COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Tyler Thomas, five-year-old son of Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese, celebrated the end of three years of chemotherapy treatments for pre-B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a party at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg Childrens Center Tuesday.
Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia more than three years ago as a two-year-old toddler. He is now a healthy, energetic, avid Terrapin fan in kindergarten with his twin brother, Markus.
“It is with great happiness that we can celebrate the end of Tyler’s treatments,” Frese said. “Last week, he received what will hopefully be his last dose of chemo medicine in his battle against leukemia. This marks the end of three years and three months of daily anti-cancer medicines hidden in applesauce."
At Tuesday’s party, Tyler was joined by his family, including his twin brother Markus, at his party at Hopkins. It was Markus’ first trip to Hopkins.
“On Jan. 8, Tyler will have the port in his chest surgically removed,” Frese said. “It was implanted there at the time of diagnosis and has been the method of entry for many chemotherapy drugs, as well as the place where blood has been drawn on a regular basis. Blood counts are crucial components and indicate how a patient is responding to treatments.”
“For the next year and a half, Tyler will have his blood checked to see if leukemia returns. The team of doctors at Johns Hopkins is optimistic that it won’t. Once he gets through that year and a half, he will be deemed ‘cured.’ After that, he will get annual check-ups at Johns Hopkins.”
"We can't thank the amazing people at Hopkins enough. They are simply all unbelievable. We also want to thank our family, friends, and our Maryland family for the support and love over these last few years as we reach this milestone on our journey."
After Tyler was diagnosed over three years ago, members of Frese’s 2006 NCAA championship team got together to form the Team Tyler Foundation. Marissa Coleman, Shay Doron, Laura Harper and Kristi Toliver got together to do something to help their beloved coach and her family. Since then, the Terrapins have hosted three annual Team Tyler games with donations made from fans and supporters, bone marrow donor registry events and more. Numerous other women’s basketball teams donated to Team Tyler, including coaches from Purdue, the SAC at Loyola, and the coaching staffs from UMBC, Duke and Georgia Tech.
Please join the Maryland women’s basketball family on celebrating with the Thomas family in Tyler’s monumental milestone.