Ty's Story

On October 4, 2007, Ty Louis Campbell came into this world, and our lives changed forever. We never knew love like that before. Then, on August 11, 2010, our lives changed forever again. A mass was found at the base of his skull and Ty was later diagnosed with an extra renal rhabdoid tumor; a very rare and aggressive cancer. Since the diagnosis, we have been flooded with an outpouring of love and prayers. We created this page to keep our friends and family up to date on his progress, and to share our experience with our loved ones. Ty passed away on October 17, 2012, but his legacy lives on. Thank you all for your tremendous support.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The other love of my life... my husband

Relationships often become casualties of crisis.  Even the strongest of couples, when faced with life-changing crisis, can find themselves forced apart due to a range of reactions, different levels of coping, or conflicting outlets of grief.  I first saw this when my best friend broke off her engagement following a serious accident that had a tremendous impact on her family.  Her fiancĂ© simply couldn’t relate.  He sank deeply inward to give her space, instead of grabbing hold tight and trying to lift her up out of the dark hole.  I didn’t understand it then, but I can entirely relate now.  Relationships can be blindsided by life.  I have seen too many relationship casualties of childhood cancer and child loss, and I am so incredibly grateful that mine is not one of them.

I was 27 years old when I met Lou (or as he likes to say, when I picked him up at a bar).  He was bartending at Bliss Bar in Manhattan, and I was stopping in after work to visit with my friend Christina and her Dad for Happy Hour.  It’s funny how she knows things.  She told me in her insistent way “you are gonna love this bartender.”  Well, I didn’t know how right she was until years later.

Lou served me a drink and he chatted me up a bit.  I silently approved of how he made sure Mr. Brunn’s Guinness was always full and treated him with a genuine kindness without even knowing how badly he needed the conversation.  Mr. Brunn lost his son on 9/11, a debilitating tragedy that I couldn't begin to imagine until it happened to me.  During the early days I tried to meet up with Christina and her Dad often because I love them so much and worried about them tremendously.    

I spent the night enjoying the company of my friends but whenever I returned to the bar Lou met me with a smile.  At the end of the night, I drank enough to surrender my phone number and he called me the very next morning.  He had just moved to Brooklyn and I was living on the Upper East Side.  I lamented over having to cross a bridge (!) but I didn’t let that get in the way of our budding relationship.  Our story unfolded as it was supposed to.  We dated for a year before getting engaged on my birthday in Central Park.  Fast forward another year to a perfect September wedding on a vineyard.  We would live in the city another year before moving to a house and starting a family.  We were going to have it all!


During all the ups and downs of my dating years prior, I used to reassure my mother, "Don't worry, Mom, I am going to marry a doctor from Westchester."  These days I joke with Lou, who is technically Dr. Louis Campbell, because he first told me he was from northern Westchester. He tricked me!  I realized later he was a Chiropractor from Putnam, but by that time it was too late :)

When I look back to my wedding day and imagine the person I was, I realize that I had no idea whether or not I was marrying the love of my life.  I knew I loved him, absolutely.  I knew I wanted to marry him with all of my heart.  It was the right time, he was the right kind of guy, and I couldn’t wait to move on to being a married person, then to start a family, etc.  To live my life the way it’s supposed to be lived.  We were young and relatively successful.  The world was ours for the taking and we couldn’t wait.  But, “love of my life” depends on what “my life” turns out to be, right?

What about those inevitable curveballs?  How would our relationship handle that?  During the 5-year period where my friends began dropping like flies into the abyss of married life and questioning the big commitment, I used to ask, “Can you imagine yourself reading the paper and eating buttered toast across the table from this man when you’re 80?  Because I worry about that.  I want this to be forever!”  How are you supposed to know the person you will be 50 years later?  How are you supposed to know whether or not a relationship can withstand any unexpected devastation that life might throw at you?

