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Keeping hope alive

"When Tyler was re-diagnosed we were told that there was no other treatment and to go home and enjoy what time you have," said DeMarco. "You can't accept that, so I started researching right away."

The clinical trial actually opened up the same day he was re-diagnosed, said Don DeMarco, but the trial was deemed unsuccessful after two months as the cancer continued to spread. Tyler DeMarco passed away 11 months later on February 23, 2010.

"We kind of looked at him as a pioneer in this and looked at it as a blessing," said DeMarco about the clinical trial. "As I've learned through much more research, often times these clinical trials fail but they learn as they move ahead with these trials."

Through Tyler's experience he thought no kid should have to go through the same thing he did and he started to raise money to find a cure. Also, he realized children and families should be able to have their own private rooms and not share a space with another child that might not even be going through cancer treatment.

"If you ask any child or parent who is going through something as highly emotional and difficult as is cancer, it becomes tough to share a room," said Don DeMarco. "We had some situations that were uncomfortable at the hospital, but it was no fault of the doctors or nurses."

DeMarco said his son started to raise funds to find a cure because "that is just the kind of kid he was. He was just a very loving and compassionate child."

Whether it was school assignments, sports, or even his cause to raise funds for research he was always determined, said DeMarco. Tyler is still the driving force behind the volunteer for the tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

"If it was up to my wife and I, we probably wouldn't have taken on this challenge ourselves, but because Tyler said that he wanted to do this that is why we are doing it," said DeMarco. "Since we have started this, we have had people reach out to us all across the country with their children that were going through the same disease or a disease like it. There has been an incredible bond over the phone and through email."

To register for the "Fore Hope" golf tournament and find more information on the Tyler DeMarco Foundation visit http://www.tylerdemarcofoundation.org/ . The deadline for tournament registration is Friday, June 10. Donations can also be made on the foundation's website.

DeMarco was a talented baseball player and was both a pitcher and first baseman in Rotterdam Little League. His number, "7," was also retired by the league and is mounted on the wall of champions.
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