The first annual 5K walk to honor the memory of Jadon Phillips, a Delran High School graduate who at 18 bravely lost his 13 month battle with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer called Glioblastoma, will be held Saturday May 21st at Delran High School. The township of Delran rallied around Jadon when he was diagnosed and people began using #JADONSTRONG to help bring awareness to his battle, a battle that his Parents and Step-Father were there for him every step of the way until Jadon passed away at the beginning of February.
Ryan Gore, Jadon’s step-father, was quoted in a Burlington County Times article, saying ““We kept it private until the GoFundMe came out. It was never about the money. I’d rather have my son than a dollar. But people we hadn’t heard from in years started reaching out to us. One guy – Lamont Smith – works for a bedding company. He would drop off mattresses, to make sure Jadon didn’t get bed sores. Another lady saw his picture and donated, just because she remembered that he’d held the door for her at the Hartford Deli. It reached further than my wildest expectations.”
Keith Phillips, Jadon’s Father, remembered him in that same article, saying ” “He was the kindest kid. He didn’t cause any problems, didn’t get into trouble, he didn’t get into any gossip. He’d just listen to what you had to say, and if he didn’t agree, he’d offer you a different view.”.
Jadon loved playing football, music, cars and riding roller coasters. Caisse said that Jadon lived with the mentality of “All gas, no brakes. Who had a heart of pure gold, (and) that he would do anything for anyone”. Jadon was “strong willed” and a “total rebel”, who two years ago built a snowman on the roof of their home after a heavy snowfall. Jadon’s mother said that he “always stood up for what is right in this crazy world”, something that she said they will carry on through his foundation to help families through the battle Jadon’s parents know all too well.
Glioblastoma is a very rare form of cancer which occurs in only 1 out of every 10,000 cancer patients, yet it makes up for around 16% of all brain cancer patients. Glioblastoma is the most complex, deadly, and treatment resistant forms of cancer. The 5 year survival rate is only 6.8%, with most succumbing to the disease within 12-18 months of being diagnosed. Even though Glioblastoma was identified as early as 1920, there have been only 4 drugs and one device that have ever been approved by the FDA to treat it, which is something that the Jadon Strong Foundation hopes to help change.
“Jadon epitomized strength and courage. Whenever I’m faced with a difficult situation, or something perceived as a setback, I immediately think about him and keep pushing forward”, said Eric Hailey, long time friend of Jadon’s family.
When I asked Caisse what message she would send to parents who find themselves in the same position, she said “The message I’d send to those parents would be to stay strong in their faith, and seek all treatment options available for their child and for them to be a fierce advocate for their child on all platforms. I’d also tell them to take good care of themselves, so that they could be at their best for their child(ren). Additionally, I’d encourage them to take no moments for granted, and to do their best to live each day with their child(ren) to the absolute fullest.”
People who want to attend the 5K walk are encouraged to wear the color red, since that was Jadon’s favorite color, and also to please bring some non-perishable food items that can be donated to families in need. The Jadon Strong Foundation is also seeking financial donations so they can help families find a little bit of hope when they are feeling hopeless. To donate just click here.
The Jadon Strong Foundation’s mission will be to help other families who are battling pediatric brain cancer to find a little sunshine in the dark. If you want to be a part of that sunshine that Jadon’s family still needs so badly right now, please come out and Walk For Jadon and let’s make a sea of red shirts that Jadon can see from Heaven.
The 5k Walk For Jadon will begin distributing T-shirts to those who have already pre-ordered them online at Delran High School between 7:30-8:30 am(Around 35 T-shirts will be available on-site), with the walk beginning at 9 am, starting from 50 Hartford Road Delran, NJ 08075. The Foundation is currently seeking sponsors for the event along with food trucks and vendors.
Those interested in learning more can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.