In February of this year, young Tyler Hallsey was diagnosed with Pontine Glioma – a tumor surrounding the brain stem. Recently, he had the opportunity to attend a Steelers pre-season game with his family, courtesy of former Steeler and current ESPN analyst Merril Hoge. It was a great night for Tyler, who also had the opportunity to meet and pose with Brett Keisel and Troy Polamalu, the man whose jersey he is wearing!
Tyler’s father, Chris, sent this email to share with other fans on his son’s experience:
When Tyler found out about his diagnosis he was scared and confused. We all were. My wife left the room to call her parents and give them the news. While she was out, Tyler and I talked about the road ahead and that it would be hard. We both made promises to each other, then I asked him what he thought we should do. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Whatever it takes”. I think Chuck Noll would be proud.
Since that day in February we have been Team Whatever It Takes.
I think Tyler’s approach to fighting his brain tumor and Ben’s approach on the field are the same. You do whatever it takes. You do what others may not want to do or aren’t willing to do, in order to get the results you want. Sometimes that path is hard or perilous, but you do what has to be done. It’s inspiring to witness, especially when it comes from your son.
It would be impossible for me to properly express the amount of gratitude I have in my heart for Ben, and his willingness to take the time to meet Tyler. He loved every minute of it. Tyler is known for his constant smile, but this smile was even big for him! He was beyond happy.
A little while after we met Ben and had photos taken with him, we were in the tunnel waiting to see Troy Polamalu. As the team came out for final warm ups, Ben saw Tyler again and said, “Hey! It’s my man Tyler!”. He remembered his name and that made the day even more special. Tyler was in heaven. I know it was a brief moment for Ben, but those brief moments will bring a lifetime of joy to Tyler and my entire family.
I hope Ben knows how much that means to me as a father. This has been a terribly trying mountain to climb…it’s tough, but moments like these keep you going. They give you a much-needed second wind. As a father, I try to do everything in my power to ease Tyler’s burden, I would take it all if I could. As much as I try, moments like these are far beyond anything I could ever do. This was Ben pausing to help a little boy he didn’t even know, just for the sake of lifting him. No cameras, no press, just Ben and Tyler. While my gratitude is expressed with these two simple words, thank you, please know there is much more emotion and gratitude behind them. It was a black & gold dream come true!
Others will look at this picture and see a two time Super Bowl Champion and a 14-year-old boy bound to a wheelchair with an uncooperative body, but when I look at it, I see two giant men not afraid of a fight, and absolutely willing to do, “Whatever It Takes.”
We are so proud to be a part of Steeler Nation. We always have been, but that conviction has grown even stronger. To Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, Bruce Gradkoswki, Chris Hoke, Coach Mitchell, and of course, Merril Hoge who made this all happen, we thank you and we love you! Like we are part of Steeler Nation, you are now part of team “Whatever It Takes”! — Chris Hallsey
Steeler Nation is praying for you, Tyler!!
You can keep up with Tyler on his Facebook page here!
You can see another photo of Ben with Tyler and his family here.