We were very sad to hear that we tragically lost one of Little Kickers, Tyler, late last year. Here, his father Steve, talks to us about his story and explains what is now being done to leave a lasting legacy.
Tyler was born at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, on Monday 7th January 2013. If I had to use one word to best describe Tyler, it would be cheeky. He was the kind of child that made an instant impression and if you walked into a room you couldn't fail to notice him. Whether because of his beautiful big blue eyes, his infectious smile or simply because he was the one running round making the most noise, you knew he was there. This was particularly evident during his attendance at Little Kickers' sessions, where he would often be seen running round the hall pretending to be an aeroplane or lifting his shirt up to show everyone his belly. He always had a big cheeky smile on his face.
He was very intelligent boy. He asked questions constantly, soaking information up like a sponge and always managing to surprise us with his level of knowledge, particularly when it came to dinosaurs and animals. Tyler loved to sing and dance to everything! From Baa Baa Black Sheep to Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off', he just didn't stop.
There was also a very caring side to Tyler and he could always tell when something wasn't quite right and be there to give you a kiss or a 'big squeeze'. In March 2015 Tyler became a big brother to his Sister, Pixie, and from day one they were completely besotted with each other. He was the Entertainer and She was his Audience. Whether it was playing 'Peek-a-boo' or begrudgingly letting her play with his trains, he was always there for her. His caring nature was particularly visible when it came to Pixie and he would always give her a cuddle and tell her it's ok if she was upset. He even managed to give her a kiss and say goodbye before being taken away in the ambulance on the 6th November 2015. He was an amazing little boy.
In November 2015, Tyler was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Group A Streptococcus, which caused Septicaemia. From the moment we arrived, Tyler had the undivided attention of an amazing team of people. I could tell that there were some very special people looking after him, not just from their ability as medical practitioners, but also in the way they cared for him. They were incredible, trying absolutely everything to save Tyler. Sadly, his little body couldn't keep battling – it gave up after his sixth cardiac arrest, just as the team were preparing him for a heart and lung bypass.
Group A Streptococcus is a bacterium that can cause a wide range of infections. People may also carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most strep infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo (a skin infection). Occasionally these bacteria can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases.
Sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. In sepsis, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. This can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys. Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
Sadly Tyler contracted both of these conditions and wasn’t able to fight them. Tyler passed away on November 6th 2015.We have been amazed by the support of our friends and family. Tyler's 'Just Giving' page was actually set up by a family friend as a way for people to make a donation in memory of Tyler if they wished to. Having seen first-hand the remarkable work at GOSH, we decided to develop his Just Giving page and set up The Tyler Stephen Reader Brighter Future Fund as a way to remember him while raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Tyler was too special to leave this world without making a mark and we feel that his Brighter Future Fund is a fitting legacy to his memory and also allows us to track what has been raised from each of our fundraising events. Since Tyler passed away we have raised over £11,500. We’ve got so many plans for the year ahead but all lead up to 'Tyler's Playtime Ball'. This will be the 1st Annual Tyler Reader Charity Ball and is being held at The Conservatory at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden on Saturday 12th November 2016. The process of planning these events has given us a sense of purpose and something to focus on at such a difficult time. It helps us to honour Tyler's memory and remember the happiness he brought to us.
If you too would like to donate, simply visit www.justgiving.com/Tyler-Reader.
Follow the story on Twitter: @Remember_Tyler
If you would like to help Sponsor Tyler's Playtime Ball please contact Steve on RememberTyler@hotmail.com