Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Each week kinda kind features a badass who is putting their passion to a purpose and doing something great for the world.
This week’s Kind Badass is Jonny Imerman: Founder & Chief Mission Officer of Imerman Angels, a nonprofit that provides free, 1:1 cancer support.
Imerman Angels was created on the belief that no one should have to face cancer alone and without the necessary support. It all began when Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 26. Throughout his experience, he was lucky enough to have a loving support system of family and friends, but had never met anyone his age who was a cancer survivor. He wanted to talk to someone just like him, someone who truly understood, and was intimately familiar with his experience and what he was going through. In short, he was looking for someone who had already faced the same type of cancer. This was the beginning of Jonny’s vision and in 2003, it became a reality when he founded Imerman Angels.
*editor's note: Jonny is an absolute joy. He's someone who reinstills your faith in humanity when you think things have gotten too dark. I met Jonny when I interned at Imerman Angels in 2007, and I have been so excited to have him as the Kind Badass of the Week. I've been saving him!
His answers are all so great, genuine and enthusiastic, I'm going to keep them word-for-word, caps and all :)
What is your passion?
My passion is to make the world a better place!! In particular, INSPIRING and MOTIVATING people with cancer to BEAT IT!!!
How are you putting your passion to a purpose?
I couldn't think of a better way to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE people fighting cancer than to INTRODUCE them to a survivor who already BEAT the same cancer!! EMPATHY is such a powerful INSPIRATION and emotional connector!!!
How did you get started?
Started by helping one person, one family, at a time :) We're a simple idea, but powerful, but everything starts with just helping ONE person at a time.. and then gradually add scale-- carefully :)
Why do you do it?
it's all about the WHY!!! We do it because we've all been touched by cancer, we're GRATEFUL, and life is about GIVING and it's time to GIVE BACK!!!
Favorite thing about what you do?
PEOPLE. No question about it!! LOVE humans and what makes them tick!!! I believe we're all here to help each other... and help the animals too, love them too!! ;)
How can others help?
ANYONE can spread the word-- AWARENESS of our FREE service for people with cancer is #1 importance! Ordering a t-shirt from our website, wearing it to the gym, running for our cause in an IA jersey, volunteering in a number of cities, there are SO many ways to get involved and help this cause grow!!
*editor's note: If you are a cancer survivor or caregiver or someone who had cancer, you can sign up to be a Mentor Angel and provide help to someone who is going through an experience similar to yours.
Who are your heroes?
My grandfather is my hero-- kind, generous, fair, family focused, and community focused, he's one of biggest role models!! My mom is another hero to me, she was there for EVERY chemo and surgery-- showing me TOTAL dedication and love and unwavering LOVE-- she's amazing!!
If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?
Being able to simply touch people and animals and cure their disease!
What is your favorite non-profit organization or cause?
IMERMAN ANGELS, 1:1 peer cancer support, but I love SO MANY good causes out there, so many friends and colleagues in the space I LOVE them and their important work!!!