Kearns boy gets monster-size dream come true


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KEARNS -- This weekend, Rocky Mountain Raceway is hosting a National Monster Truck event. The raceway expects thousands of fans to attend.

One young boy from Kearns won't be able to attend, but that didn't matter Friday morning when two huge big rigs went to visit him.

On October 27, 1998, Melanie Hansen delivered her first baby boy, Tyson.

"When Tyson first came out, the nurse looked at him and called him a little tiger; and I knew right then he was going to be a fighter," Melanie says.

Little Tyson's fight began early on.

"He only walked for about a month on his own, and then he started crisscrossing his steps and falling over himself," Melanie recalls.

What is ... leukodystrophy?
The leukodystrophies are a group of rare genetic disorders that affect the central nervous system by disrupting the growth or maintenance of the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells. These disorders are progressive, meaning that they tend to get worse throughout the life of the patient. - United Leukodystrophy Foundation

An MRI revealed Melanie's worst fear -- a fear she had even before Tyson was born.

"Even before he came, I said, ‘I feel like I'm not going to get to keep this one. There's something different; he's rare,'" she says.

Tyson was diagnosed with a rare form of leukodystrophy -- a disorder that affects the brain cells. Symptoms of the disease gradually become worse with time, slowing mental and physical development.

"Once they start getting really bad, they can't kick pneumonias and colds and things like that, and that's usually what takes them," Melanie says. "The longest I've heard, at this point, is possibly late teens, early 20s at best."

Eleven-year-old Tyson has gone through a steady decline the past two years, and he can no longer attend school. Though he's been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, Tyson sees only the sunshine.

"When I was born God made me this way, and I decided if I can crawl that would be easier. But I can still control my fingers," Tyson says.

He uses those fingers to hold his favorite toys: monster trucks.

"We appreciate every smile, every little tiny thing that most people just take for granted. And so when something big happens, it's huge," Melanie says.

Thanks to the Angel's Hands Foundation, something huge happened for Tyson Friday morning. Since he cannot attend the monster truck event at Rocky Mountain Raceway this weekend, the trucks came to him.

"I feel like I won the lottery," Melanie said. "I can't even describe it."

"His memory is starting to go," she continued, "so we're trying to do as much as we can before it gets worse."

Thanks to some pictures, a few autographs and plenty of smiles; Tyson will hold onto this memory for as long as he can.

E-mail: kaiken@ksl.com

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Kathy Aiken

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