“Team Tony”


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In January of 2014 I went to the emergency room, not feeling well.  The next clear memory I have is waking up in early March 2014, in a hospital bed, with people looking down at me, wondering what happened.  (What happened was a whole super-neat saga of bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, an induced coma, and lots of excitement that kept me in the hospital until April.)  During the time I was down, my family and I received the most amazing amount of support and love from friends and family… it was, and continues to be, simply overwhelming.  Cards, food, messages, chores, errands, money, prayer quilts, helping with kids and their travel needs, the list goes on and on.  My friend Emily started a thing called “Team Tony”, and created a t-shirt with my image on it for people to buy as a fundraiser to help my family cover medical bills.  That took off and, amazingly, almost 700 shirts were sold and a ton of money was raised.  Everyone started posting pictures of themselves wearing their Team Tony shirts, and it was the most wonderful, uplifting thing in the universe to wake up in the hospital and have my wife and family share this amazing outpouring of generosity and love with me.  I truly believe this massive positive energy helped me recover and heal, and it’s been the most life changing experience in the world – I’m so incredibly grateful.  I’ll never be able to properly thank everyone involved, but this is a start.  Here’s a collection of all the wonderful pictures submitted by wonderful people.  To all of you who bought shirts or helped in any way – Thank You!  And if you’ve got a picture of yourself in your shirt that’s not on here, send it to me, and I’ll put it up!

EDITED TO ADD:  On May 21, 2021, I had a kidney transplant!  After 7 years of dealing with kidney disease that resulted from the above Meningitis Saga, my kidneys had finally had enough and were failing.  My amazing wife Jeanne Hicks-Caselli saved my life by donating one of her kidneys to me, and continuing her track record of being a hero in many, many ways!  We were supported by SO MANY friends and members of our family, especially our amazing kids, my sister Gina and Jeanne’s sister Jackie, who took care of us both during our recuperation and recovery period.  Our gratefulness and gratitude continues to know no bounds!

21 thoughts on ““Team Tony”

  1. Wonderful slideshow!! Had I that many folks in my fan club, my head would swell beyond belief. But you deserve it, Tony, and Bill and I are thrilled that you continue to do so well. You were missed greatly!! Emily and Bill Haggerty

  2. Hi babe, lotta love for you there! Mine and Sheri’s picture is not there. We love you and get to see you looking so well.

  3. It was so much fun watching everyone get their shirts and post pictures… my favorites are the babies and the pets and men in shorts standing in the snow. And it was also amazing being part of the online community that developed around you… it was such a hopeful and reassuring thing to see. And best of all… here you are posting! We really can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

  4. TONY! This is so fantastic, I can hardly believe it happened – is happening. I am not a Facebook junkie and knew very little of this but am thrilled that not only have you recovered physically but you’ve received such a massive gift of love. With a drop more of that love – Toni

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  9. Hi Tony! I accidentally wound up here looking for a different Caselli. Incidentally, I’m a respiratory therapist in Ventura, California and happen to know a little about your ARDS complication. I’m grateful and humbled to understand what you AND your family went through AND you survived! January to March on a ventilator is no picnic (glad you don’t remember) and all the complications that can come with it. Kudos to the good Lord, your medical team, ancillary staff and of course your family and friends. Respectfully Kevin Raabe

    • Kevin, thank you so much for stopping by, and for your incredibly kind message. Your work as a respiratory therapist must be rewarding – it’s wonderful that you’re able to help people in that way. I am so, so grateful for all of the amazing people who helped me during my illness and recovery, and I know you’ve got countless people grateful for you for the same reasons! All of you folks are real heroes, making such a difference in so many lives. Thank you!

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