NY Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin has seen first hand how destructive and devastating cancer can be to a family. When Tom was a coach at Boston College, he coached a young man named Jay McGillis. Jay played in 10 games, and after 11th game he was not feeling well. Not feeling well turned out to be leukemia. While team and players rallied to support Jay, Tom observed the physical toll and the financial and emotional taxation on everyone. Tom wanted to do something to give back to people in similar situations to Jay’s. The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation primarily provides financial expenses. Often when a child becomes ill, it becomes a full-time job to care for child. One parent loses time off from work or maybe has to quit working entirely, and there are tremendous expenses associated with medical costs and transportation, child care for the siblings—the list goes on. The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation was started almost 20 years ago and now offers emotional and practical support, as well as financial.
According to Keli, to date, nearly 2,000 families in NY and NJ have benefitted from the Fund. Practical support includes putting together a financial game plan. There is a CPA who helps with financial literacy for the families, both short-term financial crisis planning as well as financial long-term planning and budgeting. Emotional support includes creating parties and special opportunities for kids to look forward to, an informal support system for families to support and connect with one another. Recently, there has been a survivorship program that launched in NY/NJ to help with the late effects of cancer for those who have survived.
The Gala is one of two big fundraisers that the TC Jay Fund hosts each year. The other event, the Wine Tasting Gala, takes place in Jacksonville, FL, each year. “It's a special night to celebrate the work they do, but is set apart because of the presentation of the NY Giants. They have 90% of the team there that evening along with other alumni,” said Keli. “This year will be amazing because the gala falls on what would have been Jay's 44th birthday.”
About the Gala
The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation will host its 10th annual Champions for Children Gala on Friday, October 17, at Cipriani 42nd Street® in New York City. This year’s event marks the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund’s 10-year anniversary providing support to families fighting childhood cancer in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area.
Legendary NBC 4 New York sports broadcaster Bruce Beck will serve as Master of Ceremonies and toast 2014 honorees Martin C. Eltrich, III, Partner at AEA Investors LP, and Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., President and CEO of the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Company. Eltrich has spent the majority of his career advising consumer companies in some of the most significant transactions in the industry. Kelly held senior positions at the American Express Company for 23 years, including President of the company from 2007 to 2010. Both are being honored by the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund for their exemplary support of local families tackling childhood cancer.
For the first time, the date of this year’s annual gala also coincides with the birthday of Jay McGillis, a member of Coach Coughlin’s 1991 team at Boston College and the foundation’s namesake, who was diagnosed with leukemia while a member of the team and passed away in July 1992. The courage, compassion and faith demonstrated by Jay and his family during the course of his illness were an inspiration to many people, and the impetus for Coach Coughlin to start the foundation.
“Celebrating our 10-year anniversary in the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area on Jay’s birthday makes this year’s Champions for Children’s Gala even more special than usual,” said Keli Coughlin, Executive Director of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund. “We’re proud to be celebrating and honoring everyone who has helped us over the past 10 years, and those we’ve helped tackle childhood cancer for the past decade in New York and New Jersey.”
At this year’s event, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund will present live and silent auctions featuring luxurious vacations, sports memorabilia, sporting events tickets, designer accessories and jewelry, and several once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities. The reception and silent auction are scheduled to begin at 6:30pm, with dinner and the live auction to follow at 7:30pm.
Special guests will include sports celebrities, New York Giants players, coaches and alumni, and scholarship award winning pediatric oncology patients with their families. Attendees are encouraged to wear business or favorite football team attire.
For more details and the latest event updates, including instructions on how to make a donation, please visit www.tcjayfund.org and follow the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund on all social media outlets by searching @tcjayfund. For those interested in table and ticket information, please click here.
About the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation
The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation was created in 1996 in honor of Jay McGillis. Jay was a special young man who developed leukemia while a member of Coach Coughlin's team at Boston College. In the eight months between Jay's diagnosis and the day he lost his battle with cancer, the Coughlin family saw first-hand the physical, emotional and financial strains the illness caused the McGillis family. After going through the tragic events with Jay's family, Coach Coughlin vowed that if he ever had the chance, he would create a way to help families with children battling cancer. Coach Coughlin kept his vow and started a foundation to BE THERE in Jay's honor. Since then the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund has evolved in size and scope, helping thousands of families in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area who are fighting childhood cancer. For more details and the latest event updates, including instructions on how to make a donation, please visit www.tcjayfund.org and follow the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund on all social media outlets by searching @tcjayfund. For those interested in table and ticket information, please click here.