Christian illusionist and Be The Match advocate Jim Munroe is championing the #MakeCancerDisappear campaign. The goals of the #MakeCancerDisappear campaign is to raise $250,000 for Be The Match and to encourage 15,000 people to join the Be The Match Registry.
Funds raised will help add more potential donors to the Be The Match Registry, aid patients with uninsured costs, and fund life-saving research. Jim's hope is that through this movement, he will reach people of all ages throughout the country and beyond and get them to see that they can literally, not just figuratively, make cancer disappear!
Today, Jim Munroe is the author of "The Charlatan" and a sought after speaker at conferences, corporations, and events around the world. Jim's story is widely recognized from its feature with I Am Second. Jim's show, "MAZE" has also become one of the most efficient tools of Be The Match, being the #1 recruitment vehicle for its National Bone Marrow Registry.
HALLELS: I am so moved to hear about the #MakeCancerDisappear campaign. You have been a survivor of leukemia; tell us about your bout with it. How did you discover you had cancer?
JM: My bout with leukemia started in late 2008. A sharp pain in my right leg eventually became so painful that I could barely walk. My wife forced me to go the nearest ER. My blood work came back, and out of nowhere, they told me that I had leukemia. We rushed down to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX where they told me that I not only had leukemia, but that I had a kind of leukemia that could only be fully cured with a bone marrow transplant. That route of treatment is a very tough approach.
HALLELS: What happened after that? Tell us a little about your journey to recovery.
JM: Because I needed a bone marrow transplant, like all patients with this need, a record of my DNA was entered into an international database. A bone marrow transplant requires a sick patient to find someone in the world whose DNA matches their body so well that when introduced, the sick body will recognize the donor's blood and DNA as its own. It's like a MAGIC TRICK! Out of a 9-million-person international database, there was only one match for me... a 19-year-old girl from Milwaukee, WI. They wouldn't tell me who she was, because the law required her anonymity.
The whole process of a bone marrow transplant is risky for a sick patient because the doctors need to essentially "kill off" the old version of the sick patient's bone marrow. And, as you know, you can't live without it. Even after that, there are still complications that can arise that can immediately wipe out any progress. Thankfully, my transplant was successful, and I'm alive today because of it. I have also had the chance of meeting my "savior"... my 19-year-old donor. It's been a wild ride!
HALLELS: What is #MakeCancerDisappear about?
JM: Make Cancer Disappear is a campaign that I am hosting on behalf of Be The Match, the national marrow registry that found the donor that saved my life. The goal is to bring awareness to the cause, raise money, and sign up as many potential bone marrow donors as possible... in an effort to save others who are dying of cancer.
HALLELS: How can our readers be part of it?
JM: If your readers go to www.makecancerdisappear.com, they can join the registry... if they are between the ages of 18-44. If they don't fall into that requirement, they can make a donation to this very worthy cause. They can also take the Make Cancer Disappear Challenge! We are asking everyone to go to our website and join the video challenge! There's a link on the homepage to do that and instructional video. If you hate cancer, you can take the challenge and help us bring awareness to the cause!
HALLELS: Andy Mineo is involved in this campaign too. How did you get to work with him?
JM: I've met Andy a few times in the past at different gigs. He's a phenomenal guy. This particular campaign is close to Andy because his mother was diagnosed with a blood cancer that required a bone marrow transplant, as well.
HALLELS: What is Andy's role in this campaign?
JM: Andy has been phenomenal in helping us get the word out about the campaign! Piff the Magic Dragon from America's Got Talent, as well as countless others who have filmed #makecancerdisappear challenges, have also helped in this cause. We cannot thank them enough!
HALLELS: Some of our readers may have cancer or have friends or relatives who have cancer. What words of hope do you have for them?
JM: Cancer is tough... on everyone. It's impossible to say anything nice about cancer. However, for me, the greatest hope for the hardships surrounding cancer can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Christian has a legitimate answer for the tough times of life. The Christian understands that trials in this life will never stop... but, in the midst of life's greatest storms, we have the ability to be full of peace and of love... because that's what Jesus had. I don't know how people deal with cancer apart from faith in Jesus. It would take me a lot more than a couple paragraphs to hash this out. But, my answer to cancer and life's greatest challenges is Jesus. Just Jesus.
HALLELS: How has your perception of God and faith changed or deepened during your own journey fighting cancer?
JM: To be honest, I'm not sure I was a real Christian prior to having cancer. Maybe I had that "mustard seed of faith" that I've heard Christians describe...I don't know. What I do know is this: God used cancer in my life to reveal Himself to me. Cancer was the way that He got to my heart. It was through my cancer journey that He not only revealed Himself to me.... BUT.... He also gave me a story through which I can share His love and help save thousands of others who are dealing with the same issues with which I dealt.