For the third straight year, 10-year-old Francesca Friedel of Bradenton raised thousands of dollars for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Friedel raised $7,491 at her March 24 fundraising event at Wild Oak Bay in Bradenton, easily topping last year's total of $5,559 thanks to help from family, including grandfather George Friedel, and a host of local sponsors who supplied door prizes and food. Professional sports teams from around the nation, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, provided jerseys and other items for a silent auction.
Friedel's fundraising efforts even got the attention of Gov. Rick Scott, who sent a letter to Francesca.
"As Governor of Florida, I applaud your hard work to help children dealing with illness and health issues," Scott stated in the letter. "Your commitment to involving your community in supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is to be commended. I encourage you to continue setting goals, working hard, and being involved in your community."
In just two years, Francesca's fundraising total has more than doubled from about $3,200 in 2016 to almost $7,500 this year. And the family expects to do even better in 2019.