If there were one word to describe former Danbury High School and Western Connecticut State University baseball star Tony Thayne, it would be “intense”
It is with the same intensity that Thayne played sports with that he has vowed to attack the illness that has afflicted his son, Tucker Thayne, 8.
Two fundraisers have been set up to help Thayne and his family and it looks like it will turn out to be a great crowd.
“We found out about Tucker coming up on a year now,” said Thayne, who graduated from DHS in 1988. “It started as his hip was bugging him and we thought he hurt it during basketball camp.
“Then it took many visits to the doctor and back and forth to Dartmouth Medical Center in NH (two hour drive each way) to see specialists before they came up with the diagnosis. It’s called Ankylosing Spondylitis and as of now there is no cure.”
The first fundraiser will be a night at Pippa’s Sports Bar, 114 South Street, Danbury. Pippa’s is donating 10 percent of all of the dinner checks from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. to the Thayne family.
The second fundraiser started as just a small idea but has taken off. WCSU Hall of Famer Phil Colla is spearheading a benefit golf tournament to be held Saturday, Sept. 15 at Candlewood Valley Country Club. The tournament will be called “Tee Off For Tucker.” The tournament is looking for golfers and sponsors and non-golfers can come to the barbecue following the golf. The cost is $115 with registration at 9:15 a.m. and tee-off at 10 a.m.
Thayne said Tucker can’t play any sports now.
“They let him finish baseball because he did make All-Stars but have stopped that now too since it has spread to other hip,” Thayne said. “He is currently taking three medications including weekly injections of Enbrel now. He looks like an everyday 8-year-old except at times we have to help him out of bed, in extreme pain at times and beaten down a bit mentally.”
Thayne said he hopes money from the fundraisers will allow the family to get a therapy pool for Tucker to stay active and take the load off his joints.
Thayne and his family live in Hoosick Falls, NY with his wife Maggie, daughter Logan, 10, and sons Tucker, 8 and Cooper 3.
“It’s been hectic and frustrating. Poor Maggie wants to pull her hair out,” Thayne said. “Logan goes to Dartmouth as well for Periodic Fever Syndrome and Cooper's blood work has recently shown some positive markers for Rheumatoid factors so that is to be determined still.”
Colla said the outpouring of both the Danbury High School and Western Connecticut communities has been amazing.
"I think we're going to have a great, great Western baseball reunion at the golf tournament," Colla said. "As soon as the former players heard, they have reached out and commited to play. It was a special bunch of guys when we were playing and they are showing that now."