Unless you have really known someone with Cystic Fibrosis, and known them well, it's difficult to imagine the courage they must display on a day-to-day basis, every day of their lives. When I first met Tyler Moore in 1997, then a 13-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis who wanted to wrestle for our team at Harpers Ferry Junior High, I heard he had CF, an illness I really didn't know anything about. I'm sorry to say I sorta passed it off because I had no idea how serious the illness was. And, of course, Tyler wasn't going to let on that anything was wrong with him.
Can you imagine what teenagers with cystic fibrosis went through back in the 1990's when about half of them would not even live to adulthood? It's hard to imagine anyone having to wake up everyday of their life knowing this. Especially for teenagers who really haven't even begun to live their life. I can only imagine what these kids went through, both mentally and physically. Talk about constantly walking on eggshells. Now that's courage. It's the kind of courage you don't really see, but it's there, it's there inside the person every single day of his life.
I remember when Tyler first entered Harpers Ferry as a 7th grader. He was scheduled to be in my reading class after lunch, but for the first six days of school, he didn't show up. I finally began asking the other students if they knew anything about Tyler, if he had moved. The students from Blue Ridge Mountain (where Tyler lived) said no, he hadn't moved, that he was probably sick and back in the hospital again. They said it happened quite often with him, going to the hospital, but don't worry, he'll be back in school one day. They seemed to think that no matter how often he went to the hospital, he'd always come back home to the mountain.
When Tyler finally did show up at school, he had a grin on his face and apologized for missing school, explaining that he "had a few things that needed to to done," but that he was fine now and looking forward to the new school year. And despite weighing only 85 pounds, he did look healthy, especially with his big smile. He almost made it sound like he had been on a vacation. It was only later that I found out he almost didn't make it when he had been in the hospital. But Tyler never let on that anything was wrong. It was his personality, his way of dealing with setbacks. The last thing he wanted was pity, for someone to feel sorry for him or to think that he was different
from anyone else. Nothing was going to stop him from enjoying "the moment." He was one young person who truly realized how pecious each moment was, and he was determined to enjoy as many moments as possible. And he helped bring a lot of those "moments" into the lives of the people around him.
Tyler had an amazing attitude. Very outgoing, bubbly almost, and seeemingly enthusiastic about everything, especially life and "just having a good time." Maybe that's what drew people to him. He was surprisingly self-confident and enjoyed the attention he got from his friends, not because of anything to do with his cystic fibrosis, but simply because he was so likable and hell-bent on enjoying life and living it to the fullest. And he did. And that made everyone's life who knew him richer.
I hope that more people will add stories about people with cystic fibrosis (either yourself or someone you've known). Share your thoughts and experiences. To add a story, click on the "add comment" button at the bottom of this page. After adding your thoughts, you can return to all the comments by clicking on the "Back to Main Page" button located in the upper left-hand column.
If you'd like to learn more about Tyler or preview Tyler's Mountain Magic,
based on the true story of how Tyler would eventually use his "mountain magic" to help lead his little Harpers Ferry Junior High wrestling team on the most magical sports ride in West Virginia public school history and a state record that will stand for all time, click on the "Tylers Mountain Magic" button in the top left-hand corner.