TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Tampa teen who battled severe illness as a child now wants to give back to other kids.
Jake Taraska was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was just a toddler. The disease affected his central nervous system.
"I was told that I would never be able to walk and talk again," Jake recalled. "I was told that I would only have a few years to live."
Today, Jake 18 and cancer free. Not only is he walking, but playing baseball at Inspiration Academy High School.
"It has gotten a lot better over the years and every single day is a process of practicing my balance, practicing just overcoming the side effects. I had to overcome as a child," Jake added.
Now Jake wants to give back and impact other kids who are diagnosed with cancer. He started the Jake Taraska Foundation, raising money for research, cures and gifts.
"I felt like, through my cancer and through my struggles, that the least that I can do is to give back to those kids that are going through what I went through," Jake explained.
Jake has already raised more than $15,000 this year. His aim is $100,000 by the end of the year.
"These kids need help, and I felt like nobody else was standing up for these kids, so I felt it was my job and my purpose to stand up for these kids," Jake said.
For more information about the Jake Taraska Foundation, visit www.jaketaraska.com.