Fairfield Twp. embraces 10-year-old boy with terminal illness


What: A Halloween fundraiser for the family of Kyler Bradley

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: 3900 block of Stockbridge Lane in Fairfield Twp.

Parking: On-street parking is limited and parking will be available at Fairfield East Elementary on Morris Road

More info: The fundraiser will feature a silent auction and raffle baskets, and T-shirts and yard signs will be available


Help out the family's financial needs as Kyler fights the diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable brain cancer commonly known as DIPG, via a GoFundMe account that was started. Visit www.gofundme.com/kylerbradley.

Kyler Bradley is a brave little boy.

Less than two weeks ago, the first symptom of the terminal brain cancer diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, commonly known as DIPG, showed in the 10-year-old Fairfield Twp. fifth-grader. His left eye turned inward.

An MRI revealed the inoperable brain cancer that attacks brain stems and renders nervous system function impossible.

That was on Oct. 16, the last time Kyler truly acted as many 10-year-olds do — playing sports in the backyard and riding on four-wheelers. Since then, other symptoms have emerged in the now-wheelchair-bound boy, including immobility on the right side of his body, nausea and headaches, and deteriorating speech.

And his parents, Kirk and Rebecca, were up front with their youngest of two sons from the beginning. When the diagnosis came, they said they had to ensure Kyler trusted them, so they laid it all out that his time will be short.

“I want to give him his whole life in the time that we have,” said his mother, Rebecca. “He’s just 10, he’s a baby. He’s my baby.”

DIPG is the same terminal brain cancer that former Mount St. Joseph basketball player Lauren Hill died from April 10 when she was 19 years old. Hill was responsible for raising $1 million for pediatric cancer research for The Cure Starts Now Foundation.

The Fairfield Twp. community has embraced the Fairfield Intermediate School student, from a Halloween fundraising street party being held from 2-5 p.m. on Stockbridge Lane to the township making him an honorary fire chief, equipped with a golden badge, township ID and a SCBA air mask Kyler calls his “gas mask.” And township fire Chief Tim Thomas also gave Kyler a stuffed Dalmatian, “because every firefighter needs to have a dog.”

The news of Kyler’s illness came through Assistant Chief Matt Schumann, and Thomas said when they heard about Kyler it was an easy decision to help the family.

“When you get the opportunity to help, you do that,” said Thomas.

That help includes taking Kyler to doctors’ appointments, visits at the home, and having Kyler visit the department for lunch.

The chief said he has an 8-year-old autistic grandson and understands the struggle of a special needs child, “but this is a totally different world.”

“It’s so heart-breaking because no matter what we can do, in the big picture, it’s not going to be enough,” Thomas said. “We’re just trying to make the journey a little bit easier.”

Family friend Tova Murray, who’s helping organize the Halloween fundraiser, said the fundraiser was intended for the neighborhood to show its support for Kyler and his family. She didn’t realize how big her neighborhood actually was.

”People I didn’t know are showing up at my house, donating things,” said Murray. “Our plan is to make Kyler famous, and to show his family how much we love him, and we’re all praying for a miracle.”

The fundraiser will feature a silent auction and raffle baskets, and T-shirts and yard signs will be available with all proceeds and donations going to the Bradleys.

Wednesday night, Thomas told the Bradleys that their family “got a whole lot bigger,” as they are now a part of the Fairfield Twp. family.

The Bradleys were overwhelmed by the amount of support they’ve received in such a short period of time, and Rebecca said, “We are truly indebted to our community.”

“We just appreciate everything that everybody’s done,” said Kirk Bradley. “There’s just no way to describe how we feel with everything that’s going on.”

And Rebecca said they realize their family has grown and “I’m so glad to call of you my friends and my family.”

“Thank yous just aren’t enough anymore,” she said. “I’m in awe.”

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