Name: James Tyler
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: Smyth County Community Hospital
Fundraising Goal: $1,000
Why are you participating? James Tyler is the Vice President and CEO of Smyth County Community Hospital, a part of Mountain States Health Alliance. Prior to that, he was the VP/CEO of Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg, Virginia. During his ten years at that facility, he oversaw the completion of a brand new replacement hospital. He has been the CEO of Hospitals in Georgia and Florida as well. He has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, a Masters in Theology, and a Master’s in Business Administration.
What is really important to James is the issue of Breast Cancer. James lost his wife of 21 years to her third bout with breast cancer ten years ago. Laurie put up a tremendous fight for the last years of her life. Our daughter, Amelia, was six years old when Laurie was first diagnosed and was sixteen when Laurie died. When Laurie underwent the last reoccurrence and metastasis of breast cancer, we all knew what the outcome would be. We just did not know when. As a family, we had several frank conversations. In retrospect, these were difficult conversations to have; however, they were the best conversations we could have. We reminisced about our family vacations, things we had done together, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Laurie loved Christmas. Christmas tree decorating was a special family event. The tree was adorned with “Shiny Bright” bulbs and handmade ornaments that Laurie lovingly made. We remembered all of these things. We laughed, we cried and we were able to celebrate our life as a family. Now, when I think back, I remember those conversations. Last year, when Amelia completed her third year of Vet School, she and I went on a trip to Washington DC. It was in DC where Amelia was born. I wanted to show her the house we lived in after her birth. I wanted to take her to the restaurants Laurie and I liked the most. We went to the Kennedy Center, the National Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Museum of Art, and the Air and Space Museum. We celebrated all of the things we liked about DC and Amelia was able to experience those things vicariously. She learned things about her Mom and me during the long drive there and back. When Laurie died, I knew I could be a good Dad; however, I felt very insecure about my new role as Dad/Mom! Those talks in the car, as we drove, reassured me that Laurie and I did a great job as parents. It has been ten years. The sting of Laurie’s death is gone - our memories live on. We cannot deny that she shaped our lives, then and now, and will shape our lives for many years to come. This is why I want to be a BigWig.