Alexandria, VA – They lined up at Aldersgate Church in Alexandria while 11-year-old Tyler Crabtree was home with his family, quietly celebrating his 5th anniversary of finishing chemo.
Slowly, the drivers in this parade of about 40 cars silently made their way to Tyler’s street, and once they turned onto his block, they broke the silence and laid on their horns, blaring greetings of joy and love to this brave kid who now looks at cancer in his rearview mirror.
Diagnosed with Pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia as a toddler, Tyler was in treatment for three years and is now cancer-free. As his sister Emily proclaimed, “Tyler is my superhero – he beat cancer!”
Tyler’s mom Michelle and Emily stood in their driveway and waved, happily accepting the thrown candy, balloons and gifts offered by the parading vehicles. Friends also made donations to the family’s favorite childhood cancer foundations, Team Mathias, Kate’s Cause, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Stacey Road is a small, close-knit cul-de-sac, where the neighbors have lived through the initial shock and sadness of Tyler’s diagnosis, and now revel in his strength and health. Neighbor Maria Lewan said, “While Tyler was going through treatment, we referred to him as ‘Superman Tyler,’ and we had shirts, buttons, and banners with Tyler dressed as Superman. Now, as we celebrate his anniversary, Superman Tyler is still flying down the street, only this time on his bicycle, right where he belongs.”
Tyler’s dad John recorded it all on videotape, one more magical milestone on Tyler’s journey through recovery and beyond. As Tyler’s mom Michelle said, “Yeah to five years cancer-free!” Friends from the neighborhood, church, school, sports, and even fellow cancer patients, now dear friends who are battling their own cases, joined the parade for Tyler. Tattoo Tom from Stillbrave, a local hero and activist who’s dedicated his life to helping kids with cancer, also showed up to share the joy.
Congratulations to Tyler and his family. Thank you for sharing your joy just when we all really need a little more of it. May there be many more parades to come.