As featured as a 2018 CNN HERO (add links LK), the cover story on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, twice featured on the TODAY SHOW; Treating the families; not the cancer® and TODAY SHOW celebrates JAJF’s first 10 years, on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and by Sanjay Gupta twice: Sanjay Gupta prescribes JAJF and Sanjay Gupta interviews Jon Albert…a true holiday gift,
JAJF, a national 501(c)(3), treats children facing the imminent loss of their young Mom or Dad to cancer to WOW! Experiences®…a timeout together as a family away from their late stage cancer to fabulous destinations to create positive, cherished, lasting (indispensable) memories…while they can. Oncologists prescribe JAJF as part of the treatment protocol for the patient, the spouse and their children…the family together which is extraordinary. Oncologists have validated the medicinal impact JAJF is having in the immediate term and now longer term for these families especially the children who are losing their heroes and security blankets at such a vulnerable time. Oncologist believe in the power of beaches, sunsets, sports, music and roller coasters and FUN as a family. JAJF has provided WOW! Experiences® to thousands of children and their Moms and Dads across the United States since 2006.
JAJF supporters (aka Investors and Benefactors) appreciate: Cancer does not just strike the Mom or Dad; it strikes their children as well. These children are at risk also. These children and families together deserve a timeout to experience–to feel–to capture positive, fun time together and lasting memories… while they can.
Our supporters also agree: and
As a unique organization serving an overlooked population, there is a need to keep fighting the fight; there is also a need to keep fighting for treasured family time for these young parents who just won’t be saved by the next wonder drug, trial or hope for a cure. JAJF is supported by individual financial donors and corporate in-kind partners who make WOW! Experiences® possible. To fund your own young, late stage family or to become a member of the WOW! Society, please go to JAJF.org. These videos and JAJF’s stellar audit results year after year (on the website) are the best ways to peel back the layers and conduct due diligence on JAJF. The praise we are most proud of is when people repeatedly say how measurable (and meaningful) the impact is. “There is no black hole.”
The broader educational message: It should not take a terminal diagnosis for us all to slow down and celebrate family. We are educating and reinforcing to children and adults alike the importance of family time and the long-term value and “greatest gift” of family memories.
Here are just a few highlights, notes and tangible reasons to invest in JAJF:
- The creation of JAJF
- The mission and purpose of JAJF
- JAJF First Family 2006
- The best way to reflect on JAJF since our founding in 2006 is to visit The Appreciation Archives. Please listen to a few brief uplifting, aspirational voice messages from the families who embody the theme, soul and importance of JAJF. Scan the multitude of poignant and powerful letters and notes from these young parents and their children since our launch. This underscores why Oncologists prescribe JAJF as part of the treatment protocol (this is powerful – and real—see a few examples from the full archives below in the appendix).
- See the JAJFFamily Photo Galleryand enjoy a few of the thousands of sweet family photos. There is no cancer in these images. Smile as you see the smiles and happy moments each JAJF family enjoyed on their WOW! Experience. It is sweet, yet bittersweet when you realize the Moms and Dads are gone. The children, however, will always have the cherished positive memories. The smiles say it all. (please see a few pictures in the appendix below…just some of the miles of smiles the past ten years)
- For oncologists across the United States to prescribe JAJF as part of the treatment protocol is extraordinary. For Oncologists to validate the medicinal impact JAJF is having on these young late stage Dads and Moms and their children…on the family together is remarkable.
- The most often way JAJF is praised: THERE IS NO BLACK HOLE. We know where our financial support goes. We see it, hear it, feel it and experience the measurable, meaningful impact.
- Very special thanks to Mike Leven and Bernie Marcus (real dolFANS of JAJF—sorry!). JAJF’s first family enjoyed their WOW! Experience® at the fabulous Georgia Aquarium. Talk about the best part of memories is making them. The Georgia Aquarium has hosted many families over the years and continues to do so. The third brief video above will also touch your heart. It is where it all started. Mike, Bernie, Billi and the team: you are wonderful and we are so very grateful for your continued support.
- A few years ago, we introduced an Annual Report. It is unlike any other report you’ve perused. It’s nickname: The SMILE BOOK. It showcases the smiles and sheer gratitude, joy and relief of just twelve of all our families (your families) we treated that calendar year. It is simple, a quick flip, yet most powerful. Our supporters love it each year and it clearly is the best way to say THANK YOU.
- Every member of the WOW! SOCIETY receives their own Annual Report/Smile Book as does everyone who sponsors a full WOW! Experience.
- When you hear the families reflect on the sadness they face yet also reveal the profound and important impact JAJF has on the patient, the care giving spouse and the children (the family together)—when you see the pictures, smiles, relief, the joyof families living in the moment, we all take pride in knowing we’re doing the right thing.
- We look forward to you having a “library” of your own JAJF annual reports (“Smile Books”) through the years reflecting on the measurable and meaningful impact you and our other Benefactors are having. As you’ve already heard us say, and no doubt will hear again, the best way to truly say thank you is by sharing the smiles…and the sheer gratitude, joy and relief of these sweet families…your families. Since 2006, family after sweet, young family it can’t be more tangible….and rewarding personally. THE SMILES SAY IT ALL!
- Jon was invited recently to speak at another cancer symposium. This statement from a fellow presenter Ronald DePinho, then President of MD Anderson Cancer Center (one of the members of our Coalition who prescribes families to JAJF) clearly echoes what you would hear from any cancer center, and summarizes the important need for JAJF:
- “Cancer will claim 100 million lives in the next decade.” “Every family will be touched by cancer” He goes on to say “we can’t let cancer (this war) continue to rob us of our loved ones.”
- Or, as we at JAJF add, we can’t continue to have children face the imminent loss of their young Moms and Dads.
