Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Ohio State University

Just over two years ago we heard the words "Your son has cancer". At that moment everything in our world changed.

Tyler began cancer as a 15 year old boy. But he quickly changed into an incredible young man. I watched in awe as he handled each treatment with courage and dignity. I saw his strength as he dealt with the passing of his friends Brett Workman, Rob Kemp, Ryan Salmons, and far too many others. I watched as he return to the cancer floor last Christmas, delivering stuffed animals he has bought with money he had collected. I saw the pain in his eyes as he met the kids still in treatment. He didn't want to be there, but knew it was something he needed to do. He is repeating the tradition this Christmas.

As he returned to school, his greatest desire was to just get back to normal. But he was changed. He had endured a fight that the rest of us could not even imagine.

The doctors said he would not be able to attend school full time. They recommended a scaled back schedule, attending class only once or twice a week. They said it would take a year or two for Tyler to fully recover, both physically and mentally, from the high dose chemotherapy he had received. But Tyler ignored them. He returned to school full time, taking additional work loads to catch up for time lost. And, in this desire for a "normal" life, also joined the basketball and volleyball teams.

On every level Tyler has proven himself. With cancer, treatments, remission, school, and sports, he has succeeded beyond the expectations of all the "experts". And he has done so while refusing to accept any special treatment of any kind.

When Tyler took his ACT's for college, he knew his scores were not high enough. The chemo had given him a hyper awareness of sounds, making it difficult to concentrate. He could have requested a private room (I already had the necessary letter from his oncologist stating the medical cause). But Tyler refused, considering it "special treatment". Instead he just studied harder, even cancelling a trip to Pebble Beach to get in more study time. He re-took the test, and raised his score from 21 to 25.

Tyler has refused to he held back in any way. He continues to fight to win. By taking extra classes and heavier course loads he has now caught up with his class, and will graduate on time this coming May. His last report card has a 3.87 GPA.

As his friends began going on college tours, Tyler refused. He was only interested in one school...The Ohio State University. He refused to look at or apply to any other school. He refused to consider the possibility that he would not get accepted. It was irrelevant to him that OSU has been steadily raising their entrance requirements over the past several years. Kathy suggested an OSU branch campus, offering easier entrance requirements and allowing him to live at home. But he refused. It was OSU main campus or nothing. Cancer could not stop him for achieving his dreams, and nobody in that admissions office was going to stop him either.

On Thursday, as Tyler came home from school, the letter arrived. Tyler has just been accepted onto the main campus of The Ohio State University!

Tyler's success is a testimony of who he is, of the man that he has become. But it is also a testimony of the community that has supported us. The incredible amount of support and prayers we have received has been amazing. Everywhere I go people still ask about Tyler. There is no way I can express the impact this community has had in our lives. We could never have survived this journey without all the support, encouragement, and prayers. And, ultimately, we thank God for it all.

And it is my sincere prayer that Tyler's story changes others the way it has changed us. There are many more kids out there facing this battle. And I assure you that every one of them has the same fight, the same tenacity, the same desire to win. Each one has an incredible story. I don't know why some survive, while others do not. But I believe I've learned part of the "why". I believe this happens for us. I believe it is force us to get over ourselves, to look beyond ourselves. It is so we will reach out to those in need.

I pray that we all continue to fight, to save these kids. Let us never sit back and wait on God...only to find out, at the end of our days, that God has always been there waiting on us. Let us be participants, rather than spectators, in the miracles of God.


Anonymous said...

Way to go Tyler!

Anonymous said...


Lori said...

That brought tears to my eyes! It is obvious to me where Tyler got his determination. Congratulations to all of you.


Anonymous said...

great to have another Buckeye!

Tyler, the school is honored to have you. Fight to Win!


deyerles said...

Congratulations! You deserve it!

Hugs Debbie

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for Tyler! I wish there were more stories like his. I believe what you said, God is waiting on each of us.

Congrats and Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

You have done a great job, Tyler.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Tyler...You are a true Hero and a very good Angel here on earth.

Doug, Laura, Elle & JB Smith

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

JD said...


Anonymous said...

I - O !

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow! OSU is lucky to have Tyler!

Thank you for continuing your amazing work of writing this blog. I have shared it with many other families affected by childhood cancer. Each and every post is an inspiration. I wrote to you about my 3 year old nephew ( this time last year just after he had been diagnosed with Burkitt's. He turns 4 one week from today and is just two months away from 1 year cancer free. Thank you for responding to me with such a great email last year. Congratulations to your whole family on Tyler's continued health. You are so right...God is waiting on us to use the talents and inspiration and fighting spirits he has given us to make a difference!

All the best for continued health and happiness in 2010!

Natalie Stewart Graham

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Susan said...

Your post moved me to tears and your last sentence is my new favorite saying!! Congratulations to Tyler!! For living fully, for going for his dreams. He is an inspiration. The Ohio State Unniversity is lucky to have him!! And thank you for fighting for all these kids!

The Katich Family said...

I stumbled upon your blog after I posted on my daughter's blog. We have very similiar stories. she was seventeen when diagnosed with ALL. Being accepted into college was huge for her and played a major role in staying focused while trying to finish high school and take the ACT under extremely difficult circumstances. I know you can relate. You are right about teens going through is a completely differnt "beach!" than it is for younger ones. not to say anything less of their unique challenges, but like Kristin has said about the tiny ones,"they won't remember." I hope that this finds Tyler doing well and you continuing the fight for these precious kids and your amazing son. I wish for you all only the very best and choice blessings of health.

kristin's story is at

Todd Hurley said...


You and your son Tyler are an inspiration to the world. I also agree that God does indeed wait on us. I am reminded of the story of a very healthy farm and the farmer.

"A Pastor drives past a very green, very healthy and weedless farm. He stops and informs the farmer how blessed he is to have the healthiest farm in town. God has certainly blessed you with the best farm in town. The farmer responds, "Yes, the Lord has certainly blessed me, but you should have seen this place when the Lord had it all to himself."

God Bless your family and I pray Tyler has continued health and lives a full, vibrant life!

Todd Hurley

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