The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund held its annual Jay Fund Golf Classic May 16, which included a dinner and social May 15.
“You begin to understand what this is all about in terms of what these families are presented with when they have child with cancer,” Coughlin said. “The more we can raise, the more we can help.”
Current and former athletes from across the sports world took part in the event, as a sign of support for Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin, who spent years of his career as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The event always brings Coughlin back to when they first started the foundation years ago, and he takes pride in how far it has grown.
“At our very first tournament, I think we made $36,000 and we thought we were doing well,” Coughlin said. “From the very beginning the objective was always that whatever we raise, we are going to spend it so that it’s out there, and that’s pretty much what we’ve been able to. Last year we helped 692 families and paid over 2,700 bills for over $2.6 million.”
The Rhett family is currently battling cancer and receiving assistance from the Jay Fund. They were featured during the dinner.
“The worst thing in the world as a parent is hearing the news that your child has cancer,” Coughlin said. “Your emotions are just distraught, and that’s where we come in.”
“We’ve been associated for about a year now, after our son Rhett went into remission with brain cancer,” Fischer said. “We had just moved down from Washington D.C., and the first thing that happened once we got here was that the Jay Fund reached out.”
Being in the Navy, Fischer was not stateside when he first heard of the news, which is even more of a reason why he is thankful for the Jay Fund being there with support.
“We’ve failed four different chemos, and he’s now on a different kind of treatment that is a little more experimental,” Fischer said.
“Most people don’t drive to work every day wondering if they’re going to get a phone call saying ‘Hey, your kid stopped moving again,’” Fischer said.
Parents are often engrained to be there for a child, but unlike when they are learning to walk and fall, a parent cannot just pick them up and have everything be all right when it is cancer they are dealing with. It can present a very helpless feeling for parents.
“The purpose is to just be there for them, so that they can be there for the sick child,” Coughlin said. “A child can detect stress, so when they figure out that the parents are stressed and that he is the reason, that is not good for their health or for the opportunity for them to get better.”
The Jay Fund’s support is shown in a variety of ways. As they provide financial, emotional and physical support for not just the child battling cancer, but their entire family.
According to Fischer, one of the ways they have helped him, and his wife Ashley emotionally is by helping set up conversations with other parents who have been through similar situations, so that they can have a better understanding of what they are up against.
“The Jay Fund’s moto is to “Be there,” and that’s exactly what they do,” Fischer said.
Some of the sports celebrities present, included recently named Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Boselli and University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.
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