By Lily Belcher
Jennifer Abadi, a local FishHawk mother, started her own Relay For Life Team, #GoldTogether Fishhawk, dedicated to supporting the families and survivors of children with cancer after her son, Alex, was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2015.
“Some of the [chemotherapy treatments] that my son had were the same [treatments] that they said kids should take in 1984, so there was nothing new for these kids,” explained Abadi.
Alex is currently a sixth-grader at Randall Elementary School and is five years cancer-free. Before Alex’s diagnosis, Abadi had participated in Bevis Elementary School’s team, but having her child be diagnosed with cancer is what prompted Abadi to start her own team.
“Until your life is really directly impacted, it’s kind of all stuff that is happening in your periphery. Once you are affected by it personally, you realize that this is something we really need to be a part of,” said Abadi.
Her team is a Gold Together Team, meaning the money raised goes specifically to supporting pediatric cancer research and education on childhood cancer. The first Gold Together Team was started in 2014 by St. Petersburg locals after Cole Eicher survived Brain Cancer. He wanted to be an advocate for the kids fighting cancer.
“We knew [the Eichers], … and we had already been involved in Relay with the elementary school locally. When I saw the opportunity to step in and do our own team and it was a Gold Team, it just felt like it was right,” said Abadi.
Relay For Life is a year-round fundraiser that supports cancer patients and their families. Anyone can start a team and collect donations for various causes, and each team chooses a hero for the year, usually a cancer patient or survivor.
This year, Alex is the hero, but the team isn’t named after him because Abadi hopes it will continue to support the FishHawk community after she leaves the team. She knows that cancer affects many of her neighbors and wants to support her community, not just her own family.
To support Abadi, visit relayforlife.org and donate or join Abadi’s team.