Hero Sarah Locke

This is our latest Hero, as she is one of the 2018 Herbies Heroes Scholarship winners and her winning essay is below.

Sarah Locke

Sarah Locke

In my 18 years of life, cancer has always been a large part of it. It has always been the forefront of my mind and my families lives, whether it be a benign or a malignant cancer it has affected almost everyone in my family. Through the struggles my family has had with cancer, we have managed to come out time and time again stronger and better than before. Cancer has led my passion for becoming part of the medical field and helping those in late stages of cancer and those affected with skin cancer by becoming a CNA, then a nurse, and finally a dermatologist.

My first instance of cancer was before I was born, my grandfather, Rulan “Rudy” Ratzlaff passed away due to lung cancer in 1991, this led me to want to know more about what took my grandfather away and how we have developed treatments since then to fight cancer. My second instance was my Great Aunt Jo, who died of ovarian cancer 8 years ago. This was the first person I had known that was a personal loss. This loss spurred on my need to know how I could help in fighting cancer by researching careers in the medical field in Junior High School.

Through these early losses my family unfortunately wasn’t able to escape cancer. My Uncle Guy Ratzlaff was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and needed a bone marrow donation. Even at a young age I still asked my mother if I was able to donate to him because I wanted to find some way to help my family. Right before I entered high school, my cousin Brad Ratzlaff was diagnosed with a deadly bone marrow cancer in his knee right before his high school graduation. Even after multiple surgeries and chemo treatments, he walked across the stage and got his diploma with the support and cheers of friends, classmates, and family. My cousin’s cancer made me realize how quickly and how merciless cancer can be to anyone; this instance drove me to pursue a career in the medical field by joining the Raiders Health Academy.

In my senior year I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Nursing Assistant program to eventually gain my CNA license prior to graduating high school. Throughout that experience, I was able to work alongside medical professionals in a rehabilitation and hospital setting and gain first hand experience working in the medical field. Unfortunately in April, right before I was due to take my CNA exam, my Uncle Scott Ratzlaff was rushed to the ICU due to ongoing complications and cancer that had spread throughout his body, he passed peacefully on April 22, 2018 at 1:15 pm right before I took my test. I didn’t know it at the time but after my test when I got the news, I knew that he was with me during my test and gave me the strength I needed to pass. Since my family’s loss I have decided to dedicate my future in the medical field to him and do my best to make him proud even though he cannot be here with me.

In summary, throughout my years in the medical academy I have been able to learn so much and determine my career in the medical field. I wish to pursue a career in dermatology, so I can help those with skin cancers and any other skin conditions get better and feel better about themselves. Cancer has played a large role in my life and I believe it will continue to do so, not exactly in the most positive aspects but will drive me to do all I can to help those suffering from cancer.

Hero Madison Gayheart

This is our latest Hero, as she is one of the 2018 Herbies Heroes Scholarship winners and her winning essay is below.

Madison Gayheart

Madison Gayheart

Cancer, the disease caused by uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in one or more areas of the body. Cancer is not only physically painful for the person experiencing the cancer themselves, but definitely for the family and friends who feel hopeless and the dealing with heartache of watching a loved one suffer. I know from experience because I have been a family member, watching my grandmother get worse and worse each and everyday.

Five years ago I found out my grandmother had lung cancer. At the time I really did not understand what it actually meant for someone I love to have cancer. It started with seeing marking all over her for radiation. They gave her about a year and a half to live so we made a list together of all the things we wanted to do before she died. Soon after we made the list she found out her cancer had spread to her throat. I would go to her house on the weekends and I remember every weekend she got weaker and more sick and the more she did not look like my grandma. I remember her as a very happy person who liked to ride horses and go shopping and fishing. So for me to see her in a state where she could not get out of bed was really hard for me as a kid to see her go through so much pain that it literally changed her.

That same year I moved to Hawaii and shortly after we moved to Orange Park, Florida. I felt so guilty for not being there with my grandma through her cancer. Soon after I moved, she found out she had brain tumors. My grandmother raised me; she was my role model, my go to, my everything and to lose your best friend to disease that causes long and painful death really changes you. On May 5th, 2015 I lost my everything. She passed away at 11:30 am. This was one of the hardest days of my life and it has been a rocky road ever since. I have not had the easiest life since she has been gone. But I was raised well by her and I attempt to honor her in all my life decisions. The impact of cancer in my life has influenced me in making my career choice.

As a senior in high school, my plan is to become a nurse. An oncology nurse to be exact. I plan on helping the individual who has cancer live the most comfortable they can while they have time, and help their families prepare for what is to come. I presently work at part time job at Panera Bread to save money for college. The $500 dollar scholarship would be a tremendous help and would be going toward my my tuition to be Registered Nurse.

