VIBI player Cancer Research Fundraiser feature


April 15, 2014 (ISN) – Ty Armstrong has seen the affects of cancer on a family more than anybody would wish, and now he’s fighting back at the disease that challenged, but did not defeat a member of his own family.

Armstrong’s mother Laurie was diagnosed with cancer in December 2002 and underwent treatments through May of 2003.

19 year-old Ty is the youngest of three siblings, sister Sarah, 26, and brother Stuart, 23, who along with father Kip, 53, stood beside Laurie in her fight. Following treatments, Laurie and the family received the news that they were hoping for, as the cancer was gone. Follow up visits confirmed that it had not returned.

Born in Ladysmith, BC, Ty Armstrong lives at home, making the 20-minute commute south to Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (VIBI) in Nanaimo. He is in his sophomore year studying physical education at VIU, and is a catcher studying his pitching staff at VIBI.

Thankful for his mother’s victory, Ty is taking it upon himself to do his part to fight back and help those currently in the fight, knowing that so many have not been as fortunate as his mother in their own battles.

The catcher’s mask is having a challenge in recent times containing Armstrong’s ‘golden locks’, as he has been growing his hair since August, and on May 1st, will be shaving his head with donations to his cause supporting cancer research through the BC Cancer Foundation.

Armstrong has launched his own fundraising page, “Tyler’s Hair Scare”, on the BC Cancer Foundation website. His goal is to raise $1,000 in donations for cancer research through his page before May 1st. As of April 14th, he is over half way to his target.

The fight against cancer is a cause that is close to Armstrong’s heart,

“people all over do fundraisers for cancer research to help save lives for no reason at all other than it is the right thing to do. I believe that those selfless people contributed to saving my mom, which is why I am doing this. I am just trying to pay it forward and hopefully help someone or some family who is in need.”

Laurie says she is immensely proud of her son and his selfless act,

“We as a family are extremely proud of Tyler’s fundraiser, and his efforts to raise money for cancer research. It is a disease that continues to touch so many people’s families, and this type of fundraising is always so important to continue the research to improve the odds of beating cancer.”

Jordan Blundell (Edmonton, AB) is the 9th year head coach of VIBI and says that taking on a project like this is not out of character at all for his second year catcher,

“Tyler is a character player and person. He is a team first player and it fits his character that he is looking to help others with his fundraising efforts for cancer research. We are extremely proud of Tyler for his efforts in supporting the fight against cancer and are happy to assist him in reaching his fundraising goal.”

Jeremy Harasymchuk, a senior from Edmonton, Alberta, forms VIBI’s catching tandem along with Armstrong. He echoes the sentiments of his head coach,

“Ty’s mom and family were handed a tough battle, but it shows their strength to win their own fight, and now want to make an impact on others. ‘Army’ is one of the first guys I would think of that would take on a project like this without a second thought. It is great to see him gathering support and recognition for a great cause.”

VIBI recognized Armstrong’s efforts at their April 12th home game at Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium. Between games of a doubleheader against Okanagan College, Armstrong was given a much-deserved standing ovation as he tipped his cap to the fans in attendance. Mother and son then took to the field as Laurie delivered the ceremonial first pitch of the game to Ty.

Ty says he was touched by the gesture,

“It was an incredible experience to have my mom throw the first pitch to me on Saturday. How many players get to say they have had that opportunity? I would just like to thank VIBI for giving my family that opportunity. They are a world class organization and even better family.”

To cap off the day, Armstrong delivered a pinch-hit 2-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning of the game, igniting a 6-run inning as VIBI would capture the 6-0 win over Okanagan College.

Ty Armstrong should be commended for a selfless initiative that as he says, is aimed at “just paying it forward” like those who have championed the cause before him, and as he says, are a reason that his mother is still with him today.

In baseball, the catcher sees the whole field from his crouch behind home plate, but this backstop is keeping his sights on more important things outside of the white lines.

To donate, visit TYLER’S HAIR SCARE on the website of the BC Cancer Foundation, where donation options can be found.


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