Why Jack & Jill?
Simple. It best conveys the joy, innocence and simplicity of life that all kids should experience. It conjures up an immediate image of a certain harmony, youth, good feeling – a vision of childhood and experiencing happy memories. Moreover, it speaks to shared new discoveries and experiences – even adventures. Additionally, there is symmetry with the Founder Jon and his wife Jill and their two children Jake and Jamie – the meaningful and unfortunate inspiration behind the organization – this purpose.
JAJF has become a respected, admired national resource for families with a mother or father diagnosed with late-stage, limited-life expectancy cancer. A foundation offers these patients and their loved ones the needed sincerity and transparency (measurable and audited track record) that is often absent from commercial enterprises. As a national 501(c)(3) public charity, JAJF operates with a loving purpose, resources and stability. Support from our generous donors and Benefactors has allowed JAJF to support the needs of this over-looked population by providing families an indispensable, cherished timeout from their cancer… as prescribed by Oncologists.
Is this for children with cancer?
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.
The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF) addresses kids under 18 who are facing the imminent loss of their young Moms and Dads to cancer. While the children do not have cancer physically, their worlds have been turned upside down by their parent’s disease. When mom or dad is diagnosed with late stage cancer, children are faced with the reality the rest of their lives will never be quite the same. JAJF understands the stress cancer places upon the family structure and provides families a chance to spend quality, positive (FUN) time together in the face of these hardships and uncertainties… as prescribed by their Oncologist.
The family unit is at the heart of the Foundation: “Treating the families, not the cancer.” There is no other national organization quite like JAJF.
How does this differ from wish organizations?
The Chairman of the Board for Make-A-Wish* has supported and confirmed the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation is distinct from other organizations and truly fills a void. Make-A-Wish’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation differs from Make-A-Wish in the fundamental ways. First, JAJF’s unique and sole focus is on children who have a parent dying of cancer – an overlooked population. According to the American Cancer Society in 2015, 589,430 people died of cancer….more than 1600 each day. In 2006, when we first conducted due diligence and then launched, the ACS stated “nearly 571,000 Americans died of cancer this past year – more than 1500 each day”. There are too many children who will lose a young parent to cancer. JAJF is definitely filling a void and meeting a need. Since 2006, we now can confirm, the memories created from WOW! Experiences® remain with the children as they grow and God willing live long, fruitful lives. They will always have their Mom and Dad in their hearts…and in the cherished photo books we provide each family. The smiles (and sheer gratitude, joy and relief from these children) serve as the principal pay-off (ROI) for our investors/Benefactors. There is no black hole.
JAJF’s gains their families strictly from Oncologists’ prescriptions as part of the treatment protocol. There are no self-referrals. Without being crass, this legitimizes every family we treat.
JAJF also differs from Make-A-Wish “operationally”. We have do not have multiple chapters and a decentralized organization. There is no brick and mortar and little overhead. We are very proud of the repeated praise we’ve gained since 2006 for our fiscal responsibly, efficiency and stellar audit results. Our results and impact are noted for being measurable (and meaningful). There is no black hole. Jon has just two employees, and our national Board is very stable and compassionate.
*Carl Hansson in 2006 as JAJF conducted due diligence as part of their start-up.
Who is on the Board?
A first-rate team of business professionals works with JAJF. Our diverse Board includes those with non-profit, executive and medical expertise. Additionally, our Medical Board of Advisors includes several nationally acclaimed leaders in the oncology field, who are dedicated to making a tangible difference for cancer patients (and their families). Since 2006, JAJF’s Board of Directors and Advisors believe in the importance of JAJF and appreciate we are an organization filling a void and meeting a need with lasting, measurable results.
Please see the Foundation leadership section for individual Board biographies.
What is a WOW! Experience?
A WOW is what JAJF does when MOM (or dad) is turned upside down (and the entire family) because of late stage cancer.
