Tyler's journey started in January 2013. He was having difficulty with balance and just wasn't his normal self. Sports that he loved to play were becoming increasingly difficult, with routine things like playing catch, being harder than they should be.
In December 2012, Tyler and his brother had bumped heads playing football, hitting each other hard enough to knock out Tyler's front tooth. Hoping Tyler was suffering from some lingering issues from that accident, his parents took him to the emergency room at Phoenix Children's Hospital on February 8, 2013. They arrived at the hospital at 10:00am and within a short couple of hours Tyler was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
Just after Tyler found out about his diagnosis, he was shaken, as was the entire family. Tyler's mom left the exam room to call her parents, and while she was gone Tyler and his dad talked about his diagnosis and the road ahead - it would be difficult. Tyler was asked what we thought he should do, and he said, 'Whatever it takes." From that day forward and for rest of our lives we will be team “Whatever It Takes.”
Tyler fought courageously for seventeen months, but at 9:23pm on July 13, 2014 he took his last breath. He was only fifteen years old. He is greatly missed and leaves a huge hole in our lives that will never be filled. However, he taught us lessons that will last into the eternities. He taught us how to really live, how to believe, how to fight, and ultimately how to die. He inspired countless thousands with his smile, positive outlook, and his ‘whatever it takes’ spirit.
Throughout his battle with DIPG, Tyler experienced more pain and suffering than most people will see in a lifetime. He lost the ability to move his left side shortly after diagnosis and by the time he passed away he was completely paralyzed and could not speak, or swallow. He went blind the day before he died. Yet, he approached each day with a smile and optimistic heart. Now that he is gone, it is our turn to do whatever it takes to find a cure for DIPG. Please join us in the fight.