Hi, my name is Tyler Froats, and I am representing Akron Children’s Hospital this year for Family Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. I’m looking forward to meeting the legislators and sharing my story with them in hopes to make a difference in their lawmaking decisions when it comes to our needs with medical issues that individuals face daily.
I am hoping through my story that I might be able to make an impact with our future.
You see I’m a three-time cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, known as ALL, at 6 years old. At the time I was living in Southern California and played soccer in a recreation league.
It was during a soccer game that I was kicked in my back and never really healed from the injury.
About 3 weeks later, I had re-occurring pain in my lower back where the injury took place. Never really healing, my doctor at the time requested numerous tests in order to rule out, one by one, the possibilities of why I wasn’t getting better.
The next step was a bone marrow aspiration, which would be followed by an MRI. First the doctor wanted to rule out leukemia with the bone marrow aspiration, and then we were to do the MRI to investigate further. Unfortunately, we never got that far. It was leukemia.
The cancer went into remission after 2 years of chemotherapy. Then I relapsed at age 12 and again at 17. With the help of Akron Children’s Hospital and my sister, Chelsea, I received a bone marrow transplant.
I had a few complications including being diagnosed with chronic graft-versus-host disease, which means my body recognized the transplanted marrow as foreign.
But I got through that and today I’m doing well. I take online courses through Cuyahoga Community College and spend a lot of my free time playing guitar and enjoying sports like golf.
I’ll keep you posted on my upcoming trip to D.C.