About Jeff Wyand
It was October of 1998 when 10-year-old Jeff Wyand started getting sick. His family thought it was the flu, or possibly an allergic reaction. But the bouts of sickness continued for several months. Then, in February 1999, a CAT scan revealed devastating news: Jeff had a brain tumor. He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma - a common malignant childhood tumor that affects the central nervous system.
Jeff, who lived in Plattsburgh, N.Y., came to the Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care for his treatment. "His care was phenomenal," said Jeff's mother Diane Wyand. "They were caring and loving. They treated you like family because we were there a lot."
While dealing with Jeff's illness, his father Tom Wyand decided to raise money to help the families of children who had cancer. He started an annual motorcycle ride in New York to benefit the Children's Miracle Network and Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen. The ride - called Biking for Miracles -- drew hundreds of bikers and raised thousands of dollars to help sick children every year. Jeff, who loved motorcycle rides, enjoyed sitting behind his dad on his motorcycle.
"He looked forward to it every year," Diane said. Sadly, one week after he graduated high school, in June, 2006, his brain cancer came back. He died six months later, in December 2006, at the age of 18. In 2007, Biking for Miracles was named the Jeff Wyand Miracle Ride in honor of Jeff. Diane Wyand said Jeff's positive attitude helped him cope with his illness. "He had the best personality in the world," she said. "He was very outgoing. He was also very kind and empathetic . . . He had this smile. He always had it no matter what situation he was in, even when he was sick. That's what I remember about him - that beautiful smile."