Area students rally in support of one of their own

LITCHFIELD - - There are times when two teams meeting for a competition becomes more than just a game. Friday, Feb. 25, was one of those times. Ansley-Litchfield and Arcadia were squaring off in a basketball game that night. However, the game itself is likely not what most people in attendance will remember. With these three communities being in such close proximity with each other, most of the students in these schools know each other - or at least of each other. So when the brother of Ansley-Litchfield player Tanner Snow was recently diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease, the other students wanted to show their support. They got their chance to do that at the Friday night game. Typically the stands at a high school sporting event are filled with T-shirts and sweatshirts proudly displaying the colors, mascot and team name of whichever side that individual is there to support. This night, people were there to support Team Tyler. So it was fitting that the stands were filled with fans proudly proclaiming that support, dressed in Team Tyler gear. When the two teams took to the floor for warm-ups prior to the game, all players - on both sides - were sporting Team Tyler T-shirts. The cheerleading squads for both teams also wore the Team Tyler T-shirts. The creation of the T-shirts was a fund raising idea, initiated by Litchfield High School senior Falicia Shephardson. “She (Falicia) took this fund raising activity upon herself and did all the work, along with the schools assistance. They were very neat shirts,” says Tyler’s mom, Jenelle Snow. Tyler, 19, was diagnosed in October 2012 with PNH and Aplastic Anemia - very rare bone marrow failure diseases. The diseases cause Tyler’s red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells to drop to dangerously low levels. Tyler says he is always tired, and had to take a leave from attending Southeast Commun-ity College in Milford because of his illness. He receives weekly platelet transfusions, and an occasional blood transfusion. He is currently on an immunosuppressant in the hope that it will suppress whatever is causing his body to kill the bone marrow and the bone marrow will start producing again. If this treatment fails to put the diseases in remission, Tyler will require an IV immunosuppresant - and if that fails his only option is a Bone Marrow Transplant (stem cell transplant). The only cure for these diseases is a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, Tyler’s brother is not a match for him - only 25 percent of siblings actually match. Therefore, should Tyler require a transplant, he will have to look to the donor registry for a match. The family and the community of Litchfield has been actively recruiting people to join the “Be the Match Registry.” Team Be The Match is a nationwide community committed to helping patients in need of a marrow transplant by raising funds to add more potential marrow donors to Be The Match Registry. Anyone can support Team Tyler, and in so doing you will help raise funds for patients in need of an unrelated marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. “Together we have the potential to truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of men, women and children in need of a life-saving transplant.”