Boy & Girl of the Year
Gateway Chapter Boy & Girl of the Year
The Boy & Girl of the Year are local children battling blood cancers who serve as motivation and inspiration to Man & Woman of the Year candidates in their competition to raise funds and win the titles.
Boy of the Year
Prior to reaching his 7 birthday, Tyler began displaying symptoms of a the unknown illness. Tyler ran fevers, displayed rashes and bruises, and appeared lethargic. Just after his 7th birthday Tyler was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia.
After spending several weeks in St Louis Children's Hospital it was determined by members of the hematology and oncology medical staff that Tyler's cancer was in remission. Just because the cancer went into remission did not mean that treatments stopped. Tyler received chemotherapy for over 3 years meanwhile being hospitalized for any fevers or infections.
The fight in Tyler never let him give up. This strong young man powered through his cancer and personal issues like a man on a mission and that mission was to beat cancer! In march of 2011 Tyler did just that. Tyler successfully completed his chemotherapy treatments and was able to ring the bell on the wall at the St Louis Children's Hospital Hematology and Oncology clinic signifying the end of treatments and his victory over the disease.
After completion of the chemotherapy treatments, Tyler was able to do something he had been longing to do for years, play football! Tyler played football for the Mineral Area Football League BLITZ! Tyler was a starting right guard for the blitz and loved every minute of it. Tyler completed his season by playing for the league championship.
A few months after the football season Tyler began becoming ill for several days at a time. It appeared that no doctor could determine the cause of the illness. In February of 2012 Tyler had blood work done at a local hospital and the results were sent to his oncologist's at St Louis Children's Hospital. Shortly after receiving the results his parents received word that Tyler's Leukemia had returned.
Tyler, faced with the thought of having to repeat chemotherapy, became disheartened. Imagine spending more years of your life battling a disease you have beaten once before. Tyler soon came to realize that he was given the opportunity to make a difference. While in the hospital for his initial chemotherapy Tyler began speaking with other children and adults about his disease. Tyler was also able to help other children who had recently been diagnosed with various forms of cancer by explaining treatments as he had come to experience them, explaining the "fun" things to do at the hospital, and telling children of different rewards he received for having to battle cancer such as; Make A Wish, Friends of Kids With Cancer supplying him with sporting event tickets and money for spending at the stores of his choosing, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society events that he had been able to attend, specifically Light The Night.
Tyler is now a quarter of the way through his new treatments which include numerous over night stays in the hospital with chemotherapy and soon will include radiation. Tyler is brave and strong and keeps a positive attitude while battling this disease. Tyler is a wonderful big brother, cousin and son. Tyler sets examples for his siblings and other children alike and has matured beyond his years.
Girl of the Year
Katelyn, is 8 years old and battling B Cell Lymphoma which is a non-Hodgkin?s Lymphoma that affects her lymph, internal organs and central nervous systems. She was diagnosed with late stage cancer in December of 2010 and completed her original treatment plan in July of 2011. Katelyn spent 5 months in remission before the cancer returned in her brain and spine. Immediately after her relapse, Katelyn began an aggressive treatment plan which required her to spend much of her time in the hospital or clinic. Her treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, spinal taps and finally a bone marrow transplant in March 2012.
When she was first diagnosed, we couldn?t believe what was happening. We came to the hospital for an ultrasound of her liver and left three weeks later with a cancer diagnosis. Throughout all of her treatment she has maintained an aura of confidence as if she knew from the beginning how everything would turn out. Her confidence has been a pillar of strength for our family and given us hope when there seemed to be none. It emboldened her doctors to try new treatments and never give up on her. She has truly defined what it means to be courageous
Katelyn loves nature and has dreams of becoming an aquatic veterinarian someday. Until then, she is happy to practice her skills with her two dogs, Junior and Daisy. She is truly wise beyond her years and her spirit and energy are inspiring. She began her journey shy and scared but has blossomed into a confident girl who loves to share her story.