In 2001, at the age of 11, there was nothing that Tyler loved more than his Arizona Diamondbacks. Regularly watching games from his hospital bed while being treated for cancer, he knew instantly what his wish would be when Make-A-Wish® Arizona came knocking – he wanted to meet Luis Gonzalez.
Tyler loved Luis Gonzales because he was a good player and seemed friendly. Plus, just as Tyler was finishing treatment, the Diamondbacks won the World Series. It felt like both of them had hit a grand slam toward a happy future! Tyler was so dedicated to meeting Luis, he even waited until the next season so he could spend time with him on the field!
When his wish day arrived, Tyler expected to meet his Luis, shake hands, maybe talk for an hour and then go to lunch with his wish granter volunteers. He was in for quite a surprise! Instead, Tyler was picked up from school in a limousine which took him to the ball park. There, he started his day with lunch at Friday’s Front Row and a mini shopping spree at the team shop.
Soon after, Luis came to greet his guest and took him to the field, where Tyler watched batting practice and hung out with the whole team. After batting practice, Luis took Tyler and a couple family members down to the locker room. There, Gonzo signed a few of his things and gave them to Tyler.
“Stepping onto the field was a surreal experience for me,” says Tyler, even all these years later. ”It was exciting to meet Luis. He was an amazing person and he treated me just like a friend, like I was a member of the team.”
“We talked about my experiences with my disease, and what was going on in his life,” says Tyler. “It was so great to talk with Gonzo the person, instead of Gonzo the player.”
Eventually, other players introduced themselves to Tyler and gave him autographs. Tyler was able to stick around to hang out with the whole team, and had a tour of the locker rooms. When it was game time, the Diamondbacks showed Tyler to the pool, where he could see the game while enjoying the cool water!
Even more than 10 years later, Tyler still talks about his wish with others, and believes it was a valuable experience.
“My wish is something that I will always have on my mind,” he says. “It was truly an unforgettable day for me, my family, and my friends that Gonzo and the Arizona Diamondbacks made me feel special and loved.”
Today, Tyler plans to be involved at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the near future. He even aspires to become a social worker in pediatric oncology in order to have an impact on kids that are going through what he endured.
“I didn't think anything like that could ever happen or was possible. I felt very special that something like that was done for me,” said Tyler. He is very grateful for Make-A-Wish Arizona and the Arizona Diamondbacks for everything they have done for him and the memories he will cherish for the rest of his life.
“Make-A-Wish allows wish kids to experience their childhood dreams and it takes their mind off their treatments,” said Tyler. “There is no way to show the value that comes with a wish.”