Fighting childhood cancer: 3rd Annual ‘Digger Day’ in St. Johns County

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Kids are digging through the dirt with local construction crews in an effort to raise money for cancer research.


It’s part of the “Digger Day” in St. Johns County -- benefitting the child cancer fund.

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It’s a day to give children with cancer a sense of normalcy.

Annette Berretta’s daughter Valerie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2021 before later having to have her leg amputated as a result.

“I had to immediately stop working and my husband had to take care of all of our financial issues,” Berretta said.

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Now, Valerie is a cancer survivor, digging her heels in for the fight against cancer on day, one year, and one “Digger Day” at a time.

“It’s just great to see smiles on their face,” Ryan Schmitt, CEO of Petticoat-Schmitt Construction said.

The annual “Digger Day” event is held by Petticoat-Schmitt Construction and other community groups to give children with cancer a chance to escape their everyday battle.

And while the event serves to provide a good time and a break from the battle against cancer, for many of these kids out here today, it also raises funds for an important cause with the Child Cancer Fund.

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“We are down in the trenches with the families, help them with putting food on the table, getting to treatment with gas cards... we have a tutoring program,” Carla Montgomery, Executive Director of Child Cancer Fund said.

Between this year and last, the group raised $99,300, just shy of $100K.

At Saturday’s event, a generous stranger donated $700.

Because of the community’s generosity, the Child Cancer Fund can continue those life-changing services to children.

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