Eight years ago, Ty set off to Hawaii to fulfill his wish of being a volcanologist. Now 16-years-old, Ty shines as a light of inspiration to his family and community.
Ty had shown a susceptibility to illnesses since he was born. However, it wasn’t until he was four-years-old that his medical journey began. A sharp pain in his side triggered his first trip to the doctor’s office. The source of the pain was cited as kidney stones, but it was discovering the cause of the kidney stones that ultimately started Ty’s cross-country medical journey.
The urologist that ran Ty’s original tests reported that he, along with a handful of other doctors, had only read about his symptoms in a textbook. They had never seen nor treated anyone with results as dramatic as Ty’s.
A referral to see a Primary Hyperoxaluria specialist at the Mayo Clinic raised more questions than it answered. It became evident that Ty was an exception to every rule, never perfectly fitting one diagnosis.
After seeing the specialist, Ty was referred to a Hepatology, followed by Endocrinology, then Pulmonology, and finally Genetics. Each doctor giving their own prognosis, but never being able to package them all together in one clear answer.
Ty’s current diagnosis is Respiratory Chain Mitochondrial Disorder. Meaning, his body can quickly run out of power and it must decide which organ system it wants to send the remaining power to. There are days when his muscles or brain or immune system or lungs won’t fully function. There is no warning and no way of predicting when or how long it will occur.
“Just take him home and give science a chance to catch up” said one of Ty’s doctors.
After his wish, Ty began to change for the better. He had time to recharge and renew his spirit. He returned from Hawaii full of hope and started thinking about his future for the first time. Ty still talks about his wish at least once a month and loves showing everyone his recap video.
Shortly after his wish, Ty hosted a fundraiser at a local elementary school and raised $5,000. He used the money to sponsor a wish through Make-A-Wish. Ty was determined to help another child experience the happiness and hope he felt after his wish.
In the winter of 2016, Ty’s gastronomy tube was removed after nearly ten years. A short five months later, he began taking college courses at only 14-years-old. He excelled at Chemistry, easily landing an A in the class. The demands of a full scheduled had its effect on Ty, but that didn’t stop his desire to keep learning.
Being home-schooled growing up, Ty’s biggest learning experiences were in doctor’s offices. He had basically shadowed every subset of doctors since he was child. It came as no surprise when Ty announced his dream of becoming a Pediatric Specialist.
“Ty once dreamed of avoiding the doctor’s office, but now he is interning with Corridor Pediatrics” said Ty’s mother, Shannon.
In addition to Ty’s academic and medical endeavors, he is deeply involved within his community. He currently serves as Hays County 4-H 2nd Vice President and a Buda 4-H officer. He was also selected, for the second year, to be a member of the Lyndon B. Johnson Youth Presidential Leadership Council with the National Park Service.
When Ty is not fulfilling the duties on an elected officer, he spends his time volunteering. He volunteers 60 hours annually with the National Park Service. He also spends time with his family volunteering for the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm.
After Ty’s wish, he and his family began living a more balanced lifestyle. For them, the wish served as a reminder that life is precious and deserving of enjoyment. They now place a priority on maintaining a high quality of life. This includes rest and relaxation, along with laughter and renewal. His wish gave him the chance to live out a dream he had when he was a little boy and now it has given him the opportunity to live out his new dream.