The City of Jacksonville proclaimed Sept. 5 as Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Day in honor of the more than 20 years of support the nonprofit organization has provided to local families tackling childhood cancer and in recognition of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The day began at 9:30 a.m. with a ceremony at City Hall where leadership from the City of Jacksonville, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and Wolfson Children’s Hospital honored and celebrated the Jay Fund. Mayor Lenny Curry proclaimed the day Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Day, followed by various activities and celebrations throughout Jacksonville.
“This wonderful recognition could not have happened without so many incredible friends and partners, who have allowed us to BE THERE for the many families facing the unthinkable in our own backyards,” stated Keli Coughlin, executive director of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund.
Throughout the day, local businesses engaged in the festivities and donated percentages of their sales to the Jay Fund. Private events/activities were also held at various organizations on the First Coast in recognition of the organization. For example, Chets Creek Elementary School encouraged students to wear Jay Fund colors.
Founded in 1996, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation was created in honor of Jay McGillis — a football player who developed leukemia while playing on Coach Coughlin's team at Boston College. In the eight months between McGillis’ diagnosis and the day he lost his battle with cancer, the Coughlin family witnessed the physical, emotional and financial stress the illness caused for the McGillis family. As a result, Coughlin started the Jay Fund Foundation in McGillis’ honor to help families cope with the financial strain of battling cancer. Since its inception, the foundation has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $9.8 million in grants.
The organization recently opened its new headquarters location in Ponte Vedra Beach.