This past year we have fallen in love with the Tyler Robinson Foundation (TRF). Tyler was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in August 2011. After the diagnosis, his brother Jesse decided to look for ways to help Tyler with all the battles he had ahead of him. Both brothers loved music and Jesse found a line from the Imagine Dragons song, It’s Time, that became their anthem and brought comfort in times of pain: “The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.”.
Jesse sent a Facebook message to Imagine Dragons telling them about Tyler’s story. They got a message back that the band wanted to meet him at a show. There they met and the band dedicated a song to Tyler during their show. They all became fast friends.
Tyler passed away unexpectedly on March 4, 2013. Shortly after Tyler passing, band member, Dan Reynolds, called to offer his condolences on behalf of the band. It was at that time that he and Tyler’s brother Jesse decided that they wanted to create a foundation. Together the Robinson Family led by Jesse Robinson, and Imagine Dragons wanted to build on the success of the band to remember Tyler and help families struggling with the financial burdens that having a child with cancer brings.
Building a foundation is not an easy task and can take up to 18 months to get IRS approval but with the help of the band’s manager, Jeff Schwartz, they had the foundation up and running in 6 months. People started sending donations and in 9 months they had their first benefit concert that raised $400,000.
The main questions was, how could they help families that would make a lasting difference in their lives? The way TRF is set up is the reason that we love them and want to recognize them as “Locals Making a Difference”.
TRF doesn’t just give families money and walk away. Each family is nominated by one of their 14 partnered hospitals and is given a volunteer financial planner. This helps TRF decide where their money will make the most difference to the family. Financial planners assess the individual financial situation of these families so that when they come out of paying for cancer treatment, they are on the path to becoming debt free, and have financial freedom.
5% of the money given to families is “fun money”. Families take a vacation, go shopping, or do fun activities they enjoy. TRF also makes sure that these children have the right computers and equipment they need to succeed in school even when, in so many cases, they aren’t able to attend classes.
While TRF is not able to help every family that applies for their granting program, they still reach out to the families that apply and aren’t accepted to give them a $500 visa gift card. How amazing is that?
We feel lucky to have become friends with Jesse Robinson and learn of Tyler’s story. We applaud the Robinson Family and Imagine Dragons for all they are trying to do to make a difference in the world. Join us in contributing to TRF and aiding in the amazing program they have built. To make a donation or read more about TRF, click here.
Do you know someone in your community making a difference? We want to hear all about them! Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Smile, serve and make the world a better place.
XOXO, Salt Sky.