Ever since his first charitable act as an unassuming 3-year-old, young Ty Caylor has shown a genuine interest in raising money for sick children.
Four years and nearly $6,000 later, as the youngster’s donation total for the Make-a-Wish Foundation continues to grow, so does his celebrity status.
But the 7-year-old Sprankle Mills boy doesn’t do any of it for a pat on the back.
“I like to help kids,” Caylor said at halftime of the IUP men’s basketball game Wednesday night.
Caylor was invited to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex for Make-a-Wish Night at the IUP basketball men’s-women’s doubleheader versus Edinboro.
At halftime of both games, Caylor was recognized for his fundraising work with the Punxsutawney office of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which is a part of the national organization’s Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia chapter.
Every year during a weeklong fundraising event held a week before Christmas, Caylor turns in his year’s worth of quarters for his annual donation.
On Wednesday, Caylor shared a moment at center court with Wish Kid Faith Wirick. Wirick is a 3-year-old from New Florence who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and has already undergone three open-heart surgeries and six heart catherizations.
Last year, Wirick was granted her wish of meeting all the Disney World princesses and getting her picture taken with them at the theme park in Orlando, Fla.
Caylor said he tries to meet as many children that he helps as possible, and he met Wirick for the first time Wednesday.
Caylor is known affectionately as “Ty Ty the Quarter Guy” in the Punxsutawney area for his year-round devotion to collecting donations in the form of quarters.
Caylor’s first donation as a 3-year-old in 2008 was $1, and, of course, it was in quarters.
Since then, it’s become his passion.
“When he heard about it, he said, ‘Mom, I want to go help,” his mother, Andrea Caylor, said. “His first donation was four quarters. And originally, he was just supposed to donate one quarter, but he said, ‘Mom, I want to help four kids and not just one.’ That’s just how he thinks.”
After his initial donation in 2008, Caylor raised another $99 that week during the annual fundraising campaign. Since then, he’s raised at least $1,100 every year, including $1,802.50 in 2012, his best year yet.
Caylor usually carries his plastic collection bucket with him around town, and he collects quarters year-round.
He has become so well-known that he barely has to ask for donations anymore.
“Yep, I just go around town,” the youngster said. “Sometimes, I don’t even have to ask them. They just give me a handful quarters.”
Caylor is the son of Andrea and Tim Caylor, and Wirick is the daughter of Darcie and Chris Wirick.