Tom Coughlin Jay Fund hosts VIP tailgate for pediatric cancer patients before Jaguars game

The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund created a Jaguars tailgate to support local children battling cancer, and to honor pediatric cancer survivors.

The event was hosted at the WJCT Studios near thee TIAA Bank before the game Sunday.

“To give the families a break from the day-to-day routine of doctor appointments and hospital visits, and dealing with the unthinkable idea of childhood cancer,” Jay Fund Executive Director Keli Coughlin said.

Coughlin said they have been hosting this event for a few years.

This Sunday, more than 50 children and their families came out for the party, including patients both on and off of treatment.

“So it’s great for us to see some of these kids year after year and see them do healthy and do well,” Coughlin said.

The Jay Fund is an organization that supports pediatric cancer patients who are receiving treatment in Jacksonville.

Cancer survivor Blake Herndon said this event is about more than cancer, it’s about a community.

“I’ve been with them for about seven years,” Herndon said. “I got diagnosed when I was 7 and I relapsed three times. So I was finally done with everything when I was 14. So that’s pretty much my whole life, so just to know that they were there through all that is really comforting, and I just love everything that they do.”

The event also provides an opportunity for children to connect to others battling the same illness, and show support through the community.

“We can all just come together and even with kids that are still going through it, you can give them some advice and people who have been through (it) you can just talk about your stories and learn about a few things and become friends,” Herndon said.