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Heart of Utah – A swing for Hayes

A surprise that came in the mail last week helped a Utah family face the four-year anniversary of their son’s death from cancer. It was a swing with a very special story — and a special connection to a little boy named Hayes.

Hayes and the swing

It starts with a trip to the beach. In 2016, the Tate family went to  California to celebrate Hayes being in remission. He was around 14 months old and had been battling brain cancer for much of his young life. 

Steve Tate said he promised the other five kids that when Hayes was better, they’d go to Disneyland. They stopped at Newport Beach, where Steve pushed his little boy in a swing.

“That’s probably one of the best moments of my life. It was the first time since his diagnosis he wasn’t in hospital cords or feeding tubes. He was just being a boy. I had this spiritual moment with him, looking into his eyes, it was one of those surreal moments, and it was in this swing,” he said.

But a few months afterward, the cancer was back. Hayes, the youngest of triplets, always a fighter, passed away surrounded by his family on December 3rd, 2016. 

Compelled to write

Steve woke up in the middle of the night ten days later and knew he had to write about it.

“I knew he was pushing me. My wife woke up and I said, ‘You should see the chapter outlines.’ ‘What?’ “Yeah, I’m writing a book,” said the former University of Utah football team captain.

He finished the book in only four weeks. His goal was mainly just to have a bound book for his family. But it became much more than that after it was published.

“Especially in 2020, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about it. It creates perspective. It’s our story, it’s about parenting and love, and finding hope when there is no hope,” he said.


The book is called “The 20 Month Legend.” On the front cover, is a picture of Steve pushing Hayes in that swing at Newport Beach.  This past week, they got that very same swing in a package in the mail from the city.

A gift of healing

“This swing has meant a lot to us. It reminds us of pushing him on the beach that day. And out of the goodness of humanity, someone who follows our story, had the idea to go to Newport Beach city and ask for that swing to be donated to us,” said Steve.

All he knew was that they wanted his address. It was a total surprise.

“Never did I think it was the swing where I pushed my son Hayes. And now it is in our backyard on our swing set,” he said.

As the Tates were installing it on their swing set, a green orb of light briefly appeared. They knew it was what they call a “Hayes hint” — a sign their 20-month legend was there with them. They say these Hayes hints show them he’s looking over them, especially when they most need it.

Hayes Tough

Steve and Savannah Tate also run the HayesTough Foundation to help other families dealing with childhood cancer. They are finding ways to support others and lift them emotionally, financially or in whatever way when they need it.

Just like this swing did for them.

Find all of the good news – Heart of Utah


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