Tyler Ferris was born to Mark Ferris and Kim Forsythe, long-term ex-pat residents of Japan. Less than a month into life, Tyler was diagnosed with cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia to be precise). After a valiant 22-month struggle, he died in June 2005. Tyler spent many, many months of his short life in hospital. He was by all accounts an incredibly cheerful and happy toddler with a joy for life and a knockout smile.
Having experienced the stresses and strains of Tyler’s illness and extended periods of hospitalization, and ultimately the grief of his death, Mark and Kim decided to ensure that Tyler’s battle would not have been lost in vain. They set up the Tyler Foundation to support children with cancer and their families in Japan.
The Tyler Foundation has many goals and activities to ease the suffering of childhood cancer patients and their families. Foremost among them is to create Shine On House, "a support centre accommodating local Japanese and expatriate families with pediatric patients afflicted with cancer. Shine On House will aim to provide short and long term (1-2 years) accommodation, counseling space, daily and weekend care; and activities for siblings of patients."
Tyler’s mother, Kim, said, “Tyler spent more than his fair share of time in the ICU during his two years of treatment…and my husband and I spent too many nights sleeping in hospital waiting rooms wishing something like the Shine On House was available as an alternative. Other families of children with cancer, doctors, and adult cancer survivors echo again and again how this type of facility is desperately needed in Japan.”
On the 17th February, 2008 I will be running the Tokyo Marathon in support of the Tyler Foundation and, specifically, it's Shine on House project. If you would like to sponsor me with a small donation to this tremendous cause, I and the Tyler Foundation would greatly appreciate your sacrifice. It really does not need to be much because as the Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly once said, “From little things, big things grow.” My pledge page is here.
With sincere thanks,