01/29/2008 | ConsumerAffairs | People to People News
By Lisa Wade McCormick
Tyler Hill (Family photo)
Sheryl Hill hugged her 16-year-old son a little tighter — and a littler longer than usual — shortly before he boarded a plane last summer and took off on his much anticipated People to People Student Ambassador trip to Japan.
The Mound, Minnesota, woman took a mental picture of their last moments together at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport recalling every detail of the excitement in her son’s big brown eyes, his brilliant smile, and even the burgundy polo shirt and khaki pants he wore on that June 16, 2007, day.
Sheryl and her husband had worried about sending their son, Tyler — who had Type 1 diabetes and complex migraine headaches — on this People to People excursion.
That promise sealed the deal. It’s the reason Sheryl and Allen Hill let Tyler join his friends on the trip overseas.
Now that promise is at the heart of a wrongful death suit filed on Monday in Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Court.
The lawsuit alleges the organization and its delegation leaders refused to get Tyler the medical attention he requested and that his June 29, 2007, death in Tokyo is the result of their negligence.
But thirteen days before this tragedy — as Tyler and his friends said goodbye to their families in the states — Sheryl’s thoughts focused on how much this journey meant to her son.
“This was the most excited we’d ever seen him,” she says of Tyler, a history buff who was born on the anniversary of D-Day. “He dreamed of going to Japan.”
During their bittersweet farewell at the airport, Sheryl says Tyler — who had “dominated” his diabetes since its onset at age five — assured her that he’d be fine.
“He told me not to worry. Then he picked me up, did a backwards dip with me, and said ‘I love you momI’m going to make your proud of me.’