Thanks to COVID-19, there’s a great big cloud of uncertainty that’s settled over all of us. And the long shadow it casts upon us is odd because we can’t see it. Heck, it was sunny out today. And the longer days and warming temperatures make us feel like spring has almost arrived and summer is just around the corner. But I’ll bet you’re feeling that shadow of uncertainty nonetheless.
The panic you felt when you sat up in the middle of night and realized another possible consequence of this pandemic that you hadn’t yet considered. The anxiety as your mind races about the decisions you’re running out of time to make.
Perhaps you’re feeling angry about the dreams you’ve had to put on hold? Optimistic that those dreams are only just postponed? Are you wondering is this whole thing temporary or could it go on and on and on? And what if things do go from bad to worse? What then?
If you’ve ever cared for a loved one with cancer, none of these feelings are foreign to you. Because if there’s one universal challenge that all the caregivers we serve face it’s the relentless barrage of uncertainty.
Will their loved one live weeks, months, or years? And if they do live what will the quality of their life be? Is time better spent at work or at home? Can they really afford anything at all based on these new financial headwinds?
And now, on top of it all, COVID-19 brings another layer of uncertainty that is much more acute for a cancer caregiver. What if the loved one they’re caring for, who’s most likely immunosuppressed, got it? Or maybe just as scary, what if they got it and their loved one had one less person they could count on?
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic came along, our organization has been at war with the epidemic of loneliness among caregivers. Our principle strategy became creating physical spaces of renewal for them. Physical spaces that caregivers walk away from feeling less alone in their challenges, and better equipped to face their future more boldly.
But COVID-19, at least for now, has created conditions that make that principle strategy a risky one for the very families we exist to serve. As a result we’ve determined that some of our programming could be effective as a digital experience. Our Caregiver Klatches, for example, will go on and be held virtually giving caregivers the opportunity to tune in from the safety of their homes. And the upcoming programming that we don’t feel would be effective digitally through the end of March will be postponed. We will closely monitor trusted sources of information to determine if events beyond March will need to be postponed as well.
For the immediate future the caregivers we serve may not need us standing within 6’ of them, but more than ever they do need us standing in solidarity with them. And we can’t do that without you. Your support today is more crucial for the caregivers we serve than it’s ever been. Please stand in solidarity today with caregivers and the loved ones they care for by making a donation today.
Humbled by your support,
Founder & Executive Director
Michael Greene, Bringing The New ‘Jack-to-Jack’ Program To Life - But Getting So Much More!
Michael Greene was thrown into caregiving for his wife, Sarah, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. At the time, he had no peers he could relate to; no one he could talk to about what he was going through.
It was 4 years before Jack’s Caregiver Coalition had formed, so he didn’t have the cool events to go to, where he could shoot the shit with guys who were in that cancer-initiated group.
With summer finally here, it’s the perfect weather to have a BBQ, and that’s exactly what we did at our BBQ Fam Jam—but to us, the event is so much more than just another BBQ! It’s an event where Jack's members can meet and spend time with Jack's volunteers. It’s the perfect opportunity for everybody to meet the great people that create this Jack's family.
*This is the second of a two part blog series on parenting through cancer. Here's part one.
Hashing it out with Kyle, my Jack-to-Jack Coach – who’s also a dad.
Eyes blurry, I found myself dazed waiting in the Gilda’s Club lobby while my wife was inside taking a Qigong class. My wife had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She “beat” cancer six years prior, but it was returning like a two-headed monster. And it was bad.
This isn’t a rant about toxic masculinity. On this Father’s Day, my mission is for you to be inspired by men.
I’m 33 years old. My big brother Kyle is 40. And I’ve always looked up to him. Despite the scar in my eyebrow from the ping pong paddle that supposedly slipped from his hand. And that other time that he convinced me to chew up a vitamin that was NOT a chewable vitamin….
A message from Kyle Woody, a Jack's Founder & Executive Director
I'm excited to announce that I've gone to work for Jack's full time, continuing to lead the organization as I have since 2014 when we were founded. It's my hope this news will further inspire all of you that have joined us in our mission, we want you all to know how serious Jack's is. Our mission is no longer just something we work on during nights and weekends or when it's "convenient." It's something we're always working on.
Our recent "Extreme Sandbox" program in October is a perfect reminder of why we exist. We had the privilege of bringing a group of men together who've collectively had decades of experience caring for their loved ones with cancer. A group of men who haven't, until Jack's came along, had a community for them. Jack's understands what the powerless frustration caused by losing control to cancer does to a man. So we gave these men the controls of powerful machines and challenged them to annihilate the "Cancer Car". They didn't disappoint! What we do is simple really - our hospitality brings these men together, and together they improve.
Our future's so bright, we gotta wear shades!