Milk Tyson : Founder of Fighting All Monsters (joinourfam.org)
Milk Tyson, born in Massachusetts, is a 32 year old self-proclaimed “big brother to the world”. Once a character of the Hollywood nightlife scene, stirring up notable tabloid headlines with friend, Justin Bieber, is on a new path. Enrobed in tattoos and signature shades, Tyson is on a mission to be the new era of philanthropy and show the youth that it is cool to stand up and protect one another. He is loud, aggressive, and often misunderstood. But his passion and rejection of accepting ‘no’ as an answer has made waves for a lot of families fighting childhood cancer. Milk took a self-funded tour of the country spanning 4 years; he helped families with bills, introduced kids to celebrities such as Zendaya, Pharrell Williams, Justin Turner, and most recently James Cordon. Milk realized early on that he couldn’t satisfy his need to turn the lights on childhood cancer going it alone. So he has now opened the doors to his new foundation, titled “FAM”, which stands for Fighting All Monsters.
Thrive Global: How did you get started?
Milk Tyson: In 2013, I was doing a “giveaway” on twitter where I was choosing someone to walk the red carpet at Justin Bieber’s Believe movie premiere. I had read about a young girl who had cancer and wanted to invite her; but ultimately brought Meadow Walker, the daughter of the late Paul Walker. We had an amazing evening, and Justin had a great time with her before the premiere. Nonetheless, throughout the night, I kept thinking about the girl with cancer. I should have brought her too, and I couldn’t let it go. After the premiere was done and we were back at Justin’s house, I asked him to record a video for the girl who we were going to take. He recorded the video, and in that moment I entered the world of childhood cancer, never knowing I would never leave.
TG: What gives you energy to keep working?
MT: The 2am phone calls. The moms who feel like nobody can understand them, the fear in a mother’s voice when she can’t sleep, knowing her child is sick. The image of a mother and father leaving a hospital without their kid and going home to a house where their child’s room is still intact knowing that child won’t ever be coming home. That’s what gives me the energy to keep pushing.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
MT: Manolo, my dog! Get a dog! Everyone needs a dog! My dog taught me gratitude, compassion, and unconditional love. My dog made me get over myself and live to my full potential in that day! Dogs can’t wait to find out if someone is going to love them they just LOVE unconditionally, they can’t help it. A promise to my dog that I’ll walk her tomorrow,means nothing to her; she lives for today. She appreciates everything I do for her, and in return, she helps me look at the world in the same way.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone.
MT: My phone is in my hand pretty much from 5am until bedtime and a few times in between the hours that I sleep. I wish I could have a week off sometimes from my phone, but going into 2019, that’s not really an option.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
MT: At this point, I panic! I try to find out why I have 15 minutes of surprise time and figure out what I can be doing to move forward with my goals of making this foundation a success.
TG: Book that changed my life:
MT: I read a book recently by Eileen McNamara about someone I look up to greatly: Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World. This book motivated me to work harder and work smarter!
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
MT: I feel burned out every single night before I fall asleep, wishing there was more hours in the day, but that proves to me that I am doing the right thing. Everyday I question if I am doing the right thing and every possible thing that could go wrong, and that’s why I am certain I am heading in the right direction. If your dreams don’t scare you, you are not dreaming big enough!
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
MT: At least once a day. It is hard in a day and age where people lack empathy or have their own personal struggles to sell them the idea of giving back to others. Giving back should be as simple as breathing as it’s actually the same concept. Although, it’s not as easy to execute. For years people tell me, “I wish I could get involved, I’d love to help”. It’s discouraging to hear that, it eventually get confusing on who genuinely means it, but is having trouble doing it, and who says it because they know I help kids, and they feel like it’s what you should say to a guy like me.
TG: What is the ultimate goal with your foundation?
MT: I feel like there isn’t enough spotlight on our kids! Our babies are small, our cause should be ginormous. We need more resources, more help! I feel that people really have a hard time getting involved until it happens to them. I don’t wish that on anyone, but my goal is if that does happen to you, you don’t have to fight alone, as you already have a Family. I want the foundation to be bigger than a foundation; I want to serve as a lighthouse for those who feel they are lost at sea. This is bigger than me and honestly bigger than a foundation. I want to serve families, bring a bit of happiness to dark places, but I also want to create a ripple effect to the world to want to help others.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
MT: “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”. – Sam Levenson.
I hope one day more people will see it’s just as simple as that!