Tyler’s diagnosis with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2012, at 6 years old, was a huge shock for his parents. Before he started showing symptoms, he had never missed a day of school.
Before Tyler was diagnosed, his face became paralyzed and doctors couldn’t figure out why. After many tests, they finally found that he had a tumor on his face that had spread to his lungs.
Tyler began receiving treatment in Chicago at University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. Tyler underwent 52 weeks of treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. Jen and her family tried to make Tyler’s diagnosis a positive experience. They worked hard to make his life as normal as possible throughout treatment and were dedicated to looking at the whole experience as positively as they could. “We wanted Tyler to know that we are going to fight hard, and beat this,” explains Jen.
Tyler’s mom, Jen, was amazed by the dedication of their doctors. She wanted to find a way to make research easier and treatments better, so they joined the University of Chicago Comer Cancer Crew team and started fundraising with the motto: courage, strength and bravery.
At their first Walk in 2013, Jen and her family originally set their sights on raising $2,000. As the event got closer, they realized they were going to blow past their original goal, eventually raising $4,000. With their help, the University of Chicago Comer Cancer Crew team was named one of the top fundraising teams at the Chicago CureSearch Walk.
Jen attributes their success to her willingness to share their story. She tells everyone about how important research is, how the hard work of doctors and researchers helped saved Tyler’s life, and how CureSearch is funding essential research. “I try to keep the children who have lost their battle on my mind at all times,” says Jen. “We were lucky, but others are not. If I can help ensure that other children don’t have to lose their battle, how could I not?”
Jen is already looking forward to the 2014 Chicago CureSearch Walk and beginning to plan how they are going to beat their record from last year. The 2014 CureSearch Walks are right around the corner, visit www.CureSearchWalk.org to find a Walk near you!