There was an article circulated recently about suffering, and what it does to people in a relationship.  It focused on the most overlooked traits to look for in a husband, and how too many people forget to imagine how a relationship might withstand the greatest of hardships.   Because let’s face it – the majority of us are going to face tragedy at some point or another.  Really bad things happen to good people, and no one is immune.  Out of all my closest friends, I can count on one hand the few that have been spared really difficult hardships at one point or another (knock on wood a thousand times).

Before cancer invaded our lives, there was the typical arguing and stress over regular, every day “stuff.” As if it was a competition over who had a more stressful day at work.  We were both hot tempered, emotional, stubborn, and stressed out.  He would rightfully call me out when I was being irrational, but I always refused to concede (I still do that), and I used to respond to his criticism by joking about the “perfect girl” waiting out there somewhere for him.  The one with an outstanding income, whose family is worth millions, who is an incredible cook and will dote on him head to toe.  She is totally agreeable, thinks he walks on water - oh, and she has perfect breasts, a tiny waistline, and a 23K golden you-know-what.

Petty, emotion-driven arguments would be sparked by the tiniest, unimportant of incidences, but we were still in love - we were just feisty newlyweds.   Little did we know what real problems we were going to face.  We had no idea what real stress even feels like.  And it was that experience – that true understanding where no one else can possibly understand – that made our relationship the rock that it is today.  I thank God every day for him.  I couldn’t imagine surviving the pain of losing Ty with anyone else by my side.
 


We have arrived in a place of mutual understanding.  We acknowledge that we can’t control this new, incomplete life of ours so we might as well just live it with acceptance.  We always say I love you before we hang up the phone and we look forward to seeing one another after a long day at work.
All of this being said – OF COURSE we still get stressed out over everyday things, and of course we still argue.  But when heated conversations begin to cool down, I overhear him saying bedtime prayers with Gavin, or I watch him doing the dishes from across the room and I think to myself how lucky I am.  Ty could not have had a more loving, more involved father. Gavin could not have a better Daddy.  And, I could not find a better person to share this crazy, sad, beautiful life with.

I recently posed the question to Lou, “do you buy into the theory that you can’t truly appreciate happiness at its highest height, unless you have grieved in the lowest of depths?”  I do.  I believe you can’t taste how truly delicious an orange is unless you are suffering from hunger.  You can think you love the way it tastes.  You can be grateful for it.  But it will never taste as good as it does to someone who is truly starving.  True love is real, but I think impossible to find unless it is taken to the edge.  For me, it took the most painful loss to find the greatest love waiting on the other side.

I am so blessed and lucky that our hardship only made us more in love instead of tearing us apart, because honestly, it could have gone either way.  I miss my son, but I am still grateful that my life is filled with so much love. Happy (belated) Birthday, Lou.  You are the only one I want to share breakfast with when I’m 80.


XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is October over yet?

It's a tough month.  It's as simple as that.  I thought I would be okay, because in general I've been getting by pretty well, but I was wrong.  Lou was wrong, too.  I am borrowing this from my friend Andrea (Riley's proud mama), because it couldn't be a more appropriate depiction of how we have been feeling for the past 4 weeks.


But despite these feelings, we prefer to tell everyone, "I'm fine."  Because it's easier.  For all of us.

How fitting. Lou just walked past me as I was typing and saw the graphic posted above.  He joked, "You're not fine... You're crazy."  I told him to take another look at what it reads.  He leaned in closer for a double take and he laughed out loud at the perfect irony.

Colleen and I always shared our awesomeness - both of us having birthdays in October and simply adoring the fact that we are Libras.  Because - as all Libra's know well - being a Libra is simply the best.  When Ty was born just days after me, I relished in the fact that we were guaranteed to be two peas in a pod.  He would totally "get" me, and I would totally "get" him, because our beautiful little Libra minds were wired the same way.  On my birthday Colleen texted me a "Happy Craptober" message, and I laughed and cried simultaneously as I thought about how much I can't wait for this month to be over.  Hope you all had a happy Craptober.  Just a few more days and I'll be fine.  Like a zombie on Halloween at midnight, I will emerge from under this dirty pile of grief with my arms in the air - a survivor once again (just before I eat some brains) :)

