Festival of Trees: Man gives back to the foundation that changed his life

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One New Mexico family is giving back after the foundation gave so much to them. Festival of Trees event manager Lisa Sciorilli says Tyler Shannon continues to impress guests with his train display at the festival. 

“If I didn’t have my trains, I’d be sad,” Tyler said. “Ever since I was little I always loved trains, I said I wanted to be a train engineer.” 

The train display is Tyler’s way of giving back to the foundation. Tyler’s father, Michael Shannon, says the people at the foundation have seen them through many challenging times. 

“Tyler is our youngest child, he’s 21,” Michael said. “Eric is our oldest child, he’s 42. They have the same neuromuscular degenerative disorder, so they’ve been a part of our life for 30 plus years. They’ve always been there to help and support. 

Through the foundation, Tyler has been able to get involved in adaptive sports, which is another way the foundation helps New Mexico families. 

“We have youth sports programs, like adaptive sports hockey or wheelchair basketball,” Sciorilli said. “We offer a summer camp for kids with physical disabilities during the summer. They can come and just play games, do things that their peers are doing.”

Tyler now plays competitive wheelchair basketball and recently took part in Day of the Tread – handcycling 26 miles. He also mentors young children at Carrie Tingley Hospital. 

“It’s special,” Tyler said. “Makes me feel like other people can do it.” 

The 12th annual Festival of Trees will be held Friday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Albuquerque Convention Center Ballroom.

A $1 donation per person is suggested to get inside. Guests can also donate by bidding on the trees and buying tickets to the Evening of Enchantment. There will be a silent auction and live music. 



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