The children of a firefighter from New York City who died of cancer related to the September 11 attacks made his dream come true in the Sunday night episode of "Shark Tank."
The Long Island brothers, Kaley, Christian and Kiera Young went to "Shark Tank" in the hope that the "Sharks" of the program would invest in Cup Board Pro, a cutting board in the kitchen invented by their father, Keith, who He died last March at the age of 53. of cancer related to his role in helping clean Ground Zero.
"My brother and my sister and I actually went [to the show’s LA studio] on the three-month anniversary of my father's death, "says Kaley Young, 24, who is now the breadwinner and guardian of her 15-year-old sister Kiera. (They lost their mother to cancer in 2012 .) Kaley, a FIT student, also owns her mother's Pilates studio in Wantagh.
"It also happened to be Father's Day weekend," she says. "So, the fact that we were there together, we feel really grateful to follow his dream at that moment." My dad always said: & # 39; You have to keep showing up. Life gets difficult, but do not give up. Just to continue on the path of making each day the best day. "
And, as viewers saw Sunday night, the five sharks (including guest Shark Matt Higgins) decided to invest $ 100,000 in the Cup Board Pro, promising to contribute $ 20,000 each in exchange for 20 percent ownership. They also pledged to donate proceeds from Cup Board Pro sales to support firefighters battling September 11 related illnesses.
"My heart exploded at that moment," says Kaley. "I could not think of anything better for this product, it's going to help so many current firefighters who are sick with cancer related to September 11. I'm really grateful for this opportunity to have this product represented even more and have a great purpose behind it. of him too. "
It was also exciting for Higgins, 43, who appears in two episodes of "Shark Tank" this season. Now, the CEO of RSE Ventures and advisor to the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross, Higgins was the press secretary of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (and he was only 26 years old) when the September 11 attacks occurred.
"I was involved in the recovery and rebuilding effort, almost in the moments when the first plane hit the tower … for almost two years," says Higgins, who now lives in New Jersey. "So for me [the Young family] really hit home. I met amazing people … I never had the opportunity to meet Kaley's father, but I know many other people like him. Apart from being really moved by this wonderful family, it really touched me. I was sitting there thinking about all the different firefighters and recovery workers I know who worked so hard during that period of time. "
In the months since the episode was filmed in June, Higgins has moved closer to the Young family, helping them position the Cup Board Pro for their marketing campaign.
"I've become closer with Kaley in particular," he says. "She's just a wonderful young woman who has clearly assumed a leadership role in many different aspects of her life: helping raise her brother and sister, running the Pilates studio and bringing her father's dream to life."
"It's really amazing".