TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jon Albert as the fifth Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Boston Bruins. Albert, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to The Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation.
Jon Albert, and his wife Jill, were delivered horrible news in 2002 when Jill, only 40 years old at the time, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The couple's first concern was what kind of effect the cancer would have on their two children Jake and Jamie, then 9 and 7. Jill confessed her biggest fear was not simply dying, but that she would be absent from her kids' lives. In 2006, Jill lost her courageous battle at the age of 45. Jill's death inspired Jon to want to make a difference for all families fighting through the pain and sorrow that come along with cancer. Thus, The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF) was born. Jon left the corporate world in 2006, dedicating his life to helping families take a timeout from cancer to create cherished, lasting memories as a family.
Video: Lightning honor Jon AlbertAlbert has a passion for helping families with a terminally ill parent of young children by providing "WOW Experiences," a chance for a family to spend quality time together, away from the cancer and treatments. These experiences range from a Disney World vacation to a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to kiss the bricks at the finish line. His selfless devotion to the cause has positively affected over a thousand families who find themselves in a similar situation. He has dedicated his life to establishing and providing that "time out" from cancer, affecting over 1100 families in 44 states. Jon and JAJF now provide, on average, 10 families per month with WOW Experiences.
JAJF is now "prescribed" by oncologists across the United States as part of the treatment process and protocol. These referrals come from cancer centers around the country, including Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Moffitt serves as one of JAJF's original referral sources and have been working with Jon to find families in the Tampa Bay area for ten years. Jon has also formally partnered with the USO and has served military families based at MacDill AFB. Moffitt and military families from MacDill AFB account for a critical number of JAJF referrals. Albert's motivation is not to leave a personal legacy, yet he will live on in the thousands of families in his lifetime and thereafter.
Albert becomes the 234th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $11.85 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.