Hero Kilie Anderson

This is our latest Hero, as she is the 2017 Herbies Heroes Scholarship winner and her winning essay is below.

Kilie Anderson

Kilie Anderson

Cancer kills. Not only does it physically inflict pain upon our loved ones, in the end, it mentally affects us all. I was only 12 when my grandmother passed away from her third diagnosis of cancer. It changed the lives of everyone around me, including myself.

When I was a young child, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in her kidney. My family searched to find a specialist to work with her, and by the time they did, they discovered that the cancer had spread to her other kidney. After her surgeries were over and the cancer was “cleansed” from her body, she only had ½ of a kidney left. From that day forward, she fought to live everyday like it was her last. She was always bright, and would spread her happiness as far as she could. She dedicated her life to helping others and being there for her family while she still could. When I started the third grade I began transitioning back and forth from my house to my grandparents because my parents worked and meanwhile we would spend hours playing games, doing homework, and watching classics on tv. I would sleep in the room my mother grew up in. My mother was an only child and her mother was her greatest influence and best friend throughout her life-time as well. I stayed so often that she would take me to and from school all the time. My 6th grade year, my world flipped upside down when she got diagnosed with brain cancer. Family and friends were as supportive as they could be but there is nothing like watching such a disease eat at someone’s soul, their happiness and ambitions. Watching the life leave my grandmother’s body was awful to witness and feel. It was the most devastating thing I had to experience at that point in life myself.

The same year held the day that she fought until her last minute and struggled for her last breath. The day she moved onto heaven was the day my childhood best friend died. I had just seen her the night before and my heart felt as if i should have never left that room. I had never experienced death before that point with such close relation, and it tore at my heart for years. My mother was so devastated because she had such little family left and my grandmother was one of the greatest women we knew. She taught each of us to read, do math, play card games, make arts and crafts, clean, have manners, to help others and to always be respectful. One major characteristic that she swayed was the passion for art.

To this day, her life impression has never left me. I dedicate myself to school and becoming better because of that beautiful woman. I live my life as if she were here to see what I do and to make her proud. In my last year in high school I stepped up for a vice presidential roll of my National Honors society and dedicated more than 100 hours to community service around the school. I am within the top 5% of my senior class and work every day to accomplish this. My hobby now is to express others and myself through drawings, paintings and sculptures. Without her shaping this love for such a subject and love for others, I would never be interested in obtaining my masters in Art therapy. She guided me into loving working hard and helping others along the way. My grandmother was one of the first influences in my life. She taught me to be dedicated to your work and love what you do as you do it.  Cancer will never define who my grandmother was, and she will always be remembered for being the helpful and loving human being she was.

Hero Robert Williams

This is our latest Hero, as he is the 2016 Herbies Heroes Scholarship winner and his winning essay is below.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

During my sophomore year at Orange Park High School I was already planning my future. Thinking ahead to college, planning to become a medical doctor, and even future car and house goals were all occurring in my head. However, on a rainy November 27th, 2013 my family and I were called into the doctor’s office. Results from a just taken biopsy were in. The results were supposed to take a week or two to come-in; we got that call three days after the biopsy. The nurse and physician’s assistant walked into the room and stated, “We are waiting on the doctor.” That is when I knew this situation was real. The moment the doctor stepped in he said, “I’m very sorry, but your child has cancer.”

From that point on we all lived in a daze. I began treatment, which included a radiation treatment before my first surgery, and then I had four more surgeries after the initial one. Cancer destroyed my body but I am still here! However, it is not easy. Normal life abilities, school, and overall fun times have been affected. Cancer took from me body parts and has left me hurting. Cancer has affected how I now comprehend school work. Due to cancer I am extra cautious at living my life. I am scared to live my life because of what did, and what could now happen. What cancer cannot do though is cripple the goals that I see myself achieving in the near distant future!!

A cancer patient can develop after treatment side effects from the treatment that saved their very life. I don’t take tests the same nor can I concentrate as hard as I used to on assignments. With this being said I find ways to improve how I have to learn. Cancer patients deserve to be treated as any other person and should not be frowned upon when they mess something up. We are in pain, regret, and depression on a normal basis.
My dream is to become a Pediatric Gastroenterologist to hopefully help prevent the development of children’s esophageal, stomach, colon, and rectal cancers. I want to work for the Central Intelligence Agency, The President of the United States, and at the hospital that saved my life. In some ways a cancer patients goals are more developed than others in that we have seen our lives flash before our eyes and yet we are still here to fight. A patient like myself is now empowered to change the lives of others because of what I have been through. I want to do my doctoral thesis on the affect cancer has on the appendix and research all of the possible ways appendicitis could occur while undergoing treatment as I and a friend went through this experience while both undergoing cancer treatment protocols.

