Pleasant Valley teen raises funds for pediatric cancer research
Halloween was Schyler Herman’s favorite holiday. Her close friend and classmate, Tyler Moore, said she liked it because it was different from all other holidays. Creepy and fun, and you could be anything you wanted to be.
Moore, a senior and class president from Pleasant Valley High School, wants to raise at least $50,000 to fund a pediatric cancer research grant in memory of Herman. She passed away from brain bleed related to acute myeloid leukemia on Oct. 31, 2018.
“She was just known by everyone for her positivity - so happy, so energetic,” Moore said.
An aspiring Olympic soccer player with Players Development Academy Crew and a freshman goalie for Pleasant Valley High School’s varsity girls’ soccer team, Herman developed a deep hematoma from an injury on the field. Her bloodwork revealed she had pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in October 2017.
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, data from 2012 to 2016 showed an average of 3,718 children and adolescents under the age of 20 are diagnosed with leukemia each year.
“Everyone’s world just stopped,” Moore said. “We all rallied behind her.”
The disease has a five-year relative survival rate of 88.7% for young people under 20 years old, according to data from 2010 to 2016 compiled by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program for the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.
By June 2018, doctors discovered that Herman’s cancer had mutated into the more aggressive acute myeloid leukemia. AML has a five-year relative survival rate of 68% for youths under 20 years old. Herman had just turned 15 that spring.
“In terms of anything new in treatments for childhood blood cancers, the easy answer is no,” said Christine Cimino, campaign development manager for LLS - New Jersey Region and Lehigh Valley office. “Most pediatric blood cancers are treated with stem cell transplantation and chemotherapies developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Only four oncology drugs have been approved for first use in children in 40 years.”
Moore has made it his mission to raise that $50,000 for cancer research by June.
Moore is also taking part in a friendly competition run by LLS called the Lehigh Valley Students of the Year, which actually means he would need to raise about $70,000 by Feb. 26. He realizes that his chances are slim, but his goal of funding that research grant is the real prize in sight.
Donations to help Moore reach this goal can be made online through the Students of the Year competition at https://events.lls.org/epa/lvsoy21/tmoore.
There are 16 campaign teams this year, and Moore is one of four running as an individual candidate, Cimino said.
Although Moore is his own team for the competition, he does have the help of 10 other people to carry out some events. He has held one silent auction so far and plans to have a benefit concert at The Lakeside and a Paint and Sip at the Stone Lake Inn, both in Saylorsburg.
“It helps the business and the fundraiser,” he said.
The dates are yet to be determined, but more information will be posted on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tylermooresoty2021.
Schyler’s parents also created an organization to raise money for leukemia research called the Schyler Strong Foundation Inc., www.schylerstrong.com.