PRESENTER Fearne Cotton has just agreed to become patron of local children’s charity Tyler’s Trust.
Everyone at the charity, which provides gift boxes to sick youngsters at St Richard’s in Chichester and Worthing Hospital, is said to be ‘thrilled’ that Fearne has given her backing.
The association began when Barnham teenager Tyler Murphy, 18, the charity’s founder, was nominated for the Radio One Teen Hero award.
Fearne presented on Radio One until recently, and was impressed by Tyler’s courage and determination in not only living with a brain tumour but setting up a successful charity which helps others like him.
After recently meeting him again at Radio One, Tyler and his mother Jan asked Fearne if she would consider becoming a patron to the Trust and she instantly agreed.
Fearne said: “Tyler is an amazing person and I was so impressed by his work I jumped at the chance to be patron of this incredible charity.
In 2010, at the age of 12, Tyler started suffering from chronic headaches and sickness.
Diagnosed with migraines, it quickly became clear that it was something far more serious.
He was admitted to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, where an MRI scan revealed a brain tumour.
Tyler was instantly transferred to Southampton Hospital, having surgery that night.
But it was not possible to remove the entire tumour, and the youngster spent weeks in hospital, undergoing a further six operations, leaving Tyler in a wheelchair, with impaired vision and severe nausea.
In the ensuing months Tyler worked tirelessly to regain his mobility and despite three eye operations, the damage to his eyesight was permanent.
Tyler has undergone many more operations and bouts of radiotherapy, and determined to increase awareness of brain tumours he was the subject of numerous media features and interviews.
He has been nominated for several awards in recognition of his courage, though his greatest achievement is the creation of Tyler’s Trust.
During one stay at Southampton Hospital Tyler decided to buy little presents for some of the other children there.
They were thrilled and the idea for Tyler’s Trust was born.
Now people can nominate a child via the website and Tyler puts together a special gift box for them.
“Getting letters and little presents cheered him up so much when he was in hospital, so he knows what a welcome distraction gifts are for a sick child,” said mum Jan.
Some items are standard issue, including a cool bandana (because treatment can cause hair loss), an MP3 player and a journal so recipients can record their journey.
But Tyler likes to find out what each child likes so that the box can be tailored to the individual. Siblings are also included, as being a twin Tyler knows how hard it can be for brothers and sisters of sick children.
Mum Jan added: “I’m beyond proud of Tyler and it helps us both that something so positive has come out of his situation.
“As well as starting the Trust he has managed to get five GCSEs and is studying media. I don’t know many teenagers who could do what he has done.”
To find out more about the fantastic charity, or to nominate a child for a gift box, go to www.tylerstrust.co.uk