All month long, I walk outside to a beautiful day that is neither hot nor cold.  No humidity in the air, and the leaves on the trees truly couldn't be more beautiful.  I am reminded... this is just like the day we brought him home from the hospital after he was born.  This is just like the day I took my favorite video of him running in and out of the ocean in Long Beach.  This is just like the day Mely, Ty, Gavin and I ventured to the walkway over the Hudson (we had never been before) and noticed his labored breathing on the drive home.  That was they day we first suspected the worst but refused to say it out loud.  This is just like the day I held him in my arms when we went outside for the last time - when we sat on the bench that I have since engraved with the words, "Ty was here."  This is just like the day he died.  This is just like the day we cremated him.  This is just like the day I sat on the steps in my yard with his Monster Blankie over my shoulders and cried myself into a puddle because he was gone and never coming back.

heart-shaped leaf for my Ty
Lou just pointed out that there is a ladybug on the ceiling right above me as I write.  There has certainly been no shortage of ladybugs this month.  In fact, there hasn't been a single day since October 17 (the anniversary of his death) that I haven't been able to find at least a dozen in my house.  In fact, the other day was a particularly tough one for no particular reason so I took the video camera out to document the fact that there were 52 ladybugs in my kitchen alone.  52 - that is not a typo.  And like I posted earlier - it's not just the ladybugs.  I am fully aware of the science behind the ladybugs and why they are here under these weather conditions and such.  I am aware that my house is not the only house that has been invaded (and, PS, if yours is one of them you should remember they are a sign of good luck and spirituality).  It's the fact that they are here when I need them.  They won't leave!  But by November 1st I am pretty sure they will be gone. Not because the temperature is dropping or what-not, but because Ty knows we will be better when October is behind us.

But don't worry.  I am certain that on a cold winter night, out of nowhere and maybe just after I talk about Ty, I know one will appear above me once again.  Because it always seems to work that way, and that is Ty's promise to all of us. There is something so much more than "this."

Halloween is the last tough day to get through and I just can't stop the memories from pouring in.  They are intense and I am actually very happy about that.  Knowing that I remember every year, every costume, is something that I am beyond grateful for.  Because my greatest fear (and any bereaved mom will agree) is the fear of forgetting.  I remember the Halloween parade at Memorial Sloan Kettering.  I never shared this picture because we look terrible.  We had to go to clinic for our weekly post-chemo check-up and Ty had mouth sores - it was about 3 weeks after his 3rd birthday.  He was too uncomfortable to wear a costume for the hospital "parade" so we went with Spiderman PJ's.  I thought I looked like such a train wreck in this picture and refused to share it ever since. HA!  I had no idea what was ahead - I didn't even know what trainwreck meant yet.  I also didn't share this picture before because his eyes were swollen and red underneath, he has a mouth sore, and he just looks sad.  But it sits in my office on the board above my computer and I have stared at it many times when talking to him.  This is a fond memory of mine, even if it's hard to look at.



Lou and I went to a Halloween party the other night that was hosted by one of our incredible board members, and all I can say is "Thank you."  We got out, it was so good for us, and I got to see so many people who I love and who I want to be in touch with more often but just can't find the strength to put myself out there sometimes.  I'm happy to say we shared some a whole lot of smiles during this otherwise difficult month.  (thank you, Mellissa).

I am disappointed with my Halloween loot this year.  Ty would be, too.  And that makes me mad at myself.  But I let my mood get the best of me and I didn't buy the candy I always promised I would (the eyeball chocolates, the gummy earthworms, the booger gum and the marshmallow insects) but after I realized how disappointed Ty would be, last night I invested in several bags of Ring Pops (lucky kids will get the blue ones), Starburst (pink were Ty's favorite - and everyone's, really, right?) and sour patch kids.  Not as cool as the years before, but I hope he is still proud of his mama for picking out his favorite things.  Tonight we carved a Jack-O-Lantern that Gavin designed and I just know he would have approved.  I feel he was with us.  Which is also why I was compelled to write after such a long silence.  Thank you for waiting and caring and sharing and supporting us through all of this.  XOXO.  Happy Craptober to you all :)

another heart leaf for my boy - on our "date" bench

2009 - Janice's house.  I just want to go back to this place.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crying is crippling. Let the debilitating breakdown begin...

