Hello! We are the Codd family!
We consist of Brian/Dad, Pam/Mom, Orson, Sumner, Dashiell, Puppy the puppy and Devo the pooch.
We reside in Iowa City, but also have a home in Los Angeles and travel back to California frequently to see loved ones. Brian and Pam met while working in the film/tv industry, but in 2007 took a break to raise the kids full time in Iowa (Pam got her BA in English from UI in ’92).
Dashiell's Cancer Story:
On March 2, 2012 Dashiell Maccabee Codd was diagnosed with a cancerous liver tumor called Hepatoblastoma at the age of 4yrs old. After multiple chemotherapies 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 took him to specialists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Unfortunately, new tumors were found in his liver so he underwent a liver transplant there. After two months in isolation he was so happy to go home, he did a somersault on the living room floor!
But, during a routine scan at his next monthly appointment it was discovered the cancer had spread when a 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 and they were removed as well. Pathology of the mets tested as the more aggressive and extremely rare Transitional Liver Cell Tumor (since renamed Hepatocellular Malignant Tumor Not Otherwise Specified). Consulting Dr. Arthur Zimmerman, the Swiss pathologist to identify this type of cancer, it was confirmed to be TLCT/HEMNOS, for which there is no cure. In an attempt to stave off the inevitable, Dashiell underwent ten rounds of radiation and an experimental chemo.
As with all of his treatments, Dashiell did not suffer. Recovery from his surgeries was without incident and, except for hair loss, he never endured routine side-effects such as infection, mouth sores, nausea, fatigue, nor organ rejection. Despite all these efforts, he succumbed to this disease on June 17, 2013 at 5 1/2 years old.
To ensure Dashiell's journey was not in vain, his post-mortem tumors were donated to scientific research through Cincinnati Children's Hospital, the Children’s Oncology Group and the International Childhood Liver Tumors Strategy Group. He is currently one of only several confirmed cases of TLCT/HEMNOS with data-banked bio-specimens. Using his live cell line scientists have identified the genetic marker that triggers his kind of cancer. His samples are also being used in targeted therapy studies around the world to find new treatments/protocols/cures for other childhood and adult cancers.
Our University of Iowa Dance Marathon Story:
It began with a ring on our doorbell in January 2012 when two college students came to our house soliciting donations for the University of Iowa Dance Marathon organization. After hearing what this incredible group does, we gave $50. Only several weeks later Dashiell was diagnosed with pediatric liver cancer and we were immediately engulfed into the world of childhood cancer. During a briefing on the protocols of his care, we asked the nurse practitioner where we could buy a hospital-grade thermometer and she replied, “Dance Marathon provides that for you, for free!” We had it within the hour. It was amazing to see our donation had an instant, tangible turn around. Since then, DM has been diligently by our side full of kindness, joy and empathy.
They provided in-patient and outside activities for our entire family, sent letters of encouragement, covered our prescription co-pays and gave us a variety of gift cards. And, after our sweet boy left us, because of the money they raised, we were able to get thumbprint keepsake necklaces and four heart-shaped bronze urns for each family member.
In addition, DM continues to celebrate Dashiell and embrace our other children. They’ve been a cornerstone in our lives. Our older sons have been so impacted, they’ve become active members of DM. It is a friendship wrought out of the most unfathomable circumstances.
The greatest gift from DM is that Dashiell’s memory will be held in the hearts of thousands of young people who heard his story because they said “yes” to participating in the largest, philanthropic student-run organization in Iowa. DM works hard all year long to honor all of the kiddos who are facing such incomprehensible crusades. We are moved by their dedication, accomplishing these things with class and humility. They do it despite their own busy schedules of school, work, family and friends. They do it despite their own traumas (having gone through it themselves or with a loved one).
We are proud to participate with DM because we believe in the high moral and ethical standards of the organization. On the days when we are overwhelmed with grief we remember they are out there, full of hope, never giving up, never slowing down.
Dashiell’s legacy continues to be honored as our family advocates for childhood cancer awareness/projects/programs/organizations. Over the last decade we have committed a tremendous amount of time to being involved with over a dozen Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs in Iowa, Ohio and California. Since 2017 have sponsored the proclamation declaring September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Iowa. As a member of the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Pam serves on the Finance committee, as well as the Policy, Quality of Life and Rural cancer workgroups. She also provided feedback to incorporate pediatric-focused strategies in the Iowa Cancer Plan, which featured Dashiell’s story from 2018-2022. In conjunction with the American Childhood Cancer Organization, we’ve traveled to Washington DC to appeal for increased funding to the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute. As part of the Cancer Moonshot program, Pam had the opportunity to share Dashiell’s story one-on-one with President Joe Biden. In 2018 we were appointed to an advisory council to consult on a 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 brining together a unified collective of experts. The World Health Organization spotlighted Dashiell as part of their International Childhood Cancer Day initiative in 2016. And, this year we have already taken part of a webinar with them, the Centers for Disease Control, and Children’s Oncology Group. Our goal is to continue to share Dashiell’s life story for the benefit of children’s healthcare.
Dashiell had a blessed life, as sweet and blissful as any child could possibly dream: believing in Santa Claus, Trick-R-Treating, dressing up in costume any day of the year (just because), cuddling Mama and Daddy, playing with his brothers and hugging his doggie Cider (who has since crossed over to be with him). His days were full of pure happiness. We are forever grieving Dashiell, but choose to go on with as much peace as possible, focusing on our love for him and each other to make as big of a positive impact as we can.
It is an honor for the Codd Family to support DM, considering all they have given us. We are forever grateful!
Dashiell’s silly, sweet and indomitable spirit lives on in the hearts of his family, friends and supporters. He is very deeply missed and eternally loved.
Pam, Brian, Orson, Sumner and *Dashiell*