My name is Thomas Boyle. I’m 11 years old and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
My older brother, Tyler, is 16. He is in a wheelchair. Tyler was born with a lot of medical problems. The most severe was an internal bleeding disorder. He has had around 200 blood transfusions and has been a spokes child for the American Red Cross. A medication that the doctors gave him to help slow down the bleeding and save his life, caused brain damage. The result was cerebral palsy.
I have watched as he has struggled with living a life that is different than mine. Most of his life is in and out of hospitals. He has had over 40 surgeries, but he always has a way of being strong, brave and happy.
Tyler is my hero and I love having him as my brother. Even though he’s in a wheelchair we still love to have adventures together. I decided to create an Instagram page called @memybrotherandhischair. I want to show everyone that even through the biggest challenges you can still have an awesome life full of adventure.
Tyler and I have been traveling together since I was 18 months old. We have been to Disneyland and Disney World, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. We’ve been to Las Vegas, Hawaii, and even Yellowstone National Park.
I speak Chinese and have been to China a couple times with my dad. Traveling is something we have always done as a family and we always want to do together. We are taking a trip to Europe! Tyler and I are traveling with my parents and grandparents. We are going to Paris, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Prague, Berlin, Dresden and Chemnitz Germany.
Even though traveling can be challenging with Tyler’s wheelchair, I feel like it is still very important to try!
I know that we will face some challenges traveling with him in Europe. I’m a little worried about the amount of walking we will have to do and with Tyler and his chair on unpaved roads. I’m worried about the stairs that we will encounter. It also makes me nervous thinking about the big hills I might have to push him up. I have pushed him up many hills and sometimes it’s hard but when I’m done, I feel proud.
I feel like it’s important to travel because you get experiences that you would not otherwise have if you just stayed in your hometown. You get to learn new things about different cultures and different people and their different ideas. There is an entire world out there that is not like my world in Utah and I want to know as much as I can about it.
I feel like it’s important to travel with Tyler and my family. When I’m traveling it makes me feel connected with them. We have shared experiences and it makes our relationship stronger. I hope to come home with a stronger and better relationship with Tyler. I want him to feel that he has a happy purposeful life full of fun and adventure. I think it’s important as Tyler and I get older that we are connected and have a strong friendship and brotherhood. If Tyler didn’t have a strong family to take him to see this world, how would he see it? It’s up to me!
I am hoping to learn as much as I can about France, Czech Republic, Italy and Germany on this trip. We have been studying each of those countries. Every day this summer we’ve been learning about the history, the language, and culture.
I also wanted to tell you that Tyler and I have had a business together for the last six years. We sell water and ties at our local farmers market. We took the savings from our waters and when I went to China, I purchased ties for us to sell. We save our money so that we can go to college and so that we can travel together. Tyler and I want to bring ties with us on our trip to Europe. We thought it would be fun to leave a few ties with some boys that we meet on our trip. We want to bring them a little happiness and kindness from North America.
We want to provide combination videolog and blog post or social media uploads for each city we visit. We will have the top activities, foods, accommodations in that city for families and the top tips and tricks for wheelchair traveling.
We would love to share our experiences with Tropic of Candycorn so that others may be inspired to travel — especially those with special needs. We may have some hard moments, but we’re so excited!