In conclusion, I just want to state that, Yes cancer is hard on anyone whether a child, adult, or those who know the patient but experiencing this trauma in high school while being so involved is what I truly believe kept me living. Any opportunity that I could receive would be more than what I imagined. I would be honored to be the recipient of the Herbie’s Heroes scholarship of 2016. I am delighted that my future career is only an education opportunity away; I just hope I get the chance to start my higher education goals without the burden of higher education costs.

Hero Anonymous

Anonymous Hero

Anonymous Hero

I have been asked to make this particular Hero anonymous, so I must grant this person her wish. This Woman is a close friend of Charlene and has suffered personally from this dreadful disease, but with a great attitude, and unbending faith, she has persevered and continues to fight to this day. Even through her own battles, she was there for Herb & Charlene for any support she could give, and I want her to know it did not go unnoticed. As with many of our Heroes, the moment she was informed of the founding of the Herbies Heroes Foundation honoring my father, Herb Ellerbe, she immediately wanted to help spread the word, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease by making a wonderful donation, in fact, she was the very 1st person that made a donation and this will always be remembered. Please join me in thanking our Herbies Hero, as she will know this is for her.

Hero Kelly Elliot

Kelly Elliott

Kelly Elliott

Kelly Elliott was born in May 1965 and is originally from Pensacola Florida. She now resides in the Fleming Island area and is married to Tim Elliott and has 2 sons: Andrew and Jacob Elliott.  Tim is a Captain at Southwest Airlines and her sons both attend Saint John’s River State College for Computer Engineering. Kelly went to FSCJ and attended the Nursing program but never finished due to her first husband’s tragic and untimely death. Kelly only recently came in to the lives of the Ellerbe Family through a wonderful grief share class at Hibernia Baptist Church in Fleming Island, Fl.  While she was dealing with her own loss from years ago, she obviously saw the pain and suffering that Charlene was going through, and not only opened her arms, but also opened her heart in order to help Charlene get through this very difficult time, and continues to this day to be a strong support system for Charlene and many others in this wonderful program. Once Kelly was informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring Herb, she immediately wanted to help spread the word to help others become more educated about potential causes and treatments, as well as donate to the cause of finding a cure for this disease. Please join me in congratulating and thanking Kelly Elliott for her continued loyalty and support for our cause and others, and being our Herbies Hero.

Hero Perry Boyett

Perry Boyett

Perry Boyett

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Perry Boyett on being our Herbies Hero. Born and raised in Florida, Perry and Mark became fast friends while attending Orange Park High School together, where they both enjoyed playing on the Varsity Football team, as well as took part in the theatre program including different productions. Perry earned a Marketing and Finance degree from the University of North Florida College of Business Administration and became a Manufacturing Software Salesman and Consultant. He has been with Alphacam running the sales department for the last 12 years. Perry has 4 children and has been married to Shelly Boyett, in which they just recently celebrated their 20 year anniversary. Perry and Mark moved to different parts of the country after school, but thanks to Facebook, reconnected and have enjoyed flying around the U.S. to different venues for Texas Holdem poker tournaments where they both share a love for the game. Perry was one of the few people to visit Herb while he was undergoing his treatment at MD Anderson in Texas and suffice it to say, he saw firsthand the toll the treatment was taking on him, but he also got to witness the determination and will to get better Herb showed. The moment Perry was informed of the founding of the Herbies Heroes Foundation honoring my father, Herb Ellerbe, he immediately wanted to help spread the word through his many connections on Facebook and LinkedIn, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. He, just like the last 2 month’s Heroes,  John and Caroline Bateman Sudhoff and David Baker, bought a % of Mark playing in a Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker in which he also ended up profiting in the endeavor, and donated right back to Herbies Heroes in order to continue supporting the cause to raise money for not only the Herbies Heroes Scholarship given to a graduating Senior from our alma mater Orange Park High School, but also other deserving recipient individuals and organizations. Please join me in thanking him, and congratulating Mr. Perry Boyett, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.

