Childhood Cancer Awareness: Jacksonville cancer survivor shares story, spreads motivation

Jay Fund helping local families

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

A Jacksonville cancer survivor teamed up with the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund during ‘Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’ to spread her story and motivation for the hundreds of local kids fighting the disease.

Marissa Hollenbacher’s favorite pastime revealed her biggest battle.

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A painful lump on her calf turned out to be cancer when she was just 17 years old.

Hollenbacher told Action News Jax, “I understood what having a 30% chance at living meant. I understood that my chances of survival were slim, but I was going to have to be ready for the fight.”

She said the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund joined the effort immediately, footing the bill for food, multiple mortgage payments and gas gift cards.

“When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family and everyone else around them is diagnosed as well,” she explained.

Through the organization’s community, Hollenbacher says she regularly connects with the more than 5,000 Northeast Florida Families they’ve helped since 1996.

September is ‘Childhood Cancer Awareness’ month.

Hollenbacher said, “Give back to organizations that may not help with medical expenses, but they help with everything else that is involved with childhood cancer.”

It’s been a long road, but the running is 7 years cancer free.

Now, she said she’s walking through life with her own family, always advocating for those with childhood cancer.

“They become resilient and they are some of the bravest strongest kids I’ve ever met,” said Hollenbacher.

She explained she’s fighting for the 300 Jacksonville kids who are currently in the race of their lives.

To learn more about the Jay Fund visit: https://tcjayfund.org/