On Tuesday, Amy Harris took her son, Austin, to New York City to present a check in the memory of another young man who touched the community’s heart.
This past weekend, the Harris family managed to raise more than $6,000 at a fundraiser in Syosset to benefit others facing the disease that took the life of Plainview’s .
Austin, 15, was a friend of the Plainview freshman who lost his battle with a form of leukemia last month. The fundraiser at Lifetime Athletics was originally intended to help Spencer’s family with the cost of kits used to test potential bone-marrow donors. The kits, containing mouth swabs, are not covered by insurance and run $65 each.
It was Austin’s idea in the first place, and despite Spencer’s death, Austin was determined to go through with the benefit.
“He’s just that kind of kid,” said Austin’s mother, Amy Harris, of Plainview who, with Husband, Eric, helped Austin organize the event. “He’s been like that his whole life, the kind of kid who wants to help others.
The drew about 60 people who rented stationary bikes and made donations at the sports and fitness facility in Syosset.
The check was delivered Tuesday to DKMS, the firm that produces the testing kits.
Just before Spencer’s death, Austin made a shirt for his friend. Spencer’s father, Jeff, had a “heartfelt” talk about his son during the Shiva. Jeff assured Austin that Spencer got the shirt, and knew what a great friend he had in Austin, Amy Harris said.
“I think Austin needed to hear that Spencer knew he was there for him,” she said. “It’s been a hard journey. But everybody helped us. This is a great community that stood together when they had to.”