12-year-old Tampa girl combines love for cheer and hatred for cancer to form fundraiser

Sydney Gad says she’s inspired by a girl her age she never met
(PR NewsChannel) / September 11, 2015 / TAMPA, Fla. 
Sydney Gad, 12-year-old cheerleader from Tampa competes with Stars Athletics

Sydney Gad, 12-year-old cheerleader from Tampa, competes with Stars Athletics

At just 12-years-old, Sydney Gad is on quite a mission. And it’s no small task. She wants to raise big money to fight pediatric brain cancer.

Her inspiration? A 10 year old girl she never met.

Gabriella would have been about Sydney’s age today had she not lost her brave battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a pernicious form of brain cancer, two years ago next month.

Gabriella is the daughter of her father’s friend.

From her parents talking, Sydney heard a lot about Gabriella and the things she was doing to raise both awareness and money to cure cancer so that no other child would endure her pain.

Before she died, Gabriella co-wrote a children’s book about pediatric brain cancer, talked to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight cancer. Her efforts were featured on NBC’s Today show.

All of it left an impression on Sydney.

“I think she was scared but you would never know it,” says Sydney, who is a petite enough of a cheerleader to be a flyer. “She cared more about other people than herself. She was small like me but so strong.”

Sydney took an active interest in Gabriella’s battle, asked her parents lots of questions and read Facebook posts from Gabriella’s family as she followed Gabriella’s story.

It would serve a huge purpose two years later, when Sydney was tasked with creating a project for her Bat Mitzvah.

As tradition has it, during the year of your coming of age in the Jewish religion, children are encouraged to do something that would give back to your community.

Sydney Gad was inspired by Gabriella Miller, pictured at age 9 (Courtesy: Miller family)

Sydney Gad was inspired by Gabriella Miller, pictured at age 9 (Courtesy: Miller family)

Sydney decided she was going to honor Gabriella–who would have been a Bat Mitzvah herself this year had she survived—by doing something to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood brain cancer as Gabriella might have.

Besides school, Sydney spends a lot her time in the cheer gym at Stars Athletics. What if she could combine cheer and raising money for cancer research?

She talked with her coach and through some discussions “Flip for a Cure” was born.

Sydney set out to find people to sponsor her. She created a Crowdwise page to raise money. She’s already up to $603.

She decided all the money would go to the Smashing Walnuts foundation, the nonprofit started by Gabriella, the friend she never met.

“I am blown away by Sydney. I think that she and Gabriella would have been great friends in how they reach out to others,” says Ellyn Miller, Gabriella’s mom. “It humbles me that Gabriella had such an effect on someone whom she didn’t know.”

But Sydney thought, what if this could be even bigger? Why did it need to stop with her, when if all of it could just start with her.

After all, she thought, anyone who can do a forward roll, cartwheel, summersault or handspring can help raise money for children with cancer. And just about everybody can do some type of flip, even if not so perfect.

In the spirit of the “ice bucket challenge,” on Oct. 18, 2015, Sydney will kick off “Flip for a Cure” at the Mid Florida Throwdown cheerleading competition at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

sydney gad flip for a cure

Gad created Flip for a Cure as a project in preparation for her Bat Mitzvah.

She’ll record a video, tag someone else, and post that video on Instagram and Facebook and challenge them to donate $18 to Smashing Walnuts.

In support of Sydney’s effort, Rick Shultz, owner of Stars Athletics, is making it possible for Sydney’s entire team to participate in “Flip for a Cure” where they will record their own videos and tag other friends, increasing the odds that “Flip for a Cure” will go viral.

“How many adults would do something like this yet we have a 12 year old girl doing all this,” says Miller, Gabriella’s mom. “This is Gabriella’s legacy. Sydney will help save lives.”

For Sydney, it’s about wanting to make a difference and having goals, even if they are really big.

“I just want to end cancer.”

For more information on FLIP FOR A CURE, please visit https://goo.gl/HWgE6U.

To contribute to Sydney’s Flip for a Cure, please visit https://goo.gl/AGLmHb.

For more on the Smashing Walnuts foundation: http://www.smashingwalnuts.org/

Direct link:  https://prnewschannel.com/2015/09/11/12-year-old-tampa-girl-combines-love-for-cheer-and-hatred-for-cancer-to-form-fundraiser/

SOURCE:  Selig Multimedia, Inc.

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