TAMPA - Like many young boys, Jake Depagter enjoys to bowl. But, Jake Depagter's family wasn't sure they would see the day he would be back on a lane. Jake was diagnosed with cancer.
"It was wrapped around my carotid artery and I had to go through chemo," Jake said.
It was what would have been a scary time for anyone, but was especially so for the mere nine years old. Like any parent, his mother said watching him brings her heartache.
"Tears, tears of joy that he survived this hard time," said Dolly Depagter.
A year later, Jake is cancer free. It's why the Depargters devoted their free time to bowl for a cause. Dave Picca, the Founder and President of the Tower Foundation, a non-profit, organized the event in its fourth year at Pin Chasers in Tampa.
"Óur mission, since we started in 2009, is to raise funds for local Tampa Bay charities and organizations," said Picca.
And this year’s mission is to help children like Jake. Proceeds benefit the Children's Medical Center at Tampa General Hospital. Recently, US News and World Report named Tampa General Hospitalthe number one hospital in the state, and also ranked it among the top 50 in the nation, and number nine in medical specialties.
For Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who served at the main King Pin, the event also touched him personally. His wife is an OBGYN at Tampa General Hospital.
"They are saving lives every day. The unheralded heroes are these healthcare heroes," said the Mayor. "But there is a larger mission for this and that is to help fund some programs at Tampa General Hospital."
And that's why co-anchor Andrew Luria, Captain Al, and myself joined a dozen other celebrities. And while our bowling may not have made a lasting impression, hopefully Jake's message will.
"Hold on tight. You can make it. Have self-confidence," said Jake.
To see pictures of the event you can head to my ABC ACTION NEWS Facebook fan page, just search Sarina Fazan journalist and click the 'like" button
To learn more about the Tower Foundation head to the organization's website at www.towerfoundationtampa.com
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