On October 17th, 2012, Eric Cheek heard a story that would instantly build a path he felt compelled to walk down. Despite having never met him, a boy called Ty Louis Campbell would change Eric’s life forever.
Ty had been diagnosed with a rhabdoid tumor – a very rare and aggressive cancer specific to children. Despite having battled it for more than half of his short life, he ultimately passed from this terrible disease. Eric explains, “He endured procedures most grown men wouldn’t be able to handle. He went through rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. The affect of these treatments were severe on his little body. He eventually lost his ability to walk or stand on his own and was paralyzed from his neck down.”
But despite the crippling pain and various procedures Ty went through, his beaming trademark smile never left his lips.
Eric continues, “As I followed his mother Cindy’s blog on www.superty.org , I prayed, at times begged, for a miracle. You see, this little boy was able to reach into my very being and leave a mark on my soul that will remain forever. I have learned so much from this little boy that I cannot accurately express, except to say that he has changed me for the better. When he earned his wings, I remember sitting on my couch in my living room and crying. I remember praying for his family and for his soul. I never got a chance to meet this little miracle. I was never really able to pay him the respect he was due or to honor him.”
There was another personal connection, “Ty’s father, Lou, is a native of Mahopac, NY, as am I and actually graduated with my older brother. And from where we come from, when someone needs help, you help.”
Eric decided to do what was natural for him. His giving nature, coupled with his passion for running made it a shoe-in for what he would do. The runner who jogs anywhere between 10 and 20 miles a week and regularly attends three bootcamps a week is now driven by a purpose.
He says, “My initial fundraiser on Crowdrise.com has a goal of $2500.00. However, I do not intend to do one fundraiser and call it quits. I will be actively involved in the Foundation for as long as they will have me. I will run as many events as I can possibly run if it will help get Ty’s story in front of more people.”
An excerpt from Cindy’s – Ty’s mother – blog written about the day Ty passed summed up what they were all feeling, “Ty Louis Campbell is gone, but his story continues. This is our promise to him. His impact on the world around him gives his short but inspirational life such meaning. His soaring spirit will continue to fuel a fire in our hearts, and strangers around the world will continue to fall in love with the little boy who fought so valiantly. The little boy who hurt so much, but maintained a bigger, brighter smile than the healthiest of children.”
Below is a link to the fundraising page. If you’d like to contribute, click HERE.