Jeff Pearlman

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Louis Campbell

#152
His beloved son Ty died at age 5, and now this chiropractor and his family devote their lives to keeping a memory alive—and funding pediatric cancer research. POSTED April 30, 2014

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This is the 152nd Quaz Q&A. I wish with all my heart it didn’t exist.

I am, like Louis Campbell, a father of two children. I live for my son and daughter, and would willingly die for my son and daughter. I don’t believe I ever knew what it was to be unselfish before their arrivals. Now, however, I think about them continuously, and consider it my primary mission to guide them toward adulthood and, ultimately, whole and fruitful lives. The idea of them becoming ill hurts me. The idea of them dying before I do paralyzes me. It is my biggest nightmare—so much so that I hated writing that last sentence.

Louis Campbell and his wife, Cindy, have (it pains me to say) experienced the nightmare. On Oct. 17, 2012, their beautiful, charismatic son, Ty Louis, died of cancer. He was only 5.

Because Lou and I both grew up in Mahopac, N.Y., I’ve been able to witness (via Facebook and e-mails) the power Ty’s saga has upon people. When he was sick, there were constant pleas to pray for his well-being. When he passed, there was more prayer—as well as a profound determination to keep his memory alive, and make sure something good came out of something awful. That good is the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, a marvelous nonprofit organization that funds innovative research and clinical trials specifically geared toward the treatment of the deadliest childhood cancers. There’s also the Muddy Puddles Project, also in Ty’s honor, which encourages children (and adults) to find the love of all things messy.

Here, Louis Campbell speaks of what it is to lose a child, and how one can carry on and move forward—despite the crippling pain, despite the despair. His is a story of love and strength, and I’m honored to have him as Quaz No. 152 …

JEFF PEARLMAN: It strikes me when I look at your Facebook posts—people talk about how they deal with loss, and some people get rid of everything quickly. They empty closets, put the photos away. That’s how they deal. It seems for you Facebook is a vent. It’s really raw and painful to read your Facebook posts. Do you put stuff up about Ty as a way for you to deal? Is it a way to keep his memory alive?

LOUIS CAMPBELL: With Facebook, I’m not doing it to make people feel bad. It’s just a way for people to always remember him. That’s what I’m trying to do. One, it’s a nice little time for me to just talk to him. You’ll see I write to him a lot, like, ‘I miss you so much, sweet baby boy.’ It’s an opportunity when I wake up to say something quick to him, and also an opportunity to remind people on Facebook that my son was here, that he was beautiful and maybe once in and a while I’ll post a picture from the hospital, saying ‘Hey, appreciate your kids today, appreciate what you have.’ I’m like everyone else—I worry about different things. It just bothers me when I worry about work or money, because I know how much bigger the world is. And how much more serious it can be. That’s what I’m trying to remind everyone, and to share him with everyone as much as we can.

As you go through this, you want to learn as much as possible, how other people react to the situation. How do other people you know adjust to things? It’s something I’m always intrigued by, and it’s something I’ve talked to people about as we’ve delved into the cancer world. I’m curious to see who refuses to talk about. I know someone who won’t recognize his child as having died. He only recognizes the child as having moved on. He just won’t use that in his literature. So every time I hear someone refer to Ty as being dead, I think of that person. I think, ‘Wow. It’s so … it sounds so bad, because I think of it as people not wanting to hear the reality.’ But what are the traditions people do? Who leaves a seat at the dinner table every night for the child? Or some just leave it during holidays. Or some leave the room completely untouched and never let anyone in that room. And then there’s … so you don’t plan for what you’re going to do and how you’re going to react. You just do what comes natural for you.

And for us, right from the beginning, we wanted this out there. So we said, ‘Hey, you know what—our child is beautiful. And we’re going to exploit him. We want other people to exploit him. Because this is real. This is what happened.’ My wife’s blog has always been very raw, and I always wanted that for her. Why should we hide anything? Why should we tone it down? It should be raw. If you read her blog, it puts you in our shoes and helps you to see what we are dealing with. I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes. The No. 1 thing we get from people is, ‘I’m a better parent because of you guys and Ty’s story.’ One of the biggest things I constantly say is, ‘We’re the majority, not the minority. You would do the same.’ It’s true. When people are put into the situation we’re in, and you have to care for your child to save his or her life … children in our eyes are immortal. You don’t think of your child dying. And when you see your child become mortal and you’re faced with a situation where you know death is there and will most likely happen, and all you’re doing is pretending it’s not … you’re trying to do your best to make it not happen. But you know it’s there. Right up until the day he died I just hoped and prayed he would walk off the couch. But from the day he was diagnosed I was never naïve to the fact that I knew it was a possibility.