It's okay to cry.  I know this to be true.  But, I can't live by that rule day-in and day-out because crying is crippling.  This week, however, is an exception.  Tomorrow will be 2 years since Ty died in our arms.  I don't want to ever forget a single thing about him, or about that day.  Not even for a second. Yet, I can't bear to remember, either.  It's a twisted little truth about life without him.  To think of him is to inflict pain upon myself - and I wish it wasn't so.  I wish it was as beautiful and positive as I most often portray it to be.  I wish every memory brought me laughter instead of tears, but i'm not there yet and doubt I ever will be.

Every other day of the year, I am usually doing well. I put one foot in front of the other, because I push the painful thoughts out of my head.  When my memories float in, I allow them to stay until I feel the tears in my eyes.  Then I push them aside, like a fly on my nose.

How can I do that?  How can I shoo him away like that?  It's because if I don't, I can't function.  I can't be the wife I need to be for Lou, the mom I need to be for Gavin, or the person I need to be to keep working at the foundation in his memory.  Keep Calm and Carry On - that's what the t-shirt says, right?   Well, not today.  Not yesterday and not tomorrow, either.  Tomorrow he will be gone for 2 years, and I will spend every second remembering him.  In fact, the ladybugs came and infested my house yesterday.  I have been waiting for them to come.  They carry a message of peace and everlasting youth on their wings.

Yesterday I went through hundreds of photographs and cried until I couldn't physically do it anymore.  Today I stepped out the door and breathed in the same Fall air that hung in my lungs the day he died.  I allowed myself to cry during the entire drive to the office, talking to him out loud asking him where he was, and cursing over and over again about what he went through.  "I want to know!" I yelled.  "I want to know where you are, and what it's like, and how you are doing!"

Tomorrow I will watch his videos while eating blue Sour Patch Kids and pink Starburst.  I will listen to his little voice, watch him smile and I will allow myself the photographs that break my heart the most.  The photos of him lying still, his skin matching the porcelain white of his 3-piece suit.  And the hospital photos where he is just sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Like this one.


His eyes are pleading with me.  His sadness is palpable.  And me... I'm just so useless. He was physically and emotionally abused for half of his life.  And I allowed it.  I stood by his side and I held him down and I reassured him that everything was going to be okay time and time again.  Through all of his immeasurable pain and suffering, all I could do was stand by and watch.  To hold his hand and allow it, and in the end he died anyway.  There is no "supposed to be like this."  God doesn't hand-pick children to suffer like this, and he certainly doesn't pick and choose over which ones he will allow life, and which ones he takes with him depending on who fights with vigor, who prays harder, or who loves more.  It is NOT a contest. If love and prayer was enough, I know hundreds of children who would still be here.  My God would never do such a thing to children.

The falling leaves are impeccably fitting.  A true depiction of death and dying.  One last graceful decent through the air before returning to dust.  It was always my favorite season, but I will forever look at it differently.  I see Ty in every falling leaf and the beautifully tragic ending it represents.  So natural, free and organic. Temporary.  We are all temporary, and one day each and every one of us will fall from the branch.  For so many, however, it is simply too soon.

Today was the first time I realized how glad I am that we waited to host his memorial until April. The start of Spring.  A celebration of rebirth and new life.  Hurricane Sandy (that B*tch) made the timing unintentional, but when I look back now it was a symbolic blessing.  Gone from this Earth in the Fall and returned to Heaven to begin his new life in the Spring.

