That's what Ty called Christmas, "Crimpy." Thanksgiving came and went with delicious food and an overall quiet, ho-hum day - just as I wanted. Perfectly appropriate given the void in our lives this holiday season. Christmas will have to be different though. Christmas is magic and Gavin is four, so we need to go all out for him and make it as wonderful as possible despite my conflicting urge to skip it altogether this year.
We went to our favorite tree farm and cut down the biggest tree we've ever had - as is our family tradition since moving to Pawling. I looked for Ty everywhere but I didn't really feel him with me. I could only feel the incredible weight of his absence. I looked up at the sky several times, hoping for a hawk soaring overhead or clouds in the shape of his name. One cloud kinda sort-of resembled a "T" but I know I was just forcing something that simply wasn't there. I guess cutting down the tree is for Gavin, now. It was his job to pick it out this year - passing on yet another torch from Ty to Gavin. He is the big boy, now. He picks the tree. He hangs the first ornament. He will be the only one jumping on the bed Christmas morning. For Gavin, this Christmas will be filled with wonder and laughter and I am looking forward to it for his sake.
I am happy and surprised to admit that I am getting in the Christmas spirit. Of course it is impossibly hard sometimes. The last "toy book" I thumbed through for Ty was a Christmas catalog. Every ornament on our tree has significance and memories, so we couldn't possibly finish decorating in one night. It's emotionally exhausting so we are taking our time. Slowly, though, it is coming together and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Look at G-Love ready to brave the cold like Santa.
Today Lou called me to tell me that our neighbors have put up the giant SuperTy lights up again this year. This is a family who does an INCREDIBLE job with their Christmas lights. I mean, they have a full-sized tractor and antique fire truck in their yard covered in lights. Candy canes the size of lampposts. When they added a SuperTy symbol to the collection last year, we beamed with such pride. It was such an incredibly kind gesture, and the perfect tribute to our son who loved Christmas most of all. We watched as they were setting up this year, uncertain if they would put it up again. Of course, we understood if they decided not to make it an annual thing and we worried that they wouldn't include it again, so when Lou saw the board up today he called me immediately. We are so grateful and so excited. Especially in the wake of the news that the town of Pawling decided not to include the gold tree in the town gazebo this year. I still can't possibly understand that decision. Was childhood cancer awareness only important last year? Did they find a cure and forget to tell me? But I don't want to get started down a path of negativity or accusation, so I'll stop there. On the other hand, the City of Yonkers lit Town Hall gold and I couldn't have been more honored.
Just a quick update on the KIND contest. Thank you so very much for voting and sharing (or at least, trying to vote). The voting platform and website developed by Kind was highly flawed and dysfunctional which left a bad taste in my mouth. I kind-of gave up when I saw my competitors seemed to know something I didn't know, and I'm sorry I pushed you all so hard but I'm still so incredibly proud of the amazing support from each and every one of you!! Regardless of the outcome, our turnout was nothing short of amazing,
Giving Tuesday - The TLC Annual Appeal
Many of you may have already received our year-end update on the TLC Foundation and our annual appeal on Giving Tuesday, but for those who missed it, I am pasting it below to inform everyone of our first-year successes, and shamelessly remind you all that today is a day that has been designated for charitable giving. Please consider making a donation http://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Tlcgivingtuesday. Thank you :)
2013 Year End Impact Report
Now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, we thought it would be appropriate to reach out to friends of the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation with a year-end update on the day that is now dubbed, Giving Tuesday. We set up a fundraising page for Giving Tuesday with a year-end goal of raising $5,000. If everyone on this distribution packed a lunch or skipped the Starbucks for one day and instead donated $5, we would reach that goal in no time! Just click on the following link http://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Tlcgivingtuesday. We will keep the fundraiser open all week and I am proud to report we are more than halfway there already!
Giving Tuesday is intended to be a reminder to make a charitable contribution at the start of the holiday giving season, but it is also a day where we wish to reflect on the impact that all of your previous giving has made in the world of fundraising for childhood cancer research.
