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Students and staff at J.T. Alton Middle School are grieving this week after losing a student to cancer.
Tyler Hendrieth, 13, of Vine Grove died Monday. Tyler received a diagnosis of leukemia in June. Faculty members at J.T. Alton remember him as a happy student.
Jaime Gilliam taught Tyler last year when he was in seventh grade. Gilliam remembered him as “consistently happy,” and someone who could spread that feeling to others.
“If you were having a bad day, he could always brighten your mood,” she said.
Gilliam, along with other faculty, organized a bone marrow drive in September to find potential donors for Hendrieth. Children who are ill have no other defenses beyond those who are willing to help them, she said.
“You just felt like you had to do something to help in his fight,” she said.
Tyler hadn’t attended school since his diagnosis, but had recently was able to visit to see friends, Assistant Principal Jeff Lowman said. Lowman said many students are reeling from the news of their classmate’s death, and the school is working to help them handle their grief.
“It was definitely a tragedy in our school,” he said.
Lowman coached Tyler in football.
“He was a fun-loving kid,” he said.
Tyler died at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville. He had been staying in the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center, a newly-renovated pediatric cancer center named after a 3-year-old Elizabethtown girl who died in May 2011. Tyler had said he liked the cheery atmosphere and the teen room, where he could interact with others who were facing the same challenges he was.
Arrangements were incomplete Tuesday afternoon at Coffey & Chism Funeral Home.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.