“Tyler on three: one, two, three Tyler!” the Varsity boys’ basketball team chanted as they gathered in a huddle before their game honoring Tyler against Piper on Dec 5. Running through the line of teammates Tyler had the chance of being the honorary guest of the night.
Three-year-old Tyler Regier is battling leukemia. After being diagnosed in May of 2015, Regier has continued to go through numerous Chemotherapy treatments and has spent many nights in the hospital.
The basketball team became involved with Tyler through Pinkie Swear sponsor and East parent, Nikol Terril. Tyler is an All-Star “kid who demonstrates courage, patience, and resilience every day” of the Pinky Swear Foundation, an organization that helps support children with cancer. Their families are provided grants for things such as food cards and helping with their mortgage.
It was started by CEO Steve Cepokas, whose son died from cancer. He made a promise to continue helping kids just like him after he passed away, and Cepokas has continued ever since.
The team felt there was no better way to show their support than to make him the star of a varsity game. Hand-in-hand with senior and varsity basketball player Alex Glazer, the crowd looked at Tyler. The student section began chanting “Tyler, Tyler, Tyler!”
“For Tyler to be a part of something so special means so much to our family,”said Tina Regier [Tyler’s mother]. “After the game it’s all he could talk about, asking when he would get to do it again.”
Tyler is currently at Children’s Mercy and will remain there throughout January and February. He underwent a bone marrow transplant surgery on Jan. 8. Before going into his surgery, which basically wipes out his immune system, both JV and varsity players sent Tyler a video message showing their support. They wished him good luck in surgery and let him know they are all praying for him.
Due to Tyler’s surgery and not being able to leave the hospital, the team came up with another way to show support for the Regiers.
Varsity boys’ coach Shawn Hair pledged to shave his head in honor of Tyler if $10,000 is raised by the Jan. 29 Rockhurst game. Hair donated $500 to kick it off. Over half of the money needed has been raised since the pledge started on Jan. 13 through the Lancer Basketball Website.
All of the funds are not raised just for the Regier family. Instead, they are raised, in honor of Tyler, for other families experiencing the effects of pediatric cancer.
“I joked about becoming coach ‘No Hair’ at the assembly and I believe we can get it done,” Hair said.
Many have come together to create different ways to show support for the Regier family. A blood drive, Fusion workout class for little kids, selling hot chocolate and partnering with First National Bank are just a few things that have been done. Out of all the support he is getting, the Regier’s favorite part is getting see a smile on Tyler’s face.