Eau Claire teacher goes above and beyond for special student

Eau Claire (WQOW) – Because of a serious heart condition, Dylan Snyder couldn’t always participate in regular phy-ed with his class, but his teacher, Mr. Bart Steffen, stepped in to provide one-on-one lessons so Dylan could build up his strength. Now three years in to their special lessons, the two have become close friends.

Dylan was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition that made it difficult for his heart to pump blood through his body, which meant regular sports and games played in gym class with other kids took too much of a toll on his body.

That’s where Mr. Bart came in, to make sure Dylan could still exercise in his own way, playing things like one-on-one hockey, biking and…

“My favorite thing is running,” said Dylan.

The more they played together, the more Dylan and Mr. Bart found they had in common. Namely, being fans of racing, NASCAR and Dylan’s favorite driver Kevin Harvick.

After learning that Mr. Bart makes race cars of his own, Dylan had a request.

“Eventually he just looked at me and he said, ‘Do you think you could build me a race car someday?'” said Mr. Bart. “Of course, when you got a smiling kid like that looking at you, it’s hard to say no.”

So he got to work building a cardboard race car around Dylan’s bike, but eventually the bike became too well loved to use anymore.

Then, the pair decided he needed a real race car made of sturdier material and got to work on the details, like what number he’ll be branded with.

“You wanted zero, you wanted 17, you wanted… What else did you want?” Mr. Bart asked Dylan.

“100!” Dylan answered.

All the extra work outside class is worth it to Mr. Bart, so they can celebrate all Dylan’s been through.

“To know what he’s been through and to battle through that and come to school everyday with a smile on his face, It’s pretty amazing to see,” said Mr. Bart.

Mr. Bart said he’s finishing up the final touches on Dylan’s new race car, and hopefully soon he’ll be back to racing around the school in style.

After multiple surgeries and treatments throughout Dylan’s life, doctors have finally deemed his heart strong enough for him to participate in normal phy-ed class. However, Dylan still has a special session every morning with Mr. Bart.

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