Health care PR professionals who take a look at their corporate sponsorship budget over the years can probably list most of the causes their organizations
have supported under one big umbrella: Prevention.
Teton Valley Hospital is no exception, and a quick rundown of its recently sponsored causes includes youth athletics, community wellness programs,
subsidized mammograms and emergency responder fundraising events. However, there’s one particular sponsorship that has created notoriety for the hospital,
earning high approval points from community members and some consternation from the medical profession.
Nestled at the base of the Grand Teton Mountain Range in Teton County, Idaho, the facility is a 13-bed critical access hospital that operates two rural
health clinics and serves a population of around 10,000. Farming and ranching are prominent industries with abundant recreational opportunities spurring
summer and winter tourism. One activity that residents and tourists alike can find in Teton Valley is rodeo.
Our organization has sponsored the local rodeo and our high school rodeo club for a few years now, but we’d never sponsored a single individual until we
met Tyler Nelson.
Tyler Nelson is a competitive bareback rider who has been making a name for himself, most recently reaching the national finals for The American, a $1
million prize event hosted by Professional Rough Stock. The Nelson family has lived in Teton Valley for multi-generations, and Tyler first learned bareback
riding through the local high school rodeo club.
The 21-year-old is an unlikely rodeo star. At age 7, Nelson was diagnosed with Hemophilia B. At the same time, Teton Valley Hospital providers diagnosed
his two younger brothers with the same condition.
Hemophilia is a disorder of the blood-clotting system. People with hemophilia deal with prolonged bleeding when they are cut or bruised. The bleeding can
be internal and external. With hemophilia B, there’s a deficiency of a clot-enabling substance called Factor IX. Barring a medical breakthrough, Tyler and
his brothers will need Factor IX infusions for the rest of their lives.
When Tyler discovered that he has an uncanny ability to stay on a bucking bronco, he had to learn how to give himself injections and make sure that no
matter where the rodeo road may lead, he has access to the medication.
Obviously, his chosen profession flouts medical advice and virtually assures injury and serious complications, risks that Tyler readily accepts and sets
aside as he pursues his passion. His decision and Teton Valley Hospital’s decision to sponsor the young rider, have led to some interesting discussions
both online and offline and among healthcare providers.
“Not many young men with hemophilia would (or should) choose bareback riding as a profession,” says Loyola. “However, Tyler has a firm belief in following
his dream. He’s become an inspiration to youth who are interested in rodeo as well as an inspiration for those who are managing hemophilia, and that’s
something we believe is worth supporting.”
For more information on TVHC, visit www.tvhcare.org or on Facebook.
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