Ty Flood, a Herricks School District fifth grader who a few years ago enjoyed playing baseball and running with friends, will soon need a wheelchair full time.
Ty, who remains a devout Yankees fan, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and to prepare for his wheelchair, his family will need to make major renovations to their home.
So on April 1, Memories Bar and Grill will host a fundraiser to benefit the family of 10-year-old Ty and help pay for the renovations they need to remain in their home.
Due to the chronic degenerative disease, Ty, who already uses a wheelchair at school, will soon be entirely wheelchair dependent. Most children with the disorder are in wheelchairs by age 10 to 12.
To accommodate the change, the Floods would need to build two bedrooms and a handicap-accessible bathroom on the ground floor, make their Williston Park home’s layout more wheelchair-friendly and purchase a vehicle capable of loading a mechanical wheelchair.
Without making those changes, and without some financial support to pursue them, the family would need to relocate, said Jen Stanza, an organizer of the fundraiser whose daughters go to the Center Street School with the Floods.
“They would have to remove their kids from school. They have their friends here,” Stanza said. “They’re such good-hearted people…they really don’t want to uproot them. Life is hard enough for them.”
The fundraiser, which starts at 7 p.m. at Memories Bar and Grill at 121 Hillside Ave., will include raffle baskets, a 50/50 raffle and live music by the band Harpers Ferry. All of the proceeds from the $20 cover at the door go directly to the Flood family.
People who are unable to attend the fundraiser may make tax-deductible or direct contributions at www.tyfloodfund.org. More information about Ty and the Floods is also available on the website.
“The support we’ve received, everybody jumping on board to do what they can do to help us out, it’s wonderful,” said Ty’s mother, Beth Flood. “Words can’t describe how me and my husband feel about what they’re doing for us.”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads to a slow weakening and eventual wasting of the muscles. Symptoms can begin as early as infancy but are generally visible by or before age six.
Beth said Ty has a tight-knit group of friends at the Center Street School, many of whom he’s known since kindergarten, when he could run and play baseball.
“He has a crew… he has a group of set friends and they all love Ty. He’ll have his friends over and they love hanging out with him. Really nice young boys,” Beth Flood said. “I think it would be devastating for him to leave, to lose friends that he knows.”
Though Ty can no longer play Little League – a photograph on the fundraiser website depicts him shagging a ball from the outfield – Beth Flood said he is still an avid sports fan. He especially enjoys rooting for the Islanders and Yankees, for whom his favorite player is the now-retired Derek Jeter.
“He probably knows the stats of every player that’s out there,” she said. “Even on his iPad he follows who’s going to be traded, who’s doing this…sometimes he’s too smart for his own good.”
Like many young boys, Ty also enjoys playing video games, she said.
The Floods’ two younger daughters also attend Center Street School, and Ty will attend Herricks Middle School next year.
Beth, who left her career to care for Ty, said the Herricks School District has been responsive and supportive in accommodating Ty, another reason the family would like to stay in Williston Park.
“After our third daughter was born about the same time Ty was diagnosed, it was in the best interest to take care of Ty and his needs that I’ve had to stop working,” Beth said.
Timothy Flood, Ty’s father, is a veteran special agent at Homeland Security Investigations, with 26 years of service, according to the fundraiser website.
“I love the family – Ty has a special place in my heart,” Stanza said. “They’re always willing to help people who are in crisis and need. They’re good people and I want to see them stay.”