Like many teenaged girls, Tyler enjoys spending time with her friends, texting and taking selfies. Her favorite subjects are math and science; currently she is interested in studying biomedical engineering after graduation. But, her real passion is swimming.
Tyler took her first swim lesson when she was about eight months old and has been swimming ever since. She began swimming competitively when she joined her middle school swim team in sixth grade. By the end of eight grade, Tyler had finished second in the county in the middle school women’s 100 freestyle.
Shortly after that swim season, in June 2019, Tyler had surgery to remove a mass in her upper right arm. Her family later learned that it was a malignant nerve sheath tumor and, shortly after the initial surgery, the tumor started coming back. Tyler went through five weeks of radiation therapy, but hers was a rare and aggressive cancer that did not respond well to the treatment, and there was no sufficient data to suggest that chemotherapy would be successful either. So, in early October 2019, doctors recommended amputation to prevent the cancer from spreading to other areas of her body. On October 23rd, Tyler’s right arm was amputated to the shoulder. Throughout all of this, her focus was getting back into the pool.
In mid-November, after being cleared by her surgeon, Tyler did just that—taking a few laps in the pool to reacclimate herself and learn to adjust her strokes. On November 20th, she joined her high school swim team for a meet, swimming the 50 freestyle and a leg on one the relay teams. Since then, she has continued swimming with her high school team and has also joined Blaze Sports, an adaptive swim team. Tyler is focused on being a productive member of both teams, and one day making an appearance in the Para Olympics.
Tyler’s mother says, “There was never a doubt that she would return to the pool…it’s home for her. But, to return to competition this soon is a testament to the POWER of PRAYER.”
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