First Responders Rally for 5-Year-Old COVID-19 Patient

First responders are showing support to a struggling local boy who wants to join their ranks one day. Five-year-old Dillon Martin had a tooth extracted in early December 2020 and contracted COVID-19 from the oral surgery. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized for several weeks.  

Dillon was recently discharged from the hospital and is doing better, said Marcus Horne, a lieutenant with the Raleigh Fire Department. “He still has to take several medications and do physical therapy. He basically can't do anything that may cause his heart rate to increase because that may have negative impact on his immune system.”

While in the hospital, Dillon received steroid treatments, which were taking a toll on him mentally and physically. “He was exhausted and broken from it all,” Lt. Horne said. “At one point, he told his mother that he was just going to die.”

Hundreds of Inspirational Videos for Dillon

Dillon wants to become a firefighter or a police officer, but he feared the illness would make that dream impossible. 

To cheer Dillon up, Marcus and Angela Horne reached out to their firefighter and police friends, asking them to send uplifting and inspirational videos to Dillon. Dillon received hundreds of videos from across the nation. Local agencies and residents are also planning on organizing a small parade in front of his house, which would include police cruisers and fire trucks.

Additionally, Victor Company (a local nonprofit comprised of minority Raleigh firefighters) has begun a GoFundMe page on behalf of the family to help with the medical bills. “We’re so grateful for everyone’s help – Dillon’s illness has shown how compassionate and supportive people are,” Marcus Horne said.