Christina Jenks recently had her head shaved for a cause. She’s trying to help put an end to pediatric cancer.
Jenks and her husband Eric are behind a fundraiser planned for Nov. 9 at Plantation Palms Golf Club in Land O’ Lakes. The event combines a golf tournament, head shavings and fun activities for kids and adults, aimed at raising money for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation to support pediatric cancer research.
The Jenks, who are the founders of Big Heroes 4 Little Warriors, began their crusade against childhood cancer a couple of years ago. It began when Christina Jenks read about a 6-year-old boy in Virginia who was fighting for his life.
One of the things that the little boy, Nathan Norman, said he most wanted for Christmas was cards from his heroes — police officers, firefighters and rescue personnel.
The young boy’s plea touched Jenks’ heart.
She approached her husband, a firefighter with Pasco Fire Rescue, and suggested they get the boy a card and ask firefighters at various stations to sign it.
The simple gesture snowballed into an avalanche of love as word spread. Fire and rescue folks from Orlando to Pinellas County began calling, expressing their desire to get involved.
“The response ended up being overwhelming,” Jenks said. “They wanted to donate helmets, they wanted to donate uniforms. They were making gifts for him. We had stuff coming from everywhere.”
They got so much, in fact, they wound up loading up their Chevy pickup and driving 700 miles to the Normans’ home in Lynchburg, Va., to deliver the loot to the young boy.
That was in December 2012.
When they arrived, the boy’s parents talked to them about the need to help children who have cancer. The Normans had launched their own fundraising organization and wound up giving the Jenks 110 gift bags to bring back to children at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and All Children’s Hospital.
The Jenks later decided to create Big Heroes 4 Little Warriors to help children in the Tampa Bay area who, like Nathan, are fighting for their lives.
The couple said they felt called to get involved.
“For me, I’ve been in fire rescue for more than 20 years, and helping people is something I love to do,” Eric Jenks said.
“All you have to do is meet one of these children and that’s all it takes – to see the battle they’re fighting, you just want to fight it for them,” his wife added. “That’s what we’re doing, we’re fighting for a need that needs to be filled. These kids need someone to fight for them. That’s what we’re doing.”
If you go
When: Saturday, Nov. 9; Opening ceremony 11:30 a.m., shot gun start for the golf tournament as well as head shaving and family event at noon.
Where; Plantation Palms Golf Club, 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd., Land O’ Lakes
What: Golf tournament, chance drawings, face painting, bounce houses, head shaving, games, arts and crafts, DJs and other activities.
Plantation Palms will donate 10 percent of all restaurant proceeds.
For more information, call Eric or Christina Jenks at (727) 641-6075.