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Not all Heroes Wear Capes: Remembering Cody L. Byrnes

By Jolie Freedman

Most of the well-known superheroes, such as Superman and Batman, wear masks, capes and suits. Cody L. Byrnes may have not worn a cape or prevented crime, but he truly is a hero to the HSE community.

Cody was a student at HSE several years ago. Sadly, Cody passed away from cancer just a few short years after graduating. Cody is remembered and recognized for his dedication to soccer and for never letting his cancer overshadow his positive attitude. Cody was a beloved son, friend, and teammate. When Cody was 15, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Although he faced many hardships in the process of battling Leukemia, he was astoundingly able to fight off his cancer through a stem cell transplant. This was a miracle to all of Cody’s friends and family because Cody was then able to complete high school and move on to college. However, while enrolled in college, Cody was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a fatal and uncommon form of cancer. At first, Cody was doing well, but cancer eventually took over. After he developed a brain tumor and cancer filled up one of his lungs, Cody unfortunately lost the battle on December 18, 2014, a day that will always be remembered as the day that our community lost a hero.

Although Cody Byrnes is no longer with us today, he will always remain in our community members’ hearts. Even when Cody was sick and could no longer play sports, he always thought it was imperative to attend as many of his soccer games as possible. There was nowhere that Cody would rather be, and he was always happy to be cheering on his teammates. Cody’s soccer skills were truly eye-catching, and he always aspired to be a soccer coach. The Cody L. Byrnes Memorial Foundation was implemented in order to commemorate Cody’s multitude of exceptional qualities. The foundation’s goal is to give athletes on Long Island the opportunity to pursue athletic careers. The foundation hosts fundraisers in order to provide struggling athletes with scholarships in honor of Cody Byrnes. One of the foundation’s catchphrases is “Persevere… No excuses,” which is emphasized in order to inspire ambitious athletes. The foundation hopes that members of the community will continue to help with donations and participation in various events throughout each year.

On Friday, December 16, Superhero Day was held at High School East in memory of Cody Byrnes. HSE has always been active in the Cody L. Byrnes Memorial Foundation. For the past two years, shirts were sold, and the money was donated to the foundation. This year, on Superhero Day, students and teachers dressed up in their favorite superhero attire and were motivated to donate $1 or more towards the foundation. The student body looked like a unified force in their superhero apparel! All of the students and teachers embodied true T-Bird spirit as they dressed up in memory of one of our most heroic T-Birds! In gym classes, students decorated signs with superhero logos and wrote down who their hero was as a small token to those by whom they have been inspired. Our community will never forget all of the outstanding energy that Cody Byrnes brought to the HSE atmosphere, and his legacy will continue to live on. I encourage you all to continue to donate to the Cody L. Byrnes Memorial Foundation and participate in events whenever possible for this very worth cause.