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The University of Iowa University of Iowa

The Dashiell Codd Family

Hello! We are the Codd family!

We consist of Pam (Mom), Brian (Dad), Orson (18), Sumner (15), Dashiell (forever 5 1/2), Puppy the puppy and Devo the pooch. Currently we reside in Iowa City, but also have a home in Los Angeles, where Brian and Pam met while working in the film industry. But in 2007 we took a sabbatical to raise the kids full time in Iowa (Pam got her BA in English from UI in ’92), although we travel back to Cali frequently to see family and friends.

Dashiell's Cancer Story:

On March 2, 2012 Dashiell was diagnosed with a rare cancerous liver tumor called  Hepatoblastoma. After multiple chemotherapies and surgery at UI 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, where he received a liver transplant. Months later, nodules found in his lungs tested as the more aggressive, incurable Transitional Liver Cell Tumor.

Despite every effort, he unfortunately succumbed on June, 17, 2013. To ensure his journey was not in vain, his post-mortem tumors were donated to research. And, using his live cell line, scientists have identified the genetic marker that triggers his kind of cancer, which has has helped them in targeted therapy studies around the world for various childhood and adult cancers.

Our University of Iowa Dance Marathon Story:

In January 2012 a couple of students came to our house soliciting donations for UIDM. After hearing about this organization, we gave them $50. Only several weeks later Dashiell was diagnosed. 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!” We had it within the hour! Our donation had an immediate, tangible turn around.

Since then, UIDM has been diligently by our side. Throughout Dashiell’s journey they provided in-patient and outside activities for our entire family, sent notes of encouragement, and covered our prescription med co-pays. And, after our sweet little boy left us, because of the money they raised, we were able to get keepsake necklaces for each family member.

In addition to these things, UIDM continues to celebrate Dashiell and embraces our other children. They have become a cornerstone in our lives. It is a friendship wrought out of the most unfathomable circumstances. They do it despite their own busy schedules or their own traumas having gone through this with someone they love/themselves.

The Next Phase:

Dashiell had a blessed life, as sweet as any child could possibly dream --- believing in Santa Claus, eating lemon drops, Trick-R-Treating, cuddling Mama and Daddy, playing with his brothers and hugging his doggie Cider, who has now crossed over to be with him. His days were full of pure happiness. So, we choose to live with as much peace as possible knowing Dashiell's indomitable spirit lives on in the hearts of his family, friends and supporters. He is very deeply, eternally loved.

His legacy will continue to be honored as our family advocates for childhood cancer awareness. We’re involved with over a dozen Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs. And, since 2017 we have petitioned Governor Kim Reynolds to officially declare September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, bringing together reps from every major cancer org and children’s hospital in Iowa, rallying at the capitol for the proclamation signing. We've traveled to Washington DC to speak with politicians, scientists, doctors, and lobbyists to appeal for increased government funding to the National Cancer Institute. And, we have also been appointed to an international advisory committee created by Cincinnati Children’s, Children’s Oncology Group and the International Society of Pediatric Oncology.

We are forever grieving Dashiell’s loss, but choose to focus on our love for him and each other to make a positive impact. We are proud to participate with UIDM because we believe in the high moral and ethical standards of the organization. The greatest gift from UIDM 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. UIDM works hard all year long and we are moved by their dedication, accomplishing these things with class and humility. On the days when we are overwhelmed with grief we remember they are out there, full of hope, never giving up, never slowing down.

Considering all they have given us, we are sincerely grateful!

Pam, Brian, Orson, Sumner and *Dashiell*