Hello! we are the Codd family! We consist of Pam, Brian, Orson (20), Sumner (17), Dashiell (forever 5 1/2), Puppy (a toy poodle) and Devo (a pudelpointer). We reside in Iowa City, but also have a home in Los Angeles, where Brian was raised. Brian and Pam met while working in the film/tv industry but took a break in 2007 to raise the kids full time in Iowa (Pam's home state).
On March 2, 2012 Dashiell Maccabee Codd was diagnosed with cancerous liver tumor called Hepatoblastoma at the age of 4ys old. after multiple chemo therapies and surgery to remove the tumor at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, he fell into a high-risk category for recurrence so we bridged his care with specialists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. After several rounds of an experimental chemo cocktail, new tumors were found in his liver so he underwent a liver transplant at Cincy. After two months in isolation post-transplant he was so happy to go home to his brothers and sweet doggie Cider (who has since passed on to be with him in the hereafter), he did a somersault on the living room floor!
During his next monthly visit it was discovered the cancer had spread when a new nodule was found in his right lung. It was removed in a minor surgery, but a subsequent appointment weeks later showed new nodules in both lungs. The pathology of those tumors indicated that the cancer was now believed to actually be the most aggressive, extremely rare Transitional Liver Cell Tumor. To be absolutely sure Dr. Arthur Zimmerman, the Swiss pathologist who originally identified TLCT, reviewd Dashiell's case history/pathology slides (free of charge) and confirmed it was this type of cancer for which there is no cure.
To stave off the inevitable Dashiell underwent radiation and another experimental chemo to no avail. As with all of his treatments, Dashiell did not suffer. In fact, except for hair loss, he never endured the expected routine side-effects such as infection, mouth sores, nausea or fatigue. Even recovery from all of his surgeries was without incident.
Despite all of our efforts, he succumbed to his disease on June 17, 2013. To ensure Dashiell's journey was not in vain his postmortem tumors were donated to scientific research through Cincinnati Children's Hospital, the COG and SIOPEL. He is currently on of only several confirmed cases of TLCT with data-banked bio-specimens. And, using his live cell line, scientists have been able to identify the genetic marker that triggers his kind of cancer, which has helped them in targeted therapy studies around the world for various childhood and adult cancers.
We honor Dashiell's legacy by advocating for childhood cancer awareness nationally and internationally. Since 2017 we have been solely responsible for petitioning Iowa's Governor to officially declare September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This has an opportunity to bring together representatives from every major cancer org and children's hospital in the state, rallying at the capitol for the proclamation signing to acknowledge their work and the kiddos/families they do it for. As well, we've traveled to Washington DC to speak with politicians, scientists, doctors, and lobbyists to appeal for increased funding to the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute. In January 2020, Pam even had the opportunity to share Dashiell's story with President Joe Biden when he was in Iowa City on the campaign trail. In 2018, we were appointed to an international advisory council to consult on the global registry for medical teams, researchers and caregivers. This worldwide partnership is intended to create better treatment options and advancement in higher cure rates by bringing together a unified collective of experts.
Over the last 10 years our family has committed a tremendous amount of time to being involved with over a dozen Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs primarily in Iowa, but also in Ohio and California. We are proud to participate with DM because we believe in the high moral and ethical standards at the core of the organization And, we believe future generations will benefit from this movement of young people taking on the greater responsibility of being involved in their community and its well being.
We are committed to sharing Dashiell's life story for the benefit of children's healthcare. We are constantly and forever grieving Dashiell's loss, but choose to focus on our love for him and each other to make as big of a positive impact as we can.
Dashiell had a blessed live, as a sweet and blissful as any child could possibly dream - believing in Santa Claus, eating treats, Trick-R-Treating, dressing up in costume any day of the year (just because), cuddling Mama and Daddy, playing with his brothers and hugging Cider. All of his days were pure happiness! Dashiell's indomitable spirit lives on in the hearts of his family, friends and supporters. He is very deeply missed and eternally loved. But his silly, sweet and indomitable spirit lives on in the hearts of his family, friends and supporters.
Thank you for all you do to support families like ours
Pam, Brian, Orson, Sumner and *Dashiell*