This has been a truly amazing legacy of giving and it all began with Cyndi Tangren (Anything for a Friend's 8th Recipient) answering the call of a hurting family. The Shaw's had just recently found out that Dylan, their 10-year-old son had a deadly cancer in his brain stem called a DIPG. They were devastated and Cyndi jumped to action with her family and put together a tree full of gift cards and money for Dylan and his family.
The Shaw's were so touched by this expression and felt the fresh air of hope for the first time since the diagnosis. Dylan wanted to pass the goodness on to someone else in pain. He met and became quick friends with Tyler Smith (Anything for a Friend's 10th recipient), who had been diagnosed with liver cancer. Dylan knew that he wanted to light up the dark cancer world that Tyler had been thrown into, so he held a bake sale and raised the money to put together a tree for Tyler and his family. It was just what they needed!
Tyler, true to his nature wanted to continue the legacy of giving so he and his family quietly went about this and surrounding communities delivering a “Giving Tree” to numerous families in need and without regard to their own pain brought comfort and joy to others. Among the recipients of the "Giving Tree" was Brandon Winger (Anything for a Friend's 13th recipient), who passed it on to Maddie Cook who then passed it on to Josh Harvey.
The collective statement of hope, love, and support that embodies the “Giving Trees” is not ending! The Shaw’s, Smith’s, Winger’s and Harvey’s lost their beautiful sons to this deadly disease which most would believe was the end of the “Giving Tree”, but not even 3 months after losing sweet Tyler, the Smith’s put their pain into action. This action is took the form of a dinner and benefit concert in Tyler’s memory in August of 2012. Over $12,000 was generated from this benefit concert and will be put towards helping numerous families through the legacy of the “Giving Tree”. Each tree will bring hope and love to troubled souls and each recipient of the Giving Tree will hear about Tyler's courageous F2TF (Fight to the Finish), which was his battle mantra and have that powerful symbol in their home, helping them to set their own determine to Fight to the Finish!
There are many in pain, too many, and we wish that is was possible to help everyone in need, but it is not! In order to establish a process to help move the Giving Tree Legacy forward and help as many people as possible the following critieria must be met:
Please submit your nominations to either Ann Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or Becky Anderson at email@example.com. Thank you so much for your giving hearts and active hands!
Alex and Brandy Hatch have been married for 21 years. They have three boys Devon (19), Treyton (14) and Kaden (9). In January of 2005 after a CT scan, MRI and spinal tap, Alex was diagnosed with Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (and at one point or another primary progressive and secondary progressive). MS is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the myelin in your brain. Alex fights many battles every day including: severe pain, spasticity, balance/gate problems, extreme fatigue, double/blurry vision, tremors, seizures, swallowing difficulties, bladder and bowel issues, memory problems, thought processing issues, loss of teeth and bone weakness.
By March 2005, Alex was receiving his first of only two treatments of Novantrone, which is a chemotherapy drug. . Novantrone provided temporary symptom relief, but by July of 2006, he had been infused 10 times with IVIG and 28 times with steroids (Solumedrol/Methylprednosolone). Alex’s MS was in its own league and there were no effective treatments.
In July 2006, Alex received his first infusion of Tysabri. Before Alex started Tysabri, he had an MRI at least once every 6 months each showed new and worsening lesions. After starting Tysabri, he didn’t get a single new or worsening lesion for almost four years! However, a side effect of Tysabri is PML, which is a potentially life threatening brain infection. Research indicates prior immunosuppressive therapy (such as Novantrone) drastically increases the risk of getting PML and Alex tested positive for the JC Virus, which is connected to PML. After 45 infusions, we made the heart wrenching decision to stop Tysabri due to his high risk of PML.
In Oct 2007, Alex’s underwent neurosurgery at the U of U Medical Center to have an Intrathecal Baclofen Pump (a device that delivers medication directly to his central nervous system) placed in his abdomen due to pain and spasticity (muscle tightness.) This long-term solution dramatically improved Alex’s quality of life. In Over the past several years, Alex has tried many different treatment options including Plasmapheresis and Tecfidera. All of the infusions have destroyed Alex’s veins, he was put on Acthar Gel (ACTH) (deep muscle injections to control attacks.) All of this has become too hard on Alex’s body. The most recent medication that Alex has been on is a chemo drug called Rituxan, Alex also got a J-tube feeding tube almost two years ago. Just over a year ago, we were told that Alex now has "end stage" MS. This means that Alex’s health will continue to decline and that the disease with continue to progress, but depending on Alex and his care he may have 10 years or he may have 1 year.
MS never stops and with it there is a lot of medical expenses and Alex has not been able to work for several years. Brandy works full time, but has a difficult time keeping up with all of the medical expenses and the day to day care of her family. Our soccer team, Forza, is fundraising to raise money for Alex’s family to help offset some of their expenses and ensure that they have a nice Christmas!
Past Giving Tree Recipients:
The Giving Tree
Trees in the works!
Alex Hatch's Tree:
Garrett Kay's Tree: