Willie Wyatt is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. His life dreams started at Gardendale High School. Here, he began his football career, and met the love of his life, Annette. Motivated by his desire to achieve and serve others, he had success in football and was offered a scholarship to the University of Alabama. His success continued in college and through hard work and talent, he played football in the National Football League. His achievements in football are admirable, but if interviewed, I am sure he would inform you that his most proud accomplishments have been serving as a mentor, coach, friend, father & husband.
Willie Wyatt is the type of man, most hope to meet or wish their daughters will marry. He is a principled Christian man who has devoted his life’s work to helping others and instilling principles which exude character and serve as foundation for young men and women being productive members in their family and society. Since retiring out of the Arena Football League, Willie has devoted his life to teaching and coaching the youth. He often stated coaching provides me the opportunity to “show these kids, that there is someone who really cares about them.” He has often verbalized having satisfaction of watching them grow and mature into admirable young men and women. His successes at his job have been evident in the innumerable young people who have taken every opportunity to visit and call for Coach’s guidance and advice. As his wife, I have found that we had many children before we were blessed with children of our own. I watched a man who beamed with love, and one that cherished the blessing of having the opportunity to begin that same principled journey with our own children.
In 2014, a series of adverse events began to disrupt this journey. We were initially told that he had a tumor and had to have brain surgery. The doctors indicated that they were not sure if he would live, and if he lived, what the quality of his life would be. This was devastating to him and all he hoped to accomplish. As he processed this information, I saw this principled man focus on his family and began to engineer strategies to get back to those kids—“the ones who need to know someone cares about them.” After brain surgery, we were told it was not a tumor but something known as demyelination disease. Later, the Neurology Specialist confirmed the demyelination disease as a rare form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) known as Tumefactive MS. MS is an episodic disease of the central nervous system marked by patchy destruction of the myelin sheath.
Managing these debilitating episodes from his tumor like disease, he continually persevered and returned to work. No one knowing on his worst days he could not walk or take care of himself. He often returned to work needing to be driven and ensuring the numerous medications were taken to abate the seizure activity that accompanies his MS. From 2015 through 2016, Coach fought the ensuing MS attacks, each time drawing strength from his faith, his family, and determination to return to his kids. In 2017, without warning and despite trying all of the latest therapies, the aggression of the disease attacked his brain stem. This flare has been the most devastating, affecting his ability to remain independent in his care and took his ability to speak. Since September 2017, Coach has required 24hr care and has lost his ability to walk and speak. Despite trying all prior strategies and using his sheer determination, the devastation of this attack has turned life as we knew it upside down. His medical needs are expensive, extensive, and extend beyond our insurance coverage. We hope to reach out to family and friends seeking help and encouragement to get Coach back to our family ,his kids, and friends. We truly appreciate all of the support and prayers we have had thus far on this journey.
- Zach Moore
- Catherine OFarrell
- James Pressler
- Reginald Pittman
Organizer and beneficiary
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