"Never give up!" Tanner lives by this motto.
This internal drive was sparked when his life dramatically changed at 12 years old.
Tanner was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that he contracted after the strep throat virus traveled to his leg and infected a bruise. Because of the disease, Tanner missed half of his seventh grade year and a majority of eighth grade. He fell behind in his classes, and it was difficult to do some activities due to the limitations of his leg.
But he’s learned a valuable lesson.
"I’ve learned that I can do anything that I put my mind to, no matter how big or how hard it is."
Now 17, Tanner’s illness is completely gone, but he’s still not sure what his leg will be like in the future. For now, he enjoys dirt biking, cars and time with his friends.
He’s also looking toward his future. He wants to attend the University of Oregon, where he says is one of the best medical schools in the United States.
“I’ve known that I wanted to be in a career where I am able to help people,” he said. “Being sick showed me how the patients rely on the doctors and nurses, and how much the doctors and nurses are able to help their patients."
Specifically, Tanner wants to specialize in hand surgery, thanks to one of the surgeons who helped saved his life, and who he considers a role model.
“He was the one who taught me to never give up,” Tanner said. “He would always push me to keep fighting, whether it was learning to walk or to figure through the disease.
I respected his caring personality—he truly cared about all of his patients. And his persistence—he never gave up on any of his patients and always made sure they got what they needed."
Before college and medical school, Tanner will earn his high school diploma through the University of Nebraska High School (UNHS). He initially chose UNHS courses because they were a flexible, high-quality option that allowed him to get caught up with his studies when he entered high school. However, he has enjoyed his courses and achieved excellent grades, so he has decided to complete his diploma through UNHS.
"This school gives you endless opportunities and helps you every step of the way. Make sure to take advantage of everything UNHS offers.
Beyond this advice for his peers, Tanner says his main message will always be to never give up.
“I try to do my best at whatever I am doing, no matter how challenging it is,” he said.