The death of a 5-year-old Pawling boy who battled cancer for two years is affecting folks far beyond the small Dutchess County town.
Ty Louis Campbell died Wednesday. Thousands of people followed Ty's journey, largely because of his parents' efforts to share his amazing story of hope, and now, heartbreak.
His father, Louis Campbell, is from Mahopac. His mother, Cindy Campbell, is a Long Island native.
Lou and his sister Debi Fossati ran the New York City Marathon in 2011, raising thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research, and crossing the finish line with Ty in their arms. Cindy dedicates many evenings to providing people across the country with updates on her son, via this blog.
Now, more than ever before, Ty's story has gone viral. Here are some of the ways folks—many of whom say their lives have been changed by a family of strangers—are sharing their grief:
- Chris Evans, one of the stars from The Avengers, sent his sympathies to the Campbell family via Twitter. Ty's love for superheroes, coupled with his strength, earned him the nickname 'SuperTy.'
- About 12,800 Facebook users have liked the "Ty Louis Campbell" page. That's an increase of more than 3,000 new fans in a day's time, as the number was at about 9,600 Wednesday afternoon.
- Scores of people gathered outside the Campbell home in The Highlands development at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, just hours after the boy died. They carried candles and cried, while Cindy, Lou and family shed their own tears inside the home. A similar tribute took place in town, and in Long Beach, Cindy's hometown.
- A photo of Taylor Swift with a message about Ty is circulating Facebook. The singer-songwriter recently penned the song Ronan, which details a mother's struggle to say goodbye to her little boy, Ronan. He died from cancer. Ty and Ronan spent several nights in the same hospital ward.
- The bidding for a "limited edition" 'SuperTy' Captain America hat is closed, with a current offer of $460. The market value for the item is listed as "Priceless." Profits will go to the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, which aims to raise money that will go toward finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
- This Facebook event indicates that the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie will be lit Sunday through Tuesday in honor of Ty, and all pediatric cancer patients. It's slated to glow gold, the color linked to awareness efforts for the disease.
Here is more—including his August 2010 diagnosis, his Make a Wish Foundation trip to Disney World, the absence of the disease after doctors said he had months to live and the cancer's return—on Ty's battle:
- 'Little Fighter' Marks 2 Years Since Diagnosis
- Thousands to Pray for 'Little Fighter' on His 5th Birthday
- Ty Louis Campbell Loses Battle to Cancer at 5