Tyler Cross was born with a very rare skin disease call Epidermolysis Bullosa, a connective tissue disease resulting in extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears from minor friction or trauma. Children with EB are known as “Butterfly Children” because the disease makes their skin as fragile as the wings of a butterfly.
Tyler’s parents, Terry and Joan, were introduced to Ronald McDonald House Charities many years ago. Tyler’s older brother, Justin, was also diagnosed with this same rare disease that took his life at age 22. With the family living in and out of hospitals for 13 years, it was a godsend to learn about the House and the amenities it had to offer their family.
“The Ronald McDonald House has been life changing for us. For my husband and I, the RMH is a second home. We have a place to eat supper, a place for a shower, it’s the simple things you miss like being able to put your clothes in a dresser and not live out of a suitcase. We thank all of you for changing our life.”
Tyler, now age 17, has been an inspiration to everyone. He lives in constant pain, yet puts smiles on the faces of everyone around him. Even when that pain is most severe, such as when hospital nurses take two to four hours every day to change the bandages covering his entire body, he sings through the pain. He has been known to hold concerts at Blank Children’s Hospital, singing to lift the spirits of the nurses and the other children on his floor.
He has shared his story many times and was even called to Capital Hill to meet with members of congress to stress the importance of funding research for Epidermolysis Bullosa and share how the disease has impacted his life. Tyler understands that a little bit adds up and can go along way. He has often donated his piggy bank to various charities and people in need. As he says, “your change, like pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters can change the world!”
How You Can Help
We learned recently that the Cross family home in Corning, IA is in dire need of a new roof. As you can imagine, even with the best medical insurance, 13 years of hospital bills have made an enormous financial impact. We want to help them replace their roof and we need your help. We have never directly asked for money for a specific family before, however, this situation is so unique, we thought the need justified the ask.
If you would like to contribute, the family has set up a fund to accept locations at Iowa State Bank called the Tyler Cross Fund. You can stop by any Iowa State Bank location to donate or mail in a donation to any of their locations. Their main location is 627 East Locust, Des Moines, IA 50309. Be sure to make a note that it is a donation to the Tyler Cross Fund. If you have any questions you can call the bank at 515-288-0111 or visit www.iowastatebanks.com. You can also donate online at www.gofundme.com/hqua5c
Since 2009, KCCI News Channel 8 has been following Tyler and sharing his story. Below our videos from some of those broadcasts.
Published November 25, 2009:
Published June 30, 2011:
Published February 19, 2013:
Published March 1, 2013: