Beyond that, it has been so exciting to see the events put together by the Dublin Hockey Association and the Jerome Basketball team. I love to see the number of people with Tyler's green "Fight to Win" wrist bands. This coming Saturday morning Jerome High School is having their annual "Snowball Softball Tournament" for Tyler. Tyler just received his "Fight to Win" tee shirt for that event. At 8:00 Saturday night is "Laps for Love" for Tyler at the Dublin Recreation Center, and many of his classmates will be there. Tyler's friend Julie designed a "Fight to Win" tee shirt that we hope to have ready by Saturday. The community support has been wonderful, especially from Tyler's peers. Tyler's brothers and I will be at both events.
The support from peers is so important. The more we go through this process, the more I realize the unique challenges young adults have in their battle with cancer. Teenagers represent less that 15% of patients in pediatric cancer hospitals (and only about 1% in adult hospitals). In many ways the systems are just not set up for these young adults and their unique issues. Just as these young adults are realizing the freedom and adventure of adulthood, they are thrown into a world of dependence and uncertainty. I have been thinking a lot about what I can do about this reality. As the father of 4 boys, one with a life threatening cancer, I feel I should be able to come up with a something that could help.
The hospitals do provide counselors and support groups to help the kids talk through their concerns and fears. I realize talking is important, but opening up to strangers is very tough for teenagers. I think that is especially true of boys. I know as a teenager all my friendships were developed around games of competition, adventure, and excitement. Actually that is still true for me as an adult. Football, baseball, paintball, and bottle rockets. White water rafting, skiing, Draino bombs, fireworks, and bonfires. The thrill of victory and agony of defeat. That is what our life is. Then life gets put on hold. Life becomes sitting in a room alone watching T.V. Even ESPN gets old after 18 hours a day. And then we ask them to sit in a circle of strangers and open up about their inner feelings. As my uncle Hank used to say, "I don't think that dog will hunt". It's not going to work.