PRINCETON — Nine years after they lost the little boy who lit up their lives, Jonathan Powell’s family and foundation are still spreading hope for neighbors facing a childhood cancer diagnosis.

The ninth annual Jonathan’s Hope Golf Tournament tees off today at Fountain Springs Golf Course in Monroe County, with a goal of raising funds to help families fighting for their children’s lives.

“We’re on target to raise a record amount of money for us this year,” Melissa Powell, Jonathan’s mom and co-founder of the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation.

At 2, Jonathan was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and although Jonathan, Melissa and Tim Powell fought the disease with everything they had, Jon-Jon succumbed to cancer in at the age of 4. On their way home from the hospital, Tim and Melissa decided two things —  that they would always be a family and that they would start a foundation to benefit other families facing the same emotional, physical and financial burdens they had carried for more than two years.

With the help of family, friends, and a committed group of volunteers, they created the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation to give families just what it’s name entails — hope. Their mission is to help eradicate cancer, but more importantly, to make sure that financial woes don’t cost families peace of mind, homes or precious time with their loved ones while they’re fighting the disease that claimed their son.

While the families and the doctors fight the disease, the Hope Foundation aims to ensure that they don’t have to worry about Turnpike tolls, restaurant bills, Christmas gifts or other small items that can turn into big problems in the fight for a baby’s life.

This year’s golf tournament looks to be bigger and better than ever, as Melissa Powell thanked corporate sponsor Dr. Robert Edwards and T-shirt sponsor Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

“We’ve just got a full day planned. We’ve got two full flights, an a.m. and a p.m. flight, and we think it’s going to be a great day all around,” she said. “And, of course, all of our funding is allocated to our foundation and the families we help.”

The tournament course is full, but volunteers and visitors are always welcome to visit the competition.

For more information on Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation, visit www.jonathanshope.org.

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net.

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