My name is Tyler McVicar, a former baseball player for Elon University and current professional baseball player.
Starting when I was in Little League I was involved in raising money for childhood cancer treatment and awareness through baseball. We had a team involved with the Jimmy Fund Program, which was a summer baseball league that involved teams raising money throughout the summer. The push for involvement was due to one of our friends, Chris, going through his treatment for Leukemia. Chris eventually won his battle against cancer.
When I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school, the last thing on my mind was losing a friend to cancer. Danny was on the radio one afternoon talking, and I listened to him say there were no options left unless money was raised for a clinical trial. This is something I never thought I would hear a sixteen-year-old say, never mind someone who had been a friend and teammate of mine. October 25, 2008 I woke up to a text from a friend saying that our friend Danny, who had been battling Osteosarcoma for two years had passed away. I never understood how something like this could happen to one of the nicest kids I knew.
The first year I participated in a Vs. Cancer event was my freshmen year at Elon. Something I will never forget happened during pregame on the morning of our first fundraiser. Our coach had talked to my dad and they got a bunch of wristbands from Danny’s mom that all said “Always in our Hearts – Danny 10/25/08”. I had no idea that the whole team was going to be wearing them during the game. Coach Kennedy brought it up during our pregame meeting and I am glad I had my sunglasses on because I started tearing up right away.
On November 5, 2016 Colie passed away at 22.
As athletes there are days where we forget how fortunate we are that we get to play a sport that we love every day. I do not remember hearing any of them complaining about what they were doing, they just fought day in and day out, but there are days where I know I have talked to guys about how sore or tired we were from workouts or a weekend series. We’re lucky to get that experience. Some kids who love sports just as much as we do may never get that opportunity because of this disease.
When Brant offered me a job with the Vs. Cancer Foundation it was a no-brainer to accept it. Childhood cancer treatment and awareness is something that I firmly believe needs as much attention and backing as possible to help kids win their battles with the terrible disease. I love what Vs. Cancer does because it gives athletes the opportunity to use our platform to give back to a cause that can use all of the help we can provide. To give you an idea for the opportunity our platform at Elon provided us: over my five years at Elon we raised over $100,00. With the help of athletes around the country I hope that one day we can find a cure for this terrible disease.
Chris provided me with a quote the other day talking about our Jimmy Fund Team from when we were younger. “Having a team like that meant so much, because it was basically everyone I’d ever known coming together to help me get better and help the friends I met in the clinic get better every day. At the time as an eight year old you don’t really think of it that way, but reflecting on it you realize that having positive distractions, like our team, can mean the world for someone going through treatment.” Stuff like this is why I love being involved with Vs. Cancer. Even though I may never get a chance to meet some of the kids we help, I hope it makes their daily routines a little easier knowing that they have a Vs. Cancer team made up of professional, collegiate, and high school athletes around the country who want to help them through their fight against cancer.