Editorial – A legacy lives on: Tyler Christman is remembered for enjoying his life to the fullest | Editorials
At 14, Tyler Christman had his whole life ahead of him.
Family members said he was free-spirited and adventurous. He enjoyed competing on Saturdays at Evans Mills Raceway, previously owned by his father, Jason.
A freshman at Carthage High School, Tyler played on the college junior football team. Like everything he has done, he gave everything to his teammates as well as to the school and his fans.
Tragically, Tyler suffered a serious head injury on September 18 during a football game against West Genesee High School in Camillus. He collapsed and had to be taken to the Syracuse Northern State University Hospital.
People in upstate New York have contacted Tyler’s family. A “Light It Up Red for Tyler” rally was held Monday evening at the village park in Carthage. Hailey Reece, one of Tyler’s close friends, has asked people on Facebook to wear red in support.
“It worked. The suggestion quickly spread far beyond village, school district, northern and New York state boundaries,” according to an article published Monday by the Watertown Daily. Times. “Carthage and Augustinian Central Academy students locally and in northern districts of the country flocked to classrooms decked out in whatever red costume they could find. Prayer lines s ‘spreading across the country quickly formed on social media Monday and comet red shirts worn in solidarity appeared in schools, businesses and everywhere on social media in places near and far: the center and the west. from New York; along the east coast to North Carolina, Maryland and Florida; to California and through Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and Michigan in between. Photo after photo, post after post, we see teams, businesses and entire families clad in red, reaching out in the face of tragedy. Number 27, Tyler’s number, even appeared on ribbons attached to backpacks.
But the worst fears for the Christman family have come true. Despite brain surgery performed on him following his injury, Tyler remained unconscious. He died Tuesday afternoon surrounded by his relatives.
There is no doubt that Tyler’s family and friends were deeply touched by the massive display of support. So many people in the north of the country felt like they had lost one of their own.
Tyler’s father posted a statement Tuesday on Facebook, in part: “Our family has felt such love from family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers. Our family appreciates all the thoughts, prayers and support. We know he felt all the love that was sent to him. Our Tyler was and always will be loved.
Support from community members continues. Lee Gill, owner of Evans Mills Speedway, has scheduled a candlelight vigil in Tyler’s honor to be held at 7 p.m. tonight at the race site. And the Watertown Red & Black, a local semi-pro football team, will be wearing stickers with Tyler’s number 27 on their helmets for future games.
Members of Tyler’s family took part in a march of honor on Tuesday. It is a ceremony to commemorate an individual’s life before their organs are harvested after death and donated to other people.
We congratulate everyone who sent their support to the Christman family. It is devastating to lose someone so loved at such a young age. But Tyler’s family will build on the strength offered by the community at large.
We also congratulate the Christmans on their decision to pass Tyler’s organs to those who need them. No one wants to have to make such a decision for a loved one.
But there are many people waiting for vital organs, and allowing those people to continue is a noble act. Tyler’s memory will last throughout the lives he helps preserve.
It is important that people have difficult but important conversations with their family members about end-of-life issues. Adults should make sure that plans are made for themselves, their partners and, if necessary, their children.
The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, maintains a website with information about the need and process for organ donation. Visit http://wdt.me/m39tgg to learn more.