The Power of Team Jack & Tyson Zimmer: Shining a Light on Pediatric Brain Cancer


Jack Hoffman's 69 yard touchdown run captured the hearts of millions.

"I was thinking about scoring a touchdown or tripping on my shoe laces or maybe having it come untied," said Jack.

And Tyson Zimmer's dying wish to meet country singer Jason Aldean brought tears to our eyes.

"I sing Big Green Tractor because that's my favorite song," said Tyson.

Jack and Tyson are the two Nebraska boys who gained national prominence in their fight against pediatric brain cancer.

"They watch the video they see this and they see this little boy score a touchdown, those are people that might not have known kids get brain cancer," said Brianna Hoffman, Jack's mom.

"Making it go away, starts with making people aware of it in the first place," said Austin Chambers, Tyson's stepdad.

Both families realized putting an end to childhood cancer goes beyond Tyson and Jack.

"It's the other families we meet in the infusion center, who say you're doing a great job getting the word out about pediatric cancer, thanks for what you're doing," said Brianna.

"You go around, you can see billboards and commercials about breast cancer, our big thing when Ty was sick, was people didn't realize that when we had the wristbands made and they were gray, they asked why did you choose gray, and that's the symbol of brain cancer and so many people didn't know it," said Liz Duering, Tyson's mom.

Three thousand kids each year battle pediatric brain cancer and the first line of treatment is 25 years old.

"If you think back 25 years ago, I had a cassette tape player on my hip and a cellphone that was in a bag, and they're able to GPS locate anyone through a satellite and we're able to get pinpoint accuracy, but we can't make medicine any better," said Chambers.

"There's 130 different tumor types and all of these tumor types have different genetic mutations, which help these tumors advance and grow," said Andy Hoffman, Jack's dad.

For the Hoffmans, they hope to turn a run with eight million views on YouTube into something more.

"We want to turn those views into dollars for research," said Andy. "That's really ultimately what this is about, and we're trying to make it about, lets draw the attention back to the disease."

Meanwhile, Tyson's parents are honoring the little boy they lost in 2012 by starting Tyson's Treasure Chest Foundation, to give toys to kids stuck in the hospital.

"These kids are going through so much," said Chambers. "They don't deserve to have hand me downs to play with when they're done. We need to give them the fun toys, the new stuff and make them feel special and spoiled, because they don't feel special and spoiled when they're home sick and their friends are outside playing."

"Have an iPad to play with because most kids they can't afford to have their own, so why not set the hospital up with some so they can play games, so they can feel like a normal child, even though they're sitting," said Duering.

Whether it's getting the attention of a country superstar, or scoring a touchdown for all of Husker Nation, they're two journeys with one goal.

The Team Jack foundation is selling Believe t-shirts with 100 percent of proceeds going to research for pediatric brain cancer. To buy one go to www.teamjackfoundation.org. Tyson's treasure chest foundation is just getting off the ground. If you'd like to help, email austinchambers18@gmail.com


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