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  • #SlayCancerWithDragons: The Tyler Robinson Foundation

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    The Tyler Robinson foundation was founded by Imagine Dragons, and the family of a young brave boy named Tyler. You are about to learn more about how this special young man entered into the lives of Imagine Dragons, and how this incredible foundation was started.

    "The mission of The Tyler Robinson Foundation is to strengthen families financially and emotionally as they cope with the tragedy of a pediatric cancer diagnosis by providing hope, information, and relief through financial services, caring volunteers, and monetary grants."

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    Because of people like you and I, small donations add up big! TRF raised $57,000 for pediatric cancer families on the week of March fo[u]rth in 2016. We can help them continue to raise money with fundraisers and individual donations. Together we can make a difference.

    "If you love somebody. Better tell them while they're here.
    Cause they just may run away from you.
    You'll never know quite when, well
    Then again, it just depends on how long a time is left for you."
    -Imagine Dragons
    "On Top Of The World"

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    I originally bought the Night Visions CD by Imagine Dragons because I'm On Top Of The World was one of the happiest songs that I had ever heard. I was in for a bit of a surprise when most of the album had a rawness to it and very serious undertones. I read that Radioactive was written about overcoming depression. I had never heard an adult talk openly about battling depression. The honesty was apparent in the lyrics. I had never heard someone talk about what it is like to feel different from everyone else- and to struggle with one's faith. The song "Bleeding Out" reminded me that it is possible to love someone much more than you love yourself.

    I discovered that front-man, Dan Reynolds, was also the lyricist. That explained the autobiographical nature of his work. Next, I looked up the videos on You Tube and found them to be short masterpieces. "It's Time" was my favorite video, but I had some difficulty watching "Demons". The depiction of domestic violence was hard to watch for me. The dedication to Tyler Robinson at the end of the video was painful, too. Tyler's love of the music pored out of him in the video clip but he had lost his battle with cancer.

    It was impressive that Dan Reynolds realized at such a young age that everyone has a story. That realization gave me the courage to research more.

    "The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell. Right to the top. Don't look back."
    -Imagine Dragons
    "It's Time"

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    It turns out that a short Facebook message from Tyler's older brother, Jesse, changed Dan Reynolds' life forever and ultimately that message has helped touch the live of countless others who are battling cancer. October 22, 2011 Jesse Robinson explained how Tyler was a 16 year old cancer patient. The song "It's Time" had a very special meaning to him and asked if Imagine Dragons would dedicate the song to Tyler at their concert that night. Dan remarked about how Jesse didn't ask for anything else such as a backstage pass or even an autograph. He just let Imagine Dragons know that they would be attending the show. Dan was moved enough to grant his request. The club where Imagine Dragons was playing was small and dark so the videos are a bit blurry. The cancer treatments had taken such a toll on Tylers body that he was very thin, and pale, and bald. But his beautiful smile at having his favorite song sung especially to him is worth more than a thousand words! The crowd parted to let Tyler through to the front and they lifted him up to the edge of the stage. Dan first held the microphone down so that they could sing together and Tyler gingerly placed his hand on Dan's arm to keep his balance. For a beautiful and touching moment the two young men embraced and Tyler rested his head against Dan's forehead. For a very brief instant, two total strangers connected over a mutual love of music. Those moments are exceedingly rare.
    It was physically and emotionally exhausting for Tyler who's first words were, "I need to sit down!"
    Tyler was supported by his brother's arms while ever person in the crowd joined together in chanting for him, "Tyler! Tyler! Tyler!"

    Wayne Sermon said of that night, "We played at the Grammys, you know, played in front of The Beatles. But I think that moment playing show in a tiny club, this dingy club in Utah, I think that's my favorite moment on stage. Cause it was about selflessness. It wasn't about us or the fans. It was about coming together in that little club and it was really special for us."

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    "I'm starting to cave. I'm losing my flame.
    I wanted your truth but I wanted your pain to disappear."
    -Imagine Dragons
    "Smoke and Mirrors"

    Dan Reynolds said of that night, "His energy and positivity just fills the room." Tyler was later declared cancer free. He stayed in contact with Dan through text messages. The text that made Dan smile was that Tyler had a girlfriend that he wanted to bring to the next concert. The text that caused Dan to break down into tears was that Tyler's cancer had suddenly returned and taken his life. In the very same call to Jesse Robinson to offer condolences, Dan asked if they could do something in Tyler's memory with the permission of his family.

    "Farewell, I've gone to take my throne above.
    But don't weep for me cause this will be the labor of my love."
    -Imagine Dragons

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    "His legacy needed to continue. People needed to be inspired by him, hear his story, the same way we were inspired by him. All of us have chosen to remember Tyler for all the great things about him. It means a great deal to me to give the message that Tyler shared with me to as many people. I feel like it would be selfish if I didn't," Reynolds said. That was the birth of The Tyler Robinson Foundation. Their cover photo on Twitter reads, "Imagine Dragons started The Tyler Robinson Foundation to battle unseen costs of childhood cancer."

