DANVILLE – Skyler Moore doesn’t know what the future holds. But he knows his hometown will be behind him no matter what.
The 2019 Danville High School graduate was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. He spent the last week staying at various hospitals – first Riverside in Columbus, then Nationwide Children’s – before returning home Thursday night. Moore underwent a biopsy Monday that will allow doctors to determine the nature of his tumor – whether it is cancerous or benign. Moore expects to know the test results in the coming days.
Calling from his Columbus hospital room on Wednesday, Moore said the future is uncertain. The last week has been a whirlwind of CT scans, surgeries and physical therapy. His family waits every day to hear the results of his biopsy, which will determine the path ahead.
In moments of unimaginable angst, however, Moore has remained positive. Fueled by his faith and the support of his hometown, Moore spoke optimistically about the days ahead.
“I feel pretty positive about the future, but I guess we’ll just take it day-by-day and see how it goes,” Moore said. “But I feel pretty confident in my body, and everyone around me believing in me and having faith.”
Family members have garnered widespread support for Moore and his immediate family over the past week.
Aislynn Ray, one of Moore’s cousins, set up a GoFundMe account to help offset hospital costs. The account has raised $2,460 since Sunday.
“I wanted to be able to help ease their minds a little by raising money to help go towards anything that they may need,” Ray told Knox Pages. “There have been over 500 shares of the GoFundMe page on Facebook and I can’t even keep track on how many retweets on Twitter. I am honestly so proud to be from Knox County. Our county always pulls together and helps others during times of need.”
Macey Moore, another cousin of Skyler’s, made bracelets to raise money for the same cause. They are grey with “Skyler Moore” and “I Proudly Wear Grey” printed in black; the color grey represents the fight against brain tumors and brain cancer, Macey explained.
Macey said making the bracelets was a “last-minute decision,” a seemingly small way to gather community support for the Moore family. It turned into something much larger.
“I originally only ordered 255 bracelets, thinking I would have a lot left over, but the bracelets have been selling like crazy,” Macey said. By the end of the first day, she’d already sold out her initial supply. By the end of the week, she’d sold 380 in total.
To help with the hospital cost, I have decide to make bracelets to support Skyler. Bracelets will cost $5 each. Please contact me through social media or by text 740-504-1033 to buy a bracelet. Grey-the color that represents brain cancer as well as brain tumors. 💙 pic.twitter.com/jLiQGdC8eX— Macey Moore (@Macey_Arin) June 10, 2019
“To see the amount of support [Skyler] has been given, has been one of the greatest things to witness,” Macey said. “Danville has always been a close community and always comes together when someone needs us. Skyler has been raised in Danville his whole life so to witness all the members of our community come together to buy a bracelet really makes you grateful where we came from.”
Though 70 miles away, Skyler felt this love in Columbus. He needed it, he said.
‘He’s just a great kid’
Doctors are unsure why or how Skyler’s tumor developed. It could have come about suddenly, or it could have been slow-growing. Regardless, the senior started noticing complications in the weeks leading up to graduation. Skyler’s vision became blurry and he had to squint to see clearly.
His high school basketball coach, Matt Moore, said he noticed it at open gyms near the end of the school year.
“That was really bothering him,” Moore recalled. “He said that the lights really hurt his eyes.”
That led to severe headaches and sickness weeks later. It became intolerable, and last Friday, doctors at Knox Community Hospital told him the difficult truth: he had a tumor in the middle of his brain.
The next week was a blur – from hospital to hospital, test to test – but Skyler remained positive. The hardest days are behind him, he said Wednesday, mainly referencing the biopsy that was supposed to take three to four hours but instead took six. In his final days at Children’s, he was walking and performing physical therapy. His appetite never left – he said he ate a cheeseburger immediately following his surgery.
There will be hard days ahead, however. From what doctors have told Skyler, he could face chemotherapy or radiation treatment regardless of whether or not the tumor is ruled cancerous.
The prognosis is tough to swallow for people like Matt Moore, who has seen Skyler develop on and off the court over the last four years. Moore described Skyler as “a really good kid” and one of his hardest workers. Skyler started at point guard for the Blue Devils, serving as an extension of the coach on the court.
“He was always one of the first ones in the gym, always trying to work on his game and get better,” Moore said. “You know, he never missed a practice, he never missed a workout in the offseason. He was always there every day, just one of the hardest-working kids that I’ve coached.”
Skyler applied that work ethic and leadership to his academic life as well. He carried a 3.5 GPA and was involved in National Honor Society. He was also a student council member and this year’s Prom King.
“Skyler’s a kid that has a lot of friends and he’s very well-liked amongst his peers. Watching him grow up, from a freshman ‘til now, he’s grown into a great young man,” said Moore, who is also Danville’s athletic director. “He’s just a great kid, and [this is] just something you don’t want to see anybody go through, but especially a kid that’s as good as him.”
Earlier this spring, Moore had committed to play basketball and study business management at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. He was ready to begin the next chapter of his life – one where he’d push himself farther on and off the court than ever before.
Now, Skyler is solely focused on taking things day-by-day. He’s optimistic he’ll get there, but he said it will take patience and faith.
“It’s all just real new to me,” Skyler said. “So I’m just going with the flow, I guess.”
A village behind him
Surrounded by uncertainty, Skyler has remained remarkably optimistic.
When Matt Moore visited his former floor general before surgery this week, he said Skyler was smiling and cracking jokes.
“You know, you could tell that he was worried. He didn’t come out and say that, but you could just tell that he didn’t know what the future held for him,” Moore said. “But he seemed to be pretty positive.”
He isn’t doing it alone.
Word of Ray’s GoFundMe and Macey’s bracelets has spread like wildfire through social media; hundreds of classmates and community members have shared posts to support the family.
Skyler Moore hospital stay https://t.co/TK8pnZG6Xr— Trey (@Trey_Fritzz21) June 9, 2019
Skyler’s received hospital visits from the pastor of his church, MVNU basketball coach Will Smith, and numerous friends and family members.
“It means a lot,” Skyler said. “I like to hear that everybody back home’s thinking about me and stuff like that. I really appreciate all the support.”
Matt Moore said this is typical of Danville. When a community member gets knocked down, the village is right there to pick them back up.
“You know, earlier this year we had another family that needed support and everybody gathered around that family,” Moore said. “And I think it’s the same way for [Skyler] – everybody has gathered around Skyler and wants to see him beat whatever is in store for him. I think everybody’s praying for Skyler and wants to see him succeed and get rid of this tumor.”
Those interested in donating to Ray’s GoFundMe can click this link. Those interested in purchasing a bracelet from Macey Moore (selling for $5) can text her at 740-504-1033. All proceeds will go towards Skyler’s hospital and treatment costs.
In the face of adversity, Skyler offers positivity and an uncommon strength for someone his age. With the support of his hometown, he’s ready to fight this tumor with everything he’s got.
“I just believe God will do the right thing and I’ll be OK,” said Skyler, when asked about the road ahead. “I feel like I’ll be OK.”