In Their Own Words: Jamie Lassner
The V Foundation is successful thanks to the contributions of many: donors, corporate partners, our incredible Board and Scientific Advisory Committee and the amazing researchers to whom we award grants. With “In Their Own Words,” we sit down with key members of our team to learn more about their commitment to the V Foundation and their personal desire to put an end to cancer. In this edition, we chat with Jamie Lassner, the Director of Student Life at MDY School in New York. Jamie is a 9/11 First Responder and our first Team Captain for the Team V program.
The V Foundation: How has cancer affected you personally?
Jamie Lassner: Cancer has affected dear family members, cherished friends, fellow survivors of Ground Zero 9/11 cleanup and countless acquaintances and co-workers. Battling this disease is very much a team effort, from the patient (who is usually the inspirational leader), to friends, family and doctors. Cancer sadly strikes all regardless of age or other variables. It is excruciatingly painful to watch loved ones suffer, and unfortunately, all we can do as caring friends and relatives is hug and hold a hand. Team V gives us an opportunity to do more.
TVF: What are the best parts of running a marathon with Team V?
JL: When one has the honor to run for Team V, it becomes immediately evident that we are ‘Family V’. There are so many outstanding aspects of running for Team V, including customized personal coaching, team camaraderie and most importantly, the united Team V vision that we are running for an outstanding organization that is making a difference daily. As a personal example, as I approached the 25-mile mark of the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, I was met by my wife Mara, my son Adam, my son Sam (via Facetime) and Team V Coach Allie. They all cheered me on through the tears until I crossed the finish line to become a marathoner. It was a lifelong dream, made possible by my coaches at Team V and by losing over 180 pounds. I was beyond thrilled to see my family and very moved to see my Team V Coach waiting for me in the cold and dark Central Park.
TVF: What advice would you give to someone who is intimidated by the fundraising aspect of Team V?
JL: There should be no intimidation in fundraising for Team V. To the contrary, it is uplifting. An important fact to remember about the V Foundation is that thanks to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. Therefore, the Foundation awards 100% of direct cash donations directly to cancer research … that’s impressive! Start fundraising early and ask everyone!
TVF: Why is raising money for cancer research so important to you?
JL: Cancer research, thanks to funding from the V Foundation and other organizations, is moving forward in finding cures, better treatments, gene markers and much more. I don’t want to stand idly by and not help, even if it is a small piece of the big pie. While I would love to actively raise funds to rid the world of all disease and evil, I felt the V Foundation was a positive start to be able to work with a forward-thinking research foundation to help rid the world of cancer.
TVF: What does a victory over cancer look like to you?
JL: To be able to look back soon and say that each cancer disease that can be controlled and eradicated was a result of our united efforts to bring Jimmy V’s motto of “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!” to fruition. We have much work ahead but you can make a first step by actively being part of Team V … sorry, Family V!