Young Colts fan inspires team as they did through his health problems

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For 16-year-old Tyler Beikes, there is more to being a fan than just cheering on the Colts each game day.

“You gotta feel it in the heart, the team is in the heart, not just a fan to be a fan,” Tyler said.

He should know. The Hoosier native and die hard Colts fan has a new heart over-flowing with Horseshoe love, and his health history could fill a medical school book on its own.

Tyler was born with half a heart. He had to undergo three surgeries at Peyton Manning Children’s hospital before he turned three years old, when he had already cemented his love for the Colts.

“Peyton came into his ICU room after his surgery,” said Tyler’s mom Amber. “We got to meet he and his wife right after their Super Bowl win.”

But as Tyler grew, so did his health problems. He was diagnosed with severe asthma, and epileptic seizures, but he fought on.

After he and his family moved to Arizona, his wish was granted in 2017, to see a Colts game in Indy and meet T.Y. Hilton.

“We’re like best buds,” said Tyler. “We talk like every day. He’ll shoot me texts now and then, ask me how I‘m doing, how my family is doing.”

“He’s full of energy, he just brought the juice,” added Hilton, in his 10th season with the Colts. “From the very first moment I met him, he was loud, full of life, something I’ll never forget. We’re still friends to this day, we text every day, all day, he’s very special to me.”

That relationship with the Colts helped keep Tyler going. In January, he was put on a heart transplant list, and finally in March he received a new heart. He even persevered through a kidney shutdown soon after surgery.

His new heart opened new opportunities to show his support for the Colts. He was able to travel, and attend a handful of games this fall.

He was there for their first victory in Miami, the heart-breaking defeat in Baltimore, and the first home win against Houston. Each time on the pregame sidelines, seeing the heroes that kept him going up close and personal.

“It pushed me to keep fighting. In my closet I have an array of jerseys, all Colts. I’ll go through them, pick out what I want to wear for school, pick out the autographed ones and think, that makes me feel special,” said Tyler with a laugh. “T.Y. makes me feel special.”

Hilton, in return, thinks Tyler is his motivation, especially through all the injury issues he’s dealt with this fall.

So what is Tyler looking forward to in his future?

“Being able to go on the field, run around with T.Y., catch some balls with Carson, and I’m going to try to be a cardiologist,” Tyler said. “I can make a connection with heart patients more than doctors could, and I already have a history, like I’m in my 3rd year of medical school already!”  

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