By Alex Weisler
Pawling, NY (The Journal News) - Ty Campbell, the boy whose mother's blog about his fight against terminal brain cancer drew readers and prayers from around the world, died this afternoon, one month after beginning home hospice care. He was 5.
Campbell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor on Aug. 22, 2010, and had been on home hospice care since Sept. 17, when a scan revealed the cancer had spread throughout his central nervous system.
Campbell's mother Cindy blogged almost every night, sharing intimate details on her son's medical condition and philosophical discussions on the nature of love, hope and grief with thousands of readers.
Last night, Campbell wrote a blog post titled "No smile today," and explained to readers that she and her husband Lou had spent the day caring for Ty, who was battling a high fever and head sores caused by his shunt.
"Ty was feeling so terrible, and I overheard Lou whispering to him, 'I'm so, so sorry, Ty. We tried so hard. All of that medicine you've had, and all of those surgeries. We really wanted them to work. You have been so brave. I'm so sorry.' " Campbell wrote. "I've uttered those same words a thousand times, as well."
The Campbells will hold a memorial service for Ty but it has not yet been scheduled, said Debi Fossati, Lou Campbell's sister.
Fossati, a Carmel resident, said the family hopes the legacy of Ty's short life is a push toward funding pediatric cancer research.
"We just hope that pediatric cancer gets the funding that it needs so these children don't have to die, so that they have options," Fossati said. "This can happen to anyone of our children. None of us are immune to it. I never thought my brother would have a child that would die of cancer."
Fossati said the Campbells hope Ty becomes "a face to the disease."
"He was never here for nothing. He's a true miracle in and of itself," she said. "But they want a change. They want it to be different for kids in the future."
The Campbells have established the nonprofit Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, which will work to fund pediatric cancer research and provide support to families.
Speaking exclusively to The Journal News last week, Cindy Campbell said she plans to keep writing her blog and remain connected to the global community of people who cared about her son.
"Sharing his story helps us feel like he was here, he was known," she said. "It's just so unfair. I really hope what Ty went through and everything we can do to share his story and raise money for research and all of it, I really hope that the next kid, the next Ty Campbell, will have a different experience. He won't have the radiation that leaves him paralyzed. He won't get so sick. And he'll survive."
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