How Coach Coughlin Helps Kids with Cancer

NFL coach Tom Coughlin sends teens to One Direction concert as part of Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation


You might not peg 68-year-old Tom Coughlin as a One Direction fan, but that didn't stop the New York Giants head coach from sending some teens battling cancer to the group's concert at MetLife Stadium.

It's all part of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, which says its "mission is to help families tackle childhood cancer by providing comprehensive financial, emotional and practical support."

One Direction concerts aren't an everyday thing, but the organization — which dates back to the early 1990s — is dedicated to a full-spectrum approach that goes well beyond medical needs.

"Cancer is a devastating illness, not just to the patient, but to the families," Coughlin told People Magazine. "Parents have to stop working; brothers and sisters have to deal with all the attention going to the patient. It takes an emotional toll on families, and that's where the Jay Fund tries to help."

Coughlin's charity takes its inspiration from one of his former players, Jay McGillis. Coughlin was coaching at Boston College at the time, and McGillis was eventually diagnosed with leukemia after trainers found that he was too sick to play. McGillis passed away in 1992, but the team quickly came to his family's aid.

"One of my players came to me and said we needed to do something to help Jay and his family," Coughlin explained. "So we did a few different things — collected pledges for a weight 'lift-a-thon' and did some other things. We raised $50,000 for the family."

Two years later, McGillis' legacy continued with the Jay Fund. As Coughlin began coaching at the NFL level, his organization found improved opportunities to acquire resources and make a difference.

"There are always needs," Coughlin added. "We actually have financial advisors who can help a family budget. Cancer is an expensive disease, no matter how well off the family is."

In addition to offering financial guidance, the organization offers a wide range of assistance — from paying bills to offering scholarships to patients and survivors.

Around 10,380 children under age 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in the US this year, according to the American Cancer Society.