Right at the bottom of the Daniel and Grace Tully Dining Commons stairs, the Fairfield University’s Student Association could be seen selling black and red hockey jerseys last Wednesday, Feb. 22 and Thursday, Feb. 23.
The sports gear displayed bold, white lettering revealing the number 30 along with the name “Capalbo” in memory of former Stag Charlie Capalbo, an inspirational member of Fairfield University and Fairfield Hockey team who tragically lost his battle with T Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (TLL) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (CNS AML) in April 2022.
Charlie’s story is long and grueling as he was first diagnosed with TLL in March 2017 when he was wrapping up his high school varsity hockey season and doctors found a tumor between his heart and lung. After over a year of fighting, however, he was able to start playing hockey again and enrolled for his first year at Fairfield University–it was not only the perfect distance away from his home but also from Yale New Haven hospital where he was being treated. Unfortunately, in March 2019, Charlie was given his new diagnosis of CNS AML while also continuing to fight TLL.
All while Charlie was a Stag and underwent chemotherapy and recurring battles, the Fairfield community attempted to aid Charlie in any way that they could. There was a live music fundraiser at the Fairfield Theatre Company in 2019, the University started a 22 push-up social media challenge, One5 and The Brick Walk hosted a fashion show, the Inter-Residential Housing Association hosted a charity dodgeball tournament … the list continues.
More recently, on Feb. 18, the Fairfield co-op high school hockey team retired Charlie’s #30 jersey in a ceremony at the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport where his number will hang outside of the locker rooms for years to come.
FUSA President Jordan Gale ‘23 initiated the idea of collaborating with the campus Club Hockey team and selling the Capalbo jerseys as a fundraiser this past week “after feeling like FUSA did not do enough last year to honor Charlie’s legacy,” Gale stated.
“Charlie was not just a student at Fairfield University or a member of the town,” Gale shared, “He was a son, friend, teammate and role model for so many, and we wanted to make sure that his fight and legacy is not forgotten.”
The jerseys were sold for $50 each, which could be purchased through cash, Venmo or the use of a StagCard, and were offered to both students at Fairfield University and members outside of the institution looking to support Charlie’s legacy.
While FUSA had planned to sell the jerseys over the course of three days, the fundraiser ended sooner than expected as all of the jerseys were sold out by early Thursday afternoon. In the end, FUSA raised approximately $2,700 in just two days.
All of the revenue that was obtained through the jerseys sales are going to be divided and donated amongst the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Jimmy Fund for Pediatric AML and the Fairfield Club Hockey team. Specifically, the donations sent to the Dana-Farber and Jimmy Fund donations will be going directly to research the exact type of cancer Charlie fought.
“We are hoping that support for his family and the charities that we have selected will radiate as we are working to host an event to memorialize Charlie and his legacy in April,” Gale continued.
In the coming months, FUSA is looking to coordinate a memorial event around the time of the one-year anniversary of Charlie’s passing. “We are currently working on the best way to engage the student body and our community in a way that will memorialize Charlie’s fight against cancer, which inspired so many,” Gale explained.
If students or other members of the community missed the opportunity to purchase a jersey, FUSA is in the works of potentially placing a second order for a possible memorial event for Charlie in April.
As a result, Gale encourages those interested in receiving updates to follow @fusa47 on Instagram and to check your emails as more information will be provided in the coming months.