To help remember and pay tribute to budding football phenom Tyson Bailey, the Metro Toronto Wildcats have decided to rename its play assistance fund in his honour.
“When you really get slapped in the face with this, when it’s a kid that you know and been talking to who was so excited to be part of what you been working on for 15 years, this type of thing really hits home,” said Wildcats’ president Chuck Richardson.
Originally called the SOS fund, it’s intended to supplement the costs for kids who can’t afford to play football. It was started in 2012 by junior varsity coach Ed Babin and his wife Cathy Rober, who gave a base amount of $10,000 that must be matched through fundraising initiatives.
The family was fully supportive of the name change.
“The Bailey family knew about it because Tyson had been telling them about it, he was coming to play for the Wildcats,” Richardson said. “He was going to be a big part of our program, so they knew about us.”
The fund was created in 2012 by junior varsity coach Ed Babin, who gave a base amount of $10,000. That money, which must be matched through fundraising initiatives, is available to dedicated Wildcats players who need the funds for equipment and other expenses.
Bailey, who became the starting running back as a grade 10 student with the Central Tech Blues, also played football for the Wildcats, and was poised to play in this summer’s Ontario Varsity Football League season and beyond.
Bailey was killed in his Regent Park neighbourhood Jan. 18, shot several times while visiting a friend. The case is still under investigation.
But, all the Wildcats prefer to remember Bailey in life, rather than death.
“There was something pretty special about this kid,” Richardson said. “Tyson, when you were just around this kid, he just exudes quality. He was a confident kid, such a happy kid, extremely polite, just a real positive air around him.”
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