Heading back to school can be a financial burden for many families across Central Georgia, but for some with children fighting cancer, it can be even tougher.
Jace Cumbie might look like any other kid playing with his brother, but he’s fighting a kind of cancer known as neuroblastoma for the second time.
“It’s actually a very aggressive cancer and he is Stage Four,” his mother Sarah Carrita said. “He was automatically Stage Four when he was first diagnosed because he had multiple tumors.” She says doctors found one in his abdomen the size of a soccer ball.
Carrita says she had to quit her job to keep up with the countless appointments and treatments for Jace.
“My boyfriend Cody is the only one that can work, so money is really tight,” Carrita said.
That's where the Jay’s HOPE Foundation has come in to help.
“We are all about helping them now and how can we stand in the gap and relieve so many burdens that they face,” foundation executive director Cindy Gaskins said. “When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it affects the whole family.”
Tuesday night, they helped dozens of patients and their siblings with their back to school needs by giving them gift cards at their annual Back to School Bash.
“School gives you those lists of stuff you're responsible for getting that kids need -- new shoes and new clothes,” Gaskins said. “We're just able to step in and link arms with these parents and help provide that extra support during this time of the year.”
While the school supplies help financially, it's the games, bowling, and hanging out with others that helped everyone take their minds off Jace's fight with cancer.
“Just being able to see them be kids is great because a lot of us see so much pain and heartache seeing them go through treatment, and it’s not easy, so this is a great way to let loose and let them have fun.”
The TEGNA Foundation helped fund the Jay’s Hope Foundation back to school bash. TEGNA is the parent company of 13WMAZ.