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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Support Pours in for Severely Injured 3-year-old

Dylan’s GoFUndMe page
Images from Dylan Vanderhaeghen’s GoFundMe page. Dylan has had 17 surgeries after being injured by a riding mower April 13 and will need more, his aunt says.

By Christopher South

SEAVILLE – The community is rallying to the aid of an Upper Township family whose 3-year-old son was seriously injured when he was struck by a riding mower.

On June 13, Dylan Vanderhaeghen’s mother, Christine Lynch, posted that Dylan had made his 17th trip to the operating room.

Dylan’s aunt, Ginger Berens, wrote on the GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the treatment her nephew requires: “The stay at the hospital will be extensive, his injuries permanent, and he will need medical services well into the future.”

Berens’ narrative on the GoFundMe page describes the events of April 13 as “a severe, life-threatening accident.” As a result, Dylan was airlifted to the closest trauma center and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

At the time of Berens’ posting, Dylan remained at that hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit, with multiple traumatic injuries to the lower half of his body. Berens said he would require many more surgeries in the future.

Berens said Dylan, who has receptive and expressive communication delays that will complicate his care, had just celebrated his third birthday. She described him as a “sweet, silly, strong little boy, with boundless energy and a contagious smile” who brings joy to those around him.

She said he has an older sister, Emily, who also requires love, support and care; however, since the hospital is far from home, the situation is quite challenging.

“Moreover,” Berens wrote, “they are not stationed close enough to any family members who can provide extended support while they are at the hospital.

“This is an extremely difficult time for Ben (Vanderhaeghen) and Christine (Lynch), who are both fiercely compassionate and strong advocates for Dylan and Emily.” Lynch is on active duty with the Coast Guard in Cape May.

Berens said there has been an outpouring of love and concern for Dylan and his family, exemplified by the June 24 Upper Township Committee meeting, where committee members announced a fundraiser for Saturday, July 27, at 9 a.m. at Amanda’s Field, 1091 Route 50 in Petersburg.

Mayor Jay Newman, speaking later in the week, said Dylan and his sister attend school in the Upper Township School District, and that the Coast Guard had reached out to the township about partnering on an event to help Dylan and his family.

The July 27 event is named the Touch-A-Truck & Walk and will include displays of Upper Township fire trucks and ambulances. The event is co-sponsored by Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Officers Association.

Berens said, “Please continue to pray for sweet Dylan’s recovery and strength and for him and his family to get through this unbearable time.

“It is early to know the exact goal, but we want to emphatically express that any money donated will be used directly in support of Dylan’s care and improving his quality of life.”

Dylan’s GoFUndMe page can be found at

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.


Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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