Two-year-old Dakota is a little boy that lights up the room, and a survivor of debilitating child abuse.
When he’s at home Dakota loves to sing, dance and play the piano. But during the first few months of his life, he was so severely beaten and malnourished that he was rushed to Morgantown for treatment.
Not long after, Child Protective Services contacted Linda and John Brosky, of Glen Dale, to place Dakota in a new family.
“We had noticed different things, they had told us that he was blind, but they didn’t know the extent of it at that point,” Linda said.
Shortly after taking Dakota home, he began to have severe nose bleeds. Doctors noticed blood on his brain, and extensive damage that would not repair itself over time.
At the time, Dakota had a 30 percent chance of survival. Linda said her family was prepared for the worst, and just wanted to give him the best last few months he could possibly have.
After multiple surgeries, and trips to doctors in Morgantown, Dakota is doing the best he can. He was officially adopted by the Brosky family on December 5, 2014, one month after his second birthday. He has seven brothers and sisters, and plenty of love surrounding him.
Linda and John are members of the Rumblers Car Club in Glen Dale, and in July, they held a car show benefit to raise money for child abuse awareness. The couple presented the Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center in Wheeling with a check for over $2,000. While Dakota was too young to be served by Harmony House, his family felt a close connection to the organization, which provides services for children who are sexually and physically abused.
Linda said Dakota is their inspiration, “When you see it first-hand, it opens your eyes, it really does,” she said.
While Dakota was lucky enough to survive the abuse he endured, Linda said his case is a strong reminder to parents to never harm a child, even when they get mad or frustrated.
“He’s never going to see again. He’s not going to be what you want him to be. If you get angry, walk away. If you can’t walk away, call somebody. There’s people that will help you. Don’t do this,” she said through tears.
The Brosky family and the Rumblers Car Club plans to hold more car shows to raise money for the cause that is near and dear to their hearts in the future.
Dakota’s birth mother recently reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the case. On April 27, 2015, Whitney Hillberry pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abuse. It is a conditional plea, meaning if Hillberry meets a number of requirements over the next year, the charge will become a misdemeanor. She is out on probation.