The last Sunday morning was a perfect day for football. The air was cool and crisp, and the stands were full of parents, friends, and parishioners who turned up for the seventh Mount Pleasant Wildcats Spirit Day at Westlake High School.
But the real winner last weekend wasn’t one of the three age-group teams from the Mount Pleasant Wildcats Football Club and Cheer program or their opponents from Valhalla, Armonk or Scarsdale. It was the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, a nonprofit that was formed nearly a decade ago to raise funds for innovative research aimed at finding treatments and cures for the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer.
The foundation is named after Ty Campbell, who died of a brain tumor in October 2012 at the age of five. His parents founded the organization so that one day no other parents would have to go through the grief they experienced losing a child to cancer.
“We really rely on this event,” said his mother, Cindy Campbell, whose foundation has raised nearly $ 2 million since it was founded. “We’re counting on it.”
Most importantly, advances in clinical trials of possible treatments and technologies that didn’t exist when Ty was struggling for his life, which gives families more hope that their children can recover, Campbell said.
This year’s Spirit Day had its most successful extension, bringing in $ 60,000 in donations and sales at the event, slightly dwarfing the $ 42,000 raised from the day in 2019, the organizer said Lori Ferrara.
She said the pent-up energy and excitement of not being able to hold the event last year, along with the perfect weather helped get parishioners to spend the day outside with family, friends and neighbors, which drove the turnout kindled. In the seven years that Spirit Day has been held, approximately $ 165,000 has now been raised for the foundation.
Ferrara said it was not sure if the event could take place until about three weeks earlier this year, and the Mount Pleasant community was in a hurry to organize Spirit Day.
“We got together in three weeks and it’s bigger and better, so it’s a testimony to a lot of people and volunteers because that’s what this day is really about,” she said. “It’s about community and about teaching our children to give back and to fight for something bigger than them.”
After the first of three soccer games, Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi and Councilor Laurie Smalley Campbell presented a proclamation to the town, praising it and the foundation along with the Spirit Day volunteers for making the event an important day on the local calendar.
Campbell fought back tears as he described how much Spirit Day means to her and children who, hopefully, will not only survive difficult childhood cancers, but will grow up and thrive.
“On a personal level, it is very important for me to know how this community remembers my son and that the effect he left behind years ago is remembered and honored in this beautiful way by so many people,” said she.