Adam's life touched many
Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
He fought for 13 years. To the last, it was Dylan Adams who was the comforter.
He died Sept. 4, succumbing to the cancer that had spread through his brain and into his spinal column.
But Adams was more than just another young victim of cancer. He was, as his grandfather Milton Adams said, "a pleaser." A boy who wasn't a perfect saint, but one who had a light about him.
The 300 men, women and children who gathered at First Presbyterian Church could attest to that.
He was born Feb. 15, 1991. His father, Zane Adams, died in the sixth month of Dylan's life. Another 12 months would pass before they discovered the lemon-sized tumor in his brain and Dylan Adams would face his first surgery as an infant at 18 months.
He would undergo three more surgeries by the age of seven, all attempts by renowned surgeon, Dr. Fred Epstein at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, to remove the pernicious jumble of mutated and deadly cells growing in his brain.
There was radiation and chemotherapy, all of it dangerous and damaging in its own right, but the only ways modern science had of combating the disease.
Through it all, Dylan grew up bright and willing, living with his grandparents Milton and Carolyn Adams, most of his life. His light frame and features belied his gregarious nature; he would talk to anyone. But he rarely spoke of the disease, the wolf at the door.
"He struggled with cancer all his life, but he never let that define him," said Wesley Channell, Adams' pastor.
Attending Escambia Academy, he learned to play the banjo. He ran track. He was active in church. He was, it seemed indefatigable.
"The length of the timeline is not important, but what we do with it," said Jim Corman at Adam's memorial service. "It was a timeline well lived."
Dylan and his sister, Meagan Adams took parts in plays and musicals and local theater. He was best friends with Alan Ash.
"Dylan and I have been friends a long time," Ash said. "He inspired me through his strength and courage."
Robert Johnson recalled inviting the Adams over to dinner. "I thought he'd be coming up in the back, but when I opened the door, there he was, the first one, with a big case in his hand, his banjo," he said. "He played a song, and asked, 'do you want to hear another?' I thought I was supposed to do the entertaining."
Track. Dylan ran the 400 meters, the relays, he ran and ran.
In March, Adams ran his personal best 400-meter time at a meet. But he started having headaches. Two days later, an MRI scan broke the terrible news that the cancer he'd fought against had returned, but this time it was different, and it had spread to his spine.
Surgeries and extended time in a Birmingham hospital took the place of track meets, studies and time with friends. "He took it all in stride," Milton Adams said.
By the middle of the summer, the doctors had done all they could do. Carolyn Adams remembers the exchange between doctor and patient. "When the doctor told him they couldn't do any more, and all they could do was try to make him comfortable, Dylan told him, 'that's okay.' He never questioned why."