JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As Shawn Floyd walked through his now-alma mater, Middleburg High School, he shared how those hallways hold special memories.
For Shawn, graduating high school also serves as a reminder of all of the challenges he’s overcome in order to get to his next chapter.
At just nine years old, Shawn was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.
But Shawn wasn’t going to fight this battle alone.
The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund connected with Shawn’s family.
The Jay Fund helps local Jacksonville families tackle childhood cancer.
“During those trying times the Jay Fund was able to give me a sense of camaraderie,” said Shawn. “Because you get to see other individuals like you that went through the same thing you’re through.”
The Jay Fund helps families with household expenses and financial planning and helps find ways to make life a little brighter during a difficult fight.
“As a kid, you see these amazing guest speakers at Jay Fund events,” explained Shawn. “I always wanted to just be able to give back and be that same person for those kids.”
By Shawn’s senior year he was cancer-free, a four-year member of the varsity track team, and a third-year VyStar student intern.
VyStar Credit Union offers limited-service branches inside several schools across the Clay County and Jacksonville area. The program helps teach financial literacy to students alongside teacher mentors. Shawn says joining the VyStar program completely changed the trajectory of his career path.
“During the school year … we run the branch ourselves with the support of our teacher as well,” says Shawn.
Despite his busy schedule, Shawn found a way to give back to his community.
“That’s how he always is. He’s so kind, he’s caring. He thinks about everyone,” said Shawn’s business ed teacher, Mallory Guldi. “I was super proud when I heard that he was taking this on.”
It leads him right back to the Jay Fund.
Shawn hosted a financial literacy workshop for Jay Fund patients and survivors.
“We had 12 kids sign up,” said Shawn.
Shawn says he felt like the attendees learned a lot and really benefited from the one-on-one skills.
Now, as Shawn takes on a new chapter as a freshman at the University of Central Florida, the Jay Fund is right there with him to cheer him on and help offer support.
“This completely shaped like exactly what I do want to do, my dream job, my career,” shared Shawn.
Since 2002 the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation has awarded 128 scholarships totaling $874,500 to cancer patients and survivors. This year, Shawn was selected as one of five local young adults who will each will receive a maximum of $8,000 over four years.
The Jay Fund says these scholarships are awarded to childhood cancer patients and survivors like Shawn and were established to offer hope beyond cancer.
Many families exhaust their savings due to medical costs associated with cancer.
“College is extremely expensive,” says Shawn. “This is going to help me so much.”
The goal of the Jay Fund scholarship program is to provide financial support so cancer patients and survivors reach their full potential and achieve their dreams.
For over 25 years, the Jay Fund has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants helping thousands of families in northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, according to the organization’s website.
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