Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A glimpse into Lou's life

Before I share Lou's speech, I wanted to share Foundation news.  We are so incredibly proud to introduce Emily Peachey as a new ambassador for the TLC Foundation. Emily stars in the upcoming film The Fault in Our Stars - alongside Shailene Woody, William DeFoe and Laura Dern (based on the NYT bestseller by John Green).  For those of you who haven't read the book yet, it is a story about young love and the reality of childhood cancer.  It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story, and of course it touched Emily deeply since working on the film.  She worked with several cancer patients on-set and was driven to do something!  Many young, up and coming celebrities wouldn't be so caring and selfless, and I find her actions to be so very admirable. We are truly humbled and honored to have her support :) Together we will raise awareness for childhood cancer and make a difference for these kids!

The past two weeks have been spent trying to juggle event planning in between all of these snow days!  I can't believe we are home today, yet again.  Gavin loves it, and to be honest I don't mind a quiet day in PJ's with a beautiful fire, either, but I have been missing the office and missing my writing.  I am also missing the sunshine.  While the snow is certainly beautiful and magical in it's own right - after day in and day out of this white stuff, I'm really looking forward to warmer days ahead!!  Like. Really.

Instead of my own writing, today I want to share with you something that I never have the opportunity to share - Lou's perspective.  In his speech on Saturday, he gave everyone a glimpse into his daily routine, and what his life is like without his son.  I am lucky enough to have maintained this journal to find support and an outlet for my grief.  I share my everyday experiences and my innermost heartaches.  Lou has never had such an outlet, which is why I think everyone at the "Share the Love" event was so surprised when his speech moved the room to tears so suddenly.  In between the laughter, the drinks and the rowdy casino tables, Lou gave an incredible speech that reminded everyone in the room why we were all gathered together that night.  Pasted below is just a portion of that speech.  I am so proud of him and so in love.

I’d like to start by thanking DiBico construction, NBC-NY, Grass Geenie and Only Perfect Parties. Without our sponsors, we would not have been able to pull together such an incredible event. 

I want to stand here in front of you and say something short and to the point.  However, I need it to be impactful enough for you to never stop supporting the foundation we created in honor of Ty. So here goes……..

Our 1st born son died 2 weeks after his 5th birthday. Let me repeat that…  
Our 1st born son died 2 weeks after his 5th birthday from brain cancer.  
He wasn't predisposed or at risk of getting cancer any more than any other child, but it happened.  One day he was a perfectly healthy little boy, the next day we were told he had cancer.  2 and a half years after that, he was gone.

That was only after witnessing his incessant suffering for the duration of those years. His 20 surgeries, chemotherapy, 250 nights in the hospital and all of the pain, anxiety and setbacks that went along with the cancer and treatments. 

After Ty passed away, someone sent us a stuffed doll that resembled him.  He has spikey blonde hair, green eyes, and wears a pair of Jets pajamas.  Every day, I wake up, take the "Ty doll" out of bed and place it in a chair sitting up; I walk over to our dresser, kiss Ty’s ashes and say good morning.  I look at his picture and smile. On my way out I kiss Cindy and Gavin goodbye, clear my head and try to remember what’s important, determined to make a difference.  Throughout the day I communicate with my wife and see how she is handling the day, discuss our next research grant or fundraiser.

We then meet at home for dinner, smile at Gavin and know we’re blessed. After bath time Cindy goes back to work on the Foundation and I go upstairs with Gavin.

I put the Ty doll to bed, then Gavin, and together Gavin and I say goodnight to Ty and do prayers. I then roll over and pretend I’m with Ty for the rest of our old prayer routine, trying to remember the sound of his sweet whispers.  Once Gavin’s asleep, Cindy and I meet downstairs to talk about the Foundation and Ty.  At bedtime we go upstairs, kiss Ty’s ashes and bring the Ty doll back to bed with us knowing we worked hard to save a child we will never meet.

About a half our later we hear the mini thumping down the hall and are joined by Gavin.  This always brings a smile because we were lucky enough to always have had  Ty in our bed every night and know the value of these precious nights.

This is a sad story. 
But despite that reality, we will not let it have a bad ending.  
We will not fall in a hole and give up.
We are the luckiest parents in the world, for being blessed with Ty and Gavin in the first place. 
We are grateful for the extra time we had with TY. That boy has been an angel since the day he was born and will be eternally.
We are thankful for our loving families, our caring friends and supportive strangers. 
We are thankful for our countless volunteers.
We are thankful for our board members and I’d love for you all to come up here to be recognized.

