JACKSON – For the second year in a row, firefighters and police officers faced off on the diamond – but their aim wasn’t as much to bring home a trophy but to raise funds for Jake’s Got This, an organization that aids children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Event coordinator and Foundation President Shannon Kulesa said it was a huge success. “The police department won again this year and played some of Jake’s friends from last year but we also had five new kids join us this year.
“We are excited to keep adding families to our foundation. We had a bigger turnout this year despite competing with the rescheduled Jackson Little League opening day. We had about 100 more spectators than last year so it was a great growth. We added the fire truck and police car out front of the stadium for the kids to check out,” she added. The event took place at the Jersey Shore BlueClaws stadium in Lakewood.
Kulesa said, “a big crowd favorite was our dunk tank featuring dunk a cop or dunk a fireman. We had a team member from each side in the tank. Sgt. Mike Grochowski of the Jackson Police Department was in for the them and John Poppe was both the team captain for the fire as well as their dunk tank guy. Jeff Henba put together the police department team again for us this year and we raised over $7,000 by the end of the day.”
This money will help another child book their intensive part time stay in New York, providing therapies that many parents are unable to afford, she said.
The funding will also go toward ‘Pancakes and Pedicures,’ an opportunity for girls who wear leg/foot braces to meet each other, get pampered, and grow friendships and mentoring.
“Such a great time, so many smiles,” Kulesa added. Her son, Jake, was diagnosed as having infant brain damage when he was only 13 months old. “Here at the Jake’s Got This Foundation we look to provide guidance and recommendations from experience, help navigating the world of health insurance and support to families with children under the age of 18.”
She added, “the Foundation looks to connect families with the resources they need, as well as other families who understand the daily struggles we face. We are always open to new ideas and therapies to help our kids get stronger each day.”
Kulesa noted that around 8,000 children are born each year in the United States who receive a cerebral palsy diagnosis. “Cost is the barrier that keeps them from reaching their full potential even with medical insurance.”
“The JGT Foundation aims to remove that financial barrier so children with cerebral palsy can have access the necessary resources of therapeutic programs that have proven to be very successful,” she added.
“We are having a partnership game with the BlueClaws on June 24. We will be selling discounted tickets to the game shortly to support the foundation. Our next big community event will be our 2nd annual pig roast September 16,” Kulesa said.