St. Jude treats Memphis boy who is now thriving, running marathons

Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Michelle and her family live in Memphis, and they have a unique history with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“My grandmother and two of my aunts were some of the first ladies of St. Jude with Danny Thomas,” Michelle says.

Years later, in 2012, her niece would be successfully treated at St. Jude for pediatric melanoma. Michelle never dreamed her son would then fall ill.

“All of a sudden Tyler, who was 6 at the time, started feeling bad. He started falling asleep in class, arm and leg pains, extreme night sweats,” she says.

The doctor said it was growing pains.

“On the night of January 31, 2013, Tyler could no longer put any weight on his arms and legs,” Michelle remembers. “I just picked him up and held him.”

She took Tyler to a children’s hospital, and that same night he took an ambulance ride to St. Jude.

Tyler was treated at St. Jude and is thriving today.
Tyler was treated at St. Jude and is thriving today.(St. Jude)

“We go through the doors, no clue what was going on, terrified beyond belief, but walking into that place I knew that we were where we needed to be. I knew we were in the best place in the world. They had just saved my niece’s life, and I knew they were gonna save his,” she recalls.

Eventually, they were told Tyler had ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

“He was in active treatment for 2 years and 7 months. Thousands of rounds of chemo, spinal draws,” Michelle says.

It was a long and emotional journey, but with the top-notch medial care and compassionate staff at St. Jude, Tyler would survive and thrive. As a way to give back, Tyler took up running.

“In 2019 he crossed over the 10K line with me for St. Jude Memphis marathon weekend,” she remembers.

Tyler was treated at St. Jude and is thriving today.
Tyler was treated at St. Jude and is thriving today.(St. Jude)

Then, in 2020, he trained hard and finished a half-marathon for the children of St. Jude, in an impressive 2 hours 9 minutes.

And the best way you can give back, according to Michelle, is getting a Dream Home Ticket.

“People don’t realize that when they but that ticket, when you make that donation, you’re helping save my son’s life, and saving the life of all the kids, because right now, a family is being told their child has cancer,” she says.

This year, the St. Jude Dream Home is being built in Crossview Plantation in Rankin County. It’s worth more than $500,000. Call 1-800-371-6789 or visit to get your ticket today!

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