GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s a time of celebration for graduating seniors across the Triad who are looking back on what they’ve accomplished and trying to figure out what’s next.
Tyler Sloan has a bit more to celebrate than most graduates.
“It feels good … all the hard work you do pays off in the end,” said Sloan, a senior at Southeast Guilford High School.
He’s stepping into a world full of possibilities. Eighteen years ago, his family wasn’t sure he would get this chance.
“I was born with biliary atresia effect. It makes your ducts in your liver small and not work, so I ended up having my first liver transplant at 13 months old,” Sloan said.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
“I ended up getting very sick and ill to the point where they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Sloan said.
He went through a second liver transplant at three years old, and it was a success. Sloan was able to be a little kid. He grew up playing football and wrestling.
“They say I look great. I feel great. I don’t have any complaints,” Sloan said. “There’s some side effects to it, and I can’t drink and can’t smoke, but I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about who I want to be.”
He focused on doing things that made him happy. He dug into animal science classes, joined FAA and focused on woodworking and construction while at Southeast Guilford High School.
He also realized another passion: his desire to help people.
“Sloan was always willing to help out … if I needed something, he was with me,” said Nicolas Garrett, one of Sloan’s teachers.
Now, Sloan is considering pursuing a career as an EMT at Guilford Technical Community College.
“I feel like I can be fast with my hands because of the medical issues I’ve been through, and I’ve been through a lot,” Sloan said.
He’s using his skills and the compassion he was born with to help others feel less alone when their health is failing like his once was.
“They probably feel scared. They see they have an injury or an illness. They don’t think they’re going to get over, but all you have to do is hope and see that you’re not alone,” Sloan said.
Sloan is also considering pursuing welding at GTCC and tells FOX8 he wants to keep his options open but wants to help people and do what makes him happy.