Jamie Cohen knows firsthand the shock of helping a loved one faced with cancer. His wife, Monique, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011.
“I was in a business meeting when I got the call,” says Jamie. “I’m usually passionate during these meetings, but I was just in shock. I tried to get through the meeting, but my co-workers knew something was wrong right away.”
Jamie immediately headed to his home in Round Rock, Texas, to be by Monique’s side as she prepared for the fight of her life.
“I went over to a neighbor’s house who had gone through this a year earlier,” says Monique. “The first thing she told me was, ‘You need to call MD Anderson.’”
The Cohens made the call and headed to Houston.
“We were so scared when we walked in the doors,” says Jamie. “Then when we arrived at the Julie and Ben Rogers Breast Diagnostic Clinic, our fear turned to hope and I immediately knew we were here for a reason.”
Jamie is brand manager for the Jason’s Deli restaurant chain and has worked there more than 20 years. The restaurant chain was started with support from former MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors member Ben Rogers.
Over the next year, as Monique went through surgery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy, Jamie reflected on that first clinic visit and decided to find a way to support MD Anderson’s message of hope. With the marketing reach of more than 240 Jason’s Deli restaurants in 28 states, he proposed a partnership with MD Anderson to raise cancer research funds for and create awareness of the institution.
A one-year campaign beginning on Oct. 1 aims to raise a minimum of $250,000 through the sale of bottled water at each restaurant. Ten cents from each bottle sold will be donated, and each bottle label will feature a photo of a Jason’s Deli employee and family members who have experienced the cancer journey through MD Anderson.
“Everyone I talk to in the Jason’s Deli family has been touched by cancer in some way,” says Jamie. “The support for this campaign is overwhelmingly positive. There’s a lot of excitement and a sincere desire to get involved so other families won’t have to deal with such a devastating disease."