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Father and son.

J.P.: When Ty was diagnosed in 2010, did they say, ‘The odds of him overcoming this are not good?’

L.C.: He had a very poor prognosis right off the bat. And the doctors come up with a thing called the road map. And basically the road map is, ‘What are you going to do over the next six months?’ It’s sort of a breakdown of what sort of stages you’re going to go through in treatment. And the basic gist was ‘He has a very aggressive tumor, he will either die in six months or he’ll be lucky enough to get out of here.’ And that’s what we believed. We didn’t know anything, so we were determined to give it everything we had. We’re going to do whatever we can. And we were fortunate—we both got to spend pretty much every night in the hospital with him. My wife and I both spent more than 200 nights in the hospital. We both stayed together almost every night. We were fortunate—I have my own business, she stopped working, we had an au pair at home and the support of family. So we were able to be there and be huge advocates in his care. I think Ty got as far as he did because of that.

There were a lot of road bumps along the way. We weren’t parents just being assholes to doctors and nurses. No, we were parents who educated themselves and made sure that our child was getting the best care. It was, I don’t care what it takes—‘If his scar can be two inches or three inches, I want it two inches. Because you may be looking at him as a kid who’s definitely going to die because he has this aggressive cancer, but I’m looking at him as my son. One who’s going to make it. So I want to know if he can eventually play football with what you’re going to put in his head?’ And I know the doctors were looking at me like I had three heads when I was asking the football question, but we always looked for the future. We wanted to know how this would affect him in the future. Not just how this would affect him today. And is there a better way? Is there a better way we can do this treatment?

J.P.: It seems the sentences one hears when he’s lost a child are, ‘God needed another angel,’ or some sort of rationalization of why it happened. I wonder when you’re in your shoes, do you take comfort in that stuff, or do you feel like saying, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’

L.C.: You know, my wife and I are very laid back about that stuff. You’d have to catch one of us on a really bad day for us to be mean or negative. We’re kind of always defending the people who are saying those things because, you know, we see a lot of angry cancer parents, and you can’t blame them. I’m not saying we’re great people who can take it all in stride—we’re not. We get upset just like everyone else. But people don’t know what to say, so they say something. And I’ll tell you what—I’d rather have somebody say the dumbest thing in the world to me than nothing at all.

J.P.: Does that happen? Because it can obviously be awkward …

L.C.: Absolutely … absolutely. And I try to free them of that awkwardness. They look at me and they start to say something, and I say, ‘I know, thank you. I know.’ And then there’s still that awkward silence. Look, it’s an awkward thing. And a lot of people get away with it on social media as the first time to pass along their sympathies. Especially with us, because so many people followed Ty’s story for so long, and they weren’t going to see us.

And you hear things, too. There are a couple of stories we almost laugh about. There’s an awkwardness, and people say such stupid shit sometimes that it’s just, ‘Uh, here we go again.’ But at the end of the day I always appreciate it. Here’s a perfect example that’s happened to me a million times. This was while Ty was being treated. It would come up that Ty had cancer, and someone would say, ‘Oh, my friggin’ nephew’s sister in law’s daughter had the brain cancer and died in six months! Jesus Christ! Terrible … terrible!’ And I was like, ‘Is that what I really want to hear?’ But they don’t know what to say, so they’re saying what comes to mind. And I think there are a lot of families that don’t take it so casually, and there’s anger.

I’m not going judge anyone. It’s all about how you handle it, and the path you choose. I’m not saying anyone is wrong or right. Do you keep their room as is, or clean it out? I don’t have an answer. It’s whatever works for you. Whatever gets you as a parent through the day … if you wanna go around and tell everyone with healthy kids to fuck off, do it. If that what makes you feel good, do it. Everyone answers to themselves and their own God and the law. You do what works for you and your family.

