August 4, 2011
Balloons raise family’s spirit
Boy who lost dad to cancer last year remembers him on birthday
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
From left, Christina Doughty, her 10-year-old son Robert Doughty, and Robert’s grandmother Candy Doughty Ealey gather to release balloons in memory of Corey Doughty Wednesday at SUNY Cortland’s Chugger Davis Field. Doughty died of brain cancer last year.
Robert Doughty’s family cheered when he released balloons into the air, marking his father’s 29th birthday.
Robert, who turns 11 on Friday, lost his father, Corey Doughty, to brain cancer on Feb. 6, 2010, after a four-year struggle.
The family stayed in good spirits Wednesday, but occasionally shed tears, as they wished Corey a happy birthday and sent up the balloons in his memory.
“I hope other people can see they can move on after something like this happens to their family,” said Corey Doughty’s widow, Christina, Robert’s mother.
Her husband’s cousin, Amanda Marvin, came up with the idea of holding a balloon launch to mark his 29th birthday.
Then, earlier this week, Robert thought of the perfect place: the former Chugger Davis Field at SUNY Cortland.
“I wanted for one of his birthday presents from me to be on a football field because we love the Buffalo Bills,” Robert said. “He’s probably proud of me and he’s probably laughing because everyone’s wearing Bills stuff.”
Family cars pulled up outside the field around 6 p.m. as it rained buckets from above. Some family and friends laughed and joked about the weather. It was the way Corey would have wanted it, said Marvin.
“I think Corey’s doing this, making it rain,” Corey’s mother, Candy Doughty Ealey, said with fond dash of humor. “We got a snowstorm within a minute after he passed, then we buried him and it snowed again.”
The rain didn’t bother Robert either.
“As long as I’m doing it for my dad and family, it doesn’t matter to me,” he said.
Once the rain eased up after several minutes, the half-dozen balloons were sent up into the sky.
More than a dozen family and friends showed up for the balloon launch. They cheered when the birthday balloon released by Robert soared the highest, and quickly out of sight.
Robert said he and his father liked to play video games and watch Bills football games together.
Corey was recalled as a devoted family man. Robert said he was glad to see the family come together.
“It makes me feel special and good,” he said. “I’ve always lived with my mom and dad, but since he passed it’s been kinda hard.”
He and his mother live on Owego Street. Christina said she and Corey had four other children, ranging from 3 to 7 years old.
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