Teresa Verbeek just wants to see her son smile again.
Tyler, 18, has a severe form spina bifida and lost his hearing after an operation as a child. But, he’s really a normal teenager. “I refused to put him in a bubble when he was born,” she says. “I told him, ‘you are going to be independent, you are going to do the things you need to do.’”
He pushes his own wheelchair and swims; “My kid is a body builder from the waist up.” Tyler spends time playing video games and watching movies with friends. “He knows every swear word in the book – he’s just a kid.”
But right now, he’s a kid with a big problem; a problem people in Wyoming are trying to help solve.
A year ago, Tyler had to be treated for ulcers. It left him flat on his back in bed and that led to severe bed sores. The sores have eaten away parts of his muscles. Verbeek says it has taken a toll on Tyler. He hasn’t been back to classes at Robarts this year and his mom says he’s lost his spark of joy.
“It’s been awful,” she says through tears adding Tyler has had 34 surgeries, including brain surgery that lasted 16 hours, but nothing has been as difficult as this.
“It has created unfortunately, for more than one reason, depression and anxiety.”
“That beautiful smile – the one that lights up my face every morning – is not there right now.
“I don’t want him to go through this again. He’s had 16-and-a-half hour surgery and it wasn’t as bad as this. People think ‘bed sores – how bad can it be?’ But their awful.”
Verbeek says Tyler has lost his mobility, the ability to hand out with his friends, and to swim – which he loves.
There is a solution. Medical professionals have told Verbeek the answer to healing the painful bed sores – and keeping them at bay in the future – is a true low air loss rotational mattress. It has a series of air pockets which decompress gently and would roll Tyler back and forth as he sleeps so he’s not putting pressure on one spot, developing bed sores.
“It’s an outrageously expensive bed,” says Verbeek – more than $12,000 when all costs are added up. Verbeek has always paid for 25 per cent of Tyler’s medical equipment so she set up a GoFundMe page to raise her portion of the bed.
Then she found out beds aren’t covered under any program including the Ontario Disability Support Program. “They don’t care that it’s a medical bed.”
Verbeek was left wondering how she would find the cash for the bed when members of the Wyoming Lions heard about her problem. Within a few days, the club had organized Tunes of Tyler. On Saturday, the Lions Hall will be filled with music and fun in effort to help the Verbeek’s raise the cash for Tyler’s special bed.
Verbeek is overwhelmed. “It’s not something I want to go out in the community with, don’t want people to think poor Tyler but at the same time, he really just needs help. He’s not going to heal without this.
“There are never going to be enough words to thank them, to let them know how much I appreciate it.”
Tunes for Tyler tickets are available by calling Mike Vasey at 519-402-1761.