Aug. 23, 2008

One-on-One Cancer Support: Imerman Angels

Jonny Imerman was relentless in trying to talk to everyone present at the summit- and yes, I do mean EVERYONE- to the point where he almost lost his voice after the first day. Once you met him and listened to his story, you just couldn't help but be inspired by his story and the way he turned his own experience into something positive for so many people. Here's part of what he told me:

At the age of 26, Jonny was fighting cancer. Although he had the support and visits from his family and friends, he always hoped to meet a cancer survivor who had already beaten the same type of cancer in order to talk about their experiences- someone who'd just get it because he was in the same situation.

He also realized that not everyone in that hospital had visitors or even the support of their family. He went into other patients' rooms and started talking to them. He soon realized that it is a very important step of fighting cancer, to be able to talk with someone and find some kind of enouragement through successful cancer survivors. If they saw and talked to people who were in their shoes and made it, that would be a huge inspiration for them in their own fight.

Instead of going back to his regular life after surviving cancer, Jonny went to work and founded his own not-for-profit organization, called Imerman Angels. Basically, they connect cancer fighters with cancer survivors who have beaten the same type of cancer, so that this one-on-one interaction gives the fighter the chance to ask questions and receive personal encouragement from someone who's "uniquely familiar" with that situation. They also connect caregivers, so that the families and friends of a cancer fighter can talk to other caregivers who will get what they're going through because they experienced the same struggles, fears or challenges.

Based in Chicago, the organization connects cancer fighters and survivors as well as caregivers throughout the US and even worldwide. Sometimes they pair up people from the same city, but it is more important to find similar stories, than it is to find people living in the same geographical region.

Please visit their website to find out more about the organization Imerman Angels.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Obsessedwithlife said...

I met John at a cancer conference in Chicago once!