Degree/Year: Studio Art, 1992
Company: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Position: Communications Manager
City/State: Flint, Michigan
MSU College of Arts & Letters alumna Jill Vondrasek recruited local inspiring women to start the Living Proof Together Foundation. Every October, the foundation hosts the Comedy for Cancer benefit, which aims to provide a platform for the community to come together and share in laughter and friendship around this disease.
Comedy for Cancer’s purpose is to supplement the financial gap experienced from lost wages due to cancer treatment. Funds raised at this benefit and throughout the year provide financial support to families in Michigan during their fight to beat cancer, the number one disease to bankrupt a family. It affects all economic classes, ages, and ethnic groups. This is the reason behind forming a 501(c)3 nonprofit located near the middle of the state in Chesaning, Michigan.
Vondrasek is dedicated to helping find hope in a health crisis, and the community of supporters that attend the events, donate to the foundation, and volunteer their time make all the difference. “Cancer Crusaders,” the name the foundation has coined for their volunteers, believe in their mission to empower families so they can concentrate on their fight against cancer.
“It is a really surreal experience to see what good humans can do when they come together for a purpose,” Vondrasek said.
Over the span of three years, the Living Proof Together Foundation has distributed funds to support children, teens, and adults from Saginaw to Lansing to Birch Run, and many places in between. Recipients of the foundation’s funds are cancer warriors fighting breast cancer, leukemia, cancer of the appendix, lung cancer, cancer of the brain stem, colon cancer, and more.
It is a really surreal experience to see what good humans can do when they come together for a purpose.
The foundation pays for everyday expenses such as heating and electrical bills, mortgages and rent, groceries, car payments, and gas for transportation to cancer treatments. They coordinate with each family and work to identify their expense of greatest need, then directly pay the appropriate lender or company.
Other annual fundraising events include a Hack-N-Slam golf outing in September, a Virtual 5k Mother’s Day Weekend Race in May, and more fundraising activities put on by private donors who have been touched by cancer.