The Jaguars organization honored children fighting cancer and their families at Sunday's game, as part of the team's efforts to raise awareness during the month of September which is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of America's children, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
More than 140 participants from former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin's Jay Fund attended the game after being treated to a tailgate at WJCT Public Television and Radio studios and then having the opportunity to "parade" on the sidelines of the field at EverBank Field before the game, while the PA announcer recognized their courage. The Jay Fund was created in 1996 in honor of Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while a member of Coach Coughlin's team at Boston College and died only eight months after diagnosis.
Keli Coughlin, Executive Director of the Jay Fund, exclaimed, "The children along with their parents and brothers and sisters were thrilled to be recognized on the field. Cancer affects the whole family and we thank the Jaguars for helping to raise awareness of the hundreds of local families dealing with childhood cancer every day." Ms. Coughlin added, "Our mission is to help families tackle childhood cancer by providing comprehensive financial, emotional and practical support. From diagnosis to recovery and beyond, we are part of the team, allowing parents to solely focus on their child's well-being. Our goal is to BE THERE for parents facing the unthinkable so they can be there for their families."
Jaguars Team owner Shad Khan also paid special tribute to Rob & Tina Goble from Waycross, Georgia, who lost their 6 ½ year old daughter Mattie just 10 months ago to an inoperable and incurable form of brain cancer. In memory and honor of Mattie, the Goble's founded Mattie's Mission, a 501c3 non-profit organization in Waycross to support families enduring journeys through childhood cancer, and to fund research and create awareness for childhood cancer.
Mr. Khan also recognized Mattie's Mission board member, Jason Rogers, who just completed a 3,100-mile Triathlon, as he ran, swam and biked from Seattle, Washington to Jacksonville over the last 26 days in support of Mattie's Mission and Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Tina Goble said, "Jason's efforts have been incredible and through generous donations and support such as his, Mattie's Mission has been blessed to be able to help multiple local families in their fight with childhood cancer."