This World Cancer Day, 4 February 2018, we're asking our supporters to band together to help young cancer patients like Tyler. Get your Band Against Cancer now to show your support. They're available for a £2 suggested donation at Morrisons stores, J D Wetherspoon pubs and select H Samuel and Ernest Jones stores.
Doctors initially dismissed Tyler's symptoms as constipation or growing pains. It was even suggested that Tyler was making it up to miss school.
After several trips to the doctor and even emergency trips to A&E because his pain was so severe, Tyler eventually received the shock diagnosis.
We were in shock
Tyler’s mum, Sue Hart, said: “I trusted the doctors that they were right and just believed what they said. They were saying there was nothing wrong with him and maybe it was just Tyler didn’t want to go school. There was a suspicion he was making it up so I had to force him to go to school.
“When we were told it was cancer, I was devastated, I just couldn’t believe it. I felt guilty because I didn’t believe him all those times.
"Hearing the words cancer was the last thing I expected. The memories are hazy because I think we were in shock.”
Tyler then underwent six intensive courses of chemotherapy which caused a lot of physical, as well as emotional side effects for the teenager.
Hidden Costs research from CLIC Sargent showed that 79% of young people felt cancer had a serious impact on their emotional wellbeing, 70% experienced depression during their cancer treatment and 83% of young people experienced loneliness during their cancer treatment.
Support from YouTubers
During his cancer treatment, Tyler, a huge YouTube fan, built an unlikely friendship with YouTubers Masieh Zarrien (aka Masieh) and Shah Faisal Shinwari (aka Carnage), who came to visit him in hospital.
Masiah later posted a video of the visit on his YouTube channel calling it ‘the most humbling experience of my life’.
Tyler also met the YouTube ‘Sidemen crew’ as a football mascot in a charity football match meeting stars like KSI, Marcus Butler and Callux who have fans in the millions.
Feeling less isolated
Tyler said: “It was a really difficult time but watching my favourite YouTubers helped to keep my mind off things and make me feel less isolated. The comments I got through YouTube were really supportive and it really boosted my spirits. I can’t say thanks enough for that.”
YouTuber Masieh Zarrien, 20, from London, said: “Tyler reached out to me and instantly I felt the need to visit him.
"He is such an amazing character, he’s just a normal guy who got dealt a bad hand.
"I was so happy I got to meet him, it was a really humbling experience and it felt great to make someone’s day a bit brighter.”
During his treatment in London, Tyler’s family also had support from a CLIC Sargent Social Worker who provide financial, emotional and practical support to children and young people with cancer.
World Cancer Day
Now Tyler and his family are supporting CLIC Sargent’s World Cancer Campaign where supporters can get their own ‘Band Against Cancer’ wristband for a suggested donation of £2 to raise vital funds and awareness.
Tyler said: “I’m really proud to back this campaign and wear my Band Against Cancer wristband because CLIC Sargent made such a difference to me and my family. Buying a band and telling everyone about it is such an easy way to make sure other families get the same support I did.”