Kyle seemed to leave his mark on everyone he came in contact with. Even if it was the check-out clerk at the grocery store, when he left the exchange the clerk would be either smiling or laughing. His unforgettable quick wit and genuine interest in others’ conversation made him a person impossible to forget. Amazingly, he did not change as he endured three years of extremely debilitating medical procedures. Most who met him during this time did not realize he was not perfectly healthy until they were told, which usually prompted a stunned response.
Even in his final days, Kyle found ways to create happy moments. When his right side no longer worked and his speech was blocked by the tumor in his brain, he would joke through hand gestures with his left hand and eye movements. When he was admitted to the hospital for what would be the last time, the last words he uttered to the nurses after they settled him in his bed were, “thank you.” His loved ones laughed with him, through their tears, as they watched him finally slip away.
Leaving behind so much after only 22 short years would be tough for most people but Kyle made it seem like living each day to the max was easy. He was an athlete and a scholar and loved by everyone. Always the opportunist, he never let a chance pass without participating; snowboarding or golfing with friends, hiking with the Boy Scouts, traveling, working in his family business, playing sports on many select teams, volunteering as a tutor and with the Kirkland Boys and Girls Club, and he did it all with passion. He remained unafraid to begin new challenges when he was told he had brain cancer because he -- along with many others -- truly believed that one day he would be well again. While fiercely battling brain cancer, Kyle jumped at the chance to host a local TV show and won the part. He also began an amazingly loving relationship with a special young woman and promised to marry her once he was healthy. Kyle truly lived each day with a passion that was incredibly inspiring.
When word spread of Kyle’s diagnosis, the impact was felt deep and wide. After 19 years of not only near-perfect health but also an athletically maintained young body, an inoperable brain tumor was the last thing anyone expected. As he persevered through unbelievably ravaging treatments, those close to him did not notice a difference in his attitude or his optimistic outlook at life. One day when he was being checked in for a doctor appointment he apologized for “being in a bad mood” to the nurse taking his blood pressure. She hadn’t noticed.
Kyle became nationally known through fund raisers to help finance his extraordinary medical bills. In a 12-month span, thousands of people from across the United States and beyond (there were donations received from Australia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and even from US soldiers in Iraq). The result was over $100,000 in donations. Most of the people that contributed never had personal contact with Kyle, but they were inspired by his story and his charisma, and wanted to help. Given the number of lives he touched, Kyle’s legacy and story will undoubtedly live on.