Kildare is set for a new Mayor, as seven-year-old Dylan Steele from Barrowhouse, Athy is set to take the chain of office for a daY.
Dylan suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an inherited disorder that involves rapidly worsening muscle weakness. He was diagnosed with the condition when he was three years old and it has seen him get progressively weaker.
“It’s a muscular disease and it gets worse as he gets older. He will need the full use of a wheelchair when he’s eight or 10. There’s no cure for it and they don’t usually live past their late teens,” explained mum Paula.
Despite his condition, Dylan is a happy little boy who loves playing with his friends. “He is the happiest child. He never complains and he always has the ability to get on with things,” she added.
Dylan and his family have been invited by Mayor of Kildare Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan for a civic reception to mark his day as Mayor on Wednesday, April 11. Speaking to the Leader, Mayor Nolan explained: “It will be a very special occasion. We are really looking forward to this. Dylan will be Mayor for the Day and his duties will involve a tour of Aras Chill Dara and Naas Fire Station. It’s a way of reaching out to the community and giving Dylan a great, happy memory.”
According to Leader sources, we hear Dylan’s best little helper is his five-year-old sister Kerri. “They are very close. She is always by his side, looking out for him,” confirms his mum.
With the help of Kildare and Laois communities, along with many, many other people and organisations, the Steele family is on a mission to fulfil Dylan’s many dreams and ambitions.
Recently, with the Share a Dream Foundation and the assistance of Athy Gardai, Dylan was a garda at the Aviva Staduim for a day during the Ireland vs Italy rugby game. “The shock on Dylan’s face when he found out what was happening was just priceless,” laughed Paula. Just last week Dylan was a rally driver in Mondello. “He loved the freedom of that, the freedom to go very fast, the speed of it, as with his condition he is slow at walking.”
Over Easter Dylan is set to become the youngest Mayor in Ireland. “He just can’t wait to have the chain around his neck. It is all he has been talking about,” Paula said.
Caring for Dylan has been a costly affair for the Steeles with specialist equipment, physio and hospital trips and stays in Tallaght, Crumlin and Portlaoise. A Table Quiz is being organised on 14 April in Skinner Murphys Pub Ballylinan. A Monster Road Run and family day on 27 May in the Hunting Ground in Athy is also scheduled. “Without all the support and help the dreams and care of Dylan could not happen, a heartfelt thank you to everyone,” his mother added.