Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 | 2 a.m.
At the age of 16 years old, Tyler Robinson was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as Rhabdomyosarcoma. Shortly after his diagnosis, his older brother Jesse emailed Tyler’s favorite band, then-rising Las Vegas group Imagine Dragons, to let them know he was bringing Tyler to their concert in Provo, Utah.
“It wasn’t asking for anything, just letting us know that the concert meant a lot to their family, and that ‘It’s Time’ was Tyler’s song,” recalls Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds. “They came and we dedicated the song to Tyler and found him in the audience and it was a really special moment, very emotional for everyone in the room.”
Reynolds says he formed a bond with Tyler in the years following the show and stayed in touch with the Robinson family. In the spring of 2013, after being previously diagnosed cancer-free, Tyler unexpectedly slipped into a coma and passed away. The band joined with his family to create the Tyler Robinson Foundation, a charity organization designed to raise money to families dealing with pediatric cancer. “There are just so many unforeseen costs in additional to medical bills for these families, anything from a really expensive diet [to assist treatment] to parents having to drop out of work to help care for their family,” says Reynolds. “The foundation has already done so much incredible work and raised millions of dollars.”
The most visible fundraising event returns to Las Vegas on August 25 when the fourth annual Believer Gala brings cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment including Imagine Dragons and comedian Joel McHale to the Palace Ballroom at Caesars Palace. Tickets and information can be found at trf.org.
“The band is very hands-on with the gala in all senses,” says Reynolds. “We perform every year and reach out to different groups and friends to get them to be part of the cause, or just come and be a voice and contribute. We try to make it a special event with amazing food and entertainment.”
Reynolds says the gala is a guaranteed emotional experience for his band, which is currently riding high with new record “Evolve” on top of the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart and a huge tour starting this fall.
“It’s always the thing I look forward to the most out of the year, really a reminder of why we got into music in the first place, to make an impact for better in the world,” he says. “To see how much the foundation has grown is so inspiring. It’s bigger than us or anything, to get people to come together to help families. It’s a powerful thing.”