Tiffany Ellington, an 18- year-old cancer survivor, walked onto the stage at Howard Drive Elementary to accept a $25,000 check from the Dade County Sports Foundation (DCSF), a nonprofit scholarship fund associated with Jane Forman Sports.
The story began in 2007 when Ellington was a fifth-grader at Howard Drive. She had been chosen by DCSF as one of its annual recipients for a scholarship to attend Jane Forman’s Summer Tennis & Swim Camp. That same year, she was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and deadly form of cancer.
In response, the Foundation came together with Howard Drive’s staff and administration to raise funds for Tiffany and her family. The effort took the form of a walkathon to and from Coral Reef Park called Tip-Toe for Tiffany. All of the school’s 600 children participated with their families. Following the event, the Foundation and the school hosted a rally featuring Tiffany’s favorite singer Alejandra Alberti.
“I felt excited and a little surprised about how many people actually came out to support me, but most of all, grateful,” said Tiffany. “It felt nice knowing I wasn’t alone in all of it.”
Through both events, participants raised close to $30,000 in support of Tiffany. The donated funds were placed in an account to assist Tiffany’s family with excess expenses and eventually with her college education. After six months of chemotherapy, Tiffany beat her condition. Her family was cautioned by doctors that the condition may return years later. But today, she is cancer free.
Fast forward to 2015; Tiffany just graduated Palmetto Senior High School and plans to major in business at Florida Atlantic University. On June 3, Tiffany returned to Howard Drive and received what remained of the funds that had been raised in her honor. It was an emotional morning for Tiffany and her family as she walked onstage to accept the check. It was the same stage where she received her first scholarship so many years ago.
After what she has been through, as well as the support she received, Tiffany said her goal is to pay it forward.
“I don’t want to say I wasn’t a peopleperson before,” she said, “but this whole experience has caused me to be more genuine toward others. I want to do more with my life and make more of a difference.”
For more information about the Dade County Sports Foundation, call 305-235- 9200, or text to 305-775-4727 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.