Kyle Alexander O'Connell

April 19, 1995 – February 6, 2005

Kyle Alexander was born on April 19, 1995. He quickly grew into a big boy who smiled easily and loved his family and friends. At two years of age, Kyle welcomed his little sister Riley into the world. He took on the role of big brother swiftly, from holding Riley as an infant to playing with her, teaching her to read and how to play soccer. Riley generously returned her brother’s affection and cared for him until his very final hours.

Kyle enjoyed going to school; he was very social and took an interest in most subjects. Kyle loved sports and participated in soccer, basketball and baseball. He loved to travel, and often went to California to visit family and friends. Kyle loved movies and riding his bike and scooter. Kyle loved holidays and the traditions that came along with them – from fireworks to costumes to baking cookies. A good joke was certain to bring a smile to Kyle’s face and he was known to regularly have a joke book in his possession.

On February 25, 2003, Kyle was diagnosed with a malignant tumor called brain stem glioma. Growing in Kyle’s brain stem, this tumor had a very poor prognosis because of its location. However, Kyle bravely endured multiple surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, as well as many physical limitations. He also endured the awful effects of steroids, which he took to reduce swelling caused by the tumor. Positive and hopeful, Kyle smiled and laughed his way through most of it, eager to “get it over with,” so he could return to school and having fun with his friends. Struggles and frustrations would set in, but always, there was enough hope for another day.

During Kyle’s two-year battle against this brain tumor, he rarely missed school, never falling behind and maintaining top grades. He also remained part of his sports teams, wearing his uniforms and cheering on his friends and teammates. Kyle rarely turned down a social invitation, even when chemotherapy left him feeling below par. Kyle traveled often during his illness, sometimes out of necessity, often for pleasure. His trips included California, Walt Disney World and even France.

On February 6, 2005, our Gracious God finally freed Kyle of his suffering, his frustrations and his limitations. Kyle’s life was too brief, but very inspirational to everyone who knew him. His legacy is one of strength, courage and hope.