February 14, 2011
Dear Friend of Tyler:
Here is the situation. Tyler resigned his coaching position with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and returned to New Hampshire last summer. He now lives part of the time in his home in North Conway NH and part of the time with his daughter Taryn, son-in-law and 10 month old grandson in Portland ME. Tyler’s departure from the Sun Valley was very sudden and caught many of us by surprise but was precipitated by a sudden and life threatening downward spiral in his health.
As many of you know, Tyler has had diabetes for years. He has learned to live with the disease although there is no question that hard living in his younger years and the physical and mental stress of coaching more recently has taken a toll. Tyler is considered a brittle diabetic yet he often seemed to be trying to ‘out tough’ the disease by pushing himself so hard and ignoring warnings that his health was deteriorating. This came to a head at a race camp in Mammoth Mt. last June when Tyler reached a point where his heart rate was chronically elevated and he suffered from constant headaches and dehydration. Finally his body shut down and he became physically incapable of getting out of bed. He was diagnosed with Addison’s disease by Dr. Bob Hall after being rushed to the hospital.
Addison’s is very rare; only 2 people out of 100,000 will contract it in their lifetime. It is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands causing them to produce insufficient hormones resulting in extreme fatigue and muscle weakness. Like diabetes, there is no cure for Addison’s disease and the combination of the two is debilitating. Tyler is now on a lifetime regime of steroids and cortisone in addition to insulin. His health has stabilized although, as of late, he is again not feeling well and recently remarked that he has had some ‘dark days’. He does not have medical insurance, and has not been to a doctor in months owing to his financial situation. Tyler is facing a long struggle to regain his health.
There are only a handful of experts on Addison’s in the US and Tyler desperately needs to be seen and treated by one of them. He is facing a lifetime regime of drugs to manage these two diseases and the prospect of significant and ongoing medical expenses.
Everyone receiving this letter knows Tyler well but we’d like to summarize his amazing achievements particularly in the ski world. Tyler’s ski racing career was legendary. As a young ski racer he was known for his go-for-broke style and carefree attitude. He was a slalom specialist who became the first American male to win a World Cup race, a slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1971. That season Tyler finished third
in the World Cup Slalom standings. During his career he had two World Cup victories and nine top ten finishes. Tyler and his brother Terry represented the US at the Sapporo Olympics in 1972 with Tyler finishing ninth in the slalom. Tyler joined Bob Beattie’s World Pro Ski Tour in 1972, won 5 events and was the top American skier from 1976 through 1978.
Skiing has always been and always will be Tyler’s life and passion. In the early ‘80’s he transitioned from ski racing to coaching. For the past 11 years Tyler has been coaching for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. He was an extraordinary coach…. knowledgeable, committed, passionate and somewhat perilously, totally selfless. He imbued his kids with a sense of respect for the sport by teaching them its history and how it helped him develop personal values. In turn, he encouraged them to grow with and through the sport.
Tyler has touched all of us with his humor, compassion and enormous appetite for life. He has coached many of our children and taught them life’s lessons through ski racing. He has asked for very little in return for his lifelong dedication to the sport we all love. Tyler is rich in spirit but not in coin. Now he needs our help. Over the next few weeks we will be following up with each of you to ask for financial help in the form of a contribution to the Bald Mountain Rescue Fund (501c3) to benefit Tyler and/or to reach out to others on behalf of Tyler and ask for their help.
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to help Tyler by sending your check to the Bald Mt Rescue Fund. Please state “In honor of Tyler Palmer” on the memo line of the check. Funds will be used by the BMRF to defray medical and living expenses resulting from Tyler’s catastrophic illness.
The Bald Mt. Rescue Fund
c/o Brian Barsotti
PO Box 370
Ketchum, ID 83340
Paul Fremont Smith