A Message to Ty:
Your final resting place is finally complete, my baby boy.  Your Daddy made every effort to make it so. When we decided to erect a statue in Long Beach in your memory, and in tribute to all children afflicted with cancer, the original mini clay models were ours to keep.  We had searched for so long to find an appropriate urn for you for so long, but nothing ever seemed right.  Your incredible Dad found the perfect place for you, so you could continue to be with us every night when we say "goodnight' and every morning when we rise.  He presented it to me on your birthday just 13 days ago, and I cried so unexpectedly and so severely, I couldn't breathe.  Never could I have imagined something more perfect for me to whisper "goodnight" to every night.  I love you always and forever.  Big huge giant much.  I hate living this life without you, but I know we'll join you soon.  And I will hold your hands as you show me how to soar across the skies - my little Peter Pan.  How I love you so.  I could never have imagined a more perfect child, and I am still in awe that I was chosen to care for you.  How lucky I am always and forever.  I hope you can feel my kisses in heaven and I hope beyond hope that you will visit me in my dreams.  XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO.


In our bedroom, where you belong.  the perfect place for you to rest



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rainy Birthdays

I don't know what the weather was like the day Ty was born.  I was in the hospital since the day before and he finally arrived at 11PM that night.  But on the day we took him home, the weather was perfect.  One of those magical days in early October where the sun warms you just enough to take off your sweatshirt and soak it all in under the changing leaves.  That was the day our life changed forever, and I couldn't wait to live it.

My birthday was on Wednesday, it was perfectly rainy and gloomy.  It suited my mood.  Today is Ty's birthday.  He would be seven years old.  Today is also pouring rain.  I've been checking the weather all week and there are raindrops from start to finish today.  It's perfect.  A muddy puddle kind of day just for Ty.

Please remember Ty today, and let your kids do whatever they want (well, almost).  It's Saturday. Let them make a mess in muddy puddles,  Bake cookies.  Use fingerpaint.  Let them have ice cream for breakfast and make smiley face pancakes for dinner.  Ty would think that is so funny.  Take pictures and upload to the website here.  http://muddypuddlesproject.org/be-part-of-the-project/  

When I just visited the muddy puddles site a second ago to copy and paste the link above, the random security word that appeared on the JotForm was "birthday."  How crazy is that?!?!?

And if you want to donate in his memory, please help Lou meet his fundraising goal from the recent TYathlon.  He finished the race with great time last weekend, and it was such a beautiful day.  Ty's spirit was there, cheering everyone on, and he is so proud of the work we do at the Foundation.  I know this to be true.  Thank you so much to all the incredible athletes who came out to support the foundation on race day.  A special shout-out to Ty's Uncle Harry, who drove all the way up from Eastern Long Island to participate in the TYathlon, only to turn around afterward to compete in a half Iron Man in Montauk the very next day.  What an amazing achievement!


This morning Gavin woke up extra early with such excitement.  "It's Ty's BIRTHDAY!!!  We have to wake up!!!"  He had me pour a bowl of cereal for Ty, and left the chair empty between us for his brother to join us for breakfast.  I could barely muster a smile until he started talking about how many marshmallows Ty had in his bowl when his were already almost gone (Lucky Charms was a special treat today).  When he couldn't stand it anymore, he said, "Ty, can I sit there and share with you?" He climbed into the empty chair without pausing for an answer and went to town on the marshmallows.  I thank God for Gavin every day, he makes me smile even on my saddest days.

We will sit in the rain and visit Ty's statue today.  We'll watch videos of Ty and eat candy.  We made some "random act of kindness" packages with gift cards to leave around town in his memory and we will let Gavin bake a cake so we can sing Happy Birthday to his brother tonight.

It's not the way it's supposed to be, but we will remember him always.  It means so much to us that you remember him, too.  Thank you.  Happy Birthday, TY.


 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Long Beach Sand in Our Shoes

Living in a beachfront community, there is a common phrase, "I've got sand in my shoes."  It's more than a literal reference to the actual sand that is in your shoes more often than not.  It is representative of the beach being part of you - going with you wherever you go.

Our family has Long Beach sand in our shoes, and we always will.  No matter where life takes us.

When Ty was home on hospice care, some great friends from Long Beach were coming up for a visit and Lou asked them to bring a bottle of water from the ocean, and a jar of sand from the beach.  He kept it in his closet.  I didn't know why.