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Louis Campbell with his wife Cindy and their son, Gavin.

J.P.: In reading the blog, your wife mentions God a lot. When something this horrible happens, how does one maintain faith?

L.C.: I have a perfect answer for that, and I tell everyone. I made my confirmation, I’m not a big churchgoer, my family is not a big church family. I am very faithful, I do pray a lot. I started praying a lot more once Ty was diagnosed. And I keep those rituals as prayers every morning and night.

J.P.: Still?

L.C.: Still. And I certainly questioned it. But if I was to give up on praying once he died, I’d be basically giving up on the thought that I’d ever see him again. I need to believe he did go somewhere special, and he is somewhere where I’ll see him again. And if I stop praying and I hate God, then I’m giving up on the thought of seeing him. And why am I here and what am I doing?

I thought about this, because I was pissed off. And you’re right—people said to us, ‘God needed an angel’ and ‘We wrote something nice on a prayer card’—the truth is, I don’t think God can heal. I don’t think God can stop cancer. I don’t think God created cancer. I think there’s just a lot of shit that’s out of God’s hands, but I do believe that there is something there. I really do. And it’s not just because of Ty. Just like everyone else who questions faith, you look into the sky and there’s no explanation for that. There’s no way you can break that down. You can’t put it in a box because there’s infinite something beyond that box. I do believe in evolution—I’m a science guy. But it had to start somewhere. You had to start with one cell of something. So until someone can explain all that—the infinite world and the one cell—I’ll stick with God.

J.P.: I’ll give you unlimited time—tell me about your son, Ty …

L.C.: He was my firstborn. You have children, so you know how magical that becomes when a child is born. You think you know when you have nieces and nephews. It’s like when you were in college, and you heard about your uncle’s kids having an illness, or I remember a distant family member lost a child to SIDS when I was in college, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s terrible.’ But I had no tie to it. I couldn’t even comprehend what they went through. What did I think? I thought the same stupid shit other people thought—‘Well, fortunately they have other children.’ Because that’s the other thing people say. ‘Well, thank God you have Gavin.’ Yeah, that’s true—he totally replaced Ty. [Sarcasm] It’s harsh.

J.P.: It’s seems very callous …

L.C.: But again, they’re not saying anything malicious. Nobody’s ever said anything to me maliciously. And I have to take that into consideration and be kind to them, because they’re being kind to me. Who am I to attack them? We had a person call our home, OK, Ty was home on Hospice. He was going to die within 20 days. And they called our home and basically asked us if we’d accepted the Holy Spirit. They got my wife on the phone. It was a random person. And my wife said, ‘Yeah, I guess. I’m Catholic. Yes.’ And they said, ‘No, no—have you accepted the Holy Spirit?’ And they let her know that it’s OK, because Ty was less than 7 or whatever age it was, and he would be welcomed into the kingdom but we wouldn’t see him unless we accepted as well. We didn’t curse them out, we didn’t hang up on them. My opinion—that was somebody trying to help in a very terrible way.

J.P.: You are a better person than I am—factually.

L.C.: I don’t want to put myself on a pedestal. My wife and I have certainly thought to say, ‘Go fuck yourself. You don’t know what you’re talking about, you asshole.’ Everyone has suggestions, too. We’ve had people post on the blog—‘How can you talk about Ty on the blog this way? You’re leaving Gavin totally out.’ Once in a blue moon you’ll get these crazy posts. It goes back to, ‘If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.’ Some people can’t control that.

J.P.: So what was your son like?

