JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a night of holiday fun for a special group of children that was treated to a holiday party by Jaguars player Zane Beadles' Foundation Thursday evening,.
The children enjoyed blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes with plenty of syrup and a side of bacon. It was a breakfast menu fit for the perfect dinner night out, for the young patients of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute
Jaguars offensive lineman Zane Beadles played a Santa of sorts -- his foundation, hosting this holiday party, complete with cheerleading elves.
Max Adams, 11, from London was there and he enjoyed all the attention.
“It's good because it gives all a chance for the families at the proton center to meet,” said Max Adams.
The kids lit up when they were asked about being Jaguar fans. Max has been to three Jaguar games, including one back home in London.
“My brother's coming over this weekend, so we're going to hope to go to the game on Sunday maybe,” Max Adams said.
Max's dad said meeting a Jags player up close was a real treat.
“Max has really enjoyed today, he's been looking forward to coming here to see obviously the Jaguars fair, and also the Jaguars girls,” Richard Adams said.
Organizers revealed Max is one of several patients from England here right now for cancer treatments at one of the largest providers of proton therapy for children, in the world.
“We treat patients from all over the world, 30 different countries, main provider for the U.K., exclusive agreement with Norway and a bunch of other countries, so it's pretty amazing,” said Stuart Klein, executive director of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.
No matter how far they've traveled to be here, Beadles hopes the kids' thoughts of their cancer fight are far away.
“For them to be displaced during the holidays and away from their families has to be a hard thing for them,” Beadles said. “So if we can bring any kind of normalcy, or just a little bit of fun with a little meal and some gingerbread houses, it's the least we can do.”
Because of all the charitable work his foundation performs in Jacksonville and in other states, Beadles is a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
People can vote for him through social media using #BeadlesWPMOYChallenge. For more information, visit their website.