Angels on Earth: The Imerman Angels

Jon Imerman of Chicago has a charity that pairs cancer survivors with cancer patients for one on one counseling. He pairs current patients with survivors of the same gender and who fought the same form of cancer for better understanding of what the patient is going through.

Jon is one of the most dynamic men I have ever met. He runs on about 5 hours of sleep each night, spending the rest of his time on this labor of love. He survived Testicular Cancer and still managed to earn a MBA while undergoing chemotherapy.

But the generosity that Jon has and has shown is the thing that amazes me most about the man. His first counseling was a friend of his that he had gone to college with that had both Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's. She lost her battle. But Jon went on to counsel a man that was undergoing testicle cancer. From there, Jon began to recruit other "Angels" to help counsel cancer patients.

All Angels are volunteers that are doing the counseling out of love and out of courage for coming forward with their disease to help others. That is their passion and their courage. Most people with cancer prefer to hide the disease. But the Angels come forth to share with others and to help them through their battle. All in all there are about 150+ angels in the program at this writing and more are joining everyday.

Most cancer patients don't know where to turn at their first diagnosis and Imerman Angels is not yet well known. But I hope to change that with this column. We have Angels in South America and Europe, as well as here in America. We help to find resources on what type of chemotherapy the patient is on, or mainly just to be there for the patient to have someone to talk to when things look the bleakest.

How do I know this? Not only did I interview Jon, but also I am an Angel myself. I counsel a woman that recently found out that she has Ovarian Cancer and having been through that battle myself; I know what she is going through. But instead of just counseling her, I have gotten the family involved. The battle isn't just fought by the patient, but by the entire family, for they are all touched by this battle.

I recently attended an Imerman charity function that was a toy drive for "Kids on Chemo" for the Children's Memorial Hospital here in Chicago. My fiancÚ and I attended and I must say that not only did my heart fill with enough joy to bring toys, puzzles and craft projects to donate to the event, but I was filled with love when I met some of the other Angels.

To know that I was not the only survivor, and to meet other survivors and other people that were fighters, made me realize that I was not alone in this world. That night I found my "voice." I felt proud to be a part of something that made a difference in the lives of other people. I found the courage to speak about my cancer and to be proud that I survived.

I found the bubbly me that existed before my cancer and that I owe to Jon Imerman. If it wasn't for his openness, I wouldn't be able to be as open about my cancer as I have been. I wouldn't have been as curious about the other cancers that affect women today as I have been.

I wouldn't have done this series on cancer and I wouldn't have finished this series with Imerman Angels and the good works that we do for people. Jon has received numerous mails thanking him for pairing them with people that have been through what they are going through, and helping them to make new friends.

The Internet can only give you so much information, and without a survivor, you wouldn't know what questions to ask. You might not know that keeping active will help your recovery time, as opposed to laying in bed and waiting for death to come and take you. For keeping active makes you stronger, it keeps you positive, and thinking about what you have to do day by day keeps your mind off of what you are dealing with in the big picture.

God bless Jon Imerman and God bless the angels that do this on a volunteer basis. This is truly a labor of love. For more information, please visit;

Published on September 11, 2006 in