Hundreds packed into the Charlie Grimes Agricultural Center at the Florida Strawberry Festival fairgrounds Saturday, July 30.
Over BBQ, raffles and live music, attendees gathered to show support for Brandon Farms strawberry grower Joe Gude. The father of three was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, tumors that affect the brain or spine.
The family’s farm had to be shut down for the year. To raise funds for the family, Dennis Carlton Jr., Kevin Pope, Mike Perry and Jimmy Aldridge organized a fundraiser dinner that sold about 1,200 tickets, not including those sold at the door. The family’s church, Free Will Baptist Church in Tampa, also helped organize the fundraiser.
“It’s amazing,” Joe Gude’s wife, Lindsey Pope Gude, said. “It’s great, way more than I expected. I have calls, texts and emails from people I don’t even know telling us they’re praying for us.”
Despite needing days of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Joe Gude was able to make it to the fundraiser.
He addressed the throng of supporters at the event.
“I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Joe Gude said. “Thank you so, so much. I pray the Lord will heal me so I can take care of my babies. I just want to say thank you. Thank you all.”
Contact Emily Topper at firstname.lastname@example.org.