JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Trinity Christian Academy's football game was more than a game for Football Friday.
It was a night to recognize September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Trinity Christian recognized students who are battling cancer or who have beat it by wearing gold to sporting events throughout the week, including the football game Friday night.
News4Jax spoke with a family who kicked off their own childhood cancer foundation, called Believe, at the game, after having gone through a cancer struggle with their 10-year-old daughter, Carolina.
The Parson family banded together for a cause while rooting for their home team, Trinity Christian Academy.
“When you hear the words that your child has cancer, it does, it really changes everything,” Carolina's mother, Tabitha Parson, said.
Tabitha said Carolina is the driving force behind the family’s motivation to raise money and spread awareness about childhood cancer.
“February of 2014, Carolina was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor. She had about an 11-hour brain surgery," Carolina's father, Kris Parson, said. "They were able to remove it all, which we thank God for. She had 30 rounds of proton radiation treatments in downtown Jacksonville and then she had seven rounds of chemo.”
Carolina is cancer-free now, but Kris said his daughter has a long journey ahead of her.
“She looks great, but she has growth hormone issues. She has thyroid issues, she has short-term memory sometimes affected by treatments." Kris said.
This year, the Parsons created a foundation in Carolina’s name called Believe. They said that word had become their mantra through her diagnosis and endless hospital visits.
The Parsons wanted to be there for others who are going through the same difficult times.
"There were so many people around us, not just our family, but the community, the church, and the school came around us to just support us," Tabitha said. "You really just feel like you are being carried through the situation with these people.”
Trinity Christian Academy made this past week Childhood Cancer Awareness Week.
On the field during halftime, the school honored four kids who are battling cancer and those who have beaten it, like Carolina.
The Parsons sold T-shirts and bracelets in an effort to raise money for research.
Carolina’s father said there isn’t a lot of federal funding for childhood cancer, so they wanted to help other families in any way possible.
“Everybody goes through different things for a reason and we have a choice," Kris said. "We are either going to turn it for good or turn it for bad, and in this case, we are choosing to turn it for good.”
The Parsons said the school and the community are crucial in spreading the word and they are doing everything they can to tackle childhood cancer.