By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This weekend, more than 150 people signed up to walk around a track at a New Jersey park. There might not have been an official finish line, but there was a goal to meet in honor of a boy named Tyler.
When Tyler Barnett was 2 months old, his mother Lindsey took him to get a lazy eye checked at the pediatrician.
Bill Barnett, Tyler’s father, said, “Maybe an hour later, Lindsey called crying and just bawling her eyes out, and she was telling me, ‘They think he has cancer. They’re almost 100 percent certain.'”
Tyler was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina in both eyes. As an infant, he went through six months of chemotherapy. But even then, Tyler’s mom was thinking of the other children going through the same thing.
“I wanted to somehow give back,” she said, “so last year we organized the walk,” a Walk for Retinoblastoma held at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken. Around 100 family and friends raised more than $11,000 for the Wills Eye Tumor Research Foundation and CHOP Oncology.
It also raised awareness of a sign of retinoblastoma: a white pupil in photographs.
This past weekend, Tyler’s troops were out in force again and raised $13,500.
“It’s great having everyone come out and support us,” Lindsey said, “and everyone is so touched by Tyler’s story because he’s so young.”
Tyler is 17 months old now. He’s continuing treatments and wears protective lenses over his eyes, and while he’s lost some vision in his left eye, that doesn’t slow him down.
If you want to help Tyler’s cause, it’s not too late. The Barnett family is accepting donations written out to “Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund” at 628 Croyden Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ, 08003.
People can also make donations at http://www.justgiving.com/TylersTroops/ (Note: Donations are in Euros.)