Tyler, sporting his #7 jersey, with his brother Travis last fall.
Tyler Alfriend, age 15 and a good friend of mine, defines what it truly means to be a Buckeye. The kid ate, slept, and breathed Ohio State football and basketball, and he is truly the epitome of what all fans of any team should admire. He followed the team with a passion, and you could carry on a discussion about Buckeye football with him for time on end.
But now, Tyler is fighting a battle far more serious than anything on the football field. On November 14 -- just three days before the Buckeyes were set to square off against archrival Michigan -- Tyler was diagnosed with stage IV Burkitt's Lymphoma, a form of cancer. That Saturday (the day of the game), Tyler began chemotherapy. Since then, he has had his ups (he was allowed to come home for Thanksgiving for a few hours), and his downs; however, this is a battle that Tyler is just now beginning to fight, and he needs all of the support that he can get. His father has set up a blog for everybody to check on Tyler's status, and I recommend that you read it and leave Tyler a comment (by the way, Buckeye fans, you should probably read all of the comments on this post).
The support for Tyler at this time has been great, and for that I am sure he and his family are very thankful. He received a signed Daequan Cook Miami Heat NBA Draft hat, a basketball signed by the entire OSU team, a hockey stick signed by the entire Buckeye team, autographed memorabilia by Miami Dolphins star Jason Taylor, a couple of members of the Blue Jackets stopped by Children's Hospital to spend some time with him, and just recently he received a football that read "Tyler, the Buckeyes are cheering for you! - Jim Tressel." Needless to say, that's a whole lot of cool stuff.
Please keep Tyler in your prayers. It's all myself and the Alfriend family asks of you this holiday season.