Dad’s Struggle with ALS Inspires Respiratory Therapy Student

Tyler & Dewayne Garrett/ALS

Tyler and Dewayne Garret pose for a photo together at Tyler’s white coat ceremony.

Tyler Garrett was initially attracted to the respiratory care profession because he grew up with asthma as a kid. But it was his dad’s disease that really sealed the deal for him. A former law enforcement officer, Dewayne Garrett is battling ALS, and Tyler says seeing the respiratory therapist work with his dad in the clinic made him know “this was my calling.”

A junior in the RT program at Augusta University in Augusta, GA, Tyler hopes to put his firsthand experience with a loved one with a debilitating disease to work for him when he graduates and enters practice.

“Having to watch my dad slowly lose motor function has changed my view on life in general,” says the AARC student member. “I try not to take the simple things for granted anymore. It is hard to imagine not being able to do simple tasks such as picking up your drink, or scratching the top of your head when it itches.”

Tyler says he’d like to do more to help his dad, but what he has been able to do is teaching him a lot about patients and their needs. “When it comes to taking care of patients in the hospital I think that I will have more patience and instinctively know the simple things to help out with that will go a long way in their eyes — especially disabled patients.”

Tyler is on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in RT in May of 2018. He recently received his white coat in a special ceremony, and was proud to have his dad there to witness the event.