There was always that reflexive twinge, the slight moment’s pause just before he turned the key in the ignition. Dan Miller could not pull out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia without some pangs of guilt coursing through him. Sitting there alone in his car, he wondered aloud if taking the 120-minute trek up the New Jersey Turnpike to train was worth it. The same questions repeatedly stabbed at him: “Am I doing the right thing? Should I leave her alone? Should I leave him alone?”
Miller always found himself somewhere else during that time, never in the moment, never thinking of himself; whether it was alone in the car staring at the radio grill or bouncing his way toward the Octagon. His mind invariably wandered somewhere else, back to his son, back to little Danny and how he was doing.
Those terrible days were punctuated by constant uncertainty, as Miller tried convincing himself something better had to come; it was bound to come. However, the alone times were the most painful for him, the nadir of what is gradually turning into -- hopefully -- a remarkable, inspiring, uplifting situation.
Miller has experienced a tragedy no parent ever wants to endure: losing his day-old daughter, Alexis. A year after her passing, Miller found himself clutching strength again he never knew he had, when his son, Danny Jr., became gravely sick in March 2010 while battling Polycystic Kidney Disease, a life-threatening disorder which enlarges the kidneys and affects an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. Miller was not about to bend, not to PKD or the physical demands of his job as a mixed martial artist.
It did not matter that he had fights coming up against Michael Bisping, Demian Maia or Chael Sonnen. Miller was not about to make excuses or let on about what he was going through. It did not matter that he was a late substitute to fight former middleweight King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt at UFC 128. He lost all four fights, yet you never heard a peep from Miller or his team. There was no way you would, no way he would even consider taking some time off, not when there were fights to be had and the constant pressure of paying for little Danny’s exorbitant medical costs looming over him, screaming at him. keep reading here