L.C.: Oops … sorry. My son was born. He was great from the beginning. He was just everything. As he developed a personality, he had a super magnetic personality. I think he was the kid that everybody—and this is the prior to him having cancer, and post cancer—he was the one everyone wanted to be near. I know I probably sound like every parent. When he developed cancer, it got more so. People just flocked to him. He had a contagious smile. And I have two children 18 months apart. Both boys. And I can tell you, before Ty was sick, based on personalities Ty’s the quarterback and Gavin’s the running back. And I think that describes the personality. The quarterback being the one everybody drools over and is after and is too cool for school. And the running back—does his thing, doesn’t care what people think, just makes the plays, no glory to it. I know sports metaphors are clumsy. Ty had a great personality. As he got older he liked to horse around a lot. He wanted to do what he wanted to do, like most kids. He always liked being the wise guy—making people laugh. He kept such grace in the hospital. He never—and maybe this is a child thing across the board—but he didn’t complain or react to his disabilities. He woke up one morning and he was paralyzed. And he didn’t cry. He just said, ‘I can’t do this. It doesn’t work.’

When he was diagnosed, he didn’t have any neurological symptoms at all. He wasn’t sleeping at night, but he never slept at night. We didn’t think there was anything majorly wrong, because from the day he was born he didn’t sleep through the night. But it became more and more as if he was in a positional pain. It got to the point where I said, ‘If this was one of my patients I’d take him to get an MRI. So let’s just do it.’ And then one night he was just so bad we agreed we’re not waiting, let’s do it. So we took him in, and once he was diagnosed we were released from the hospital Thursday. Now he hadn’t shown one neurological symptom. By Friday he choked on his food a little bit, by Saturday he couldn’t sip from a Sippy Cup, by Sunday he couldn’t drink with a straw. It was like once it was revealed, it was on.

So going back to him not complaining—when he couldn’t work the Sippy Cup for the first time, he would say, ‘My mouth not work … my mouth not work.’ We knew what it was. By this point he had been diagnosed, and we realized he was having these neurological symptoms. Later on he’d play with toys—but when the paralysis happened and he couldn’t play with his toys, his favorite thing to do was to look at toy books. He’d have me flip the pages and look at the toy books and he’d tell you what he wanted to play with. He kept his personality through the whole thing. He was definitely a fighter. He was stubborn when he didn’t want to get his needles. And when he couldn’t walk he would scoot around the floor of the hospital. He’d scoot on his butt. He was really amazing. Watching him go through what he went through, with the attitude he kept—it was just amazing. I was around a lot of different cancer kids and a lot of different types of cancer. And I will tell you, neuro oncology is the worst department to be in, because it’s so debilitating in so many ways. You’re not just losing the battle with cancer and you’re not just sick with chemo, but there’s always neurological dysfunction. It can be brain damage, it can be an inability to speak, to walk. And that’s very common. These kids can’t swallow—so now you’re on steroids. You’re having every food rage imaginable, but you can’t chew and swallow your food. So you’re not allowed to eat. It makes it so much more difficult.

I don’t know—my wife describes Ty as always being quick with a smile and a wise guy. That’s pretty good. He had a very, very magnetic personality.

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J.P.: So Ty was 5 when he passed. This might be a dumb question but when you’re that young, do you know you’re dying?

L.C.: I don’t think Ty knew he was dying. Well, I … it’s not a stupid question at all. It’s a great question. I think some people do and some people don’t. I don’t know that he knew. There was a time when he was almost gone, and he sort of came back. I know death. I held my brother’s hand when he died, and I spent the whole time with Ty when he died. And I was with both when they took their last breaths. Both of them were unconscious prior to it. Ty was … we took Ty home from the hospital and we told him, ‘You don’t have to go to the hospital anymore. You’re gonna get better, and you don’t have to get treated anymore. You’re gonna be able to walk and run and play.’ I don’t know if he knew. He knew he was very sick. He definitely knew he was very sick. But I don’t know what he thought of as dying. We didn’t talk about dying with him. We talked about it more as he wasn’t going to have to go to the hospital any longer. That he would go home. We said it’d be better. Almost not a lie. We didn’t want to lie to him. But not telling him he was doing to die. He didn’t know what death was.

J.P.: How did your brother die?

L.C.: My brother was an alcoholic. Basically drank himself to death.

J.P.: This is a very depressing question, but how do you go on? As time passes, do days get a little better, or …

L.C.: I thought I knew this—time does help ease the pain. Everyone tells you that—‘Don’t worry. Time eases the pain.’ And what I can tell you is it’s an unfortunate truth. Time does ease the pain. There are days where—there’s never a day I don’t wake up and think about him. But there are days that are just great days. And there are days that are terrible. Like just recently. Monday was just a terrible day for both my wife and I.

