By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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RICHARD QUINN/SPECIAL TO THE STAR St. Rose of Lima Catholic School Principal John Sanders (left) cringes as he and Pastor Joseph Shea (right) get their heads shaved in support of cancer patient Tyler Thompson, a sixth-grader at the school. Steve Beausang is shaving Shea.

St. Rose of Lima shows support

for sixth-grader with cancer

March 18, 2014

Ventura County Star

With a friend undergoing chemotherapy, Brian Albert didn’t think twice about shaving his head to put his pal a bit more at ease.

“He’s my good friend and I owe it to him to shave my head,” the 12-year-old said. “I hope it makes him feel more comfortable around us and it makes him feel normal.”

Brian was among about 50 boys at St. Rose of Lima School in Simi Valley who got their heads shaved Friday in honor of their friend, Tyler Thompson, a sixth-grader at the school.

“The community at St. Rose is determined to let Tyler know that he is still an important part of our family,” said Principal John P. Sanders, who also got his head shaved. “We’re doing everything we can to support Tyler and his family during every step of their journey.”

In related efforts, Tyler’s sixth-grade classmates create weekly video news updates so he can keep up with school, and students from all grades send him letters of support and gifts.

The student body also has provided financial support for the Thompson family through fundraising efforts, including sales of Team Tyler bracelets, which have reaped more than $3,000 in donations.

Tyler Thompson (right) watches as one of his classmates from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School gets his head shaved in support of Tyler, a cancer patient.

“We pray for him during morning assembly, in class and at school Masses. We even hold whole-school prayer assemblies in the courtyard just for Tyler,” Sanders said.

Friday’s head shaving took place after school in the parking lot.

While being cheered on by their peers, Brian, along with students Owen Barberie and Nathan Bennett, were the first three in line.

“I’m doing this because Tyler doesn’t have a choice,” said Owen, 11.

Tyler watched on the sidelines.

“I feel great that they’re supporting me,” the 12-year-old said.

“They’ve done so much for us already,” said Tyler’s mom, Jamie. “It brings me to tears.”

Tyler was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer in children.

“Tyler’s case is rare because his tumor was found on his hand,” his mom said. “The only way they know how to treat it is with aggressive chemotherapy treatments and possible radiation.”

Tyler is undergoing 14 cycles of chemotherapy.

“Tyler has to be admitted each time he goes in for treatment,” his mom said, adding that treatments require three to five days in the hospital. “After Cycle Seven, Tyler will mostly likely start radiation for five weeks. Since this treatment is so intense, Tyler has not been able to go to school.”

She said Tyler’s prognosis is good.

“The doctors tell us that after treatment, he will have a 95 percent chance of a full recovery,” she said.

There aren’t enough words to thank the St. Rose family, she said.

“We have been overwhelmed with everything they have done for us. ... Their generosity towards our family and Tyler has been amazing,” she said. “It’s so nice to be part of such a wonderful and giving community.”

Donations can be made to the Thompson family through St. Rose of Lima School, 1325 Royal Ave., Simi Valley, CA 93065. Call 526-5304 or visit for more information.

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