MOM WOW MOM could also = Miles of Memories
Imagine all the resorts, sunsets, beaches, ballgames, concerts, amusement parks, dude and guest ranches, festivals, helicopter rides, and other attractions that could provide treasured, indispensable memories for families coping with late-stage cancer. For a nine year old to lose her Mom or a twelve year old to lose his dad, these children are losing their rocks…their heroes at such a vulnerable time.
JAJF’s mantras: The best part of memories is making them and ultimately, memories become our greatest inheritance. And, we borrow the fantastic and appropriate phrase: Hurry Up and Live!® www.hurryupandlive.co
Our national in-kind WOW! Partners include: Starwood, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Gaylord, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Loews, Wyndham, Waldorf Astoria, Destination Resorts, Great Wolf Resorts, Celebrity Cruises, The National Dude Ranch Assoc., The NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball teams, the Country Music Assoc., the Grammy’s, Disney Broadway, SeaWorld, Six Flags, Universal and Shutterfly.
The broader educational message: It should not take a terminal diagnosis for us all to slow down and Hurry up and Live! and enjoy WOW! Experiences® together as a 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.
What are measurable results?
Memories become an annuity – the legacy, a measurable return on investment. JAJF wants you to experience the realized gains from every WOW! Experience and will continue to document and offer donors a chance to measure the very real results they have created. You will gain an appreciation of the true importance and value of this Foundation from:
- The children’s perspective
- The care-giving spouse, and
- The patient
So, we ask the candid question: Why is this Foundation such a great idea?
Facing the realities of late-stage cancer, families hope to experience meaningful memories while they can. The entire family realizes the importance of these memories and how significant the experiences are when the patient, spouse and older children realize the high possibility of a mom or dad dying prematurely. Even younger kids, who may not fully grasp the limited life expectancy during the experience, will cherish the precious moments spent with loved ones once in the future.
When the inevitable happens, these particular memories and experiences are essential to the grieving process. Memories near the end become so much more vivid and long lasting.
Professionals have positioned this organization as “preventative care,” addressing the psychosocial health of the children, caregiver and the patient.
As the Armstrong Foundation says: “We believe in life. Your life. We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being. And that you must not let cancer take control of it.”
How does JAJF identify eligible families?
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, JAJF treats families all across the country. Patients (families) are prescribed to JAJF strictly by a coalition of leading oncology hospitals and centers across the United States including New York Presbyterian, Moffitt, Florida Cancer Specialists, Vanderbilt, Sarah Cannon, Emory, MD Anderson, Univ. Of Chicago, Walter Reed, Duke, Dana Farber, City of Hope, UCLA, Cedars Sinai, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Sloane Kettering, HEALTH ONE in CO, Mayo, and Arizona Cancer Ctr.
JAJF has developed a unique process and only accept referrals from oncologists. Based on the criteria established by JAJF’s medical advisors, late stage cancer patients with limited life expectancy are approached by their own medical team to become a recipient of our WOW! Program…a timeout from their woes prescribed as part of the treatment protocol (extraordinary). Oncologists give “permission” to the families to get out and live and prescribe JAJF as part of the treatment protocol.
For more information on the referral/prescription process, please visit the referral process page under the Oncologists section of our website.
Why not have the patients refer or nominate themselves?
The Oncology coalition referral method ensures only qualified candidates/families are served by the foundation. The process allows JAJF to be responsible and consistent when selecting families and providing WOW Experiences®.
Are there income requirements for recipients?
Cancer does not discriminate. Late-stage cancer is an equal opportunity offender. The Jack & Jill Late-Stage Cancer Foundation treats all families facing this dreadful disease. JAJF is about living in the moment with your children. While JAJF provides indispensable memories to many who otherwise would never be able to afford such important, vital experiences, The Foundation touches lives across a broad socio-economic range. With never ending medical bills, most just do not have the financial means (or the access to what JAJF has developed). JAJF takes families from driveway to drive way. We do let them lift a finger, spend a dime or worry about any details. We have not figured out how to pack for them yet however.
How many families will you treat?
