Founder and Chief Mission Officer, Imerman Angels
Jonny Imerman is a young adult cancer survivor who founded Imerman Angels, a non-profit organization that connects a cancer fighter (or caregiver) with someone who has fought and survived the same cancer. Here is the story:
At 26 years old in 2001, Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he did five months of chemotherapy and became cancer-free. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine. After another surgery, an 11-inch incision, and three months of recovery, Jonny was back in remission.
During his cancer fight, he realized what needed to change in the cancer world. Despite loving support from family and friends, he was unable to find a cancer survivor like him. Jonny wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor, who not only had beaten the same type of cancer, but who also was around the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel ⎯ walking, living proof that the fighter could win too. That amazing connection would provide inspiration, knowledge, and hope. This is why he created Imerman Angels.
Imerman Angels carefully matches and pairs up a person touched by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Cancer caregivers (spouses, parents, children and other family and friends of fighters) also receive 1-on-1 connections with other caregivers and survivors. These 1-on-1 relationships inspire hope and offer the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. The service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world. Today, Imerman Angels has more than 4,000 cancer survivors and more than 1,500 caregivers in its network.
Imerman Angels was chosen as Haute Living’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2010; Chicago Scene’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2010; Chicago Scene’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2008; and Chicago Social’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2007. Imerman Angels has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Harpo Radio’s “Oprah and Friends” with Dr. Oz, Men’s Health, NBC Chicago News, CBS Chicago News, ABC Chicago News, WGN Chicago News, FOX Chicago News, FOX Detroit News, ESPN Radio Chicago, WJR Radio Detroit, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit Free Press, HOUR Detroit, LIVESTRONG Quarterly, CURE Magazine, Oncology Nursing News, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, and Nonprofit Chicago Magazine.
Jonny received a 2012 CNN Hero Award; 2012 Lincoln Park Young Professionals ‘Chicago Best of The Best’ Award; 2011 Twilight Foundation Detroit’s Civic Leadership Award; 2011 Chicago Social Magazine’s ‘Who is Chicago’ Award; 2010 Jefferson Award for Public Service; 2010 University of Michigan Humanitarian Service Award; 2009 Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults ‘Hope Award’; and 2007 Daily Candy ‘Sweetest Thing’ Award.
Jonny has been invited to speak at cancer centers such as MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mayo Clinic, Dana-Farber, City of Hope, Northwestern, Rush, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.