When we laid Ty in his casket, he was dressed in a white three-piece suit, and a blue handkerchief - his hair was perfect, his feet were bare.  Then Lou pulled out the box from his closet.  He poured the sand over Ty's bare feet, followed by the ocean water.  We believed he was free to go back to the beach, and we found peace knowing he was going to rest with Long Beach sand between his toes.


When we visited his statue after the Luau, I was prompted to photograph the beautiful seashells and lollipops that were left by his feet.  Thank you to all of our incredible friends who paid him an unprompted visit that day.  The way you remember him is what allows Lou and I to continue putting one foot in front of the other.  When I saw the sand between "his" toes, I was immediately reminded of his beautiful feet covered in sand and surf the very last time I kissed them goodbye.  Reliving that day is raw and painful, balanced by beauty and serenity.  I love that we were able to create this statue in his memory.  I love that he will always have Long Beach sand in his shoes. 


I took a walk around the neighborhood today and I became an emotional wreck after just one song on Pandora.  Sadly, I don't listen to much music since losing Ty - not even in the car - because every song, no matter how relevant or irrelevant, seems to trigger some kind of memories of Ty and I end up with tears in my eyes.  The song "Home" by Phillip Phillips doesn't have much significance other than the fact that it was wildly popular around the time Ty died, so when it came on this morning it triggered memories of driving in the car with Mely - heading to the TLC office after he passed away; then rewind to the day he died; relive the exact moment (which, by the way, happens all the time).  Then something happened that has never happened before....

There is a very light and beautiful harmony in that song.  A chorus where back-up singers are making lovely sounds, and all of a sudden I imagined Ty flying.  Soaring through the air with wind in his hair and OMG how he was laughing.  He would turn to look at me as if I was flying right next to him, and then turn sideways and tuck in his knees for a back-flip before zipping upwards into the sky.  Like he was Peter Pan! This vision felt so real, it was as if he was truly home.  That he was free and he was happy and he was not alone.  

I bawled.  I cried and I cried and I wished I had better prepared him to leave.  I thought about how I held onto hope until the very end because I just didn't want to let him go.  I feared that my barely five-year-old son was hanging on to his own painful life simply out of fear because he didn't want to leave me and Lou.  I always worry about him walking into Heaven alone.  I always wonder who was there to meet him?  If it was Granny, how would he even recognize her?  But then there he was, flying.  Like a little boy fulfilling his wildest dream.  His face, his smile, was that of a child who doesn't know pain anymore - like he never knew it at all,  

So, I leave you with that tonight.  I lost my son, the love of my life.  I am left here to be sad and that's okay, because he is soaring across the sky.  He is Peter Pan.  Maybe they all are.  Even Granny :)




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nothing gold can stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost

I don't think there could be a better color to represent childhood cancer.  Children, in all of their beauty, purity and innocence, are truly golden.  When a poor child is diagnosed with cancer, he or she is immediately robbed of this, while forced to face pain, fear and realities that grown men and women can barely even cope with.

When Gavin bumps his head badly, or skins his knee, or gets a shot at the doctor's office - I coddle him and I try to comfort him with every remedy possible.  Yet, in my mind I know what real pain looks like to a five year old.  I think to myself "sweet little man, you have no idea, thank God"  And for that, I am grateful.  He is still gold and I want him to hold onto that for as long as he possibly can. I want him to be a carefree kid and have incredible memories from his childhood.  I hope Lou and I find ways to create those for him.  Muddy Puddles!!

When I review the stats, I am in as much shock today as I was the moment I first became aware myself.  Ty was diagnosed in August 2010, and it wasn't until we checked into the clinic at Sloan Kettering that September that I saw my first gold ribbon.  It wasn't until then, that I was prompted to investigate more about childhood cancer in general because I had otherwise been focused solely on Ty's diagnosis.  It didn't occur to me that childhood cancer might be as common as it is; yet brushed under the rug time and time again when it comes to funding the research needed to advance toward a cure.

