If his mom has anything to say, Kyler Bradley will be flying around the state raising money for a cure to the cancer that ended his life too soon.
After all, one of the 10-year-old's goals was to be famous while trying to find a cure for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, commonly known as DIPG, the same cancer Mount St. Joseph basketball player Lauren Hill had that resulted in her death in 2015.
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Kyler died on April 12, 2016, just six months after being diagnosed with DIPG. But since his death, Kyler's memory has lived on.
Just two weeks ago, Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., sponsored a bill that would create a KylerStrong Foundation license plate where a percentage of the proceeds will go to the KylerStrong Foundation. All funds raised by the KylerStrong Foundation goes toward DIPG research.
“We got to go big this year,” said Rebecca Bradley, Kyler’s mother and vocal champion for the foundation and DIPG research. In 2016, the KylerStrong Foundation donated $44,000 to DIPG research.
“These kids are superheros,” said Bradley.
That’s why the design of the KylerStrong license plate, which will feature the EndDIPG.org website, will feature Kyler as a superhero — complete with cape.
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The idea for the license plate started by Bradley as “a whim” of an idea to honor her late son and to raise money for DIPG research. She reached out to family friend Carolyn Coley, the wife of Sen. Coley, about the idea. Within an hour, a representative from the Butler County lawmaker’s office contacted Bradley.
“The great thing I like about a license plate like that, it reminds so many people of the importance of the cause,” said Coley, who always called Kyler “K-man.” “It’s just a great thing to help raise awareness of the cancer and help prompt people to find a cure.”
The Liberty Twp. lawmaker said researchers are “doing some amazing work” and believes “they’re going to find a cure to this one day so no one will have to go through what the Bradleys went through.”
In addition to being famous, Kyler also wanted to be a firefighter. Kyler was made an honorary Fairfield Twp. fire chief in October 2016.
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“It’s a great idea and certainly the Bradley family has continued to work very, very hard in fundraising and finding some medical cure,” said Fairfield Twp. Fire Chief Timothy Thomas. “I know that it’s something that isn’t going away, and almost every week you see another kid is diagnosed with it.”
The artwork for the license plate was created by illustrator Bob Kelly and author Sarah Curry Rathel, who writes specialized books with Kelly on children with illnesses.
She wrote one for Kyler called “Forever KylerStrong.”
“It’s just one more step in a goal he wanted,” she said of his quest of fame and to find a cure for DIPG. “It would be amazing.”
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There are two fundraisers this spring for the KylerStrong Foundation:
April 23: From 2 to 5 p.m. at Kendra Scott at Liberty Center in Liberty Twp. During this time, 20 percent of all purchases will be donated to the foundation.
April 29: Beginning at 7 p.m., a superhero-themed fundraiser dinner will be held at Ryan's Tavern in downtown Hamilton. It's $30 per ticket (kids are free) that features a pull pork meal, raffles, and activity for children.