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A baseball coach's son makes a dash for home

12-year-old Tyler has last of 14 chemotherapy treatment

There were balloons, gifts, cake, hugs and, most of all, smiles.

Tyler Thompson, the 12-year-old son of Mission Hills Alemany baseball coach Randy Thompson, walked out of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles earlier this week after his 14th and final chemotherapy treatment for Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

"I'm really happy it's all over," said Thompson, wearing a New England Patriots T-shirt that he later replaced with a T-shirt of the L.A. Kings' Marian Gaborik.

Thompson was getting hugs from his 3-year-old sister, Addison, who said, "I'm a Patriots fan. Can I have cake?"

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And his 7-year-old brother, Brody, was being nice too because he'd like to join Tyler when he fulfills his first wish, a trip to Magic Mountain.

Last June, nurses came running into Thompson's hospital room after hearing screams. It was the night the Kings won the Stanley Cup, and Thompson was celebrating.

This time, his celebration was far more subdued. He and his family had endured challenges none had prepared for. All they knew was that life changed last December when a cyst was drained from Thompson's right hand and tests revealed he had cancer.

For nine months, Thompson went through three- and five-day hospital visits. Powerful drugs were injected into his body in an attempt to kill the cancer cells. Thompson did so much research on his iPad that he became almost an expert on chemotherapy.

"It kills all rapidly reproducing cells," he said. "That includes your hair cells, your nail cells, your white blood cells ... ."

His father and mother, Jamie, took turns sleeping on a couch that converted into a bed during each of the 14 hospital stays. Although the Hollywood sign could be seen in the distance from their hospital window, this was no relaxing retreat.

"The toughest thing is, I'm completely helpless. Watching your son go through chemotherapy is a gut-wrenching experience," Randy Thompson said in April.

This week, as he waited to sign the final paperwork to release his son, Thompson explained the phases parents go through: pity, fear, anger.

"Then you see him fighting, and you're there to support him," he said.

Chemotherapy treatment usually occurred past 11 p.m., so Tyler stayed up late to watch TV and ended up becoming a big fan of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

"He's so funny," Tyler said. "He puts me in a good mood."

Mom and Dad want his bedtime to return to 9:30 p.m., so Tyler might have to come up with a new TV strategy.

Although the chemotherapy treatments are finished, there's more work to be done. Scans soon will be taken to make sure he's cancer-free. Surgery will be needed to remove a port inserted in his chest that helped with the taking of medicine. And he'll need to be monitored.

But Tyler is looking forward to returning to seventh-grade classes at his middle school in Simi Valley. And he has a new goal: He wants to become a doctor.

"I've seen how amazing these doctors have been and the difference they're making," he said. "I want to invent a medicine that will make it easy for people taking chemotherapy."

There were times Tyler asked himself, "Why did this happen to me?"

"When the pain and nausea comes, you're, 'Ah.' But you pray and hope for this moment to come," he said.

Tyler was trying to convince his mother on Thursday to let him attend the Alemany-Chaminade football game.

"You learn to appreciate the little things in life and you learn that you miss school when you're away from school so long," he said. "You need to appreciate all the stuff that people often take for granted."

Follow Eric Sondheimer Twitter @LATSondheimer

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