Shark Tank Entrepreneurs Honor Late 9/11 Firefighter Dad by Pitching His Invention
The panel decided to invest $100,000 in the project and pledged to donate any proceeds to support firefighters
The product pitched on Sunday night’s emotional episode of Shark Tank has already sold out.
Kaley, Christian and Keira Young’s New York City firefighter dad Keith died of cancer after helping clean up the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks — and in his honor, the siblings pitched their late father’s invention.
“It was his dream to pitch it on Shark Tank,” Kaley said. “Unfortunately, he passed away before he had that chance, but we’re here today to continue his legacy and make that dream a reality.”
Keith — also a two-time champion on Food Network’s Chopped — died months before the ABC show taped the segment in June.
The product itself, a chopping board with a detachable bowl for easy cleanup, is called the Cup Board Pro and bears a special logo incorporating a firehouse symbol in honor of the firefighters who died in 9/11.
His kids, ranging in age from 15 to 24, explained on the show that their dad had to delay his project because their mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in August 2012.
“He put everything on hold to be at her side,” Kaley said. “On Aug. 22, 2012, God called our mom home, and our dad showed us what strength was in every moment he continued to show up for us, and in life in general. He was a true inspiration, like our mom.”
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Hoping to honor their parents’ legacy, the Young siblings started an online store and are running the business out of their living room.
All five sharks — Daymond John, Matt Higgins, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner — jointly offered $100,000 for a 20 percent stake in the business and pledged to donate any proceeds to support firefighters who have illnesses stemming from 9/11.
“It was surreal,” Christian tells PEOPLE. “It was really cool pitching with my two sisters. We knew we were all next to each other, giving each other the energy to pitch our dad’s product.”
The episode left viewers in tears, flooding Twitter with their support. In fact, the response was so positive that the Cup Board Pro is already sold out.
“We sold out, as of last night,” Kaley tells PEOPLE. “So now we’re going to work on more manufacturing to fulfill my Dad’s dream of having the Cup Board Pro in every kitchen in America.”
“I’m glad that you all met this special family tonight and @mcuban @lorigreiner @kevinolearytv @mhiggins and myself made a deal with #CupboardPro,” John tweeted. “I’m looking forward to working with these incredible entrepreneurs. I will remember this pitch forever.”
“I hope that it inspires people to keep dreaming,” Kaley says. “And to remember how important family and friends are, and that love is really the most important thing at the end of the day.”
You can support the Young family by donating to their GoFundMe in honor of the FDNY here.
Shark Tank airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.