Manhasset community rallies for high school wrestling coach in the fight of his life
A community came together Thursday night to stand behind a beloved Cold Spring Harbor schools teacher and coach in his fight against ALS.
The night's matchup between Manhasset and Cold Spring Harbor wrestling teams wasn't so much about competition. It was an act of compassion and support for 35-year-old Randel McCoy.
McCoy is the junior varsity wrestling coach at Cold Spring Harbor High School who was diagnosed with Lou Gerhig's Disease, also known as ALS, two years ago.
“I was absolutely distraught, I mean, there's no words for a disease that's considered to be terminal. So, it's a hard thing to swallow, but you only have two choices, to quit or move forward,” McCoy said.
McCoy has chosen to take on ALS like an opponent on the wrestling mat. He says he's determined to beat the disease and continue to coach the team he loves.
“You'll never hear him complain about what he's got and what he's going through. He smiles every day, he comes to work, doesn't say a word about it and the kids all look up to him and they love being a part of it,” said Cold Spring Harbor High School wrestling coach Mike Ferrugiari.
McCoy's courage and positive attitude inspired hundreds to show support at the first annual "Take Down ALS" event to raise money and awareness for research and a cure.
The community raised money through bucket donations, raffles and t-shirt sales. All the proceeds will benefit the New York Chapter of the ALS Foundation.
“Hopefully, sometime in the future, there's research that comes out that solves it or at least help it. And also, to show Randel that people are here, love him and support him, no matter what,” said Manhasset High School wrestling coach Stephon Sair.
McCoy says he's grateful to have the love and support of so many as he faces the battle of his life.
“My community, friends, family, they're the battery in my back. So, I stand because of them. They stand by me, so it all works out in the end,” McCoy said.