Laughter truly is the best medicine…or, at least, it’s a great premise for a fundraising idea to conquer cancer. On June 10, five Jimmy Fund Big Ideas Contest finalists—the best of more than 200 contest submissions from across the U.S.—presented their Big Idea for a new Jimmy Fund fundraiser to a panel of national CEOs and a crowd of over 150 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. The finalists included:
- Erin Moran McCormick (on behalf of Paige Arnof-Fenn,) “The Jimmy Fund Supper Bowl”
- Geoffrey Lennon, “Cancer Crush”
- Denise Banks, “Massachusetts Strikes Out Cancer”
- Joy Olaes Surprenant, Michael Surprenant, and Maxwell Surprenant, “#MyJokeForJimmy: Laughter is the Best Medicine”
- John Jacobbe, Jr., “Boston Sports Team ‘The Apprentice’”
Each presentation encompassed an innovation, passion, and personality that impressed and inspired the audience, emcee Phil Lipof, and the panel of prominent judges, which included:
- John Donohue, Chairman, President, & CEO, Arbella Insurance Group
- Bill Fine, President & GM, WCVB-TV/Channel 5
- Pam Hamlin, Global President & Managing Partner, Arnold Worldwide
- Daniel Kraft, President, The Kraft Group – International
- Larry Lucchino, President & CEO, Boston Red Sox
- John Maguire, CEO, Friendly’s Ice Cream
- Laura Sen, President & CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club
“Every single one of these ideas could work,” said judge Bill Fine. “And everyone who presented here today has an equal passion for eradicating cancer. It’s amazing.”
Self-admittedly, the judges had a difficult time selecting a winner but, in the end, they awarded the grand prize package to the Surprenant family of Needham, Mass. who submitted “Jimmy Fund Jokers: Laughter is the Best Medicine.”
As presented by charismatic 11-year-old Maxwell Surprenant, “#MyJokeForJimmy” is a fun and easy way for the Jimmy Fund to involve kids, adults, and celebrities in fundraising for Dana-Farber. It’s a social media campaign where people tell jokes on Facebook, pledge to make a donation to the Jimmy Fund, and tag their friends to spread the message.
“Everyone can help because everyone can tell a joke,” said Maxwell. “A toddler…or even a 100-year-old person!”
The Surprenants also recommended that the campaign evolve to include comedy events, a book of jokes, and friendly fundraising competitions between schools, businesses, and organizations.
“We look forward to implementing the Surprenant family’s idea and working closely with the other finalists to determine if we can utilize their ideas as well,” said Susan S. Paresky, senior vice president for development at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
Assistant Director, Development Communications