Krista says her son, a vibrant and kind 16-year-old, has always been active. But, in March, he was hit with a leukemia diagnosis without warning. Since that diagnosis, life has been hectic and challenging.
“He was at States competition for swimming when he got really sick,” she says. “We initially thought he had the flu, but his pediatrician didn’t feel right about his blood work, so he was sent to Golisano for testing.”
Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse discovered issues with his liver caused by the cancerous cells filling his liver. Since his diagnosis, Tyler has endured weekly chemotherapy - even having to spend Christmas at the hospital due to pancreatitis. Krista recounts one moment when she didn’t know if her son would make it.
“About a month after diagnosis, Tyler went sepsis and was in the ICU. When he came out, he said, ‘Hey, I’m okay Mom…I didn’t die,’ and tried to make me feel better. That's him - always looking on the bright side."
She says his level of maturity and positivity, even in the darkest moments, keeps her moving forward with hope. Because Tyler is still fighting to recover, Krista had to take a leave of absence from work to protect Tyler.
“It’s not safe for me to be exposed at work in this pandemic, and also take care of him,” she explains. “This 26 Shirts campaign comes at the best time for us as a family."
Tyler is stable and in the “interim maintenance” phase of his diagnosis. What keeps him happy through it all? “The Bills! Tyler is feeling super confident and is proud of his team – he is ready for that Super Bowl win. From the very beginning, he has always believed in the Bills and cheered them on.”