After heartache, a Christmas blessing for Bayler Teal's family - - Columbia, South Carolina

After much heartache, a Christmas blessing for Bayler Teal's family

The Teals' anonymously-donated Christmas tree The Teals' anonymously-donated Christmas tree
Bayler Teal Bayler Teal
Bayler with USC players and Coach Ray Tanner Bayler with USC players and Coach Ray Tanner

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield - bio | email

BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - Gamecock baseball fans will remember 7-year-old Bayler Teal, who died this summer from cancer. The University of South Carolina baseball team adopted the family a few Christmases back, bringing them presents and support. After Bayler passed away, the team flew Bayler's family to Omaha in his honor to watch as the team won a national championship.

On Tuesday, Bayler's family got quite a surprise at their Bishopville home. It's a tree he will never see, but everyone who sees it will see him.

"Christmas Eve is Bayler's birthday," said Risha Teal, Bayler's mother. "He would have been 8."

You may think a mother who lost her oldest son to cancer just a few months ago may want to play things down this year, but strangers are playing things up. "It's a gift from all these angels pulling together, bring hopefully a little happiness to your lives," said Lisa Dye.

Dye did not know the Teals, but she did know their story -- a 7-year-old boy who inspired his own heroes to clinch a national baseball championship. This wasn't Dye's idea, but she was a courier for the Teals' personalized Gamecock tree. A donor who knows the family, but doesn't want them to know it is them, asked her to drive from Columbia to Bishopville to deliver it.

The ornaments are all signed by the players and Coach Ray Tanner. "For a Christmas card, I've been trying to figure out what I'm gonna do," said Risha. "Now I think I'm just gonna have Bridges [Bayler's younger brother] stand by it for a Christmas card."

It may not be the way she planned, but her boys will be together. "It's not gonna be easy," said Risha. "We have a lot of family, we're gonna do it."

And even though their Christmas miracle is gone, their Christmas blessings are not. Risha Teal says the anonymous donor will never know how much this means.
The family got some more good news Monday night. Bayler's dad, after trying and trying, scored a ticket to watch the Gamecocks play in Atlanta this weekend.

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