It never ceases to amaze me; the kind and generous things that people will do for others. How can I forget the hot meals, the care packages, the hospital visits, the balloons, the YANKEES! That's right, the Yankees. Just wait until you hear about our day today because it was simply incredible! Anyone who has been following the stories over the past year knows that I have a whole lot of paying it forward to do... and today is one of the bigger ticket items on that list :)
We took Ty to his very first baseball game - the Yankees (of course). It was at the suggestion of a friend who has gone out of her way time and time again to spread awareness for Ty. We don't go way back, we didn't grow up together or go to school together, we haven't worked together in years and we rarely see one another... but still, she has been there for me every step of the way since Ty got sick and in so different many ways. I never have to ask, she always reaches out first, and I don't think she realizes how much her friendship means to me. She's one of the best people I know, and I mean that in all sincerity.
So... let's just say she knows people. A few weeks ago she emailed me a quick "hey, would you want to go to a Yankee game?" I told her that if Ty improved and was feeling up to it I would love more than anything to give him that experience, but I was having a tough time and there was so much uncertainty about Ty's health I didn't really imagine we would see this day. Well, she contacted her friend at the Yankees anyway and he gave us the most incredible experience (if you are reading this JZ, I wish I could have thanked you in person... thank you times a bazillion).
Me, Ty, Lou, Uncle Charlie and Pop-pop (my dad who is one of the biggest baseball fans imaginable) headed to Yankee stadium this morning not sure what to expect. When we arrived we had special parking, a private stadium tour including monument park and the Yankees museum, access to the player's clubhouse and batting practice on the field (although practice was cancelled due to the rain). We had amazing, handicapped accessible seats and we were under an overhang so we stayed dry. Oh, and did I mention that Ty sat on Joe Girardi's lap in the clubhouse before also meeting Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter in the hallway????!!!!!!????? This was not an accident. This was because a complete stranger who works there asked these amazing, caring, compassionate men (who happen to be super handsome SUPERSTARS) to say hello to SuperTy. We were standing around and heard.... "Is that Ty Campbell?" It was Rivera. "Oh, there he is... Ty Campbell!" That was Jeter. They walked right over to us, they shook all of our hands several times, they looked us straight in the eyes, they allowed Ty to hand them each SuperTy bracelets and they put them around their wrists. They signed his baseball, they took pictures with us, they were so kind I had a hard time holding back the happy tears from pouring down. It was just so exciting. Here is a quick picture from our phone and I have more to share soon. WOW! Right? That's Jeter next to me. Just in case you weren't sure. Next to ME! :)
Jorge Posada was even spotted wearing the SuperTy bracelet during the game. My friend Catherine was watching from home and texted me. His son was born with craniosynostosis and he created a foundation for find a cure and support the families of children who suffer with this condition. His son has endured numerous surgeries to correct the condition, most recently in June 2011. I am kicking myself because I was too shell-shocked to ask him about his son, and I should have - what's wrong with me! He's an All-Star, but he's also a Dad and his son has been through some of the same hell that ours has. I wish I spoke to him about it so he knew that I was aware and that I care - for whatever that's worth. I hope this most recent surgery is the last for his son.
Since the Yankees will be on the road this weekend, they honored the victims of September 11th before the game this afternoon. It was a beautiful and respectful ceremony where several brave veterans and active duty soldiers were also honored on the field. When the first pitch was thrown by Hank Graziano, a Bronx resident who lost both of his sons on that horrific day, I cried thinking of how he must hurt, and my thoughts turned to my beloved Christina and her Dad, Andy. She and her father still suffer tremendously after losing her brother Andrew Brunn (as, of course, anyone would) and I couldn't help but picture her Dad up there on the pitcher's mound in honor of him. I am truly happy I was there today, to see those veterans shaking hands with the players and to hear the tributes. Some day Ty will understand all of that, too, and feel lucky that he was part of it. I thank Andrew in heaven for Ty's good news yesterday (and Jimmy, Bernice, Remy, Tanner and all of Ty's angels).
Ty wore his fedora to the game and he was turning heads all day. Not because he was the sick kid... but because he was the adorable kid with a rockstar edge. No one would have ever thought that he had his second craniotomy just over two months ago, and that he completed his second course of radiation just over six weeks ago. In was so glad that Ty was in good spirits all day. In the past, when Ty is feeling overall crappy he doesn't want to interact with strangers.. I wouldn't matter if it was the weird lady at the supermarket or Derek Jeter. But we didn't have any mood swings like that today! He fully enjoyed the entire experience. He was rocking back and forth in his seat when the music played, eating hot dogs, clapping and cheering "woo hoo" even if he wasn't sure why. It was simply awesome. Oh, and eating candy as you can see here. Those are giant candy buttons and a gummy snake around his neck.
I feel like I have so much more to tell you, but I've already blabbed away in a pretty unorganized fashion so I should probably call it a night. It is so late and I am the last one up, as usual. Thank you for always listening to my late night ramblings. This blog helps me to clear my head and feel good about sharing Ty's journey with all of you. Whether we have met in person or not, I love you all.