Shaken Baby Syndrome – Dwight’s Story

This is a story about child abuse and loss.  It’s an important story, but please skip today’s post if it is an especially sensitive topic for you.

Before Facebook was around, when I was pregnant with Molly I was seeking friendship and support online.  I had found an online baby group back when I was grieving the loss of my first pregnancy.  I think I was always one of those lurkers, and I’m not sure I even chimed in until I was pregnant with the twins.  But I felt like I knew the people who were having babies at the same time that I was having Molly, and I loved reading the stories about their kids.  I swear I never stalked anyone.  I was too tired to leave my house, and that sounds like work.  One of the people in this birthday club was Sherri.  I can’t remember exactly when I got to know her because it has been so long, but through the wonder that is the internet I have been lucky enough to keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram.  She’s been through a lot over the years and although she is one of the strongest people I know, she could use some extra good thoughts and prayers right now I am sure – even though she would never ask for them.

Her son Dwight (we all call him Dee) was violently shaken and thrown onto the couch at three weeks old by his biological father.  He had a grand mal seizure and a stroke and has damage to more than 50% of his brain as a result of the abuse.  Due to the Shaken Baby Syndrome he has had many surgeries over the years, has epilepsy, is fed by a feeding tube, is blind, and cannot stand or walk.

But he survived.

He is a tough guy with the sweetest smile.

He has won all of our hearts.  Especially that of his little brother Luke, who is five.

dwight calvin

photo used with permission of Dwight’s family

Last week Sherri had to tell her five year old that his big brother is going to pass away soon.

Dee has been suffering from pneumonia for a month now.  It cannot be treated with antibiotics and has done irreparable damage to his lungs.  He is suffering, and Sherri and her husband Lorn (the man who knows what it is to be real father and is the dad that Dee deserves) had to make the excruciating and selfless decision to switch him to comfort care.  All of our hearts broke at this news.  I can’t imagine how they are feeling.

Sherri has never whined or complained about the exhausting life of being a special needs mama.  She tirelessly fights for Dee, from making sure that the person who hurt Dee was punished, to getting the best care for her son.  Even now, as we’re all wishing we could will this horror away for them, and if we can’t do that at least give the family a little bit of financial support to help them through.  They are full of grace and appreciation, and choosing to donate the money toward preventing future child abuse.  That’s how passionate they are about making sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.

The link for donations is here.  Our friend Cathy has also created a special pendant in honour of Dee, with the profits going to the family.

dee3 cathy's creations jewelry

photo courtesy of Cathy’s Creations

It can be ordered at Cathy’s Creations Jewelry.

Please help us to honour Dee by spreading the word on the dangers of shaking a baby.  It’s not something that can be undone.  Share Dee’s story with everyone you know who cares for a baby.  Help out new parents that are exhausted by watching the baby and sending them for a nap.

If you’re expecting a baby, make a plan ahead of time of things you can do when the baby won’t stop crying.  When you’re exhausted and not thinking clearly, it’s helpful to have that list posted.  Write the numbers of friends and family on there that can help when it gets overwhelming, and promise yourself that you will call them.  When the twins were born and had colic and never slept, I remember the feeling of extreme exhaustion and desperation.  Putting the baby in her crib and sitting on the front porch for five minutes was enough to get me through the rest of the crying spell.

Here are some additional resources to help:

Thank you for reading, and please keep Dee and his family in your hearts

photo used with permission of Dee's family

photo used with permission of Dee’s family


  1. says

    We are both deeply honored and saddened to share Sherri and Dee’s story of courage and strength on our social media channels. We’d like to thank you, Tara, for sharing the story of Sherri’s inspiration to you as a mother. Your words are incredibly touching, and we hope they are shared with millions. We’d also like to thank Cathy for her generous sharing of her talent to honor Dee and help prevent child abuse. Thank you for sharing our website within your story. We can’t think of a greater honor. We hope your readers find it valuable.

    Our thoughts are with Sherri, Dee, little Luke, their family as well as all the other families whose lives they have touched.

    The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

  2. Rick Garces says

    This story is so touching and I cannot help but to weep everytime I read it. Does anyone know how to get in touch with the family and what community they live in?

  3. kristan walters says

    That is so sad I teared up reading that. I couldn’t imagine what that family is going through I will pray for them. Bless the family and Dee….

  4. Paula says

    Thank you for sharing this, Praying that God will give a Miracle to this beautiful young man!!!!!
    This has become overwhelming these days, these poor children deserve so much better, we are supposed to be there protectors not the ones that hurt them.God Be with us all & God give them the Strength they need to get threw this.

  5. pat says

    The same for me… I had to stop midway through and say a prayer for this family. I asked for Mary’s intercession for and on behalf of this young man…that if God was set to have him join him, that he not let him suffer overmuch…my heart breaks for this family. It was wonderful and a testament to lorn(?)s parents that he took Dee as his own son. How much love must go through this family.

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