Legacy of late Carmel child propels airplane pull
By Mark Ambrogi
In Tyler Frenzel’s short life, he truly felt the love from family, friends and the community. Tyler and his family have made sure that love is returned
“People would give him money when he was sick, he would turn around and give to someone else,” said his mother Pam Frenzel, a Carmel resident. “The Indiana Children’s Wish Fund had granted his wish trip and so he was always fond of the organization. Tyler’s legacy is always giving back to others.”
Tyler, a Woodbrook Elementary School fourth grader, died following his battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 9 on Dec. 11, 2004. For the following five years, his family held a Sunflowers in December to raise money for organizations that Tyler loved, on Dec. 11.
“We felt we had done everything Tyler would want us to do,” Pam said.
When the Frenzels decided to end their fundraiser, ICWF executive director Terry Ceaser-Hudson ask the Frenzels if a fundraiser could be held in Tyler’s honor called Pulling for Wishes. The fifth annual Pulling for Wishes Airplane Pull will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.on April 25 at the Republic Holdings Hanger at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Ceaser-Hudson said she loves all the families she meets
“But there are certain people that you become attached to and the Frenzels were that to us.,” she said. “We love Frenzels. Tyler was a really special kid. While all the children are wonderful, there are certain ones that just stand out and he was a standout. He was everything you want any child to be. To be so young and deal what he was dealing with and thinking of others, I just thought it was a good match.”
ICWF grants wishes for children ages 3-18 with life-threatening illnesses. ICWF has granted more than 3,200 wishes in the past 31 years, ranging from Disney World, meeting celebrities, shopping trips and many more. Tyler took his wish trip by going with his family to Disney World in January 2004. Tyler had two younger sisters, Maria, now a Guerin Catholic High School senior, and Kacey, an Orchard Park eighth-grader. Another child, J.T. (Jackson Tyler), a St. Louis de Montfort second grader, was born after Tyler’s death. Eric Frenzel, Tyler’s father, is a captain with the Carmel Fire Department. Eric and his children all have different teams..
Tyler was diagnosed with ALL when he was 7.
“He did really well then relapsed after 13 months,” Pam said. “So he needed to have a bone marrow transplant. So we started more intensive chemo. He did well with transplant, got through the 100 days and then 30 days after that he relapses again. He lived two-and-a-half months longer.”
During his courageous battle, Tyler became friends with former major league baseball player Scott Rolen, whose Enis Furley Foundation, which has a Bloomington, Ind., camp designed to help children with illness, hardship or other special needs. Enis was named after one of Rolen’s beloved dogs.
Tyler gave $2,000 of his own money to help build a treehouse at Camp Emma Lou, named for another of Rolen’s dogs. Two of the Frenzels’ five fundraisers were for Camp Emma Lou, one was for ex-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s Peyback Foundation, one for Children Wish’s fund and ex-Colts linebacker Gary Backett’s Impact Foundation. Tyler got to know Manning as he had treatment at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent in Indianapolis.
Ceaser-Hudson is hoping the Pulling for Wishes fundraisers will help ICWF send eight families to Camp Emma Lou for a weekend.
“It’s a bonding type weekend,” she said “It’s just an extra special thing we can do for our Wish families.”
Pulling for Wishes success story
The airplane pulls are team made up of 10 people with a minimum of three women on each team. Last year there were 45 teams. The teams try to pull a 23-ton twin-engine jet 15 feet. The winners are based on the fastest pull time. Eric Frenzel’s team of Carmel firefighters won last year’s pull in 8.03 seconds.
“Republic Airways is proud to sponsor this event, but we couldn’t do it without the generosity and support of our sponsors and donors,” said Amy Chiappe, Director of Inflight for Republic Airways and chairperson for the event. “Each year, the Plane Pull gets bigger and better, a testament to the incredible heart and compassion of everyone involved.”
Admission for spectators is free. There is a costume contest, silent auction, face painting and concessions. There are corporate sponsorship levels ranging from $25,000 to $500.
“Tyler would absolutely love this,” Pam said. “His motto was no limits, never give up.”
The Pulling for Wishes fundraiser raised more than $250,000 in 2014. The goal is $300,000 for this year.
For more information visit indianachildrenswishfund.org/events/details/pulling-for-wishes-airplane-pull-in-memory-of-tyler-frenzel