Jack Gray has been a LIVESTRONG Leader and longtime volunteer for many years. He is currently retired from his teaching career in instrumental music and now spends his days working part time as a student travel planner. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking and spending time with his grandchildren.
November Supporter of the Month: Jack Gray
|LS: How did you become involved with LIVESTRONG
Jack: When I was first diagnosed with Stage IV Prostate Cancer, a friend gave me a wristband and suggested I visit your web site. The positive reinforcement and the inspiration I received from Lance and the Foundation helped me get through some pretty rough days. Later during my treatments, the insurance company dropped my doctor and I was told I would need to pay for my treatments.
With the help of a nurse in his office and the LIVESTRONG Foundation, I was able to continue my treatments uninterrupted and did not have to pay for them on my own. That’s when I decided that I needed to get involved and pay it back.
LS: What is your occupation?
Jack: I was a high school band director for 30 years. I retired in 2000 and am now a part time student travel planner with Noteworthy Tours.
LS: What do you like to do in your free time?
Jack: I’m an avid woodworker and have a 400 square foot wood shop I built when I retired. That and my bike are my happy place. I also enjoy spending time with family and spoiling my five grandchildren.
LS: Can you tell us a bit about your family?
Jack: I met my wife at Bowling Green State University and we’ve been married for 46 years. We have two sons, Jeff and Jon. Jeff lives in Rochester, NY. He and his wife Julie have three children, Aurora (6), Noah (4), and Micah (18 months). Our other son, Jon has lived in Austin for the past four years, but is in the process of moving to Cincinnati. He and his wife Jessica have two children, Katie (13) and Bethany (11).
LS: Why is it important for you to give back?
Jack: Fighting cancer is such a brutal experience. Cancer patients have so many medical and treatment issues to deal with that the everyday problems can be overwhelming. Working with LIVESTRONG and two other foundations allows me to help others the way they helped me when I needed it.
LS: Do you give or volunteer your time in honor of anyone in particular?
Jack: I am the fifth member of my immediate family that has fought cancer, so they are my primary reason. But, like so many others, I have had many friends, neighbors, former students, and colleagues who have fought cancer also. I feel a very strong need to do what I can to make a difference for all of them.
LS: What is your connection to cancer?
Jack: As previously mentioned, I was diagnosed on October 19, 2004 with Stage IV Prostate Cancer.
LS: In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of LIVESTRONG’s work?
Jack: I believe it is helping survivors understand that they don’t have to do this alone. That we are here to help in any way we can. That we understand what they are going through.
LS: Finish this sentence: To me, LIVESTRONG means…
Jack: To me, LIVESTRONG means being able to live my life on my own terms while knowing that I have the support of not just my family and friends, but the support of countless others who understand what it means to fight for your life.