Through difficult times, the Sebastian Strong Foundation has found a way to turn the saddening death of a young man, into hope for a fight for a cure.
“Sebastian’s fight against cancer inspired me to start this foundation so that we could help others dealing with cancer fight their battles.”
Sebastian Ortiz was a high school student at Christopher Columbus High School when he and his family learned that Sebastian had pediatric cancer. After two years of fighting the disease, Sebastian passed away. This motivated his father, Oscar Ortiz, to begin the Sebastian Strong Foundation. The foundation is dedicated towards raising funding for pediatric cancer research. A disease which he says is dramatically underfunded by the federal government.
To raise funds, Oscar decided to hold the Sebastian Strong Foundation First Annual 5k event. The event was extremely successful, as more supporters showed up than expected. However, the event was not only a race, but also hosted a live band and multiple food trucks. The event drew a variety of supporters from concerned parents to Sebastian’s friends and even groups such as the Columbus Cross Country team participated in the event.
The Sebastian Strong Foundation holds a special value to the cross country team as Sebastian was once apart of the team. Cross country coach Eric Pino, who coached and mentored Sebastian, was ecstatic to see the amount of people who came to support the foundation and help fight pediatric cancer. “The support we’ve received has been incredible and we’re all fighting for that cure, that’s what this event is all about,” said Pino.
The foundation also partnered in a gala fundraiser event with Sofia’s hope that night, another pediatric cancer foundation fighting for a cure.
The Sebastian Strong Foundation is expected to host a similar event next year following this one’s successes. The foundation also hopes to host other events to promote awareness and receive funding to help defeat pediatric cancer.
Although there may be a long road ahead, the Sebastian Strong Foundation is willing to face any obstacle to find a cure.