RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – Jill Feeney, mother of the late Michael Feeney, is hard at work preparing the 3rd Annual Michael Feeney’s Best Day Ever.
The event, which drew 800 people last year, will take place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Benjamin Franklin Middle School Field Saturday. The rain date is Sunday.
“He died when he was 10 so he would love everything about the event,” Feeney said. “We kick off the day with a color run. The kids run around the field and they get doused with color.
“There’s rainbow color wafting in the air,” she added. “If Michael was there, he’d be having a great time.”
Other features include carnival games, inflatables, a Velcro wall, a rock climbing wall, a dunk tank, a dj, a duck pond, and fun shooting games.
The young Feeney died Nov. 29, 2013 after a four-year battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, an extremely rare, aggressive bone cancer.
But in life, he captured the hearts of villagers. Known for his bubbly personality, he always used to say that, whatever he did, he had “the best day ever.”
“The day is very cathartic for me,” Jill Feeney said. “His birthday is June 21 so this gives me something positive to reflect on in his birthday month.”
This year only 13 balloons will be released to commemorate what would have been Michael’s 13th birthday. His mother said he didn’t like balloon launches because he worried fish and birds would choke on the rubber.
Thirteen dozen monarch butterflies will be released.
The event raises money for four charities, including pediatric cancer research and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, since Feeney’s 16-year-old daughter, Cassie, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Some of the money raised goes for Best Days for Sick Kids and some for the Chief Michael Feeney Junior Police Academy. The youngster was heavily involved in the creation of the junior police academy, one of his dreams.
“It makes me happy that Michael’s name is being used to do good things,” Feeney said.