiga-toxin producing E.coli, some of you may have heard of E.coli 0157:H7 which is often what you hear in the news as it relates to food-borne illnesses. We however do not know where Grayson contracted his E.coli infection. What we thought started out as the stomach flu ended in the loss of our sweet two year old son - with no answers left for us. As we sat in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Riley Hospital, not even fully aware of what this Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome was, myself, our family and the doctors were very optimistic Grayson would pull through. I was still very much in shock and unaware what this “disease” truly was and what it was going to entail for my child. I knew he would be on dialysis for his kidneys to rest and medicine to help with high blood pressure, but I could have dealt with that, as long as my baby boy was going to be okay. Unfortunately, at 4:30am on August 15th, this horrible E.coli infection took over my son’s body, leaving us completely speechless and heartbroken.
I was roughly 17 weeks pregnant with Grayson’s sister, Graysie at the time. The day of Grayson’s passing I shared our story on my Facebook page as many of our family and friends were just as confused as we were. Since then that post has been shared over 7,000 times on Facebook and has been viewed roughly 31,000 times on my blog, kayladunham.com. We have received close to 600 messages from people we don’t know, not only from the U.S., but Canada, England and South Africa. Our story has been shared across numerous news platforms and blogs across the country and has made national headlines as it was shared on the Today Show and Kathy Lee and Hoda Facebook pages. The reach our story has blown my mind and if we can help just one family’s life I will feel we have made a difference.
I stood up at my son’s Celebration of Life in front of hundreds and said these same words. I think God puts us on this Earth for us each to fulfill a plan. I guess he thought Grayson fulfilled his plan and was perfect enough to go early to Heaven. Brent and I were made to be parents for a reason, but I think he always has greater plans for us besides just being a mommy and daddy to our children. I think he wanted us to be a voice for Grayson, to Graysie and any future children, to help change the world and advocate for a cause. We don’t want any parent to have to go through what we have been through. We have done so much research on E.coli infections, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, food borne illnesses, and food recalls. Although our research and preventative care will never bring our son back, we can do all we can to be cautious and aware for our daughter, future children, our family and friends.
Grayson has touched the hearts of all those he came in contact with and even those he never met. He was the sweetest and as his parents will do all we can to keep his memory alive.