About to embark with his band Jack’s Mannequin on their first headlining tour of the U.S. in 2002, Andrew McMahon visited his voice doctor about a lingering case of laryngitis only to learn he had acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Just 22, Andrew underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a successful stem cell transplant from his sister. Perhaps auspiciously, his band’s debut album was released on the same day as the transplant. Andrew, now 33, remains cancer-free.
In 2006, Andrew established the Dear Jack Foundation (DJF) to advocate for and support initiatives that benefit adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer. DJF works to create more positive outcomes and improved quality of life for young adults during and post treatment. Recipients of DJF funding include the University of California, Los Angeles stem cell transplant program; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; First Descents; Cancer for College; the Matt’s Mixed Tape program of the Matt Cwiertny Memorial Foundation; and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.
DJF recently launched two new programs including monthly yoga meet ups and a ‘Life List’ program to help patients attain dreams that cancer has put just out of reach.
In 2015, Andrew celebrated the 10th anniversary of his stem cell transplant with a campaign to raise $72,000 in honor of the 72,000 adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer each year. Andrew personally matched the first $5,000 in donations. The campaign surpassed its goal, raising more than $80,000. At his concerts, the talented singer, songwriter and pianist also sets up stations to recruit potential bone marrow donors through DJF partner organization Love Hope Strength.
His single, “Cecilia and the Satellite,” released under the name Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, hit the Billboard Top 100 chart in 2015.
Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.