NRL News

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Expected to Die, Young Man Today Attending College on Academic Scholarship

by | Aug 28, 2013

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research

Dalton McBeath

Dalton McBeath

When you’re dropping your daughters off at college, the last thing you expect to do is to run into a great pro-life story. But last week in Tennessee, when one young man strode to the microphone in a chapel service and began to tell how he ended up there at Lee University, my alma mater, I knew this was something special.

I had helped my daughters unpack and set up their rooms, paid bills and fees, and received the good news that my youngest, Kerry, was going to be featured as a soloist in the choir of incoming freshman performing for the Sunday evening chapel.

She sang well, doing her parents proud, but when the choir director introduced the next song, he first had the soloist come out and share some of his personal story.

With a slight hitch, Dalton McBeath strode to the microphone and told the audience that doctors had induced his mom when she was just 27 weeks pregnant because of some life-threatening condition. He was born September 17, 1996, in Cincinnati, Ohio, weighing just two pounds, two ounces and was immediately put on a ventilator.

Brain tests done by the doctors showed what he says they identified as a stage IV cerebral palsy, meaning essentially that they expected Dalton, if he survived, to be in a wheel chair, have severe mental disabilities, to require nourishment through a feeding tube, and to have very few functional abilities.

A few weeks later, with that prognosis hanging over his head, more physical problems surfaced. Dalton’s skin turned black and doctors told his parents to make funeral arrangements because they believed the child would not make it through the night.

Being people of faith, the McBeaths contacted family, friends and members of their church, who fasted and prayed through the night. When morning came, Dalton was still alive and his skin was pink and healthy again.

Dalton gives glory to God, saying “God has always been and always will be a healer and a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

It was some months Dalton was finally able to leave the hospital, but Christmas Eve finally found him home with his family. Tested again after the first of the year, results showed a much milder form of cerebral palsy, stage II, which might mean some minor physical disabilities, but full mental capacities.

Dalton has not let anything hold him back.

This past spring, he graduated from Little Miami High School with a 3.91 average (4.46 with the honors courses factored in) at sixteen years old. He scored so highly on his ACT test–a 29–it put him in the upper 10% and meant he qualified for the university’s presidential scholarship.

Dalton plans on following in the footsteps of his parents, who are missionaries, to become an evangelist, sharing the good news of the gospel and the amazing story of what God has done in his own life.

“In the name of Jesus,” Dalton says, “lives are saved and restored, strongholds are broken, and purposes are found”

Dalton is convinced that God has a real purpose for his life, just as he believes God has a purpose for every child that is conceived.

Dalton knows full well that many of his generation, thanks to Roe, never get the chance to see the light of day. Dalton told me that “abortion is a large problem in America” and said “I am extremely troubled and saddened that so many people in my generation, that God created for divine purposes, have been murdered.”

That overall cheapening of human life has caused many to disregard and dismiss the value of children born with disabilities, to question whether or not their lives are worth saving.

“Most people when having a child see disabilities as a burden they don’t want to deal with, so they abort the child,” Dalton says. “This comes from a failure to see those children as God sees them, children God can touch, God can heal, and God can use no matter what their level of ability or disability.”

What a precious, positive, promising life would have been lost if parents, doctors, members of his local church had given up on Dalton because of a poor prognosis!

And that’s why I teared up as Dalton finished his story and began to sing with passion and conviction:

Higher than the mountains that I face,
Stronger than the power of the grave,
Constant through the trial and the change,
One thing… remains…

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me!