If you follow this blog, you’ve heard my story…a LOT. In October 2014, I went to the Emergency Room with an eye infection and left with a cancer diagnosis. In the two weeks between, there was a lot of uncertainty about what was wrong with me and, quite frankly, whether I would leave the hospital at all. As a 42-year-old wife and mom, when I was told “you have cancer” I knew I needed to fight – and fight to win.
My diagnosis with multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable form of blood cancer, was shocking. Sure I was tired a lot and got sick often but I was a full-time working wife and mom – didn’t that happen to everyone? Also, the typical myeloma patient is over 65, African American and male – not quite me! My mantra from day one was “Game ON“. I had far too much to live for – a loving husband and three young children, only 7, 6 and 4 years old at the time. Anything less than remission was NOT an option.
One of the most positive things to come out of all of this has been our family’s involvement with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Working with LLS has given me purpose, it helps me try and make sense of why this has happened to me, to our family.
Some people have wondered “why LLS?” and the answer is simple – they asked. They were there when I needed a purpose. Originally I was asked to speak at the Student of the Year events for the daughter of my sorority sisters (who went on to be the FIRST ever Student of the Year for LLS NJ) . From there I was asked to be the Honored Hero for the Princeton Light the Night walk in October 2016 and I was hooked. I have been able to speak to audiences, big and small, and share my story. I can get immediate feedback about how I am helping people by telling them about my diagnosis and my journey since. Yes, LLS doesn’t have an M (for myeloma) in it’s name but make no mistake – LLS is a leading funder of groundbreaking myeloma research. In 2017 LLS launched the Myeloma Initiative, a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to realize cures in the near term. LLS has pledged over $30 million invested in research over the next 5 years.
As for me, I knew I needed to do something. The picture of a myeloma patient is drastically changing and I believe I have a responsibility and the ability to raise awareness of this disease which is misunderstood and often misdiagnosed. And together we have made an impact! Over the last three years, Team #gameon has raised over $60K for blood cancers – with your help we are making a difference!
So why I am telling you all of this? Each year, LLS runs their Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign, a philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research in honor of two local children who are blood cancer survivors. And, this year when LLS nominated me for Woman of the Year, I thought “GAME ON!”
I am eager to make a big contribution through my fundraising efforts. The Man and Woman of the Year is selected by the most number of votes. And naturally $$ = votes! My goal is $75,000. Those of you who know me well know that I am slightly competitive. Of course I want to win (there is a tiara and sash for the winner…just saying…). But the truth is that this is personal for me – I have a husband and three young children. Every dollar I raise – WE raise – helps to find that cure I so desperately need.
In the years since my diagnosis, there have been many ups and downs, including a recent scare that my cancer had returned. In those days, as I tearfully waited, I made a promise to myself. If I was okay, I was going to double down on my commitment and my drive to do more. While I am incredibly grateful to say that I am still in remission, myeloma is a tricky beast, almost ALWAYS coming back. This scare has strengthened my commitment to advancing treatment options – including a CURE – not only for myeloma but for all blood cancers. I hope that I can count on your support to help me meet my goal!
How you can help!
- Watch this video about MWOY to understand WHY I knew I had to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyBiipxrkZ0&t=8s
- Follow the Facebook page I set up specifically for my campaign: https://www.facebook.com/Jen-Whalley-Moog-LLS-Woman-of-the-Year-Campaign-1238235429676509/ Also, share my posts so I can get more visibility!
- Attend our 80s Party fundraiser on Sat. April 27th and enjoy food & an open bar, with the chance to win great prizes! To RSVP, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/totally-80s-party-fundraiser-for-jen-moogs-lls-mwoy-campaign-tickets-58646272580
- Donate online by visiting our fundraising webpage, https://pages.mwoy.org/nj/nnj19/jmoog.
- Mail your donation, making your check payable to: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and be sure to print “Jennifer Moog – MWOY” in the “Memo” section. The deadline for receiving your tax-deductible contribution is June 1st. You can mail to LLS c/o Man & Woman of the Year Campaign 14 Commerce Drive, #301, Cranford, NJ 07016 (don’t forget to include my name on the memo line!)
- Consider a different kind of donation – a corporate sponsorship, placing an ad in the Program Book or buying a table for the Finale Gala on June 5th. Ask me how!
- Large or small, EVERY SINGLE contribution is greatly appreciated.