Cork couple who lost toddler to cancer donate fleet of mini garda cars to sick children

Cork couple who lost toddler to cancer donate fleet of mini garda cars to sick children

Tyler Ryan and his parents Stephen and Margo: Pics supplied by the family

Tyler and Scott Ryan were born on the 22nd of May 2017. In early 2018 Tyler was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ectmesenchymoma.

His Charleville, Co Cork based parents Margo and Stephen watched their son go through extensive rounds of treatment, blood transfusions and two surgeries requiring the removal of this bladder, prostate, urinary tract and a portion of his bowel.

Tyler passed away surrounded by family in the tender care of Marymount Hospice in Cork city in March 2019.

Margo says that her "lion" of a child took cancer in his stride.

"Tyler was so brave and strong and such a happy little boy with big blue eyes and beautiful blond hair. He was so kind hearted and loveable. He loved his hugs and kisses.

We created lots of memories with Tyler and we brought forward his and Scott's second birthday so that they could celebrate together, while still hoping that Tyler would be there for his real second birthday. We scoured the earth and took our search for treatment worldwide."

Tyler Ryan re copy filed by Olivia Kelleher Pics supplied by the family
Tyler Ryan re copy filed by Olivia Kelleher Pics supplied by the family

Margo is devastated that childhood cancer stole their little boy from his parents and his siblings Scott and Lilly Kate.

"Towards the end Tyler looked perfect. He had all his hair. His weight was up and we had so much hope that he would get the chance he deserved. He outshone this horrible disease and fought so hard to stay with us. He smiled through everything.

"We held him tighly on his last night with us, telling him how much we loved him. He looked up at us, it was like he was saying goodbye. We told our brave boy that we were proud of him and that his nanna was waiting for him and that we were sorry we couldn't save him.

"Tyler gained his wings in our arms listening to his favourite music. As a parent, hopelessly watching your son taking his last breath will never leave you. We thought that the diagnosis was the worst part. It is no comparison to putting your child in a coffin."

The Ryan family decided to fundraise to support the purchase of a batch of mini garda cars that are being sent out to sick children throughout the country under the Little Blue Heroes programme.

Little Blue Heroes is a not-for-profit charitable foundation established by Garda staff which aims to support local Gardaí in providing financial assistance and practical support to families in local communities who have children undergoing long-term medical treatment for serious illness.

In 2018, Tyler became a Little Blue Hero and was made an honorary Garda.

The late Tyler Ryan in a toy Garda Patrol car. His mother fundraised for a fleet of toy Garda cars for sick kids. Pic courtesy of family.
The late Tyler Ryan in a toy Garda Patrol car. His mother fundraised for a fleet of toy Garda cars for sick kids. Pic courtesy of family.

Margo says that Tyler had a particularly strong fascination with Garda cars. He was given the chance to drive in a specially made mini Garda Patrol car.

"Tyler in his days out at events with Litle Blue Heroes enjoyed being in control of the wheel of a mini Garda car. It meant so much to him having control of the wheel and waving and smiling at everyone."

Tyler received a Garda guard of honour at his funeral. He was due to attend a Garda "graduation" cermony in August 2019 at Garda Headquarters to receive a bravery medal.

The family travelled to Dublin for the Little Blue Heroes Ceremony at Garda HQ and little Scott went to the podium and collected the award on behalf of his brother.

Margo and Stephen hosted a memorial at Doneraile Park to raise funds for batch of Garda mini cars which are being distributed in the name of Tyler Ryan.

Margo says that each of the cars has a picture of Tyler on the back.

"All these Little Blue Heroes mean so much to us and we know how hard it is to have a very ill child. They are extra special. These beautiful kids deserve happiness and it makes us so proud to keep Tyler's memory alive."

Margo says that more research is needed for childhood cancer. She thinks of the friends Tyler made on hospital wards every day and is hugely grateful for the support charities such as Aoibheann's Pink Tie, Gavin Glynn Foundation and Little Blue Heroes.

"These charities do so much to help and support families through the hardship. They don't get half enough credit for making a very difficult journey bearable.

"We met some amazing people along the way. Some of these children are still fighting and some have gained their wings. The journey is beyond difficult. It alters your life forever."

Margo’s mother died of cancer at the age of 43 so she was heartbroken when Tyler was diagnosed having seen how arduous chemotherapy can be on patients.

Thankfully she says her husband Stephen was a massive support. However, it was very difficult to see Tyler undergo treatment.

“I lost my mum to cancer so I knew what Tyler had do face which broke me. Stephen my husband because a doctor overnight to his son. He was amazing. We are a great team.” 

Donations can be made to Little Blue Heroes at https://www.littleblueheroes.org/donate

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