Tom Coughlin wasn’t at the New York Giants training facility on Thursday for the Jay Fund’s Sunday Blitz. Instead, he was wrapped up in the consuming role of being executive vice president of football operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was a first for Coughlin to not be at the event, which has become a regular on his calendar the past several years.
Even last year in the first offseason following his departure as Giants head coach, Coughlin was welcomed back to the team’s facility to host the Sundae Blitz, which is an annual event hosted by the Giants at their facility next to MetLife Stadium.
The invitees are children battling cancer, often flanked by siblings and parents who have sacrificed much for their health. The day takes the cancer patients – some in remission and many who still have regular treatment – and gives them a day away from worries and concerns.
They tour the fieldhouse and run through drills, just like Giants players. They try on uniforms, meet players, get photos and cap the fun-filled day with ice cream sundaes, hence the event’s name.
Thursday’s event, run by Coughlin’s Jay Fund charity, functioned like any other day even with the absence of the former Giants head coach.
Coughlin said that the “Jay Fund is very much alive and well in New York/New Jersey even without my presence after 14 years.”
The Giants organization volunteered time from staff members and players for the event, working with personnel from the Jay Fund.
“The New York Giants have made it possible to continue this event at their facility and in doing so will entertain families of children with cancer. Guests enjoy the facility by participating in demonstrations by Strength & Conditioning, Equipment and Training [staff] around the field house,” Coughlin told Metro. “This allows children a day to ‘leave cancer in the parking lot’, run on the field, tour the building, have their names announced and faces on the video boards as an NFL player would – all of this is a new and exciting experience… The Jay Fund has always had great support from the Mara and Tisch families [Giants owners], allowing us to utilize the facilities and provide this wonderful day to these families battling the unimaginable. Without the support and approval of the New York Giants this would not be possible, the organization has gone to great lengths to make this day possible and the Jay Fund is very grateful.”
Founded in 1996, Coughlin’s Jay Fund was inspired by a former player he coached at Boston College who developed cancer late in the 1991 season. The organization assists families financially and also aids in the quality of life of the families who put so much into the care of a child with cancer.
The Jay Fund works closely with families in need of a support network during a time that tests their emotions and finances.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the Jay Fund and the spirit of Jay McGillis. We have touched over 4,000 families of children battling cancer, giving them support and hope for the future,” Coughlin said. “Over $8 million in grants have been awarded to provide financial, emotional and practical support. Our efforts continue to cultivate sponsorships and opportunities to share the passion with people who may not know of our mission. The spirit of Jay McGillis will always be there.”
And apparently, the Giants as an organization continue to “be there” for Coughlin and the Jay Fund as well.