Tyler Bloom doesn’t necessarily have the physique you’d expect from a football player. He stands less than 4 feet tall and weighs less than 50 pounds. Also, he’s five years old.
Tyler’s involvement with the team begins in one of the scariest ways possible. After his parents noticed that Tyler was acting oddly clumsy and walking strangely, they took him to Johns Hopkins Hospital. A CAT scan showed that a tumor was encroaching on the right side of his brain. Bloom was rushed into surgery, where surgeons successfully removed the tumor — but a stroke during the surgery left Tyler paralyzed on the right side of his body. The travails didn’t end there; his particularly aggressive form of brain cancer required 33 doses of radiation in six weeks.
Tyler got involved with the Tigers through an organization called Friends of Jaclyn, which works to improve the lives of children with pediatric brain tumors. Through connecting children and their families with local teams, FOJ hopes to foster new support networks — and also help the team’s members to see the world with new eyes. Towson is one of 100 teams nationwide that’s adopted an honorary team member through the organization.
Even better news: Tyler’s cancer treatments concluded in August, 2011 — and all his scans have come back negative since then.
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