Hero David Baker

David Baker

David Baker

Please join me in congratulating Mr. David Baker on being our Herbies Hero. Born in Connecticut, David Baker earned a finance degree and became a business salesman. David “ODB” Baker is now a full time American professional poker player living in Katy, Texas, which is where I met him in 2004 at a card room where we immediately struck up a friendship. David has appeared at five World Series of Poker (WSOP) final tables, and currently has over $2 million in tournament winnings. David is an Auburn University alumnus, where he had been introduced to poker. By the mid-1990s he was playing pot limit Omaha at casinos in New Orleans and eventually began playing three times a week at underground casinos in Houston. He became a full-time professional poker player in 2004. While David never had the pleasure or opportunity to meet Herb, he knew through updates from Mark, what was going on with him and his Cancer diagnosis and treatments.  The moment David was informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring my father Herb Ellerbe, he immediately wanted to help spread the word through his many followers on twitter (https://twitter.com/audavidb), and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. He, just like last month’s Heroes,  John and Caroline, bought a % of Mark playing in a Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker in which he also ended up profiting in the endeavor, and donated right back to Herbies Heroes in order to continue supporting the annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship given to a graduating Senior from our alma mater Orange Park High School as well as other recipients. Please join me in thanking him, and congratulating Mr. David Baker, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.

Hero John & Caroline Bateman-Sudhoff

John & Caroline Bateman-Sudhoff

John & Caroline Bateman-Sudhoff

Please join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. John & Caroline Bateman-Sudhoff on being our Herbies Heroes. Caroline has been part of the Ellerbe family since around 1982 when she and Mark met in High School. Her genuine love for people and family was something to be envious of if you didn’t share the same qualities. Her friendship with Mark led in to not only a lifelong friendship with him, but the entire Ellerbe family. There were many outings for pizza and movies with Caroline throughout High School that left quite an impression on us as a family. Although she and Mark had not been in contact with each other since graduating, the bond that developed has lasted the test of time. Thankfully Facebook came around and it was no time before the two reconnected. Unfortunately the situation was so that Herb Ellerbe was in the midst of Cancer treatment and not doing well at all. The moment Caroline and her hysterically humorous husband John (aka my adopted brother) were informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring my father Herb Ellerbe, they immediately wanted to help spread the word, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. An opportunity recently came about where John and Caroline bought a % of Mark playing in a Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker in which she ended up profiting in the endeavor, and to no ones surprise, she of course donated the entire amount right back to Herbies Heroes in order to continue supporting the annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship given to a graduating Senior from our alma mater Orange Park High School as well as other recipients. Please join me in thanking them and congratulating John and Caroline Bateman-Sudoff, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.

Hero Brittani Goddard

Brittani Goddard

Brittani Goddard

Brittani Goddard is our Hero, and the winner of the 2nd Annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship in the amount of $1000.

Seniors of Orange Park High School (where Herb resided and both of his boys graduated from) were once again asked to write a 1 page essay on how Cancer has affected them, whether it was a friend or family member that was inflicted with this disease, and what they felt they could do individually to help in the search for a cure. Several of the 2015 graduating Seniors responded to our request, and It means a great deal to our Family that they would take the time to share their personal experience, and we especially appreciate that they are so passionate about making a difference in the search for a cure.

Brittani’s winning essay:

“Cancer can be a difficult obstacle to overcome in a family. All the way from Medical bills that have to be paid, keeping that family members spirit alive, and mostly coping with life day by day.

My father who is the age of 55 was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and leukemia. We are just beginning this journey and my Dad is going to MD Anderson to begin his treatments. Our main problems are medical bills, traveling expenses to MD Anderson and it being my senior year of High school. Now I have to find a way to help my family pay for my College. This really dropped a weight on my mom’s shoulders and brought our family to a realization of how serious his condition was.

I helped my mom steadily through all the bills and we are still at this time getting his treatments done for his type of cancer. My dad is a strong and steadfast man who can pull through any type of battle, but this battle has been the worst yet.

Another battle we faced as a family was keeping my dad with a positive attitude. Having a family member as close as a father having Cancer is a hard thing to deal with. It changed my life dramatically and made me realize how important the life God gives us is. Day in and day out I would keep a positive outlook on life so it would take my father’s mind off of the cancer and how the treatments would make him feel. My mom sit’s by his side through up to ten hours of one treatment. As a family it made us stronger and grow a better bond with one another.

Along with a strong bond, we also take life day by day. My father who has had family members of his own pass away from cancer was slowly starting to see what it does to a human being. He always had to remind himself that God does have a plan for him and that taking life as it comes is his best bet. My dad to me resembles a warrior and that’s what make me push him to be better and achieve what still needs to be done in life. I wanted to let him know that his days of living are not measured by what a doctor says but by when God wants you to finally come home and rest. Until then he stays on his feet and not once gave up, and that is what changed me today. I want to go to College and make my Dad proud and study Physical therapy and the affect it has on cancer patients.

All in all cancer is a dangerous battle to fight with, but aside from medical bills and all the things that come with it, hope is your best chance.
This is what my dad has throughout this long drawn out process. He has hope and believes God will always have a plan set out for him. This is why my father having cancer has changed the way I live so much.”