Person 2 Person: Steve Tate

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Person 2 Person: Steve Tate (Photo provided by Steve Tate)

(KUTV) Steve Tate was a star football player for the University of Utah.

But he has now become known as dad to his son, Hayes, who died of brain cancer at 20 months old.

"Of all the things in life you're dealt with, losing a child is probably the hardest," Tate said. "You never move on. You try to move forward."

In the 18 months or so since Hayes passed away. Tate and his family have created the Hayes Tough Foundation to honor him.

"Part of my hope through all this is that we can help change other people's perspective without having them going through the same adversity that we went through," he said.

Tate has also written a book, "The 20-Month Legend," about his family's journey. Hayes was part of a set of triplets that joined the Tate family.

"I take you through the whole thing of adapting to this chaotic life of three older kids with three triplets," Tate said of the book.

Tate posted about their journey on Instagram, often being very vulnerable and raw with followers.

"It became, I think for me, a journal in a sense," he said. "It was a way for me to share my love for Hayes to the world. It was a way for me to, despite not knowing what lie ahead, it was a way for me to let Hayes somewhat touch other people's lives."

And in return, Tate and his family received a lot of support and love.

"We had people all over the world that followed us and have reached out to us and given us love. And now it's our turn to perhaps give back some of that," he said.

Tate describes Hayes' diagnosis as "the first time in my life I didn't have control."

He had married his high school sweetheart, had a good football career, and a loving family.

"Everything for me in life kind of went as planned," he said.

But being with Hayes in the hospital was very difficult for him.

"Dads are supposed to change things, and I couldn't change it," he said. "There's time where I still kind of deal with that. Just like, 'why couldn't I change it?'"

Hayes' battle gave Tate a lot of perspective.

"He would let me know that this was his plan," Tate said of some interactions with Hayes. "I kind of acknowledge it and I understand it. Accepting it's a whole other ball game."

And now Hayes' strength and mission is known to many throughout the world. And Tate is proud to be known as Hayes' dad.

"His legacy is bigger than mine ever was," he said. "As a dad, how can you complain about that?"

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