Last Sunday morning was a perfect day for football. The air was cool and crisp and the bleachers were full of parents, friends and community members who turned out at Westlake High School for the seventh Mount Pleasant Wildcats Spirit Day.
But the real winner last weekend wasn’t any of the three teams in different age groups 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 non-profit organization established nearly a decade ago to help raise money for innovative research geared toward finding treatments and cures from the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer.
The foundation is named after Ty Campbell, who died of a brain tumor in October 2012 when he was five years old. His parents created the organization so one day no other parents will have to go through the heartache that 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 its inception. “We count on it.”
Of most importance, progress is being made on clinical trials on potential treatments and technologies that weren’t around when Ty was battling for his life, giving families greater hope that their children may recover, Campbell said.
This year’s Spirit Day had its most successful renewal, raising $60,000 from donations and sales at the event, easily eclipsing the $42,000 that was brought in from the day in 2019, said event organizer Lori Ferrara.
She said the pent-up energy and excitement from not being able to hold the event last year along with perfect weather helped drive community members to spend the day outside with family, friends and neighbors, sparking the turnout. In the seven years that Spirit Day has been held, it has now raised about $165,000 for the foundation.
Ferrara said it wasn’t certain that the event could be held this year until about three weeks earlier, and the Mount Pleasant community came through in organizing Spirit Day in a hurry.
“We pulled together in three weeks and it’s even bigger and better, so it’s a testament to a lot of people and volunteers because that’s what this day is truly about,” she said. “It’s about community and teaching our kids to give back and fight for something bigger than them.”
After the first of three football games, Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi and Councilwoman Laurie Smalley presented Campbell with a town proclamation, lauding her and the foundation along with the Spirit Day volunteers who have made the event an important day on the local calendar.
Campbell fought back tears when describing how much Spirit Day means to her and to children who will hopefully be able to not just survive difficult childhood cancers but grow up and thrive.
“On a personal level, it’s very important for me to know how this community remembers my son and know the impact he made years ago is still remembered and honored in this beautiful way with so many people,” she said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/