    They also created the awesome hashtag: #slaycancerwithdragons

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    "There's you in everything I do."
    -Imagine Dragons
    "I Bet My Life"

    When I attended my first Imagine Dragons concert on the Smoke and Mirrors USA tour, I made a donation to TRF. Volunteers had set up a booth at the concert and I got a chance to personally thank them for what they do. They gave me a very nice booklet and a March Fo[u]rth bracelet. I also visited Hard Rock Cafe to purchase the pin and t-shirt featuring Imagine Dragons. The merchandise from Hard Rock is striking and unique and a portion of the purchase price is donated to TRF.

    "Every donation counts. You are part of a growing community of companies and individuals who support the mission of TRF. Your donation allows pediatric families to focus on their sick child instead of financial difficulties." -from TRF.org

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    "You said yourself fantastically, congratulations. You are not alone."
    -Imagine Dragons

    Imagine Dragons have tweeted some very sweet messages such as, "You are Imagine Dragons." and, "We are family." In many ways I feel like they are my family. Perhaps some long distance brothers? Their kindness, their wisdom, their energy, their integrity, are the reasons I love them. What a considerate thing to mourn Tyler's passing on March 4, 2013 but also remember to celebrate his life every single day.

    Stage Rush is the game/mobile app with Imagine Dragons as characters in the game. Part of the purchase price and half of the in-app purchases got to TRF. No one said you can't slay cancer and have fun at the same time!

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    To honor the first anniversary of Tyler's passing, Imagine Dragons held a benefit concert for TRF. The concert was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 22, 2014 and raised $270,000. The next year they held a TRF Gala and raised $514,000. Amazing does not quite describe it. Imagine Dragons performed at the gala and their emotions were pretty apparent. "Sorry guys," Dan said, "This is like the roughest we've been maybe ever but you're getting the rawest Imagine Dragons."

    Wayne wore a dark suit and Dan wore a simple shirt tucked into his jeans. He also wore a key on a chain around his neck. Ben and Daniel wore pastel colored tuxedos with ruffled shirts and matching top hats. They were quite the pair! The performance was stripped down to a few instruments and sounded very heartfelt. The room was very quiet and Dan urged the crowd to clap and to sing along.

    What a night to remember, just like those tuxedos, I'll never forget!

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    "If only you , you could see the darkest place that you could be.
    Oh, maybe then you'd understand. From desert heat to cobbled streets.
    From broken homes to the city beat. There's so much more than you could know."
    -Imagine Dragons

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    Cancer. It should be a four letter word. Cancer has somehow touched the lives of everyone I know. Pediatric cancer seems especially sinister. The expectation is that children should enjoy childhood and grow up to outlive their parents. To spend a young life fighting cancer or for child to have their life cut short and pass away before their parents do seems incredibly unfair. Too painful to endure.
    My own parents dealt with grief by denial. "Shut Up! Stop fussing!" they said. They wouldn't attend funerals, didn't send flowers or cards, or condolences. Perhaps in their minds, if they didn't discuss it, it didn't really happen? I learned about memorial services from T.V. and the funerals of famous people. Princess Dianna's ceremony in 1997 was very eye opening. I had never actually seen that many humans in one place before as the world lined the streets to say their goodbyes. The sad and beautiful picture of her husband and her young sons walking behind her horse drawn casket will be forever etched in my mind.
    In 2004, I remember Nancy Reagan briefly laying her head on her husband's coffin and bidding him farewell. She seemed so small and lost even if her husband was the President of the United States.
    I will never forget her final sweet gesture of love.

    "When the stars look down on me. What do they see?"
    -Imagine Dragons

    Michael Jackson's death seemed sudden and unfair. Again the outpouring of love from his family and his fans was remarkable. Michael's funeral was truly a celebration of his life. Friends and family took turns singing as a way to express their love. How fitting for a professional singer. And then, there was that heartbreaking moment when Michael's very young daughter, Paris Jackson reminded everyone that she had the best daddy in the world. Her voice dissolved into tears and she fell into Janet Jackson's arms. These events stand out as beautiful gestures of love for those that we have lost and for those that are still with us.

    "These doors won't open while you stand and watch them."
    Imagine Dragons

    I encourage our readers to follow the mission of Imagine Dragons and TRF. Please share Tyler's story and keep Tyler's legacy growing. Please visit trf.org to learn more. You may make a donation or make a fashion statement by buying AWESOME TRF merchandise like shirts, hats, and bracelets.

    You may also follow TRF on social media to spread the mission. They can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

    We may all have our demons but I hope you agree that battling pediatric cancer is a particularly difficult fight. Please join the battle and help SLAY CANCER WITH DRAGONS!!

    Here is some videos to tell more about the amazing story of Tyler Robinson, and how the foundation got started, and more.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. ringosmomma's Avatar
      ringosmomma -
      Thank you Lisa for helping edit my article! I am inspired by the kind hearts of Imagine Dragons every day! Such a touching story about the power of love and music!

      Rest In Peace Tyler!

      Your army of warriors will battle on!