Dylan’s Dream Team Memorial Foundation is hoping to make other kids’ dreams come true.
The Bellmore-based organization is in its early stages of raising funds to finance a brand new, state-of-the-art baseball and softball field for the North Bellmore North Merrick Little League — all in memory of Dylan Murphy, the foundation’s namesake.
Dylan grew up in Bellmore, attended Saw Mill Road Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District, and was an avid baseball player with the North Bellmore North Merrick Little League. In 2015, when he was 9, he was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer that affects children.
He underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments to combat the disease, and nine months later, he was cancer-free, Dylan’s dad, John Murphy, told the Herald. “Ultimately, about six months later, we found out that he had leukemia, which is sometimes a side effect of some chemo medications that he took,” John Murphy said. “Some of them are pretty strong, and they could cause other types of cancer, which happened to him.”
Dylan underwent a bone marrow transplant, but his body rejected it. He died in September 2018.
The following year, John Murphy and his wife, Donna, started a charity in Dylan’s name, to help families and children going through similar situations. Around the community, they are known for some of their staple events, including an Easter egg hunt in the spring.
John Murphy said the foundation collects Legos and donates them to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as other hospitals that treat childhood cancer. The foundation also gives back to the Ronald McDonald House charities, which helped the Murphy family during Dylan’s hospital stays.
Lastly, the foundation finances scholarships for the Bro. Joseph C. Fox Latin School and Kellenberg Memorial High School, which Dylan would have attended.
Within the last year, John Murphy said the foundation decided to try and do something bigger. A family friend, Sal Visone, who’s involved in Dylan’s Dream Team, suggested the idea of a baseball field.
Visone’s son, also Sal, played baseball with Dylan. Visone and John Murphy used to coach together when the boys were younger.
“I was really blessed to get to know Dylan and the Murphys,” Visone said. “Dylan was just an amazing kid, an amazing pitcher. We called him Superman — as a young boy to fight so bravely for so long.
“It was heartbreaking, and yet so inspirational,” he added. “His mom, Donna, John, and his brother, John, came together so strong as a family. So, to honor Dylan forever and create this beautiful gift, for the boys and girls of the Bellmore-Merrick community, is just going to be a beautiful thing. We’re really looking forward to bringing the community together.”
Now in the midst of raising money to finance a new field, which could cost somewhere around $500,000 — if not more — Dylan’s Dream Team is rallying for support from the community, and making sure people are aware of the foundation’s plans. The field will be built at Saw Mill Road School.
The foundation has held a couple of events already, including a poker tournament in March, and a paint night in May. On Aug. 19, Dylan’s Dream Team is hosting a cornhole tournament at Gunther Field, at 1295 Bellmore Ave., North Bellmore.
Registration for the tournament is $100 per team, which also includes a barbecue. If you don’t want to play, but still want to enjoy the food, you can register in advance for the barbecue only, at $25 per person. On the day of the event, the cost is $30.
Dylan’s Dream Team is also planning to hold a larger event at Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall on Oct. 12.
“That one, from 7 to 11 p.m., is going to be a big event,” John Murphy said. “We’re hoping to get hundreds of people there, possibly even a celebrity to drive the attendance, and there’ll be live auctions and raffles and all that.”
The Murphys are estimating that it’ll probably take two years, if not longer, to finance the project.
So far, the community has been supportive of the foundation’s efforts, as have numerous local businesses, such as the Newbridge Inn, My Hero Deli, Bramalo Pizzeria and Restaurant, among many others.
“Everyone’s been receptive,” John Murphy said. “Bad things had to happen for this to happen, but people feel good about what we’re trying to do.”
“We really appreciate all the support we’ve gotten,” Visone said. “I’m so grateful to John and Donna. I really appreciate so much of what they’re doing to honor Dylan, as a gift to the Bellmore community.”
To register for the cornhole tournament, contact John Murphy at (516) 492-0779. Follow Dylan Murphy Field of Dreams on Facebook for updates on the project and upcoming fundraisers, or visit DylansDreamTeam.com.