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Family Ties

Tyler's bond with his father, a FedEx employee, reaches new heights.

Like most fathers and sons, Sean and Tyler are close. When Sean is home from work, Tyler is always by his side, whether they’re playing games, cooking together or just hanging out. Sean, a manager who has worked at FedEx for more than 13 years, knows how special it is to be able to spend time with his son. Just over two years ago, Sean and his wife, Michelle, feared they were going to lose Tyler.

Tyler follows Sean around and loves his daddy more than anything. His eyes sparkle when he sees him.

Michelle, Tyler's mom

In February 2012, Tyler began falling asleep in class and experienced leg pains so severe they left him sobbing. Sean and Michelle knew something was wrong. Tests soon confirmed their worst fears: Tyler suffered from a type of blood cancer known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.

At St. Jude, Tyler started two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. St. Jude has increased the survival rates for our patients who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 4 percent before opening in 1962 to 94 percent today. Tyler’s cancer soon went into remission, where it remains today.

Sean and Michelle were already familiar with the lifesaving work being done at St. Jude. But they gained new insight through their firsthand experience. “It wasn’t until we got our first insurance statement after Tyler started treatment that it really hit home for us how much St. Jude does for its patients,” said Michelle. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.


Sean is grateful for everything FedEx does for families like theirs. “They’re bringing awareness and raising money to support the cause. Now that we’re a St. Jude family, it’s amazing to know I work for a company that supports the hospital so much.”

This year, FedEx went "above and beyond" by naming an airplane after Tyler at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. It's the fourth consecutive year that a FedEx airplane — a Cessna Caravan, has honored a St. Jude patient whose parent is a FedEx employee.

Michelle describes Tyler as Sean’s mini-me.  “Tyler is our only boy. Those two love to hang out and be silly,” she said. “Tyler follows Sean around and loves his daddy more than anything. His eyes sparkle when he sees him.”

Tyler has responded well to treatment. Sean and Michelle, along with Tyler’s two sisters and their entire extended family, are looking forward to celebrating the end of his treatment soon. But their commitment to St. Jude won’t end when Tyler’s treatment does. “It’s important to give back to St. Jude because they’ve given us something we couldn’t ever repay,” Sean said. “St. Jude has given us our son back. They’ve given us the chance for more holidays and memories. They’ve let us continue being a family.”

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