Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A 15-Year Old's Mission to End Cancer, One Autograph at a Time

Ten-year old Rudy Ramirez was a vibrant, friendly boy.  Brain cancer couldn't stop that.

Ramirez made fast friends with Houston native Jake Faust at a retreat for young cancer patients from Houston's Texas Children's Hospital at his grandparents' ranch, Squirrel Creek.

"He was really talkative, just like me," 15-year old Jake recalls. "I made a connection with him and stayed in touch.  He ended up dying this summer.  It just made me realize how fragile life is."

The Faust family has hosted week-long retreats for cancer patients for about 20 years.  Jake has seen firsthand what a devastating disease cancer is and in 2010 he decided to do what he could to end it.

Jake & Anahi Delacruz at Squirrel Creek Ranch Retreat
Jake started Autographs for Cancer, a non-profit organization that collects and sells autographed memorabilia online.  All of the profits help fund cancer research at Texas Children's Hospital.

"I was collecting autographs and I thought that just one autograph from an athlete or celebrity could turn into 300, 400 dollars to help (end) childhood cancer," Jake said.

Jake is a one-man autograph army, using a combination of boyhood charm and dogged persistence to get signatures. 
Jake and Colt McCoy
"I've been trying to step up my drive at Astros games and at Texans practices," says Jake. 

He was lucky enough to attend a Yankees game against the Rays this past August in the Bronx and made an impression on Tampa Bay outfielder Sam Fuld.  The leftfielder recruited his teammates to sign a bat for Jake.  Fuld then helped spread the teenager's message, tweeting @SamFuld5
"  Jake Faust is raising $ for cancer by auctioning off memorabilia.  Had the pleasure of meeting him at Yankee Stadium." 

This young Texans and UT fan doesn't discriminate when it comes to getting autographs to sell on his site.  His current inventory of autographed gear includes a jersey from Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, an autographed bat from Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, a signed ball from Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and an autographed football from Alabama coach Nick Saban.

"I just want to help these kids," Jake says.  "Over a thousand kids in Texas each year are diagnosed with cancer.  I'd like to know that just from my charity alone, even if just 10 kids are saved, that would mean the world to me." 

Nelson Cruz Baseball
"These kids are just trying to live their lives and they get diagnosed with this horrible disease.  Everything, from their family life to their school, everything changes because they just got diagnosed with cancer, which they can't help," he adds.

But Jake is trying to help so that he doesn't lose another friend, like Rudy Ramirez.

You can learn more about Autographs for Cancer and purchase memorabilia by going to Jake's website or Facebook.  You can also follow him on Twitter @JakeFaust.
Be First to Post Comment !
Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.