At the start of this journey, I mentioned a little boy – the best friend of my co-worker’s son. Four years ago he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a very rare form of brain cancer. Only 250 children are diagnosed with it a year, and unfortunately Tyler was one of them. After being told about our fundraising efforts for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Donna told me about her own connection to the fight against pediatric cancer and described Tyler’s resilience throughout his own four year battle.
Being that he is her son’s best friend, Tyler has been like a son to her and she has experienced all the peaks and valleys with his family. She has been there to see Tyler suffer but never complain, to see his parents refuse to give up hope or neglect to try anything possible to help their son. Donna said that he could be extremely sick, but if you asked he’d always say he was doing great. Tyler’s story has been with me throughout the training and the fundraising. Though I’ve never met him his strength and amazing outlook – so similar to Alex’s – has been a constant inspiration.
Tyler lost his battle with cancer this past Tuesday. He was only 12 years old. I naturally asked Donna how she was doing and if there was anything I could do. She asked me, “Will you run for him?”
Yes. We will run for Tyler. That is what this is all about. We are running for a very worthy cause. We are running for Tyler and all the children who have suffered and for their families. We will run for the children who will one day have the chance to lead a full life because of ALSF’s efforts. We will run for Tyler and Alex who were on this earth such a short time but somehow touched so many lives and have taught us – have reminded us “grown-ups” that when life hands you lemons, you don’t need to give up or give in. Make some lemonade, and smile.
So thank you, Tyler and Alex for reminding us what is truly important. And tomorrow we will run all 26.2 miles for you.
Our thoughts and prayers to Tyler’s family and friends and all who will be missing his smile.