Bravery, down to earth nature, and love of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) — well, that’s a start for describing Tyler Ransom, but it’s not all-inclusive.
Tyler has Nephrotic Syndrome, a kidney disease in which valuable protein in the blood leaks into the urine, which causes fluid to leak into the body. As Tyler explains, “I have a disease called Nephrotic Syndrome, which causes my kidney’s filtering system to shut down automatically, which causes fluid running through my thighs, which causes them to puff up so I can’t put on my pants. My eyes will be swollen shut, and the next day I weigh 15-20 more pounds.”
To stay active and strong, Tyler takes part in Jiu Jitsu classes, which is something he really enjoys doing. He says, “when I do MMA, I feel like I’m in a whole other dimension.”
Tyler caught the attention of many MMA fighters, such as Bas Rutten, Kenny Rice, and Strikeforce fighter Ronda Rousey. Tyler appreciates these experiences and says, “it’s been amazing since I’m a huge fan of it, and I get to most of my favorite fighters, the ones I see on TV or Strikeforce. It’s amazing that they are supporting me with my kidney disease. I just feel really special with it.”
The best part? Actually getting a match with the MMA fighters. “The coolest thing I’ve been able to do is to actually spar with the fighters,” says Tyler. “I get to actually feel the technique and see how it works, and I can use some of that when I’m training for Jiu Jitsu.”
Nephrotic Syndrome affects 20 children out of 1,000,000, and Tyler has experienced this disease since age 2. He is on a strict gluten- and dairy-free diet, and he must take over eight medications and supplements daily. “One of the hardest parts is when I go to birthday parties, when they have the cake and everything. It’s hard because it’s tempting to eat them even though I know I can’t,” says Tyler about the modified diet. “And when my class has parties, they bring food and sweets, so then I just need to stay strong and don’t get tempted to eat it.”
Tyler is hopeful for the future, and for other children with Nephrotic Syndrome, he offers this advice: “Don’t let this kidney disease take over you. Your friends will probably know who you still are — it doesn’t matter if you have kidney disease or not. You’re still who you are, and it doesn’t affect how they should feel about you.”
He hopes young children could learn from him to go on to become doctors who could find a cure. When asked if he wants to be a doctor, Tyler says, “If I grow up, and kids still have Nephrotic syndrome, then I could be one of the people to help them with it because I have first-hand knowledge and experience, so I’m going to think about that.”
Tyler started the Healing Tyler Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for research to find a cure for Nephrotic Syndrome. Tyler is actively seeking sponsors, and you can visit HealingTyler.com to find more information about the NephCure Foundation. “Thank you all for listening,” Tyler says. With a little help, Healing Tyler and NephCure can bring relief to children all over the world who battle the challenges of Nephrotic Syndrome.