The Jay’s HOPE logo features a smiling fish named Bubbles. Behind that simple image is the story of a little boy, HOPE, and—yes—fishing. Jay’s HOPE Founder Cindy Gaskins shares how her son Jay’s love of fishing inspired her family to honor his life by helping others facing childhood cancer.
“Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” –Mark 1:17
My Jay was an avid fisherman. He absolutely loved to fish and always had the best of luck. The ongoing joke at our house was that Jay could catch a fish in a mud puddle. He just had a knack for it. One of my favorite fish stories happened when we were attending family weekend at Camp Sunshine. Four-year-old Jay was fishing in the pond, and he declared to everyone that he was going to catch a bass! A few of the counselors tried to tell Jay he would probably only catch a brim or two, since no one had ever caught a bass there before. Bound and determined, my little fisherman waddled his way to the edge of the dock and threw in his line, and on the very first cast he pulled in one of the biggest bass I had ever seen! That was the last time any of us underestimated Jay’s gift of fishing.
The Thanksgiving before Jay died, God used Jay’s gift to speak to me. We were visiting family in Savannah and managed to squeeze in some time for fishing. Jay had been battling cancer for two years, and we were all weary. The harsh treatments, multiple surgeries, daily doctor’s appointments, tests, scans, and living far from home were taking a huge toll on us. As I watched my battle-worn child fishing, I had an honest conversation with God. I begged, pleaded, and even did some bargaining, but my number one question was, “What the heck are you doing?” Immediately, God spoke to my heart. He used Mark 1:17 to show me exactly what He was doing: “You see that little boy right there? I am using him to make all of you fishers of men. One day, your family’s story will be like a net, lifting people out of the dark waters and into the light.”
Ten years later, God continues to use my baldheaded little fisher-boy through the ministries of Jay’s HOPE. On a daily basis, I have the honor to share Jay’s story and to be a face of experience to families just like mine. In the dark world of childhood cancer, we are casting our nets, giving HOPE, and following the Light. That’s why we’ve decided to start Bubbles’ Blog this September as a way to highlight our kiddos and the impact YOU are making in their lives.
Every time you see Bubbles on our logo, I hope you’ll remember what it means and be inspired to help us share HOPE with others. Will you join us?
“Now, watch for what comes next: I’m going to assemble a bunch of fishermen. They’ll go fishing for my people.” –Jeremiah 16:16