What's a Jack Pack?
I KNOW JACK PACK
“If you don’t fight cancer, you don’t know Jack”
I KNOW JACK!
The “I KNOW JACK” pack was inspired by our son, Jack Hoeger. At 5 years of age, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. There was no protocol to treat his cancer and no survivors of his cancer. It wasn’t easy, but Jack fought hard and beat cancer! Cancer affected our entire family and we depended upon many people to help us at that time. Even though Jack is in remission, our family believes in continuing the fight against cancer. By telling Jack’s story, fundraising and lobbying for more cancer funding it allows us to spin cancer from a negative in our family to a positive! We realize that everyone copes with cancer in different ways, but please accept this “I KNOW JACK” pack as we hope that at least one thing helps you or puts a smile on your face!
I KNOW JACK FOUNDATION
I KNOW JACK Pack Contents
“One Left Handed Hug”
(Book written by Martin Hoeger – Jack’s Dad)
Skull and/or Knit Cap
Cards / Hy-Vee Items / YMCA Pass
Quotes & Humor J
Daily Planner / Calendar
LIVESTRONG Guide Book
Backpack & Water bottle
This backpack & water bottle was designed with our foundations logo … to always be reminded to be STRONG and to FIGHT the battle against cancer. We hope you will carry these with you daily. And do so with honor and pride … and most importantly, to know you are not alone in this fight!
“One Left Handed Hug”
When Jack’s oncologist deemed him in remission, she called it a ‘miracle’! When asked what we could do to help her, she said “Tell Jack’s Story.” So Marty wrote Jack’s story in the enclosed book.
We hope some piece of Jack’s story will help you. You can also meet Jack by visiting: www.youtube.com/livestrongjack
Jack’s grandfather, Deacon Dan Hoeger, handmade the pocket crosses for you. We have definitely felt the power of prayer in our lives.
Not everyone turns to prayer, so please find a meditation stone in the pack as another source of comfort.
Remember, when you are at your weakest, it is when your body is beating cancer the most. We hope the lavender oil, lip balm, lotion, lemon drops, coloring book, markers, & word search, assist in taking your mind off any discomfort.
After Jack completed his treatment, he was still a very fragile boy. Due to seizures, fatigue, and side of effects of his treatment, he was not able to be a kid like his peers. Then we heard about Camp Heart Connection. Camp Heart Connection provides an oncology camp for kids that currently have cancer or have fought cancer. It provides a safe & fun environment where other kids can relate to each other. One camper explained camp as “It’s where no one stares and everyone cares.” There are doctors and nurses on staff and most the camp counselors were campers at one time. It is one week of the year; Jack is like everyone else … just a kid.
For more information on Camp Heart Connection … visit or call:
1223 Ctr St, Des Moines, IA 50309 · (515) 243-6239
Camp Heart Connection also provides a sibling camp. We cannot express how important this camp has been to our family. As you know, cancer affects the entire family and my fear was that we could beat cancer physically, but emotionally scarred. The camp has provided the kind of support to our kids that I was unable to. If you ask Ben or Ella, they hope to be sibling camp counselors one day.
Camp Kesem is amazing camp for kids that have or had a parent with cancer. We are blessed to have this camp available in Iowa to support families and provide an outlet for kids. The lifelong friendships that are made are priceless.
We will admit that initially, Marty & I let the poor chances of Jack’s survival control our thoughts. It wasn’t until good friends of ours gave us the book, “It’s Not About The Bike” by Lance Armstrong, did our attitudes change. We changed our thoughts and adopted the Livestrong motto “Unity is strength, Knowledge is power, and Attitude is Everything!” We got an ATTITUDE and chose to EXPECT Jack to survive. We have not taken off our bracelets as they remind us of our strength and to keep the attitude! We fundraise for Livestrong to support the free cancer navigation center as it helps cancer patients with assistance managing medical expenses, insurance challenges, treatment options, and emotional support. When I look down at my bracelet, I remember our families’ strength and when I see others wearing it, I admire their strength! For more information about the LIVESTRONG Foundation, please visit: www.livestrong.org or call The Free Navigation Center at 1-855-220-7777
When Jack was in treatment and for many years after, Marty & I used the Caringbridge site to communicate with our family and friends about how Jack & our family were doing. I never kept a journal, but what I would realize later was the importance of our posts on caringbridge not to only inform other of Jack’s status, but it allowed us to communicate our feelings without having to talk. I believe it was one of the important things to Marty & I staying strong as a couple.
When cancer made me upset & cry, I allowed myself those feelings, but made myself end those episodes by acknowledging something that I was grateful for. I felt like cancer wasn’t winning when it did not totally control my feelings. Someday my “I’m grateful” statement was very simple, such as “I’m grateful for the sun shining.” Looking back to our posts, I can see how important it was when we asked for what we needed which was a positive statement versus what we did not want, such as “I want blood counts to increase” vs. “I do not want blood counts to decrease.” It seems simple, but I believe a positive statement allowed us to move forward.
It was difficult, but we had to learn to accept help when Jack was going through treatment. We accepted monetary help, people to mow our lawn, make us food, etc. It was humbling and not easy, but we promised we would give back when we could, it just happened to be our turn to receive. Although, we were the caregivers, we were cared for as well. Please accept the blank cards to express your love, retell a joke or to say thanks to someone you are grateful for.
As we know, the financial burden cancer places on a family; we hope the enclosed Hy-Vee Coupon Book and $20 Gift Card can be of some assistance.
Staying active can help heal your body, mind, and spirit during your treatment and recovery. Please use the enclosed YMCA Pass to help maintain an active & healthy lifestyle.
PLANNER & JOURNAL
This book helps people affected by cancer navigate their cancer journey. The guidebook provides information and resources to address specific concerns that patients, loved ones, and caregivers often have at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, and post treatment. The LIVESTRONG Planner and Journal allows the user to organize their information, and record their individual experience.
QUOTES & HUMOR
During Jack’s treatment, he was hospitalized for long periods. Every morning, the doctors would make their rounds and being a kid that tried to focus on fun more than being sick, Jack would want to make the doctors and nurses laugh. He often told jokes or surprised them with Walter the Farting Dog stuffed animal that tooted when held. I always felt that we were beating cancer even more if we could find a way to laugh during the most stressful, scary time in our life. I remember reading quotes or something that someone wrote and holding on to it to get me through the day. The power of words can be healing. We hope we can provide you inspiration with one of our favorite quotes and/or a smile today with one of our favorite’s jokes found in the photo album.