JAJF will continue to treat one family at a time. JAJF has received national recognition for its lean and efficient business model, its resolute work ethic and fiscal responsibility. JAJF is not about quantity and churn. We do not aim to be commercial and we will stick to the knitting… we are a single mission/purpose Foundation. We are about the Bradshaw family, the Simmons Family, the Anderson family. JAJF has treated young families from all across the United States since our inception in 2006… thousands of cherished smiles ago.
What role will volunteers play?
JAJF welcomes volunteers who are dedicated to our mission and hopes to provide them with a rewarding and enriching experience as they fulfill essential roles within the organization. JAJF needs volunteers to assist with:
- Event Planning
- Chaperoning WOWs
- Technology Assistance – website, IT support, etc.
For more information on current volunteer needs, please visit the contact us section of our website to submit a form informing us of your interests.
Who is Jon Albert?
JAJF was inspired by Jill and Jon Albert’s real life story. With an M.B.A. and as an executive in the corporate world, Jon found himself, his wife, Jill, and their two young children Jake and Jamie facing Jill’s Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Jill and Jon realized early on in her fight the disease was not just attacking her body, it was also affecting their entire family. Two miserable and cruel side effects of cancer were playing out: the children were being robbed of positive time with their Mom and Dad and Jill was afraid her kids would forget her while dreading the fact she would miss the milestones of her children’s development… of their life. They decided they needed to treat their family along with the cancer. The Alberts knew that for their kids, Jamie and Jake, strong memories of special times together would be their greatest inheritance. After seeking the advice of experts in the oncology field and completing extensive research, The Alberts discovered a tremendous unmet need in the cancer community for an organization that specifically focused on supporting families with children who will lose a young parent to cancer. There was a need for a holistic, patient-centric and family centered approach to cancer care and to the quality of life during late stage cancer. From this notion and inspiration, the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation was born.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University (Go ‘Dores) and the University of Florida (Go Gators!) where he achieved his master’s in business, Jon began his career with Frito-Lay. Jon moved to Atlanta in 1989 to establish and launch the GA operations for PageNet which grew into a wonderful success story. Jon also had the unique opportunity to serve as a director of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG—-a $1.8 billion start-up). After The Olympics, Jon became President of the Builder Division of Apex Supply which was bought by The Home Depot years later.
Jamie is now at UVA; Jake at Yale. And Jon is blessed to have remarried a few years ago to Karen who also lost her spouse to cancer; her children lost their Dad.
Jon was honored as the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year and in 2011 as the Avis National Spirit recipient at Yankee Stadium and US TRAVEL’s 2015 National Inspiration Award recipient.
Does JAJF treat military families?
We are very proud to say yes.
In early 2015, Jon spent a milestone day with the Execs of the USO and Walter Reed in Washington DC and Bethesda and with Senator Johnny Isakson (GA) the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Jon’s vision was fulfilled:
Too many military men and women… too many veterans of one battleground come back to face another war. Too many of these heroes who have served our country (or their spouses) are losing the fight against cancer leaving behind their children.
JAJF is now providing cherished, lasting (indispensable) memories for these children WITH their Dads and Moms…together as a family…while they can. We’ve added another layer to: the best part of memories is making them® and memories become our greatest inheritance®.
What about cancer research?
JAJF has a national Oncology Board comprised of Doctors from the leading oncology hospitals in the nation. Over the next ten years, thousands will be saved because of advances in cancer research. Over the next ten years, thousands of young Moms and Dads will still die from cancer leaving behind their children. As any Oncologist will say, there is a need to keep fighting the fight. These same Oncologists will additionally admit, there is also a need to keep fighting for cherished family time for these young parents who just won’t be saved by the next wonder drug, clinical trial or hope for a cure. We are proud of the repeated praise we gain for having measurable “results”/impact. There is no black hole. While we pray it becomes so difficult to continue to gain young Moms and Dads dying from cancer leaving behind their children, sadly we just are not trending that way.