J.P.: What makes a terrible day?

L.C.: You just can’t get out of a funk. You wake up and it becomes more of a reality that day than it did the day before. We always try to keep ourselves busy. Right after Ty passed my wife took on the foundation full time. And everything is about Ty. It’s like he’s with us because we stay so busy doing stuff that directly pertains to him. It’s almost like he’s there. So I guess some days there’s just the lull of him not being there. The other day I posted an old video of him, because I was at my parents’ house and I saw an old picture of him that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And it brought so many memories of him when he wasn’t diagnosed.

Most of what I remember about Ty comes from when he had cancer. It’s hard to go back and remember him not having cancer. You sometimes have to go to pictures. It’s true—no matter what, time will heal things. I know my bad days will be less in five years and less in 10 years. Because not only does time heal, but so much more happens in that time. And it’s all happening without him. One of the things about the foundation is a lot of major events in our lives take place with him.

J.P.: I think about death a lot. And a lot of the things you’ve discussed, I’ve thought about. How much of the heartbreak here is having your son pass and not having been able to do anything, and how much is it that there’ll be no 20 … no 30 … no wedding …

L.C.: Yes, that hurts. We had children back to back because my sister and I were 18 months apart. You know, we saw the closeness and wanted that for our children. It was very important they were close. We were probably going to have more children. We wanted three kids and we knew we wanted our kids back to back. So now we’re getting to a point where Gavin is going to be older than Ty, he’s bigger than Ty, he’s just grown out of Ty’s last clothes. The first day of school is going to come and it’ll be the first time … my wife wrote about it. I know high school graduation is going to be a terrible day—for a moment. For a moment. Then I’ll celebrate with Gavin. I’m not going to ruin his day. We’ve been fortunate to hold it together. I don’t know that I’ll hold it together my whole life. I don’t know that my wife will hold it together her whole life. I know that what we’re doing now works for us, and we help each other. There are no guarantees about what’s to come. There are days where it’s, ‘I can’t fucking believe it. I can’t fucking believe my son is dead.’ As a matter of fact every morning when I’m walking out of the house, and I walk past his picture, right after I kiss his ashes and take the little Ty doll that we sleep with out of my bed, I’m walking out and I see his pictures. And there’s this one picture … it just does it to me. And I can’t fucking believe it. I can’t believe I had a child who died of brain cancer. I can’t believe it. It’s literally unbelievable.

J.P.: I feel like until tragedy hits us, we think it’ll always be someone else.

L.C.: There’s a perception we have of life. A perception of reality. And I felt like when my brother died, everything he went through his whole life, I felt like that was … and it’s partially because my brother died on November 3, and my son was born on October 4 … so Ty was born on the fourth, and my brother died less than a month later. And I felt like my brother’s whole life was so painful, that he was the bad thing. Every family has a terrible tragedy and a terrible thing. Talk to 10 people you meet at a cocktail party, and I guarantee you nine of them has some fucking tragedy—their brother’s a drug addict, they’re uncle’s whatever. You think everyone at the party is perfect, then you start talking to them and you get all the dirt. I thought my brother was that. And then I also felt he was the sacrifice—he suffered his whole life so we can have great lives. I’m a thinker. A lot of people think about things a lot, and others don’t think of anything. I think about these things a lot.

J.P.: Having seen death up close, are you more comfortable with the concept of death? More fearful? Do you not think of it either way?

L.C.: Have you ever been with someone who died?

J.P.: No.

L.C.: It’s a weird thing. I’ve been with two people when they died—holding them when they died. We had a Hospice nurse who might as well have been an angel. Just a weird good vibe with her, and she was a very spiritual woman. She would say that a lot of people describe death as being very beautiful, and she hoped we had that experience. She was also the one who came to pronounce Ty. And it was amazing. It was really, in Ty’s case, different than my brother’s death. We had a pastor come to our house. We moved up here, we never went to church, we never picked a church, but Ty went to Christ Church Nursery up on Quaker Hill.

