To the majority of the 1800 undergraduate students at Vanguard, Adam Tyler may seem like just another ordinary guy. Often sporting a backwards ball cap, Adam is a familiar face around the school. He likes to hang out in the Caf, spend time in the gym lifting weights, and kick back with his friends on the 7th floor in Huntington Hall. It is hard to find him without a smile on his face, especially when he is with his fiancé, Ciera Miller. On campus and in the classroom, Adam fits right in with the rest of his peers, but his journey to Vanguard was a path far more unique that one would expect.
As a child, Adam grew up only a short drive away from Orange County, in Torrance, California. He and his older brother were raised in a Christian home with both of their parents. From a young age, Adam developed a passion for America’s favorite pastime, baseball. He and his brother played in the local Little League growing up, and continued to play competitively as they got older. Playing baseball allowed Adam to develop a close relationship with his father, whom he shared a lot with personally. “My dad was that easy going, go with the flow type of person,” Tyler says, “I could always go to him when I needed to.”
Adam always maintained a strong relationship with his whole family, but in the 6th grade, he received some news that would drastically change his life. At age 12, Adam found out that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Three months later, his father would receive the same diagnosis, in his colon. “It just didn’t seem fair you know? It’s like one of those things you see in a movie, where both parents get cancer and the kids might get left behind,” Tyler says.
In what seemed like the darkest of times, the Tyler family was blessed to find out that Adam’s mother would be able to be cured with one procedure, a mastectomy that would rid her body of the cancer and returned her to full health. Adam’s father, however, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and was estimated nine months to live. Adam entered what would become a devastating time for anybody, let alone a kid who was still in junior high. He now recalls the pain and sadness as one big blur: “I hardly remember now. It was a really tough time to get through, but it’s almost as if the Lord just blinded me through that time to get me through it.”
After battling cancer for two years, his father passed away when Adam was in 8th grade. Growing up during high school became a challenge for Adam without a father figure, but his loss was aided by his perseverance and will to drive forward in life. He found comfort in baseball, his favorite sport, and only a few short years later, he made the decision to attend a Christian university that was originally last on his list for schools of choice. “I actually chose Vanguard because it was cheap,” he laughs. “They had given me a huge scholarship, but I was also really happy to be back in a Christian school.” Now in his second year at Vanguard, Adam is studying Business Administration, with dreams of someday working for a professional baseball team so that he can stay around the game he loves, now that his playing days are over.
Arriving at Vanguard would turn out to provide even more for Adam than just an education. On a casual night in the dorms during the fall semester, he met his future fiancé, Ciera. Before long, he found himself in love with the girl of his dreams. In January of this year, over looking the San Francisco Bay, he proposed to Ciera. It was a special moment for Adam, and it was one he had seen coming for quite some time. “That’s definitely the most meaningful moment to me since I’ve been at Vanguard,” he says, “Two weeks after meeting her, I just knew. From the moment I saw her, I just knew.” Now happily engaged, they are hopeful that their wedding will be sometime next year.
The challenge of watching both parents battle cancer is something very few of us can begin to understand. Even so, Adam has kept his head held high. Adam knows that his faith in the Lord will lead him the right route, and that his entire future still lies ahead of him, with endless possibilities. As a college student and a soon to be husband, Adam has a lot on his plate, but he places his hopes in God. His motto is quite simple, “I put my faith, hope and trust in the Lord, and I know everything will be all good.”