Article & Photos Provided by T&B Foundation
Photos by Tika Siburt
“T&B Foundation is named after two special little boys, Tyler Barnett and Brayden Bateman. Here are their stories:
Tyler was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma (eye cancer) on February 15, 2011 at 2 months old. After six months of systemic chemotherapy and a year of laser and cryotherapy (freezing treatment), the cancer in Tyler’s right eye had been destroyed. Sadly, tiny tumors (seeds) in his left eye were too difficult to overcome, and his eye was removed on July 12, 2012 to protect his life. Tyler received his prosthetic eye 6 weeks later and it looks amazing! Most people can’t even tell it’s fake! At Tyler’s most recent EUA in September 2013 his eyes looked perfect and the doctor believes he will have 20/20 in his right eye. (You can read more about Tyler’s story here.)
Brayden was also diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma on April 15, 2009 at 2 weeks old and started chemo at 20 days old. Brayden has endured an uphill road to get to where he is today. 9 tumors (6 in his left eye and 3 in his right eye), 3 cysts in his brain, 9 rounds of systemic chemo, a radioactive plaque, chicken pox in the middle of chemo, multiple hospital admissions for fever, 3 surgeries to place / remove ports and central lines, 13 MRIs, two seizures, 21 EUAs and laser eye surgeries. Brayden has fought chronic infections after chemo due to a compromised immune system the past 3 years and is beginning treatment to hopefully fix what the chemo damaged while saving his life, his eyes and his vision. Brayden’s most recent EUA in September 2013 revealed that all of Brayden’s tumors are stable and he has 20/40 vision in his right eye and 20/80 vision in his left eye. (You can read more about Brayden’s story here.)
Now it is time for our families to give back and we can’t think of a better way than to help make the road a little easier for those kids fighting cancer like Brayden and Tyler! We, the moms of Tyler and Brayden, began this organization with Patient Pouches in mind. Our sons were treated at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. The surgical center where they would go for their EUAs (exams under anesthesia) was aimed at adults with a very limited selection of toys for kids. We knew that we wanted to somehow provide young cancer patients a distraction from all the waiting and give them something fun to do.
Patient Pouches include lots of fun activities aimed at different age ranges. Patient Pouches are intended to be used only at appointments that the children may have, whether they’re receiving chemo, going into surgery, or just sitting in the waiting room. Having a special Patient Pouch filled with fun activities for them to play with only when they’re at appointments will help the time pass by and make the toys extra special.
We came up with this idea back in June and through word of mouth from our friends and family and the power of Facebook we have continued to grow since. Now our Facebook page is over 300 likes and we just started a T&B Twitter account.
Everyone who hears about Patient Pouches just loves the idea and wants to help out! We created a Wish List of all the items we would need to make the pouches and just started getting floods of donations sent to us. Many people went to stores to buy items off our list while others simply sent us gift cards and we did all the shopping for them!
Thanks to everyone’s donations we were able to officially launch Patient Pouches at Wills Eye on September 6, 2013 with 172 pouches!! Our plan is to continue re-filling the supply of Patient Pouches at Wills Eye every month or so whenever more are needed. Once we have completely succeeded at fulfilling the needs of all the patients at Wills Eye our goal is to branch out and start sending Patient Pouches to other hospitals.
At this point we are working on getting our 501(c)3 nonprofit status so we will be able to accept monetary donations to really help T&B Foundation grow.
For more information on T&B Foundation and our first project, Patient Pouches, like us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/TandBFoundation or find us on twitter at http://twitter.com/TandBFoundation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”