There’s a Catholic church in town, and being that we’re Catholic, we called the priest at the church to come and give him his last rites. I guess he was busy. I know it sounds crazy, but he was busy. So we called this other pastor, and he came a couple of days and my wife went to walk him out. Ty had been unconscious for a little while, and we knew things weren’t going well. His vitals were still higher than I would have expected, and so she walked the pastor out and I stayed upstairs that whole morning with Ty. We never took him back downstairs or anything. She came back in, and as soon as my wife walked back in, Ty opened his eyes—he had been unconscious—and he opened his eyes wide, and he flickered them a couple of times. And my wife said, ‘What’s going on? Was he doing that? What’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I think this is it.’ And we both just cradled and held him in our arms, and he took his last couple of breaths.

I know people say this, and the metaphor thing, but it was as if he had seen something beautiful; it was almost as if he had a grin on his face. And then … he passed.

It really was beautiful. This is your child. There’s nothing that’s weird or scary. Then we took him and we bathed him. Just us two. And we put him in his suit. We were planning on cremating him. We weren’t going to have a wake. So we put him in his suit and we made a last-minute decision of whom we were going to invite. Which was just our family and our au pair. And we set him up upstairs and we spent the night with him. We had looked into this previously, and we wanted to take him to the crematorium ourselves. And there’s a Hindu tradition where the oldest son starts the burners for the cremation. I found out about that and asked if we could do it, and they let us. But just myself and my wife. But the deal was it had to be for the morning. So we stayed with him for the night, and they came in the morning with the coffin and we set him up in that. And we had a moment—her and I. And we left, and a friend followed us. We went there. He stayed in the car, did our last prayers, took him into the crematorium, and started the process.

Ty Campbell.

Ty Campbell.

J.P.: You hear of certain parents who lose a child and their remaining children sneeze and they take them to the hospital. How has this impacted you as a parent? And how has it impacted Gavin?

L.C.: I think we’re the opposite (laughs), in that we’ll drop Gavin off at a house, ‘Bye … be good …’ Even when Ty was sick, our doctors would somewhat tease us—‘Your comfort level is a little too high. You’re too comfortable with him at home.’ Even Gavin … we’re not like that at all. We’re very lax with the doctors. However, there is fear of everything. I mean, having another child right now—if we were to have another child—I do have a fear that, ‘Well, there’s that much more chance that the child gets cancer, or may have something wrong with him, or may wind up an alcoholic or a drug addict.’ Due to the personal experiences I’ve endured in life. And there’s definitely a fear with Gavin—that fear of what if someone happens? You read of families with two kids with cancer. It’s the unimaginable. What if, God forbid, that happens again? There’s a fear there. But it sits in the back of our heads. We’re not obsessive with it.

J.P.: How does this whole experience impact a marriage?

L.C.: It’s a huge strain. Then and now—huge strain. In the beginning, a lot of families break up because of it or grow closer. I think we’re lucky enough that we grew closer. But it puts a whole lot of stress on the marriage. And it’s not just stress against each other. It’s stress in life. It’s really … I can see why people break up over it. Maybe just not being on the same page of things, blame. But my wife and I experienced the same thing, and I can’t imagine speaking to anyone else the way I speak with her. I couldn’t be closer with my mother and my sister, but they didn’t experience what we did.

I feel like my mother and Cindy’s mother had a harder time with Ty being sick than we did. That might be an exaggeration, but one of the first thoughts in my mind when he was diagnosed. ‘How the fuck am I gonna tell my mother? How the fuck will I tell her?’

J.P.: How did you?

L.C.: I called her and told her Ty was sick. Really sick. And then I proceeded to tell her what it was. I think about that moment. At his eulogy I said the same thing–How do we tell our parents? Because Cindy and I are both the babies of our family. And he was our baby.

J.P.: How did you come to start the foundation? And did you start the charity to help charity, or do you start it to keep someone’s memory alive? And has it been worthwhile?

