It was Casey's evening - friends gathered at Cosgrove field to celebrate # 19

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is said that having empathy for others is a very common trait in most people, but very often the virtue of true selflessness is something that most of us lose as we get older. There are very few who throughout adulthood can maintain the purity of heart until the very end. Two people come to mind:  Terry Fox and Casey Cosgrove.

Dozens of people went to Nelson Park baseball diamond in order to play rounds of soft ball, enjoy burgers, hotdogs and drinks and remember Casey.

Bryna Cosgrove

“Genuine, he was known for being genuine, he was known for a special gift for people and making anybody he was talking to feel special and the only person in the room,” said widow Bryna Cosgrove.

Family, friends, students, and many more came out to the diamond wearing commemorative team Casey T-shirts with the saying: “This disease will not take away my disability and wish to inspire,” Casey, 2017.

When I asked about who Casey was, everyone said almost the exact same thing: that he was a man who wanted to be involved, that he could connect with ANYONE in a way that no one else could and was unapologetically funny and would be the first person to make fun of himself.

The undisputed biggest trait being said about Casey was he was a man who wanted to be involved. Being involved can mean so many things but in Casey’s view there wasn’t any kind of involvement that was in bad taste. It means doing the girly things with his young daughter such as trying on nail polish or taking her to a Justin Bieber concert, both wearing pink sweaters.

The name says it all.

He way so caring, he just wanted to be involved,” said friend, Amy.

The Terry Fox Run was a mission for Casey Cosgrove.  The Fox Foundation pumped millions into cancer research that paid for the many drug trials Casey took part in.  When he was first given the diagnosis, his doctors thought he had 18 months: he had a full seven years and accomplished a lot.

Casey was a person who only wanted positive energy around him – he would always manage to turn any negative situation into a positive outcome. A man who was so self-deprecating that during a treatment he would post a blog while playing “Knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

Casey was a driving force behind getting this Marker Monument to Terry Fox in place.

One of the main events that made Casey who he was occurred when at thirteen he ran down the street with his hero Terry Fox.

Years after Terry had passed, he was instrumental in getting Terry’s Marker Monument put up in Spencer Smith Park.  Casey raised more money than anyone else.

It’s hard to imagine one man being able to accomplish so much from being a husband and father while coaching several baseball teams at once, with the ability to plunk down on the couch or the Lazy Boy and watch endless Seinfeld episodes in order to create more self-deprecating jokes and drinking everlasting amounts of coffee that always seemed to end up on his shirt.

A man who went to Starbucks so many many times – when he passed away Starbucks sent a floral bouquet. It’s hard to imagine one person having that much of an effect on you, let alone a business.

More people at the BBQ stand than at the T-shirt stand.

Among Casey’s many interests was politics. He ran as an independent for several Burlington positions: both as a Councillor and gave a lot of thought about running for Mayor.

An interest in politics was passed on to his son Jack who believes it is time to see changes in politics as well as not keeping it a quiet conversation; he sees the election taking place to day as a good place to start but had no comment on what the outcome might be – just hoping change will come soon.

When Casey passed away in 2017 the whole community came together to help his family. According to his son Jack they did it by “being involved” just like Casey used to be and to communicate with one another.

Hanging around the bullpen with a pickup game in progress.

Everyone at the park on Sunday, whether you were close to him or not, can say that when you walked away from him you felt like he had made a real connection.

“His parents always had an open door policy (for anyone who wanted help),” said childhood friend, Lisa Rodwin.

The family continues to be honored by Casey’s memory not only with last night’s event but with the baseball diamond being named after him as well as the Casey Cosgrove Memorial golf tournament held at Hidden Lake in 2018.

 

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