  • Cancer is the #1 disease killer among children in the US
  • Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer
  • One out of five children diagnosed with cancer in the US will die
  • Less than 4% of the government funds allocated to cancer research are put toward researching childhood cancers
  • Childhood cancer is under prioritized and grossly underfunded (which is why private, community non-profits like the TLC Foundation are so important to supplement that funding)
  • 9 out of 10 researchers agree that the lack of funding is the top barrier preventing them from finding treatments and cures for childhood cancer
  • The majority of childhood cancer survivors live with long-term effects post-treatment, many of which are life-threatening

And the list goes on and on.  This is why awareness is so important.  Awareness drives people to take action, and results in better funding for research.

This year, I am so happy to say that I have seen a huge positive shift.  I have seen various go gold initiatives making headway across uncharted territory.  I see more and more people sharing the facts and supporting the cause.  Even those are not forced into the world of childhood cancer due to a diagnosis, but who want to make a difference on behalf of all these kids even when the easier option is to look away.  It's beautiful.  The ripple effect makes me feel light and giddy and full of hope - as if I'm being doused with gold glitter, showering in the sparkle of it all.  Thank you so much for your beautiful support.

Over the weekend we hosted a beautiful beachfront fundraising event.  The Long Beach Luau was nothing short of perfect.  Before the start of the day, some incredible friends stopped by to put blue leis on Ty's statue - and when I returned there after the event he also had beautiful seashells and lollipops at his feet.  It was a celebration filled with nothing but fun, yet friends went out of their way to show us that they will always remember the real reason behind the day.  The little boy who inspired it all.  Look at those blue skies behind him.  It was the most breathtakingly beautiful day.



Ty worked a lot of magic that day, not the least of which was the weather.  We could not have wished for a more perfect day.  I believe some of the raffle winners were hand-picked by my angel, like the little girl who was in remission for Leukemia and dreaming of winning the American Girl doll raffle - you had to see her face when she won.  Or our friend who lost her bike to Hurricane Sandy and was saving up for a new one - she won the beach cruisers. At the close of the event the DJ played the same Hawaiian song that I made Ty's video to, and it almost brought me to my knees.  Thankfully, I held myself together and remembered that this was not going to end sad.  It was an amazing day.

We raised more than $10,000 for childhood cancer research in five hours.  It will never get old.  I will always find peace doing this for the next Ty Louis Campbell and keeping Ty's memory alive while doing so.  I am filled with such resolve, and such tremendous gratitude for another amazing day surrounded by incredible people.  Thank you.

I will follow up with loads of Luau photos over the next few days, and updates on Gavin.  Kindergarten life!  In the meantime, I want to leave you with this photo of Amelia.  She is pretty incredible.  Gold is beautiful.  Go Gold for Amelia, and always #SuperTy.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

GOING GOLD and The Long Beach Luau

The Long Beach Luau is less than two weeks away.  We hope you will get your tickets!  Finally, the TLC Foundation is bringing an annual fundraising event to Long Island.  It will be fun for the entire family.  A wonderful way to say goodbye to summer.

Thank you, Brother Jimmy's and The Sands, for hosting this incredible beachfront event.  The food will be amazing, as will the entertainment.  Please join us.

GET TICKETS HERE:  www.tylouisluau.eventbrite.com


In the meantime, September is in full swing and we couldn't be more excited about the incredible campaigns taking place.  This weekend, alone, the adorable Bella hosted a lemonade stand for the TLC Foundation during Pawling's neighborhood tag sale, and the Westlake Wildcats went gold for the second year in a row (check out those socks and bows)!  Arlington High School will be wearing gold shoelaces, and Carmel High School is dedicating September fundraising efforts in support of TLC.  And the list goes on...

You can get gold shoelaces and other SuperTy gear at the PRET*TY store at 30% off for the entire month of September.  http://prettystore.storenvy.com/  Enter promo code GoGold at checkout.

We are just so grateful.  All of these kids should be very proud of themselves for getting behind such an important cause and for making a difference!