Some of our incredible board members
Next on behalf of The Ty Louis Campbell Foundation I’d like to recognize someone who made this foundation what it is and whom we could not exist without. Ty’s mother, my wife, Cindy.  This is an “All for Ty” award for all the long days and late nights you’ve spent working to help these special children.
thank you, what an incredible surprise!
In closing I want to thank all of you for being here in support of The Ty Louis Campbell Foundation.
Lastly, I’d like you to all join me in a tradition around our house by raising your glasses and saying “cheers to TY”. 

I'm so lucky to call him my husband.  He is the best father in the world, and his relationship with Ty was one of profound love.

Saturday night was such a great time.  I am still smiling :)  We raised a ton of money (grossing almost $45,000) and everyone had tons of fun at the casino.  I was brought to tears when I saw my friends from college who I haven't seen in years, and my co-worker who I last saw when Ty was first diagnosed.  So much has happened, and these beautiful women braved the snow to travel to Greenwich and support me.  I was honored and overwhelmed by everyone's efforts to be there.  I hope everyone agrees it was well worth it! It was such a success, we will be sure to host it again year over year.



  1. It was a beautiful night Cindy & Lou - was so happy to get to be there. Lou's speech definitely moved me to tears. I'm honored to work with you both on the Foundation that bears Ty's name. I wear my SuperTy pin every day and love when people ask me about it. I tell them about Ty and they are always sad when I tell them he's passed - but I also tell them that's why I wear the pin, so I can share Ty's story and also so I can remind myself to stop sweating the small stuff and remember what is really important. Ty is a permanent part of our bedtime prayers - I want to make sure my son know's who Ty is and why it's important we remember him. That he'll know I will always do all I can to support the foundation and help grow it into all if can be. I can only pray someday my son will want to be as much a part of it as I am - seeing the children of the other board members and how involved they get, gives me hope for the future. Love and prayers for the Campbell's always. So grateful to have gotten to know you all and that I can be a part of something so incredible. XOXOXO Donna T.

  2. You and Lou are wonderful parents and truly are special.

  3. So profound. I was in tears by line #2.
    I wish I could have attended the function this year. I will NOT miss it next year!! Never has a cause meant so much to me. Thank you for sharing and for making us all a part of Ty's life and legacy!

  4. There are no words to express the power of what you've shared so poignantly, so beautifully, so heartbreakingly perfectly. Cindy and Lou, we are united with you, standing here in hope for future generations thank to Ty's legacy and you, his absolutely incredible parents. Love always, audra

  5. I've always known you will move mountains in this cancer battle. Mountains are pretty friggin big to move but you are doing it foot by foot. Your foundation is amazing. Lou's speech was crushing and beautiful. I'm always thinking of you all. PS. You looked beautiful Cindy! Lou is so handsome! I can't tell who Gavin looks more like at times. I'm so proud of you all, also your Board Members who give so selflessly of their time. Lots of love to you all, God bless! SuperTy forever.

  6. Lou's speech was beautiful and moving, and of course, tears are in my eyes as I read it. Thanks for sharing!
    Even though I can see the pain in your and Lou's eyes in these pictures, Ty's story must be told and you are both so brave to put it all out there. You ARE making a difference! I am so happy to see good things happening, and yes, it is ALL FOR TY.

  7. I was just thinking about you and wondering where you have been. So nice to hear the news about the money that was raised. My thoughts are always with you and your family. Ty is always in my heart and everytime I kiss and hug my 7 yr old son, I think how lucky I am to be his mom and how lucky Ty is have you both as parents!
    Betty W. Beacon, NY

  8. I've been following your blog since a long time ago and wanted to thank you and your family for your amazing courage in sharing your story and your beautiful son with the world. As a future doctor, I think of Ty and his brave fight whenever I need inspiration to study just a little bit more, stay up a little bit longer, and learn that little piece of information that's going to help me become the best doctor I can be.

