" My name is Tyler, but my family and friends call me Ty. I'm 11 years old.
Everybody faces challenges at some point. I probably have a few more than other kids. But I also have a lot of really great people in my life. It starts with my mom and dad. When I was just a few weeks old, I was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, scoliosis and congestive heart failure, then later neuromuscular scoliosis, cerebral palsy and autism.
At home, my parents felt overwhelmed. I was struggling to swallow and to keep my oxygen levels up. It was very hard to figure out how to help me. Not knowing where to turn, my mom called Easterseals for more information. They were able to save her tons of time by pointing her to resources for help in our community.
Those first few years were rough. I had a lot of surgeries, and doctors didn't offer much hope that I would live, much less walk or talk someday.
Along the way, I also started getting therapy through Easterseals. My mom says it was the first time anyone talked about what I could do, not what I could not. It's also when more great people entered my life, like Rhonda, the physical therapist who helped me take my first steps, and Merrit, the speech therapist who helped me say my first words.
I've been going to Easterseals ever since. They're like family! I can't imagine where I'd be without them. I still need surgery on my spine twice a year, and my therapy is hard work. Plus I go to school like any kid. Did I mention that I love to read and draw?
When I count on great people in my life, I also count people like you who make it possible for Easterseals to help me. I wish I could thank you in person. Instead, I'm sending this photo of me. I hope you can tell how grateful I am!
There are lots of other kids who face extra challenges. Just like me, they just need a little support in order to have a great life. I hope you'll keep helping me, and them, by giving to Easterseals.
On behalf of all of us, thank you so much."