Story of Tyler's Gift

On December 2nd, 2003, my aunt and uncle gave birth to identical twin sons. Born at just 28 weeks, the oldest twin, Tyler, passed away at seven days old. In Tyler’s last hours of life, my aunt and uncle held him and read to him. When they read, Tyler’s vital signs improved, which was a tremendous comfort to my aunt and uncle, who could do very little for their son. Tyler’s younger brother, my cousin, fought for his life for the next four months. Miraculously, he overcame tremendous odds and left Charlotte Medical Center’s Neonatal Unit in his parents' arms, 105 days after his birth. He is now 16, and the most incredible, intelligent, wise, and passionate young man you will ever meet.

In honor and memory of my cousin Tyler, every holiday season I collect brand new children’s books. The books are then delivered to hospitalized babies and their caregivers in the week leading up to Christmas. Books are usually delivered to the tiniest of babies, to children, and to teenagers.

It is with great honor that Tyler’s Gift is now partnered with both campuses of New York Presbyterian, both  Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Lower Manhattan Hospital.  However, this year marks a year of significant increase in demand for books for hospitalized children and their families due to Covid-19, and new hospital regulations that brought their book count to nearly zero.  Last year, the books collected were focused on infants-6 months old in the NICU of Morgan Stanley, but this year we are collecting for ALL ages, infant to teen, in order to hopefully be able to provide books for all of the patients.  It is my goal to collect 500 books by the last week of December.  A book may not seem like much, but to hospitalized children and their families, especially around the holidays, it means more than you can possibly imagine. This is my way of honoring my cousin, and my family, and if it makes even the tiniest bit of difference to someone else in a similar situation, then I know Tyler would be proud. 

I am so grateful to everyone who was involved and donated last year, I truly could not have done it without you all.  This year, I am nearly tripling my efforts, so every single book counts. Please do not hesitate to reach out to learn more about how to get involved.  

 

Truly, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and happy holidays.

Rachael

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