Man determined to make dying grandmother’s last Christmas ‘extraordinary’

Posted at 8:00 PM, Nov 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-16 23:25:10-05

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich., -- Tylor Westra has just one wish this holiday season: to give his grandmother, Phyllis Tucker, the best Christmas yet. Tucker is in the end stages of lung cancer and fighting a host of other medical issues.  The 73-year-old has been placed under hospice care in the home she shares with Westra in Comstock Township.

"Basically, the writing is on the wall," Westra told FOX 17 News. "Being my grandmother, if this is going to be [her last Christmas] I'm going to send her out with everything that I can... somebody who loves Christmas should get an extraordinary last Christmas."

A few weeks ago, Westra began to ask for donations online of old decorations and lights to make their home festive. Several friends have dropped off items, including a nativity set for the backyard.

Westra has also created a GoFundMe page to raise money for a variety of other special holiday activities, like taking Tucker to cut down a real live tree. Although it would be a dream, taking his grandmother to New York City to see the lights, or even Frankenmuth to visit Bronners Christmas Wonderland are out of the question for health reasons.

"We're trying to bring New York to her," said Westra. "If there's one person on the planet that deserves to be blessed for Christmas, it's my grandmother."

Westra has placed lights on the home's roof, back patio and placed decorations along the fence; anywhere that his grandmother may be able to take in the displays from where she's confined most of the day in bed. A small Christmas tree, stockings, toys and stuffed animals have also been placed inside on the first floor near her bed.

"Just trying to constantly keep a smile on her face," he explained. "She deserves everything."

Tucker, who says she loves the holiday season because "everybody loves everybody more this time of year", is blown away by everything her first grandson has done for her.

"He went out of his way to make a nice Christmas for me. I appreciate it," she said. "He's a good boy."

Westra, who becomes visibly emotional at the thought of this being the last Christmas that he will spend with Tucker, is determined to do even more.  Although money's tight between bills and medical expenses, he would like to give her the world, if he could.

"I want to fill the room up with presents and make it so bright that you can see the house from a space shuttle," he said. "People are telling me all the time that's such a great thing that you're doing and I'm like it's as simple as breathing for me, because that's someone I love...She's done everything for me, why wouldn't I do the same for her?"

Westra is still accepting donations of Christmas items. He's also asking the community to send Christmas cards to his grandmother. They can be mailed to PO BOX 115, Comstock, MI 49041.

To learn more, or to donate to his GoFundMe account, click here.