What was your favorite song when you were 16? For Tyler Robinson, it was “It’s Time” by Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons. The lyrics were especially powerful to Tyler and his older brother Jesse.
So this is where you fell
And I am left to sell
The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.
These lines rang true for the two God-centered young men who felt like they were going through hell as Tyler fought a rare form of cancer in August 2011.
But the duo didn’t let negative thoughts take over. Jesse did anything he could to keep his brother smiling, including arranging a personal meeting with Imagine Dragons at a show in Utah, where the Robinson family resides. “His attitude toward life was so inspiring and consuming,” says Dan Reynolds, lead vocalist for Imagine Dragons.
On March 4, 2013, Tyler passed away. Imagine Dragons and the Robinson family created the Tyler Robinson Foundation to honor Tyler’s positive spirit and to address the financial and spiritual needs of families coping with pediatric cancer. At the end of 2014, the foundation ventured into events, hosting its first big gala in Las Vegas. About 350 people gathered at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Nov. 22, for an evening that included a plated dinner, a concert by Imagine Dragons and a silent auction (including big-ticket items such as a football signed by Joe Montana). The event raised more than $315,000.
“We pulled this off in less than four months, and the bulk of our success was the commitment of our board, volunteers and vendors who felt the spirit of the foundation and wanted to be part of the event,” says Christine Bowman, executive director.