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Tyler Burchett Homerun 5K raises awareness about myelitis
Tyler Burchett spent 52 days in the hospital with myelitis, a rare neurological condition. He played baseball for the Mets and hopes to play again next spring. There will be a 5K benefit to help the Burchett family.
Like most students, Burchett was looking forward to summer vacation. There was baseball, swimming and video games on his agenda before he became a fifth grader at Franklin Woods Intermediate School.
He was a third baseman for the Crosswoods Mets in the Greater Westside Baseball League, swam, played video games and did everything a 10-year-old does while enjoying time away from school. Then it took a difficult turn.
On July 26, Burchett was playing video games when his fingers went numb. His father, Craig, thought he had just been playing video games too long. Then Burchett went outside to swim. Soon after, he could not move his arms.
Craig took his son to the emergency room. There, Burchett lost movement in his legs.
He was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he regained sensation in his left leg, but after CT scans, MRI tests and blood work Burchett was diagnosed with myelitis, a rare neurological condition that involves inflammation of the spinal cord.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the inflammation damages the fatty insulation that covers nerve cell fibers, which interrupts communication between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.
Burchett spent 52 days in the hospital relearning how to move his limbs.
“Tyler is such a delightful young man with an infectious smile,” said Stan Kirtlan, senior minister at the Buckeye Christian Church. “He is so determined to overcome this.”
Tamra Ashworth, a fourth grade teacher at Harmon Elementary School, said there was always a smile on Burchett’s face when she visited him at the hospital.
Burchett was released on Sept. 14. His limbs are still mending, but there is marked improvement.
“His left leg is back to normal, but his right leg is still pretty weak,” Burchett’s mother, Crystal said.
He uses a brace on his right ankle for extra support and relies on crutches and a wheelchair to get around. As for his upper body, Crystal said movement and feeling are slowly coming back.
“His left arm isn’t back to normal. He can’t lift from the elbow up but he can move his hands and fingers,” Crystal said.
Crystal said she was worried that school would be a struggle for Burchett, but those doubts were quickly erased.
“He wants to go every day,” Crystal said, adding his friends help him and the staff has been phenomenal.
After Burchett’s illness, his aunt, Tina Collins, thought of ways to help her relatives with medical bills. Being an avid runner, she decided to put on a 5K in Burchett’s honor.
“I’ve been in a lot of races and I know it’s a good way to raise awareness and money,” Collins said.
The Tyler Burchett Homerun 5K will be held Oct. 29 at Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St., at 9 a.m. Several sponsors covered nearly 100 percent of the cost to start the 5K. Collins said because of their efforts, all of the registration fees would be going to help Burchett. Sixty people have pre-registered. Buckeye Christian Church has a team, several Harmon Elementary School staff members have registered and the Franklin Woods student council is trying to get something going as well.
Since the event is taking place near Halloween, Collins encourages everyone to dress up.
“We’re trying to make it a fun event and a big party for Tyler,” Collins said.
The entry fee is $25 per participant and registration starts at 8 a.m.
To register online, go to www.premierraces.com/2011races/tburchett.html
Donations to the Burchett family can be made to Buckeye Christian Church, 1528 London-Groveport Road, Grove City, OH 43123.
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