JWF News

Dr. Hua Lu: Fighting Cancer in the Lab and on the Road

Dr. Hua Lu, the first researcher funded by The Jake Wetchler Foundation, will be trading in his lab coat for a Fight Back with Fitness t-shirt and running shoes on August 18 when he runs the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in honor of the Foundation. Dr. Lu aims to increase public awareness about pediatric cancer and show his gratitude for our funding of his research, which is showing promising results against acute myeloid leukemia. If Dr. Lu is as dedicated in his race as he is in the lab, he is sure to make record-breaking time! Check out his latest progress here: http://www.fightbackwithfitness.org/fbwf/participantpage.asp?uid=3525&fundid=1799

Hua growing AML cancer cells for the upcoming animal study - wearing Fight Back with Fitness t-shirt.

Above: Hua training at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Preserve and growing AML cells for upcoming studies, wearing his Fight Back with Fitness t-shirt.

Medimmune Launches Fight Back with Fitness Campaign

Medimmune, a Gaithersburg, MD, based biotech company, partnered with the Jake Wetchler Foundation to launch a campus-wide Fight Back with Fitness campaign.  On launch day, the cafeteria was buzzing with excitement as three Medimmune executives mounted exercise bicycles, promising to cycle one minute for every employee signing up. The more the executives cycled, the greater the momentum grew.  As one employee said, “To see them wearing sweatpants and exercise gear was funny and encouraging. I signed up to support the team as well as a great cause.”  In a friendly competition, the executive that received the most on-site registrations for his group won valuable bragging rights. 

Medimmune launched the 3-month Fight Back with Fitness campaign to help raise funds for kids with cancer while at the same time encouraging employees to stay fit. A win-win for everyone!

MVSA Fight Back With Fitness Invitational Scores an Ace

Ten MVSA volleyball teams put their all into raising funds for kids with cancer, culminating in the big March 26 MVSA Fight Back with Fitness Invitational.  The Tornadoes were the top fundraising team and won Mizuno jackets for all their members.  You can see the girls showing off their fighting spirit in photos below and on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fight-Back-with-Fitness/370497659640921.

Congratulations to all the teams who participated and raised almost $10,000 for pediatric cancer research.  If fundraising were a serve, this would be an ace!


Women Learn Self-Defense while Fighting Against Pediatric Cancer

On May 7, MasterAlex Lonabaugh and his staff of black belts at Yi's Karate of Cherry Hill hosted a Women’s Self Defense Class and Fundraiser for the JWF.   Master Alex reviewed strategies for avoiding and responding to confrontations, and then it was time to "get physical".  Attendees learned both the mindset and the moves they need to fend off an attacker of any size or strength.  They practiced escaping from wrist holds and body grabs, and learned the power of a quick poke to the windpipe or palm strike to the nose. Best of all, they saw real-time how a 110 lb woman can immobilize a 6 foot tall black belt who grabs her by the hair!  Yi’s Karate donated all proceeds to the JWF and we thank them, along with our sponsors Thompson, Rhodes & Cowie; Platinum Hair Salon; Melange Restaurant; Oh Yoko; and Michaelangelo's; and all of our attendees for their indomitable spirit in the fight against pediatric cancer.  Attendees left the class waiting for the opportunity to say, "Go ahead, grab my hair...”

Above:  Yi's Karate Staff:  Master Lonabaugh, Mr. Purcell, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Donegan

Below:  Learning to strike at the windpipe...breaking loose from a body grab...subduing an attacker who grabs your hair

Molly and Dina learn to strike back at the wind pipe

Carla breaks loose from Mr. Robinson

Press Release:  Martial Artist Joins Fight—Against Pediatric Cancer

(Cherry Hill, NJ) - Master Alex Lonabaugh, 6th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, announced that Yi’s Karate of Cherry Hill is joining the fight against pediatric cancer.

Jake Wetchler was a senior at Cherry Hill East when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The beloved 2nd degree black belt and student of Yi’s Karate fought with indomitable spirit against the cancer.  Now his teacher, Master Lonabaugh, together with the Jake Wetchler Foundation, is continuing the fight.

Yi’s Karate is hosting a Women’s Self Defense Class on May 7 from 12:30 to 3:00 at Yi’s Karate of Cherry Hill, to raise money for pediatric cancer research. 100 % of the funds raised by the class and silent auction will be donated to The Jake Wetchler Foundation.

The class, which will be personally taught by Master Lonabaugh, will feature easy-to-learn techniques that women of all ages can use to defend themselves from attackers.

Jean Singer, the President of the foundation says, “The fundraiser will give women the opportunity to learn self-defense – and at the same time help fight back against pediatric cancer--two important causes.”

Cancer is the #1 cause of disease related death in children. Despite advances, most pediatric cancer treatments remain highly toxic and have not changed in decades. The mission of the Jake Wetchler Foundation is to fund innovative pediatric cancer research.  100% of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to providing grants to find the next generation of treatments so that children and young adults will never again have their lives cut short by cancer.  

According to Master Lonabaugh, “Jake Wetchler’s mantra was “don’t let the cancer win”; he was acaring and true instructor, a loyal friend to many and a well-loved student. I am honored and privileged to have been his instructor for so many years. He was the ultimate model of indomitable spirit.”

For more information about the class, contact Yi’s Karate at 856-795-2400 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Information about the Jake Wetchler Foundation is available at www.DontLetTheCancerWin.org.

Media Contact: Susanne LaFrankie-Principato (609) 868-2005


Kids Join the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer


Steven Wetchler, along with friends Elliott, Chris, and Jonathan donated all the proceeds from their sidewalk lemonade stand to The Jake Wetchler Foundation. On their own initiative, they decided to build a stand and spent a day flagging down cars and neighbors to contribute to pediatric cancer research. We thank them for the huge roll of dollar bills that they delivered to us and for the great spirit they bring to the fight!