    I also wanted to put in a plug for my alma mater, Penn State University, this weekend-the Penn State Dance Marathon has kicked off and for 46 straight hours, over 711 students will be dancing to raise money for pediatric cancer research for Penn State Hershey Medical Center. My former classmates and school friends are involved and I'm so amazed at how much we're able to raise-last year, over $13 million!!! If you or your readers can help spread the word, I know there are a whole bunch of families who would really love it. www.thon.org

  9. Dear Cindy and Louie,

    We had a great time supporting your efforts to "turn the page" of the world of Pediatric Cancer.
    Cindy- You will have to revise your "fat arm "post to "beautiful arms" as you looked fabulous- from the inside out. This is one thing I know from reading your blog, beauty is at your center and is very nicely finished on the outside!
    Louie- your speech was received as intended. I hear it in my head and, my mind, heart and soul pause for you.
    Christina and John

  10. You are so right Cindy. We are all so easy to express ourself that sometimes it takes a guy to really SAY IT. I try to imagibe being in your house, witnessing putting the doll to sleep and it gives me such chills. I can't imagine what it feels like not having Ty in your bed. I don't know if it ever gets easier. I am sure the painn is sharp everytime you realize that. But what I am so amazed by is that you wake up every day to do good for other kids knowing that Ty isn't here. That to me is a gift that was given to you by G-D and you are such heroes. Meeting you during summer is one of the most important days of my life. Ty and Gavin have the best parents in the world and you have the best two boys in the world.
    Sorry baby boy for not being able to be there. but I havn't stopped thinking about you. Miss you.

  11. You guys are awesome! Thank you for all your foundation is doing to help children, like my son, who has fought pediatric cancer. Looks like everyone had a great time :) you guys are gorgeous...inside & out ❤ ❤❤

  12. I read this and thought of you, Cindy, so wanted to share it with you (it is a long one, but well worth reading):

    There will come a time, a day, a moment when words are not enough.
    When the letters hooking to other letters and tying themselves
    to each other, the trains of vowels and consonants chasing each other
    out of my mouth just won’t do justice to the avalanche that you’re
    struggling through.
    If this is that day, if these are those moments I will not speak,
    but I have no choice but to leave you with these attempts, as futile
    as they might be, for words are all I have to offer
    and the only currency I believe in:

    This is not, and never will be, a goodbye. You should not, and never can
    hold onto the should haves or could haves or why didn’t I’s.
    The time will come, I promise you, for us all to stop wearing these bodies
    atop these souls. The time of taking one long, full and deep breath
    in through these lungs only to exhale it out through brand new lips.
    The last light we will ever see through these perfect and beautiful eyes
    will be the first light, the exact same and blindingly gorgeous first
    light that filters through new irises and shocks our tiny pupils
    before we blink. What a gift every single day in between has always been.
    What a hauntingly painful and sublimely joyous gift to live, truly live
    every single day in between these firsts and yes, these lasts.
    Do not carry the weight of all you did not say, the times you did not make
    the time or the excuses you made, because there is a secret you must know:

    Those that leave us, never do. They see us how we never could and how we
    were always so scared to. When they go, bravely stepping into the first day
    of their new lives, all they pack into the bags they choose to carry,
    are the memories that soothe their longing and settle their aching bones.
    It is we, always we that carries the luggage of regret and burdens of doubt
    Somewhere, right this very second, they are beginning their journey back
    into love. Somewhere, right this very instant, the first wobbly steps in their
    search has begun again. Somewhere, the only person that truly makes sense to
    them, the only person to ever exist and exist exactly for them, is waiting.
    You will hurt. You will cry and you will be scared. You will miss and long
    and ache and look for their fingerprints on the life you’re going to lead
    without them. You will swear you heard, if only for an instant, the sound
    of their laughter or the timbre of their voice. This is ok, and more than
    that, this is beautiful. Hold onto the sadness you feel like a trophy.
    Hoist it high above your head and shout to the photo that is not being taken
    of you that you loved them, you will always love them and you are proud
    of the tears that roll down your face. They live inside the memories that give
    shape to those tears and you must never apologize for your sorrow, nor your
    joy, when it too, returns to your days.
    These are the words for those that remain; for all of us and all of you that
    are left scrambling and shaking and weeping tears of compassion and joy and
    confusion. These are words when words are not enough. I say them because I
    must say them, because words are all I have to offer besides my shoulder and
    my hands and my belief that this is not and never will be goodbye.
    Today is and always has been such a perfect day to say goodbye,
    and to once again, say Hello.
    -Tyler Knott Gregson-

  13. As always your words are poignant and powerful!!! Lou's speech was so heartfelt and moving of course I'm in tears.. Such an awesome gift/surprise for you!!! You are still moving mountains!! God Bless and I'm still keeping you in my prayers!!

    Love Gabrielle