Kyler's Story

The first day of September, 2015 Kyler Bradley celebrated his 10th Birthday.  Kyler was a (overly) active kid who loved being outdoors and all the world had to offer.  He enjoyed his new 5th grade classmates, loving to make them laugh, sometimes at inappropriate moments.  Boating, wake-boarding, 4-wheeling, hunting and most anything that got you wet or muddy was his favorite family activities.  He had two speeds - on and off.  He dearly loved his Bearded Dragon “Klyde” and his faithful furry side-kick “Keegan”.  He had a special bond with his older brother Kirk along with his parents Rebecca and Kirk, to whom he would play practical jokes and push the limits of what life could give.  To say the least, Kyler lived life to the fullest every minute he was awake!

 

Life for Kyler changed that very same September.  He started having some problems getting comfortable sleeping, and then they noticed his eyes were starting to cross.  Trips to the eye doctor only to have referral to more doctors….and then it happened, the words any parent cannot bear to hear – "Kyler has D.I.P.G. -  inoperable, incurable brain cancer and, if lucky, may have 9 months to live".

 

Kirk and Rebecca with young Kirk sat down with Kyler and explained it all to him.  Kyler’s response would be the battle cry that is still followed today.  “I want to be famous so people will pray for me”.   And so it began.  Social media became a sounding board, Television News crews had to interview this young boy, newscasts had the anchor desk in tears when the news was shared.  Kyler’s message sounded far and wide.  Letters from New Zealand, England, Hawaii, Japan and all over started arriving at their home.  News videos went viral with hundreds of thousands of views.  People were praying that hadn’t prayed for years.  Kyler had faith!  A neighbor hosted a Halloween party for Kyler and thousands showed up to be part of it.  The Township where he lived made him honorary Fire Chief (after he washed the fire truck, of course), and the Police Chief handed over his badge to him as well.  Kyler Strong became the call, the young superhero that had asked for nothing more than prayers.

 

With the tumor growing at an alarming rate, Kyler’s right side became more paralyzed.  Breathing became difficult and eating was out of the question.  Early in November he was admitted into Children’s hospital intensive care to try to fight what never before had been cured.  Days, weeks and months went by in the same pale green intensive care room.  Kyler’s mother by his side 24 hours a day.  Feeding tubes, breathing tubes, radiation treatments doctor after doctor, nurse upon nurse and more…not once did Kyler complain.  He did want to go home and reminded his mother of it daily by pointing at the door.   In January Kyler’s parents elected to have them give him tracheotomy to allow him to breath on his own.  It was their only chance of fulfilling his wish to go home.  And go home he did!  Riding home in the ambulance he received a hero’s welcome!

 

Kyler was placed on steroids to keep the tumor from growing.  Radiation was over, and Kyler showed signs of improvement.  He was able to eat food, baby food, but he didn’t mind.  Even though his face was swelled, he loved to get out to shop at Walmart, Target and party’s held in his honor.  A true celebrity!  He had his entourage everywhere he went.  Mom, Dad, brother, nurses, family members all gathered him into his rolling bed and took him everywhere he could go.  Make-A-Wish sent the family to Orlando so he could spend time at Disney.  It wasn’t the type trip that a normal 10 year old would have wanted, but none the less, he got to go…and never complained once.    

 

Early April of 2016 Kyler took another trip to the hospital for his MRI, to see what was going on with the tumor.   While the news appeared to be good (there was some shrinkage) the tumor had hemorrhaged, Kyler’s days were drawing to a close.  On April 12th, just six months from his diagnosis, while friends and family held a prayer vigil outside of his house, Kyler passed away in his mother’s arms.  He fought hard, we fought well, he never complained.


Kyler’s funeral service was a celebration of his life, thousands of friends, neighbors and people that had never met Kyler attended.  He was given the service of a fallen firefighter, complete with last call.  His casket was carried by superheroes and to his final resting atop the fire department pumper truck.

 

In his name and honor we pledge to continue his fight.  To pray for his miracle.  To defeat DIPG so that no other child or family has to go through this.  Together we are determined, we are dedicated, we are Kyler Strong!




A great short video of the Kyler Story:     - Click Here -

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