L.C.: I started it and got it approved as a 501C3 while Ty was still alive. I knew I wanted to give back. There were so many people willing to help us. We’re fortunate people, so why wouldn’t we do something? You get the idea, and you don’t realize what you’re getting yourself into. You have to know where you want to go with it. And our original thought was we wanted to help families. And then we saw, well, that’s kind of what a lot of charities do, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. There are unbelievable foundations. But when we started to take the foundation off, we realized we had a big platform. We had a huge platform. Cindy’s blog was followed all over the world. We had 4 ½ million hits, we had some national news outlets reach out to us, a lot of local. So we thought if we could raise a lot of money at this, we could fund research, and that’s where there’s such a strong need. The government doesn’t fund nearly enough research. Nobody funds it. We’re right on the cusp with a lot of breakthroughs with cancer.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 1.40.32 PMQUAZ EXPRESS WITH LOUIS CAMPBELL:

• Besides yours, what are the charities you believe in and feel strongly about?: St. Baldrick’s

• Does your wife ever write something on the blog and you think, “No, too personal”?: No. Sometimes we used to say let’s tone that down a bit so readers don’t think we are exaggerating, because it was that intense.

• Five reasons one should make Mahopac, N.Y. his next vacation destination?: 1. To attend the annual TLC “Mess Fest” at Camp Kiwi 2. Participate in the annual TLC TYathlon. 3. See my hometown 3. See Jeff Pealman’s hometown 4. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright home on the lake. 5. Why not explore? Always explore

• One question you would ask James Dean were he here right now?: Although he appeared to be very cool, I would pick someone else

• Are you of any relation to Luke Campbell of 2 Live Cru?: No.

• Three things that bring you joy?: 1. Family 2. Friends 3. Experiencing life

• How did you propose to your wife?: On one knee at her favorite spot in Central Park, literary walk. Then followed up with dinner at the infamous Oak Room and spent the night at The Plaza.

• Movie line you quote most often?: Not sure, but most frequently use the accent from Anchorman.

• Toughest part of running a charity?: Time. When you are so passionate about something you are never satisfied and always want to do more.

• Phil Simms, Eli Manning, Ken O’Brien or Joe Namath?: Joe Namath. Is there even a question? He changed how football was viewed.

  • Alan

    Thanks Jeff. Very moving and difficult to read.

  • Tony Stoddard

    Amazing how similar our experiences were. It helps me to hear another dad speak about what we went through, that is why I always share our story to let others know they are not alone. Thank you for sharing Louis. I too saw that amazing smile just before my son Cole left us for now. Tony (Cole’s Dad)

  • NanaWhip

    Thank you it was nice to hear from “the other half” would love to follow your FB page but could not figure out which one was yours.
    God Bless,
    >

  • SugarMyst

    Lou, I’ve never met you or your wife but I feel like I know your family through Cindy’s blog.

    It takes such courage for the two of you to step outside that comfort zone and put to words your brutally raw pain. As a Mom of two boys, 17 months apart, I can relate in many ways. Ty’s plight is every parent’s worse nightmare, and It’s tempting to want to click away from her blog and the painful honesty it exudes.

    But I don’t. Part of me feels guilty for having “healthy” kids. I put quotes on word healthy because my older son Trever has childhood epilepsy that , for a time, left me agonizing in worry over his future, and both of my boys have ADHD and all of its lovely co-conspirators (Anxiety, OCD, tics). There was a time when I have literally mouthed the words “Why them? Why my babies, God”? And then I come across a family like yours, and I am flooded with so many emotions. Thankful, guilty, hopeful, confused, unworthy, scared and grateful.

    There’s another reason I don’t click away. It’s because your son Ty is magnetic. There’s just something about him that is captivating, unique and special in ways that transcend words. No matter how sad and scary the reality of his plight may be, despite the urge to uncomfortably look away, the strength of Ty’s spirit is stronger. I feel compelled to learn all I can about Ty and his plight with childhood cancer, and to spread the word as far as one person can.

    Ty’s life has impacted me in more ways than I can describe. I have dreamed about Ty, and I think about him and your family so often that I feel like I know you all. Yet I won’t pretend to know even a tiny glimpse of the pain that losing him has caused you to endure. But I can empathize, and hope that in some distant sense my sharing the impact your plight has had on me will bring you and your family a tiny sense of comfort.

    I don’t know if this is the right thing to say, but I had to say something. Thank you for sharing your story, and God Bless you family.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life