Sports grill goes to bat for Baby Dylan

GURNEE — Dylan Mudrick looks like other 15-month-old babies.

His blue eyes light up when he smiles, and he is at a healthy weight for his age. However, Dylan was diagnosed with a rare disease when he was 4 days old and is now waiting for a liver transplant.

When local business owner Rick Alaimo of Lake Villa heard Dylan’s story, he decided to donate the proceeds from his fund-raiser Sunday to Dylan’s family.

“We were going to donate to the cancer foundation, but when we heard about a local boy who needed it, it was a no-brainer,” Alaimo said.

He tied the fund-raiser event to the grand opening of his new sports grill, Gurnee Grille in Saratoga Square. The day’s events included a ribbon cutting, a silent auction with about 100 items, Gurnee Fire Department truck demonstration, face painting, car wash, motorcycle show and some Chicago Bears signing autographs.

The goal was to raise $10,000. The total amount raised was not immediately available.

Dylan’s mother, Barbara Mudrick of Gurnee, said she was taken by surprise when Rick contacted her about the fund-raiser three weeks ago.

“Rick has been amazing. I didn’t expect strangers to become friends,” Barbara said.

The proceeds from the fund-raiser will help when Dylan gets his transplant, which costs around $600,000, Dylan’s father Oleg Mudrick estimated.

Dylan has Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), which makes his urine smell like burnt sugar.

“We’re lucky they test for it in Illinois. Not all states have that test,” Oleg said.

If Dylan’s disease had not been caught when he was 4 days old, Dylan could have died or suffered permanent brain damage.

Because his body doesn’t process protein correctly, Dylan is on a strict, low-protein diet that is expensive to maintain. He cannot eat meats, dairy, pasta, bread and certain vegetables. He eats a special formula mixed with the nutrients he needs.

Getting his weekly blood tests and making sure he eats enough every day is difficult, his parents said.

“It’s been a lot of stress, to say the least,” Oleg said.

He and Barbara are hopeful that Dylan will get his liver transplant soon. Although it will not cure him, it will help stabilize his protein levels and protect him against some MSUD complications, Oleg said.

“I have mixed emotions. It’s really hard for me to ask for help, but I’m honored and surprised that people are helping strangers,” Oleg said.


About Maple Syrup Urine Disease

This rare disease affects about one in 185,000 infants worldwide. MSUD is an inherited disorder in which the body is unable to process certain proteins properly. Characteristics begin in infancy and include vomiting, poor feeding, lethargy and developmental delay. If untreated, MSUD can lead to death, coma and seizures.

source: National Institute of Health

You can help

For more information or to make a donation to help Dylan Mudrick, go to

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