Boyceville (WQOW) - The final score of Friday night's high school football game in Boyceville may not have turned heads, but the four touchdowns scored by the home team meant a lot to one family.
Boyceville defeated Spring Valley 32-8. At that game, the Boyceville community raised more than $3,000 for Tyler Schmidt. He's a 10-year-old battling a rare cancer that produces tumors on the spinal cord and brain.
Money was donated to the family through a special fundraiser called Touchdowns for Tyler. One option fans had was to pledge a dollar amount for every touchdown the Bulldogs scored Friday night. They scored four, which brought in about $1,000. Organizers say donations are still coming in.
Tyler was an honorary water boy for the team that night.
Boyceville (WQOW) - There may be nothing like the atmosphere surrounding a Friday night homecoming football game in Wisconsin. There will be something special added to one game Friday night. The focus will be on a 10-year-old boy.
For Tyler Schmidt playing the game of football is more than just a passion, it's a lifeline.
"Right now, with him into football season, he's feeling as spirited as ever. One of the huge reasons I think he's doing so well with the cancer is because he knows he's putting that jersey on," says Tyler's dad Jeremiah Schmidt.
This past January, Tyler went to the doctor after a hard fall on the ice.
Jeremiah says, "They suspected that he could have sustained a concussion from that hit that he took from the ice, just by chance, they found a tumor. He wasn't showing any symptoms."
After doctors removed the tumor from Tyler's brain, they discovered another tumor, this time on his spinal cord.
Tyler says, "It felt scary because I didn't know what was going to happen to me and I woke up with tubes everywhere."
Tyler was diagnosed with a rare cancer that produces tumors on the spinal cord and brain. The family says doctors still don't fully know the effects.
"We don't have doctors saying, well we know a lot about it and we got to it early and this is going to look great. We just don't know. We have no choice but to take it one symptom at a time, one MRI at a time, one result at a time," says Jeremiah.
Tyler went through radiation treatment this past summer and is currently going through chemotherapy.
"With his last MRI he had after the radiation, they were really surprised. They said as clear as the MRI was, it was a miracle. Because they expected a little, if any improvement from it," says Tyler's mom, Connie Schmidt.
Unfortunately, the family has taken a financial hit. Jeremiah was forced to quit his job after staying by Tyler's side through treatment. He says, "It's a financial burden but it's nothing I can compromise, we do what we have to do and we move on."
Boyceville High School has stepped in to help. At Friday's homecoming game "Touchdowns for Tyler" will raise money for the family, and Tyler will serve as the honorary water boy.
"He's going to be helping haul tape around, equipment around, he's actually going to work. So we're taking advantage of Tyler a little bit too, but the other part of that is that he'll get to be on the field. He'll be on the field for the game and there is nothing quite like being under the lights on Friday night," says Patrick Gretzlock, the athletic director for the school.
Tyler says, "I feel happy, that people out there care and everything, about the family. It's really nice."
There are two ways to pledge. Number one, you can give a flat rate or number two; you can pledge a certain amount for each touchdown the Bulldogs score Friday night. If you can't make it to the game and would like to help, email Patrick Gretzlock at email@example.com.
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