Encouragement and a glimpse of hope is disseminated by a courageous senior, Gabriel Gonzalez, from TERRA Environmental Research Institute. Born in Miami, Latino descent Nicaraguan mother, Cuban father Gonzalez finds himself to be intricately involved in his community. Looking forward after graduation, he’s aiming to explore the study of architecture at Columbia University, as he aspires to become an engineer building theme parks.
However, Gonzalez’s involvement captures the willing-spirit to help others. He’s a member of the Miami Dade County Youth commission. Last summer, he became the Youth Commissioner of District 11 (West Kendall). It was an exciting moment for him. “I felt I would be more involved directly” stated Gonzalez about how he can impact the community as a youth commissioner. “I can finally vote on issues and concerns pertaining to the youth in my community.”
As youth commissioner, Gabriel Gonzalez has worked tirelessly to make a difference in finding resolutions to solve legal and social matters, though his compassion for cancer initiatives surpasses any personal goal. At the age of 10, he saw his grandmother fighting against breast cancer. “Personally, I didn’t think there was anything I could do” and he was in doubt how he could contribute to the cause of fighting cancer. A year later, Gonzalez signed up for Relay for Life at Herbert A. Ammons Middle School, and that’s when the threshold opened, commencing the battle against cancer.
Cancer devastates unfortunate victims that have been subjected to this malignant disease; a more potent grievance pertains to the parents when their child is diagnosed with cancer; the news petrifies and chills parents to the bone.
In support of fighting child cancer, September is nationally known as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Children Cancer Association, 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Gabriel was able to raise $14,000 with the Relays for Life and the “In Their Honor” foundation for the American Cancer Society. Later, Gabriel founded his own organization Heartening Parents and Children with Cancer (HPACC) in June of 2016 to help children battling cancer and to assist their parents. HPACC collected over 1,800 items and put together over 300 care packages for both the children and the parents. Specifically, HPACC made three deliveries to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Baptist Hospital’s Miami Cancer Institute. Packages varied from “children toys, books, and heartfelt messages by fellow student” to parent packages containing toiletries and puzzle books.
While other students find time for recreational activities, Gonzalez dedicates his leisure time to invest copious hours to alleviate pain from the children and parents battling cancer; at the age of 17, he is unconditionally devoted to the cause of children dealing with cancer.
Some may overlook what he has accomplished, but Gabriel’s heart speaks for itself; he lends a hand to make a difference in others’ lives. Can you lend a hand to help fight cancer as well? Join Gabriel Gonzalez and others as they continue to participate in Relay for Life, or donate to the cause. Gonzalez started a gofundme.com campaign with his warmhearted organization, Heartening Parents and Children with Cancer. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/H-P-A-C-C.
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