By Allison Rivers
In 2005, things were looking great for former Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon. He had recently formed a new band called Jack’s Mannequin and they had launched their first tour. The band’s first album, Everything In Transit, was set to be released later that summer.
But also in 2005, McMahon had lost his voice, had very low energy and had to cancel his first show, followed by the rest of the tour. After visiting his doctor, McMahon was diagnosed with a cancer known as Acute Lymphatic Leukemia at only 22 years old. He quickly began grueling rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and in August — on the same day of his album release — he received a life-saving stem cell transplant from his sister Katie.
It’s not a struggle he’s kept to himself. McMahon kept his fans updated on his progress through his blog, and in 2009 he released Dear Jack, a documentary detailing his treatment, his mindset, and the most personal aspects of his life as a cancer patient using a camera that he had initially intended to use to capture the progress of recording his new album.
His experience with cancer not only influenced the subject matter he tackled on albums to come, but it also inspired him to found the Dear Jack Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to giving a voice to a frequently overlooked portion of the cancer patient demographic: 15-35 year olds.
The Dear Jack Foundation partners with organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, and the UCLA stem cell transplant program and focuses on finding desperately needed new treatments and improving quality of life through counseling.
This summer, the Dear Jack Foundation is partnering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the seventh year to raise money for cancer research through the annual “Light the Night” walk. Team Jack’s Mannequin/Dear Jack has a goal of raising $50,000 this year, and is offering some pretty sweet incentives to participate in this excellent cause including personalized video “thank you notes” from McMahon, autographed posters, and even a one-of-a-kind Instagram photo he’s dedicating to a lucky winner.
So what are you waiting for? Join a team and raise some money for an excellent cause. Even if you can’t walk in an event, you can sign up to be a “virtual walker” or donate on McMahon’s fundraising page.
Together, McMahon and his fans are helping wipe out blood cancers. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?