After hearing that her friend Tyler Cumings (above) was in a serious accident, Montague High School Senior Kaylee Kessler started raising funds for Cumings and his family. In total, she raised $2,193.29.
Kaylee Kessler always admired teenagers who went out of their way to help someone, or who have unique stories to tell. While many of these students were probably helping someone who had been involved in a tragedy, Kessler still wanted to make a difference but never knew how.
She got her chance to do something for her community, but unfortunately, it wasn’t just anyone she would be helping. It would be a friend.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Tyler Cumings was involved in a serious bicycle accident. He was riding his bike east on Eilers Road when he went through a stop sign at Whitbeck and clipped the trailer of a semi-truck.
Cumings was hospitalized at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids for some time before being transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
When Kessler heard of the accidents, she was shocked.
“Tyler would ride around town everywhere, including to church,” Kessler said.
Kessler was a friend of Cumings, a classmate and they were also members of the same youth group at St. James Catholic Church.
One day while Kessler was driving around, she got the idea to hold a fundraiser for Cumings and his family.
“I could finally do something in my community to make a difference,” Kessler said.
She immediately got to work and began asking people on Facebook for extra coffee cans or similar containers. Kessler typed up a message to place on the cans explaining the need for donations and cut holes in the lids of the cans to place money in. She had a total of around 30 cans that she placed at local businesses including places like Gary’s Restaurant, The Dive and Pekadill’s, among others.
Kessler collected the money from the cans once a week and brought the change and bills to HarborLight Credit Union to deposit. The bank employees counted the change and bills and then gave Kessler a cashiers check to which she gave to the family.
Kessler visited Cumings every weekend for three weeks and brought him and his family the checks, which totaled $2,193.29.
“Words can not express their gratitude towards our White Lake Community,” Kessler said. “When I brought them the check for $900, all Tyler could say was ‘wow.’”
Cumings’ parents continuously thanked Kessler, but she kept telling them it wasn’t just her.
“I may have collected this and started this, but our amazing tight-knit and supportive community has come through and that is why I brought them what I brought them,” said Kessler.
According to Kessler, Cumings is doing great at Mary Free Bed. Despite the accident and all Cumings has been through, Kessler said he has not lost his bright spirit.
“His positive attitude and willingness to achieve success are qualities that Tyler has always possessed, and it is clear, even with the accident that he will always have them,” Kessler said.
For those who wish to donate to Cumings and his family, a benefit will be held at CrossWinds Fellowship church located at 1910 Ruddiman Drive in North Muskegon on Saturday, Oct. 27. The benefit will begin at 6 p.m., with bands starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. Performing at the benefit will be The Birdsongs and Uncommon Road. All proceeds from this event will go directly to Tyler Cumings. For more information on the benefit, visit their Facebook event page under Tyler Cumings Benefit Event – Presented by Hey Radio!