- The national oncology community is in agreement sadly with this sobering reality underscoring the important national need for JAJF.
- JAJF receives their families strictly from Oncologists’ prescriptions. A unique coalition comprised of the leading oncology hospitals in the nation including Moffitt, Florida Cancer Specialists, Emory, Vanderbilt, City of Hope, UCLA, Cedars Sinai, Sloane Kettering, Yale Cancer Center, MD Anderson, Univ. of Chicago, Walter Reed, Duke, Dana Farber Johns Hopkins, Arizona Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic and Mayo. Please see the full list of Oncology Partners under the Oncologists’ tab.
- Oncologists validate the medicinal impact JAJF is having immediately and now longer term for these families especially the children.
- Oncologists understand cancer does not just strike the Mom or Dad; it strikes their children as well. The children are at risk also. These children and families together deserve a timeout to experience–to feel–to capture positive, fun time together and lasting memories…while they can. Life does not end with a diagnosis.
- My TED TALK I was invited to give last Spring in NYC on the fact Oncologists prescribe JAJF as part of treatment protocol addressed thebroader educational message: It should not take a terminal diagnosis for us all toslow down and celebrate family! We are educating and reinforcing to children and adults alike the importance of family time and the long term value and “greatest gift” of family memories.
- And, the other day we received yet another sweet note from one of our young, late stage families. The 34 year old (late stage colon cancer) Dad of two little boys wrote: “JAJF isdoing what no doctor or drug will ever be able to do”.
- At our 2017 national Board meeting, we established a JAJF mandate to sustain…to make sure we are here in another thirteen years and beyond for those families who will not be saved by the next wonder drug, clinical trial or hope for a cure and will also leave behind their children…to sustain the importance of: Treating the families; not the cancer®
- The week after our Board mtg. I was in DC with the Executives at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). As the folks at the NCI stressed and praised: “JAJF must continue to fill these prescriptions as part of treatment protocol.”
- Cancer is the great equalizer. The reality is cancer indiscriminately strikes entertainers, actors, All-Stars, Senators, CEO’s and average Joes. Family time together is also a universal common denominator.
- JAJF will continue to treat the families as well as the cancer… all across the United States.
- Adopt (sponsor) and fully fund your own JAJF family for $1500. Historically, the average cost out of pocket to JAJF to treat a family of say 5 or 6 to a full WOW! Experience is just under $1500. We fully leverage our in-kind support and cover everything from driveway to driveway.
- Make a donation to support JAJFin honor or memory of someone and we will notify the recipient of the donation on your behalf.
The GIFT OF TIME:
Many this year are asking their family and friends to help a late stage family spend time together…in lieu of a few extra gifts. Please consider sending a brief holiday note asking to give the gift of time and cherished memories to children who are facing the imminent loss of their Mom or Dad. Adopt your own JAJF family or join together as a family consortium to become a Founding member of the WOW! Society.
As you share JAJF with others, please share these videos that give you a peek inside our work every day:
TODAY SHOW features JAJF Treating the families; not the cancer®
JAJF tribute: Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
Eric Church Lifting Lives in Aspen Jerry Sergent was a single young (military) Dad diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastic sarcoma (late stage brain cancer). His sons: Mason-16 & Tanner-12. Sadly, as with our families, Jerry passed away. Mason and Tanner will always have this time together with Dad.
JAJF Retrospective (a look at JAJF’s first thirteen years of WOW!)
A couple examples from the Appreciation Archives and the Family Photo Gallery. It would take you four hours or more to go through the entire Archives and Gallery:
I just spoke w/ another family from Louisiana we recently treated to their WOW!; their timeout from their woes. Mom, late stage breast cancer, her young husband and their two adorable children 11 and 3 Gus and Helen. As they prepare for their final Christmas together, she told me her 11 year old wondered “if Heaven would be as pretty as the clouds they were flying through and as fun as Disney was”. As Susan and Gary thanked me, he acknowledged and confirmed JAJF’s purpose: “The best part of memories is making them”. Susan replied: “And, memories do become our greatest inheritance.”
Bittersweet, yet very, very sweet
We received the memory book today, and considering how my sister, Gabriela has deteriorated, I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful we were to have these precious memories. We opened the album and shared it with her and it brought tears of joy. She has had so much pain and difficulty talking and eating that we could tell how she was overtaken by emotion. We were all overwhelmed. It truly was the last time she was able to do something active with her children. Once again thank you for these wonderful memories. We converted this last family picture into a greeting for our family and friends. It has served as a special and important way to share our love and memories one final time. Gabriela is now in hospice care and things are taking a turn for the worse. She has said good bye to her children. I am so grateful to Cedars Sinai Cancer Center for having put us in touch with you and your remarkable, kind and well run organization. We, my entire family, want to thank every single person who helped make this vacation possible and so smooth. I can’t say enough thank you to show my true gratitude. You have given us a gift that will always be with us. The gift of time, the gift of living, the gift of sweet, positive memories together, the gift of comfort and joy for Gabriela when she needed it most, the gift of a smile in the face of despair. What a gift for the children.
With gratitude always,
(Gabriela Lopez’s sister)
Jon Albert, Founder and 2018 CNN HERO; was also honored as the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year, in 2011 as the Avis National Spirit recipient at Yankee Stadium; US TRAVEL’s 2015 National Inspiration Award recipient, 2016 as the Tampa Bay Community HERO by the Lightning Foundation, 2017 Spirit of Humanity Award, presented by the DeBartolo Foundation, and was invited to present a TED TALK on Broadway in 2017 on the POWER OF WOW! Jon gives this presentation across the country.
Being recognized as a 2018 CNN HERO is another testament to the measurable and meaningful impact of JAJF since 2006.