Local News

First responders encourage 5-year-old after difficult bout with COVID

Posted January 30, 2021 8:56 p.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2021 1:07 p.m. EST

— Five-year-old Dillon Martin seemed to have beaten the coronavirus after he was diagnosed in mid-December.

His mother, Faith, says her son experienced no symptoms, but that the real danger came weeks later.

"He defeated COVID pretty rapidly and his immune system continued to grow," Faith Martin said. "When there was no more virus left to attack, it started to attack his own organs; his healthy organs."

She says Dillon had MIS-C, Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.

His condition deteriorated fast and a team at WakeMed worked to save his life.

"We almost lost him," Faith Martin said. "It was scary, very scary for us. Emotionally, he was done; he was drained."

Angela Horne, a family friend, had never met the Martin family, but learned about Dillon’s fight in a social media post. And of the boy’s dream to one day be a firefighter or police officer.

"I went to my husband and said, 'I have to do this!'" Horne said. Her husband, Marcus Horne, is a Raleigh firefighter.

"He [Dillon] felt that once he got the COVID, he was not going to be strong enough to be a firefighter or police officer," Marcus Horne explained.

They put the call out online to other first responders to offer words of encouragement for young Dillon.

Angela Horne says she got hundreds of messages of support, from all over. Most of the messages came from North Carolina, but some videos came from Texas, New York, and they even got a phone call from Africa.

Faith Martin says the messages had a strong impact on her son.

"He started saying I can do it, I can do this, I am strong!" she said.

After days in the hospital, Dillon is back home. Still, he is on a heart monitor and there will be months of doctor visits. But that's not deterring the Martin family.

"At this point, we are grateful to have him. His heart suffered damage," Faith Martin said.

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