Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 3, 2013

Boy’s struggles inspire many to help

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — The struggles of one young boy has inspired a number of Garvin County area residents to come together and do what they can to help.

Conrad Sawyer Dixon of the Pauls Valley and Wynnewood area has faced severe and potentially life-threatening allergies since he was an infant.

With his battles against allergies now taking a downturn a couple of Wynnewood groups have banded together to help the kindergartner’s family with the costs connected to his upcoming treatments.

The Wynnewood Fire Department and Masonic Lodge No. 40 have joined forces to organize a chili dinner and cake and pie auction to benefit the family.

Set for an 11 a.m. start on Sunday, Jan. 6, the fundraiser will take place at the Wynnewood High School cafeteria.

For one of those firefighters the benefit and Conrad himself are pretty special.

Wynnewood’s fire chief, Greg Dixon, happens to be Conrad’s cousin. For Dixon the young boy and his difficult medical situation have drawn many in the area close together.

“The bottom line is there’s a sick boy and a family that needs help,” Dixon said.

“We’re here to try and help with that need,” he said. “We’re a close knit family here so the fire department decided to do this fundraiser for Conrad. This is a pretty large effort.

“We’ve got a little boy with close ties to this department and this community.”

Life has been a daily challenge for Conrad and his family as they’ve dealt with his life threatening allergies and other health concerns for most of his life.

It’s been a true journey for them as they began learning more about his many severe food allergies, some of which can be triggered by simple contact or even through the air.

A food allergy is defined as when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein resulting in symptoms ranging from mild, like a rash or hives, to anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction that is life-threatening.

The family’s push to protect Conrad and learn more about allergies has led them to a whole network of other area residents and a team of doctors both locally and at the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Oklahoma City.

According to Greg Dixon, the youngster has taken a turn for the worse, which has led to many in the area coming together to try and help with benefits like the one this weekend.

“Conrad has had some medical problems, some life-threatening issues,” he said.

“We’re trying to help this family with the expenses of treatments he’ll need.”

The fundraiser’s cost is $5 a plate, which includes chili, cornbread and tea.