The Dear Jack Foundation (DJF), the non-profit organization that advocates for and supports initiatives that directly benefit adolescents and young adults (AYA) diagnosed with cancer, and founder Andrew McMahon are launching "The 72K Challenge" -- a fundraising campaign designated to raise $1 for each young adult that is diagnosed with cancer every year.
The 72K Challenge, open until Dec. 31 on the foundation’s website, aims to aid the 72,000 newly-diagnosed AYA patients in the United States ranging from the ages of 15 to 39. While many consider these to be the most formative years of a person's life, this population suffers a well-documented deficit in research and attention from the cancer community. This shortfall has led to a 30-year stagnation in the improvement of AYA survival rates compared to all other age demographics.
McMahon experienced this first hand at 22, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia during the peak of his career as the lead singer of the alternative band Jack's Mannequin. This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the stem cell transplant that saved his life and since then he has dedicated himself to helping youths suffering from this illness. Currently, McMahon is using the success of his hit single, "Cecilia in the Satellite," from his eponymous album Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness to help draw awareness to this effort. The song is an ode to his one and a half year old daughter Cecilia, a child he feared he wouldn't be able to have after his diagnosis.
"Ten years ago this August, I was transplanted with life-saving stem cells. When I first heard the words, 'You have cancer,' I never could have imagined what was to follow," said McMahon. "The trajectory of a life is forever altered by those three loaded words. Unlike many friends I've met along the way, I survived to tell my story and use this new life to advocate for those who are hearing those difficult words for the first time."
To find out how you can help and for more info, visit dearjackfoundation.com.