On July 26, 2017, members of the Trinity Cancer Center had the honor of delivering their first dream to a local cancer patient. The dream was granted by the Dream Foundation, an organization dedicated to giving life to final dreams to terminally ill patients.
Tyler Koster is a 27 year old husband and father of five. In December 2016, Tyler came to Trinity Cancer Center to discuss treatment options after being diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor; he had been given 8 months to live. Dr. John Hardie agreed to see Tyler immediately and developed a treatment plan to try and slow down the fast growing tumor. Tyler has fought every day for the last 9 months, enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as a new treatment called Optune which requires wearing a headgear for up to 18 hours a day.
Through his cancer journey Tyler and his wife, Stephanie, have taught their children how to love with all they have and to live every day fully and joyfully. Stephanie, understanding very well what her children are experiencing having herself lost her mother to cancer at age 15, has been preparing herself from the beginning and admits “sometimes you have to work hard at being positive.” Being positive is what this family continues to do. Tyler has taken every step to ensure his wife and children will be taken care of when the time comes for him to leave this earth.
It was Tyler’s dream to take a trip with his wife and children – a vacation to a magical place that would create lifelong memories for his family. “This family has not had it easy but they have remained so positive and are making the best of the time they have together. We wanted to do everything we could to help make this family’s dream come true,” shares Patty Grossnickle, Nurse Coordinator for the Cancer Center. Thanks to the Dream Foundation in partnership with Genentech, this family of seven experienced first-hand that dreams really do come true. They recently returned from a five day vacation to Florida. The family enjoyed time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Sea World, Universal Studios; they visited and swam in the ocean for the first time.
In the days ahead the family will be able to reminisce about their trip to Florida and the moments they experienced as a family, like playing in the ocean and riding the Shamu roller coaster. For now, the family plans to continue to take life one moment at a time, enjoying life and each other’s company as much as they can.
Tyler continues to receive treatment from the Trinity Cancer Center, often arriving to his appointments with his wife and children. Tyler and Stephanie expressed their appreciation for the medical care they have received from Dr. John Hardie, Dr. Venkatesh Rudrapatna, and Dr. Shane Hopkins as well as the emotional support they have received from the team at Trinity Cancer Center. “(They have) amazing family-based staff” shared Stephanie. Trinity Cancer Center would like to thank everyone who worked hard to make sure the Kosters were given this experience including donations from Trinity Cancer Center and Palliative Medicine teams, Walgreens, Gene Giraffe Foundation, AmericInn Hotel, Alamo Rental Care, Genentech and Cops Against Cancer.
Pictured: Tyler and Stephanie with their children, Alexis (10), Taylor (8), Tyler (12), Anthony (3), and Axl (5). Also pictured are members of the Trinity Cancer Center care team and Genentech.