Tyler Criswell 2015

Tyler CriswellThe International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) is pleased to award a $500 scholarship to Tyler Criswell from Altoona, AL for the 2015-2016 academic year. Tyler is one of four students from across the nation to receive a scholarship award from the IETF.

When Tyler was in preschool, his parents and teachers didn’t believe that he was trying very hard. His writing and coloring was sloppy, definitely not as nice as the other children in his class. They thought that he might have some sort of developmental delay, or that he was just a little lazy. They all believed that he just needed to work on his focus and continue to practice. He spent hours at the kitchen table, practicing, trying as hard as he could to write neatly. Needless to say his handwriting never improved.

In second grade, he would steal his drawings off the classroom wall when no one was looking. He was ashamed to have anyone see how messy they looked. Eventually he was caught, and upon hearing him explain his embarrassment, his shame, his teacher made a heartfelt phone call to his parents. “That was the first time they realized that I was really trying in school,” Tyler said. “My parents took me to Children’s Hospital and I was diagnosed with essential tremor.”

That was a turning point in this young man’s life. “I was told I had essential tremor. I chose from that point on that it is ‘the tremor’ and not ‘my tremor’,” Tyler explained. “I will never allow it to define who I am or who I will become.” Although it takes extra work, Tyler is active in football, basketball, and baseball, maintains a 3.8 GPA and volunteers at numerous events. As an incoming freshman at the University of North Alabama, Tyler is looking forward to entering the medical field where he can help others understand and overcome their own medical challenges.