The Jadon Strong Foundation will help benefit families affected by childhood brain cancer at its first annual “Night of Hope” winter gala on Feb. 11.
“We’re just really excited about it,” said Caisse Gore, the foundation’s founder. “Hopefully we can have the support of the community … Everybody rallied around us the whole time Jadon was sick.”
Gore started the foundation in honor of her son Jadon, who passed away on Feb. 1 after battling the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma for 13 months. Its mission is to provide hope to families faced with pediatric brain cancer by offering support and comfort through a variety of uniquely tailored assistance packages.
“The cause is very personal to me for obvious reasons, but we’re teaching people about how serious a brain cancer diagnosis is and how families that are dealing with a child that has brain cancer really, really need support,” she explained. “And that’s what the Jadon Strong Foundation’s whole mission is, just to support these families.”
“I want to have events where people can come out and enjoy themselves and mingle with us and interact, because honestly, that’s pouring back into me (in) a time where I really, really need it the most,” Gore added. “ … But it’s allowing me to be able to pour back into people that truly need the help.”
The gala will feature a silent auction, open bar, guest speakers and a performance by the Legacy Band.
“It gives us purpose every day, and it allows us to continue to honor Jadon as we promised him that we would,” Gore noted. ‘There’s just so many exciting things when you’re planning a gala … It just takes me away from my everyday grind and it’s just a different hat that I’m wearing right now with this. So it’s just exciting.”
Other foundation events in 2023 will include the second annual 5K walk on May 20, family field night and ultimate Frisbee on July 7, and a car show on Aug. 5. All three events will be held at Moorestown High School.
“I can’t thank the Moorestown school district enough for their support,” Gore said. “Every time I come to my district and I say, ‘Can I please use the campus for an event?,’ it’s a no brainer for them … The support’s been unbelievable and I’m just truly grateful.”
Gore is now back in her classroom at William Allen Middle school.
“Just being around the kids, it’s just a great way for me to ease back in and just get back into some kind of normalcy,” she said.
Gore pointed out how she’s able to share her story with others and advise families faced with pediatric brain cancer.
“It’s heavy; it’s not easy to do,” she acknowledged. “I put my game face on, literally, every day, because I know at some point in the day, I’m going to have a conversation with somebody that’s going to trigger my emotions. “I just think about my son, and I continue to say, ‘What would Jadon want me to do? What would he want me to do right now?’ And I live by that.
“That’s my motto every day. What would make him proud?”
Gore recommends stricken families hold onto their faith.
“ … Never waver from it, no matter what, and just be present for your child,” she emphasized. “Be present every second; nothing else matters. Being present and being an advocate for your child and taking care of your baby, every second of every day.”
To attend the “Night of Hope” gala, RSVP by Oct. 30 at https://jadonstrong.org. Sponsorship registration and information about the silent auction are also available online.