We can't believe one year has passed. And what a year it has been! In December 2012 we walked into the office of the newly decorated Ty Louis Campbell Foundation for the very first time, and it is our favorite place to be ever since. Thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers, walls were painted, carpets were stripped, furniture was delivered and computers were donated/installed. We were ready to continue what Ty started by fundraising for childhood cancer research through the newly established Ty Louis Campbell (TLC) Foundation.
Fast forward one year, and even we are happily surprised by all that has been accomplished, and we have you each and every one of you to thank. Your generosity will help us fund innovative research geared toward the discovery of safer, more effective treatments for the deadliest of childhood cancers.
OUR FUNDRAISING SUCCESS
1 - YOU. Everyone on this email list has made a donation or purchased a ticket to a TLC fundraising event. Each and every one of you... your fundraising efforts, your volunteered time, your donations, your participation in various events... is fueling the fight against childhood cancer. Through miscellaneous events and contributions, we have raised more than $130,000 to fund innovative, life-saving research.
2 - THE MUDDY PUDDLES PROJECT raised more than $70,000 for childhood cancer research, and our inaugural event was attended by approximately 2,000 people! We hope you will join us again on August 9, 2014 at Camp Kiwi, NY. SAVE THE DATE!
3 - FIRST ANNUAL TYATHLON (triathlon, 5K and kids obstacle course) in Mahopac, NY was a huge success, raising more than $65,000 for the cause. We hope you will join us again on September 27, 2014 - SAVE THE DATE!
4 - GO GOLD INITIATIVES. This September we had various activities taking place all over the tri-state area and beyond. In fact, more than 68 sports teams wore gold in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arizona and California! Hundreds of homes and storefronts donned gold lights and gold ribbons and our local stores and restaurants took donations at the register. These "Go Gold" initiatives raised over $12,000 and we expect that number to double in 2014!
5 - ROCK THE HOUSE The TLC Foundation was welcomed in Dallas, TX when we were the beneficiaries for the first annual Rock the House fundraiser at Rockhouse Studios. Everything is big in Texas, and our friends made sure those words would ring true, bringing in more than $35,000 for the cause.
6 - PRET*TY. In support of our efforts to raise awareness by "going gold" we also launched a new line of beautiful, charitable jewelry named PRET*TY (Ty inspired the T-Y in PRET*TY). Finally, colorful silicone awareness bracelets are NOT the only option! In our first month, alone, we grossed more than $11,000!! Be sure to visit www.prettystore.storenvy.com when shopping for the holidays this year! We have the perfect gifts that give back with 100% of the proceeds benefiting TLC.
7 - VISIBILITY. Since Ty's passing, we have seen tremendous visibility for the cause. We appeared on national news segments including The Doctors, we had celebrities talking about Ty including Chris Evans (Captain America himself) and Taylor Swift, we presented about childhood cancer awareness at the Sohn Conference to more than 2,200 attendees and we have grown in our social media community to include more than 18,300 fans on Facebook.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
We are so proud to share news about our research investments thus far. We feel a tremendous responsibility to make sure each and every penny is placed in the hands of the most promising researchers.
As partner with St. Baldrick's, the TLC Foundation has agreed to co-fund a minimum of 1-2 large research projects annually. Since 2005, the St. Baldrick's Foundation has awarded more than $103 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. Funds awarded enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, which may be a child's best hope for a cure. This partnership enables TLC to leverage their world-renowned Review and Advisory Board, helping us to make the most informed investment decisions. For more details, visit http://bit.ly/16nJI8H.
THE CHILDREN'S BRAIN TUMOR PROJECT AT WEILL CORNELL
We are proud to help fund such an innovative initiative with the introduction of the Ty Louis Campbell Fellowship at the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Because so many different types of brain tumors are considered rare, such tumors simply do not get the funding that researchers need to find a cure. The Children's Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell offers physicians the unprecedented ability to quickly analyze the genomic data of a tumor, allowing for personalized tumor therapy and affording new hope to patients. With that individual genetic information in hand, researchers hope to identify alternative delivery methods and drugs that specifically target each young patient's tumor.
And this is only the beginning. Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to sharing even more success in 2014!