WILLIAMSBURG — When Jacob Gibbons was a teenager, around the age of 16, his mother, Kerri Cook, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kerri, who was living with Jacob at the time, was not able to work a full-time job while facing her battle with the disease.
“Eight years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was put out of work because she had a year and a half of chemo and about six months of radiation treatment,” Jacob said in an interview with WYDaily.
During that difficult time, Jacob’s father, Russ Gibbons, the owner of Uncle Russ’ Dockside Seafood Market, was able to garner support from the surrounding community and successfully fundraise for Kerri to ease the financial burden. Russ has kept that tradition alive, providing help for mothers with breast cancer in the years since, raising money for other women affected by breast cancer for the past 8 years.
Now in his 20s, Jacob finds himself serving in the Army on active duty. He’s currently stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. However, even though he’s not living in Greater Williamsburg at the moment, he’s never forgotten how fellow community members came together to show support for his mother during those years when he was a teenager. That’s why he decided last December to officially incorporate a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Kerri’s Fight, to provide financial support for other single mothers fighting breast cancer.
“Eight years later I decided to incorporate the nonprofit and become the president of it because, in retrospect, I see what an impact it had on me as a child of the woman to who the money went to,” said Jacob. “I experienced the impact firsthand of what our mission accomplishes, and I was able to witness it in my mother because it took a lot of burden off of her because she was out of work. It helped us be able to enjoy the parts of life that most of us take for granted.”
Kerri’s Fight is hosting its first-ever fundraising event as a 501(c)(3) called The 6th Annual Pay it Forward (Ride or Drive) Dice Run and Festival on Oct. 1.
Over the course of its previous five grass-roots/community events, hosted before incorporating a 501(c)(3), it successfully raised over $100,000 in donations that have helped to sponsor 24 families of single mothers who were in their own battles with breast cancer. This new event for Kerri’s Fight as a nonprofit will set the bar for future fundraising events that the organization plans on hosting.
“This is the icebreaker,” said Jacob. “What we hit this year will help set the goal for next year.”
The Pay it Forward Dice run is an 80-mile round trip drive that makes stops at various sites along the route. Registration opens at 9 a.m. on Oct. 1 at Jolene’s Bar & Grill on 3032 Richmond Road. The Dice run will then make visits at the following stops:
- 1st Stop: Lovell’s Place, 3184 King William Ave, West Point, VA 23181
- 2nd Stop: The Office Bar and Grille, 4115 George Washington Memorial Hwy, Hayes, VA 23072
- 3rd Stop: Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson, 6450 George Washington Memorial Hwy, Yorktown, VA 23692
- The final Stop: Cookout at Williamsburg Moose Lodge 757, 5429 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
At every stop, participants in the event will roll a pair of dice, and one of the volunteers for the event will record the score as they move to other stops along the route. At the end of the game, a winner will be announced and there are prizes that will be awarded, courtesy of local businesses that have sponsored the event.
After the drive, there is a cookout with food, raffles, games, and live music performed by the band Relix.
All of the proceeds from the event will go directly towards sponsoring women who are battling breast cancer.
“We have basically no venue costs, the band volunteered, and every single dollar goes towards the women. That’s the point and that’s the purpose,” said Jacob. “For us, it’s about creating memories between the children and the mother.”
For more information on the upcoming fundraising event and Kerri’s Fight, visit the organization’s official Facebook page.
The sponsors have already donated over $2,500 in gifts and prizes for gues to win at the Dice Run and all of the raffles.
Uncle Russ’ Dockside Seafood Market