Jack Kicks Cancer: 10 Years Strong

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Ten years ago Jack Blake was inspired to start a nonprofit called Jack Kicks Cancer to honor of his father, and to make a larger impact in the fight against cancer. Having just celebrated their 10th anniversary soccer tournament fundraising event, we caught up with Jack to hear more of his story and what continues to drive him forward.

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LS: How have you been affected by cancer?

Jack: When I was a freshman in high school, my father Jack Blake Jr. was diagnosed with an undetermined form of cancer and passed away within 6 months. Following that, in 2004 I was diagnosed with an early stage of testicular cancer when I was a Senior in College.

I was fortunate enough to have a great support system and did not need to utilize LIVESTRONG‘s navigation services. But I have seen first hand the amazing things and services the navigation personnel do for cancer survivors, supporters, and caregivers battling through cancer. I have also directed numerous friends and family who have recently needed cancer support, to reach out to the navigation services.

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LS: What made the 10th year of Jack Kicks Cancer special? What moment stands out to you the most?

Jack: Its always been the people. I started JKC 10 years ago as part memorial to my dad’s legacy, and part as a way for my family to really make a larger impact in the fight against cancer. I had no idea we would be doing this 10 years later, and it has so much to do with the people. Looking into the crowd last month, it was amazing seeing so many of the same faces that had been with us the first day we started JKC a decade ago. When you stop and think about it, that’s a very long time. Some people knew my dad or were family friends, and some people had never met him. But they believed in our mission and showed their support no matter what. Without that JKC would not still be here.

In 2010 we had the most teams registered to play we ever had, and raised the most money we ever did in a single year. While you set goals and have a certain vision in mind when fundraising, you truly can’t control the outcome. To see hundreds of people rally behind you and your cause (including people you have never met) is one of the best feelings any person can experience.

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LS: What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?

Jack: One word. Fight. The fight varies for every person, but I feel LIVESTRONG embodies everyone living their life to the fullest extent. We only get one chance here on earth, and will at some point be met with adversity. Fight until the end and enjoy your life. I believe LIVESTRONG is here to help people do that.

LS: What is one fundraising tactic that has been successful to you?

Jack: Utilizing support from companies. Reach out to your network of friends or family, whether it be folks who own companies, or are high up, and getting donations from corporations. It is much easier to reach your fundraising goal when you have the support of both individuals and companies behind you.

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LS: Share one piece of advice you would give someone struggling to fundraise?

Jack: Don’t lose hope. It can be frustrating at times because you can’t control how or when people will support you in your cause, but keep at it. And also get creative. There are a lot of fundraising “causes” out there, so try and set yourself (your event, your story) apart from the rest.

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LS: Share one piece of advice you would give someone affected by cancer?

Jack: Stay Positive. I know it may not always be easy, and in the end, you can only control so much, but you only have one life to live. Stay positive so that every moment you have on this earth is remembered as a happy one.

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INSPIRED TO START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISING EVENT?

GET STARTED HERE: https://www.teamlivestrong.org/events/community/