TV spotlights SLO boy’s ordeal

Tyler Borges has had surgery for a tumor and gets chemo-therapy to fight neuro-blastoma.

photo courtesy of nickelodeon
Tyler Borges has had surgery for a tumor and gets chemo-therapy to fight neuro-blastoma. photo courtesy of nickelodeon

A local boy is one of seven youngsters from around the United States who will appear on a nationwide television show tonight that’s intended to show other children what it’s like living with cancer and be inspired by stories of hope.

Tyler Borges, 11, of San Luis Obispo will appear tonight in “The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer” — an episode of “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” on the popular Nickelodeon children’s TV network. It airs at 8 p.m.

“I want people to know that kids living with cancer can still do fun things,” said Tyler, who was found by the show’s producers after they contacted cancer-support organizations around the country.

After five years of severe stomach aches that lasted up to three days, visits with four pediatricians and four trips to hospital emergency rooms, Tyler was diagnosed in June 2009 with neuroblastoma, said his mother, Karen.

That’s a form of cancer most common to children between 5 and 6 years old, according to the American Cancer Society.

At first, doctors told Tyler and his mother that he was constipated. After Borges had her son see a gastrointestinal specialist, they were told his pain was really from a football-sized tumor on Tyler’s left adrenal gland.

Neuroblastoma affects the nervous system and accounts for about seven percent of all cancers in children, according to the American Cancer Society. There are about 650 new cases of the condition each year in the United States, according to the society.

Tyler had surgery in New York and is driven to Los Angeles every 21 days for chemotherapy. He also spends time at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital between treatments because he gets fevers from the chemotherapy.

After his five chemotherapy treatments, he will receive a stem cell transplant and radiation.

“Tyler is a very positive kid, always saying ‘I’m going to live, I’m going to be happy,’ ” Karen Borges said.

Tyler’s cancer has been emotionally and financially devastating to his family. His mother is no longer working, and she said they might lose their home.

“Cancer is something you don’t think you’ll have to deal with, but it takes you away from your family,” Karen Borges said, adding that she encourages people to get involved in promoting cancer research.