tyler foster familyThe Foster Family: (l-r) Tyler, Mike, Susan, Alexis.
BEECHMONT, Ky. (3/5/14) — In January of 2013, Mike and Susan Foster of Beechmont, received news from doctors that, in Ms. Foster's words, "made our whole world stop."

Their 12-year-old son, Tyler, had osteosarcoma, one of the most aggressive forms of bone cancer.

"Tyler had been having pains in his legs since Thanksgiving of 2012," Susan Foster told SurfKY News. "We just thought it was growing pains. But then the pain began to spread to other parts of his legs and hips. By January of last year, the pain had increased so much that he could not sleep at night, and would cry from the pain. By then we knew it was something going on, and so we took him to Dr. Billie Buchanan for x-rays."

When the x-rays and blood tests showed Tyler might have cancer, Dr. Buchanan advised the family to begin the drive to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville.

With a late January ice storm bearing down on them, the Foster family began their journey.

By 9 a.m. the next morning, a specialist at Kosair started a barrage of tests on young Tyler.

"The first week was just like we were in a whirlwind," Foster said. "Our world just stopped. It was like we were no part of the world anymore. This just takes a hold of you. They started chemo immediately. Tyler got extremely sick. His weight went down to 80 pounds. They had to insert two feeding tubes at one point. Then he had to go through two leg surgeries and a lung biopsy. We kept having setback after setback," Foster said.

Back home in Muhlenberg County, the word had spread about Tyler and the Foster’s learned they were not alone in this fight.

"When we got on Facebook, we were amazed at the outpouring of prayers and encouragement from people we knew in Muhlenberg County, and from people we had never met," Foster said

"It still makes me cry. We knew we had God to help us through this. But having those words of hope from so many people, even from other states, and other counties, was a big inspiration. And we received so many cards of hope. I have several walls at home covered with cards from people wishing us good luck and prayers for Tyler. Now I can look back and say that, yes, these cards were just what I needed. People didn't have to do anything or send us anything. We were just floored that so many people came together," Foster said.

Throughout 2013 the county came together with fund raising events to help Tyler.

fight like foster 300There was a 5K run/walk, several co-ed softball tournaments, auctions, concerts, and hundreds of Fight Like A Foster t-shirts could be seen throughout the county.  

After almost a year spent fighting Tyler's cancer with intensive treatment, the Foster family was ready for some good news.

Fast forward to present day.

"Finally, this past December, he was done with his last chemo," Foster said. "Tyler had his 13th birthday on Dec. 2, and then had his last chemo was on Dec. 3. He stayed about 4 days. Then he went back in for scans after Christmas and everything looks good." 

That said, the doctors at Kosair plan to continue scans of Tyler every few months for the next few years.

Fast forward to 2014.

Tyler will return to school at Muhlenberg South Middle School Monday, March 10.

"He's been very anxious to get back to school, and see all of his friends," Foster said. "Now that he's feeling better he loves playing and talking with his friends on his Xbox. That said, he sometimes doesn't like to socialize. The nurses at Kosair made him a t-shirt that said Mr. Unsociable on the front. But now that he's doing well, he is enjoying the thought of getting back to school and church."

Susan Foster works as a teacher’s aide at Muhlenberg South Elementary School. Her husband, Mike, works at TVA, and is the assistant pastor at Belton Pentecostal Church. The couple's daughter, Alexis, gave up a full scholarship to Murray State University to remain with the family through Tyler's fight. She now attends Madisonville Community College.

An upcoming fundraiser for the Foster family is scheduled on April 19 at Dunmor Ballpark.

Find out more on the Team Tyler Foster Facebook page.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News

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