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USC student receives life changing transplant

By Staff | Mar 9, 2014

Tyler Doyle has never let anything slow him down not even his anemia.

Doyle, a sophomore at United South Central School from Easton, has had anemia since he was born and has faced many challenges with his health.

“It’s just been something I’ve always had to deal with,” Doyle says. “I?have been sick a lot, but it doesn’t define who I am because I can still do everything I want to do.”

In the past, Doyle would only need one blood transfusion a year, but this past year he has required blood transfusions every three to five weeks.

With excess build up of iron one starts to worry about organs such as the heart, liver, etc. shutting down, according to his mother, Angie Doyle.

Instead of the constant blood transfusions, the Doyle family decided to hopefully cure Tyler Doyle’s anemia for good by having a bone marrow transplant.

Last summer they made the decision official; the immediate family was tested and unfortunately none of them came back as a match.

“It was a huge risk, especially with a potential non-relative donor,” Angie Doyle says. “But, with all the risks, the end result potentially means a cure.”

Luckily, when Doyle’s doctor searched the bone marrow registry, it came back with an astounding 1,200 matches.

“Our doctor couldn’t believe the number of potential matches for Tyler,” Angie Doyle explains. “You can about imagine how happy we were when they told us they found a perfect match. All we know at this time is that the donor is a healthy 46-year-old male who has the same blood type and lives in the United States.”

Doyle needed his entire immune system wiped out before the transplant. So, he went through chemotherapy and three rounds of radiation.

After the procedure was completed on Dec. 5, Doyle began a new challenge he needed to stay in Rochester for at least 100 days.

“He was first discharged on Christmas Eve,” Angie Doyle says. “We couldn’t go far because the doctor told us that we need to be by a transplant center in case anything goes wrong. So, we moved into a room in the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.”

Doyle has had some complications, putting him back in the hospital, but keeps on proving time and time again he is “TD Strong.”

“We went to go get a second opinion in Boston,” Angie Doyle says. “It was about two weeks after the Boston bombings and we saw “Boston Strong” everywhere. That’s where we got the “TD Strong” idea from.”

Doyle’s aunt (Courtnay Lenz) and uncle (Kevin Doyle) decided to get involved by making “TD Strong” T-shirts. They were only planning on selling about 25 of them to family and close friends, but ended up selling a total of 238 shirts for $15 each, with profits donated to the Ronald McDonald House, according to Angie Doyle.

USC has also been very supportive in working with the Doyle family.

Since the USC basketball team was playing their last regular season game on Feb. 18 versus Loyola, they decided to honor Doyle.

Doyle’s cousins graduated from Loyola (they were basketball players) and Tyler used to attend a lot of their games, so USC decided to make him an honorary captain that night.

However, since he was not able to attend the game, Angie received the plaque and captain’s star on behalf of her son.

“It was great to see the USC players wearing the “TD Strong” t-shirts during warmups,” she says.

The Faribault County Pork Producers sold pork sandwiches that night, with all proceeds going to the Doyle family as well.

“TD” wristbands were also donated and proceeds were given back for support of Tyler and the family’s medical bills, according to Deb Allis, the USC activities, transportation, comm. ed. administrative assistant.

Doyle is anxious to get out of his hospital bed and back on his feet he says.

“I don’t know what is going to happen when I get back home,” he admits. “All I know is that I?can’t wait to see my heifers again.”

Doyle currently has two heifers, one of which is pregnant with a baby calf he says.

He won one of the heifers in the Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program (MYBEP) in October of 2012 and named her Lucky Lady.

Growing up, Doyle says he was just like all the other kids.

“I love playing sports,” Doyle explains. “Baseball and basketball are my favorites.”

Doyle is excited to be with his family again at their home.

Angie and her husband Kerry have been taking turns staying with their son both in the Ronald McDonald House and the hospital.

“It’s always difficult watching a child, especially your own, struggle so much,” Angie Doyle explains. “It has been a hard process with multiple ups and downs. The ups are always so great.”

Doyle can’t wait to get home and couldn’t say enough how much he missed his heifers.

“I’m just ready to be home and have things be normal for me again, hopefully without anemia,” Doyle says.