The young life of
Tyler Khaleb Sassman
who on January 31, 2017, was called home after a courageous battle with brain cancer.
Our tribute to Tyler – or Ty, Mr T, Sassy T, Ty Ty, as his friends fondly called him – will see the launch of the Tyler Sassman Foundation to provide much-needed support and assistance to children and young people with cancer, and to their families.
More about Tyler
In the words of his mother, he was a kind, gentle child with a big heart and a warm personality. He was a peace-keeper and also the joker, the funny guy in the family, as well as among his friends. In many ways, he was his father’s keeper and always knew when his father was not feeling well and needed attention. The courage with which he fought his own illness made him his dad’s hero and his father always told him that.
Tyler grew up in a devout Christian home. He loved the Lord, his family and his greatest passion, soccer. Although he was a typical teenager in so many ways, he was always a child so disciplined and respectful. He was truly a blessing to his family, to his church community, his friends, team mates and everyone who met and knew him and his memory lives on in all of our hearts.
Tyler’s had a great passion for soccer. He started playing the beautiful game at a tender age in 2006 when he joined the Dazzlers Football Club. In 2010 he joined Wits Juniors Football Club; in 2013 he joined Stars of Africa Football Academy, and in 2016 he returned to home to Wits Juniors FC.
Tyler was his father’s only son and hero. Randall dedicated all his time and energy in supporting Tyler in his soccer career and did not want to miss any of his soccer matches as this was their bonding time. Later on, he and his dad also started their project of rebuilding an original 1979 VW Golf I vehicle as their pet project. This was Tyler’s pride and joy and he couldn’t wait for his 16th birthday to obtain his learners and ultimately his driver’s license, and he so much looked forward to someday driving his own car to his matric banquet.
Tyler’s classmates put a book and a video together.
One cannot begin to imagine what a bereaved family goes through who have lost such a beautiful soul and in our determination to honour the life and legacy of this brave soldier, the Tyler Sassman Foundation was established.
Again I quote Tyler’s mom: “For cancer did not win this battle, in fact, the victory has just begun…”
The purpose of the foundation is to fill a void in the support and literature available to children with cancer, their families and their caregivers.
In terms of the work of the Foundation, we will be partnering with the CANCA TLC programme to identify needs in target market where we can assist in terms of donations and support. We will also be partnering with oncology wards at government hospitals to donate and support wherever and whatever we are able to.
After his first two operations, Tyler made a remarkable recovery, and the doctors could hardly believe how well he was doing. But then Tyler relapsed, and during one of his relapses in hospital he suffered a seizure..
Not only was Tyler’s illness a huge challenge to him personally, but also to his family.
It was during Tyler’s treatment that his family realised there was a pressing need for support, assistance and informative literature for young cancer sufferers and their families, and decided to fill the void by launching the Tyler Sassman Foundation.
To those close to him, Tyler was a true soldier and fought his battle with tremendous courage.
Distraught at his illness and that he had to go through this heartache, he knew he was loved and he loved and appreciated having the support of his family and close cousins and uncles during the hardest fight of his life.
On January 31 this year, at the age of sixteen, Tyler was called home following his battle with cancer.