Our First Fundraiser Beats All Targets!

Everyone was “doing good and looking great” at our first JWF fundraiser, held August 13 at Platinum Hair Design. Supporters signed up for everything from hairstyling to nails, massage, and facials, each service raising funds to fight pediatric cancer. JWF volunteers watched as customers emerged with smiles on their faces, showing off colorful nails or new hair designs.Meanwhile Andrew Bor and Josh Friedman of Rock-It Entertainment kept the beat going with music indoors and out.

Our new JWF t-shirts made their debut at the fundraiser, thanks to Forman Mills who printed up red muscle shirts (Jake’s favorite style) and t-shirts sporting the JWF logo and one of Jake’s memorable quotes from Goethe: “Nothing is Worth More Than This Day.” The entire Platinum staff was decked out in JWF shirts, showing their support for the cause.

Congratulations to raffle winner Lori Bogdonoff who is now the proud owner of two free passes to Sahara Sam’s indoor water park!

With the help of friends and family, and the incredibly generous people at Platinum Hair Design, we exceeded all expectations for the day’s fundraising, more than tripling our target.

Thank you to all our volunteers and attendees, and to Diane and Jacquelyn Mulholland and the delightful staff at Platinum for making the day a huge success!

Midrashah Jewish Junior College Establishes the Jake Wetchler Memorial Award

Dr. Leonard H. BermanIn honor of Jake and his “independent mind, devotion to friends of all types, ferocious intellect and unshakable pride in his Jewish heritage”, Midrashah Jewish Junior College has established the Jake Wetchler Memorial Award. Following the lead of Jake’s favorite teacher and noted fiction writer Dr. Leonard H. Berman*, the faculty will each year give the award to a Midrashah student who exhibits similar commitment and independence of spirit. The first recipient is Laura Wasserman, who will be attending the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University in the fall.

In this year’s graduation program, Midrashah faculty re-printed the speech that Jake gave at his own graduation two years ago. They recalled how “all of the Midrashah faculty and staff who heard the speech that day were struck by how succinctly Jake had summed up all our aspirations for our school. We were all thrilled to hear how profoundly it had ‘worked’ on Jake, a radiant and extraordinary young man. It was a gift many of us will never forget. Last year’s graduating class donated what would have been their graduation gifts for money to help find a bone marrow donor for Jake. When, despite so many valiant efforts, Jake passed away last fall, far too young, we read and re-read the speech he’d left behind many times over. For all the promise that was written there between the lines that would so sadly go unfulfilled now, but also for the comfort we could all take in how important a role we had played in his short, shining life. And mostly to take strength from the recognition he’d given us that day, from the joy of interaction with the fiercely independent mind, charisma, talent, and ferocious curiosity that was Jake and carry them forward…”

Congratulations to Laura Wasserman, and we thank Dr. Berman and the Midrashah faculty for this lasting tribute.

* Dr. Berman’s two works of historical fiction, Consider My Servant and A World of Secrets, are available on Amazon.com.

You can read the full text of Jake's graduation speech below.

Singer/songwriter Natalie Acciani donates song proceeds to the Jake Wetchler Foundation

Natalie AccianiUp-and-coming artist Natalie Acciani is donating all of the proceeds from her new single, Jake’s Song, to the Jake Wetchler Foundation. Natalie sings about the light that Jake brought to life, and in a crystal clear voice, she both tugs at our heartstrings and lifts our spirits. The song appears on her debut CD, A Dangerous Thing. To find out more about Jake's Song, as well as Natalie’s music and her upcoming appearances, go to http://natalieacciani.com/index.html Thank you, Natalie, for your generosity and for the beautiful images that you have captured in your song.

Clark University students walk the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Jake’s honor

Team JerseyLed by friends Shawna Marks, Bettny Mazur and Kyle Benson, Clark students walked the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Jake’s honor, to raise funds and help fight back against cancer. The Clark team wore t-shirts in Jake’s signature color, tie-dye, and printed them with the words “Team Jersey” in memory of the friend they used to call “Jersey Jake”. While other teams brought just a few people to the event, the Clarkies showed up with an army of tie-dye clad participants and they walked in solidarity for Jake’s memory and the cause. We appreciate the energy and attitude that Jake’s friends bring to the fight against cancer!

Yi’s Karate takes up special collection for the Jake Wetchler Foundation

Master Alex LonabaughLed by Master Alex Lonabaugh, students and teachers at Yi’s Karate of Cherry Hill came together to make a group contribution to the Foundation. We were touched by the efforts of everyone, from the little kids who dug out their nickels and dimes to the adults who generously opened their checkbooks in honor of their fellow student and instructor. Much of what Jake learned about fighting with indomitable spirit he gained from Yi’s Karate and we are fortunate to have the school fighting by our side.

Attorney Jonathan Segal dedicates legal booklet to Jake Wetchler

Jonathan Segal and JakeJonathan Segal, a renowned expert on employment law and partner in the Philadelphia office of Duane Morris, has dedicated to Jake Wetchler a booklet entitled The Impact of Supreme Court Employment Law Cases. Jonathan was an honorary uncle and special friend of Jake’s, and his dedication helps to increase awareness of pediatric cancer and promote the foundation’s efforts to fight back through innovative research.

Editors of The Organizational Network Fieldbook dedicate their book to Jake Wetchler

The newly-published Organizational Network Fieldbook has been dedicated with the words, “To Jake, who inspires us to think, to do important work, and to act with honor.” Although Jake’s mom is one of the editors, the dedication was offered by her co-editors, and we thank them for honoring Jake and his influence upon us in this way.