Creating precious memories for cancer families

Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation founder Jon Albert has never turned away a deserving family.

Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation founder Jon Albert has never turned away a deserving family.

BY: Mickey Goodman

Scores of organizations provide support for cancer patients, but the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF) is the only nonprofit that offers a respite for kids facing the loss of a parent from cancer. And for his commitment, founder Jon Albert has been named a 2018 CNN Hero.

The inspiration for JAJF was born when Albert’s wife, Jill, was diagnosed with late stage cancer. “Our kids were only 7 and 9 at the time, and we wanted to create a lasting memory in the form of a dream [family] vacation,” says Albert. “The benefits far exceeded our expectations.”

A few years after the family lost Jill, Albert launched JAJF. Headquartered in Buckhead, it has created all-expenses-paid Wow! Experiences for more than 1,200 families referred by major oncology centers. “Cancer specialists understand that cancer doesn’t just impact the patient; it impacts the entire family,” says Albert. “Their ‘prescriptions’ for a timeout validate our mission. I’m happy to say we’ve never had to turn a family away.”

To honor his service, Albert has received numerous awards and appeared on nearly every major news outlet. Musicians Tim McGraw and Jack Johnson have both recorded tributes to the organization.

“We don’t have galas or fundraisers,” says Albert. “We’re supported by donors, family foundations, grants and corporations who appreciate that we run a lean organization. Ninety-two percent of the funds go into our mission.”

For more information, visit jajf.org.