Local mother who lost son to childhood cancer in 2008 is helping other families through a difficult time

Local mother who lost son to childhood cancer in 2008 is helping others families through a difficult time


The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund has helped families battling childhood cancer for over two decades by providing emotional and financial support, from the diagnosis to the recovery.

Michelle McGriff’s son Marlon or MJ as she liked to call him was just like any 7-year-old boy.

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Playful…rambunctious…and a little mischievous at times.

“Always putting a smile on my face,” McGriff told me.

During a doctor’s visit in 2006 MJ’s parent’s got the news that caught them both off guard. Their son had been diagnosed with leukemia.

Originally, he was given an 80% chance of going into remission and living a normal life, but things took a turn for the worst.

“We went through treatment the first about 6 months and everything went well. Then he had a relapse and after that relapse our treatments became more intensive,” McGriff said.

MJ fought for nearly two years, but lost his battle to cancer on September 13, 2008.

The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund stepped into McGriff’s life at a time when her family was going through this difficult time.

“They were very integral with Wolfson children’s hospital as well as Nemours Children’s Clinic. They were able to provide support in any way that they could, especially financial support,” she said.

McGriff told me she’s keeping her son MJ’s legacy alive by being a Jay Fund Ambassador.

Now she’s offering her love and support to other families going through the unthinkable.

Today she keeps a picture of MJ in every room,  including her office at the University of North Florida.

“Look over and I see that smile and it reminds me that he’s okay. You know he’s in a place where he’s at peace and he’s resting and he’s my guardian angel,” McGriff said.

Childhood Cancer not only impacts families emotionally but also financially.

For more information on how you can support the Jay Fund you can click here: https://tcjayfund.org/