South Dakota State Goodwill Ambassador

South Dakota State Goodwill Ambassador

Tysen Cook, Age 16
Watertown, SD

Home and Family

Tysen is the son of Nicole Cook-Rieffenberger and Justin Ward. Tysen lives with his mother, step-father-to-be, Brad, and 3 brothers, Braxtyn, Camdyn and Cruz.


Tysen was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA). FA’s major neurological symptoms include muscle weakness and ataxia, a loss of balance and coordination. FA mostly affects the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves that connect the spinal cord to the body’s muscles and sensory organs. Effects on the heart range from mild abnormalities to life-threatening problems in the heart’s musculature.


Tysen is a gold honor roll 10th grader who excels in Math, Science and English.


Tysen loves sports and is an avid Chicago Bears and Minnesota Twins fan! He also enjoys video games, trivia games and spending time with friends and family.

MDA Activities

Tysen’s favorite thing to do is attend MDA Summer Camp every year and see his favorite camp counselors, old friends and make new ones. Tysen attends Fill the Boot events and is an MDA Shambassador. He also participates in Lock-Up and IAFF events. He recently spoke at the MDA Black & Blue Ball.