In 2005, 14-year-old Jaimeson Jones had a secret. Not a good secret, though – a deadly one. The ninth grader had increasingly painful swelling in his left testicle, and he had suffered in silence already for more than a year. When he finally couldn’t stand the pain any more, he landed in the ER, where he was diagnosed with Stage IV (now known as Stage IIIC) poor-prognosis testicular cancer. After in-person consultations with the great Lawrence Einhorn, M.D. and his expert panel of surgeons, multiple rounds of chemotherapy in Seattle and four major surgeries at IUPUI, Jaimeson’s cancer went into remission late that year.
While he was in remission, he tellingly explained to a high school friend, “It just kept getting bigger and bigger, but I was too embarrassed to tell my mom.”
In 2009, when Jaimeson was 19, the cancer recurred, and he endured even more extreme treatment, including high-dose chemotherapy with two stem cell transplants (chillingly, prophetically, known as “salvage therapy”) and two major lung surgeries. This time, though, he couldn’t be saved, and he died at age 20 in 2010, leaving a devastated family and community.
Jaimeson bequeathed his college savings to his two younger sisters, then 12 and 18, because he understood the financial devastation his illness had caused the family.
Jaimeson Jones died of embarrassment, like so many other young men with TC. Testicular cancer is the “perfect storm” of a disease, despite Dr. Einhorn’s monumental work in the 1970s. This is not because there is no successful treatment, but because the target demographic most likely to get it (men ages 15-35) feel invincible, hate going to the doctor, feel embarrassed about where their symptoms are, and don’t realize that those symptoms may indicate cancer. So, they wait. And wait. Just as Jaimeson did.
JJMS is dedicated to changing the culture of silence about men’s health and heightening people’s awareness about testicular cancer, and to do that, we get them where they live: with humor. The annual Seattle-area Family Jewels 5K (get it?) raises scholarship funds, and JJMS educates that captive audience with their “30-second lecture” about testicles: “Shouldn’t hurt! Shouldn’t have lumps or bumps! Shouldn’t be (way) different sizes! And if there’s a change – GO SEE A UROLOGIST!” Nut Notes along the route gently pester men to do self-checks: “Too chicken to check your nuggets?” “Check your ‘nads, lads!” “Don’t be slackers, check your knackers!” “Carpe Scrotum!” Family and friend groups jog by, laugh, and learn – and we save lives.
The Jaimeson Jones Memorial Scholarship has two missions: Providing scholarships to families who have experienced childhood cancer, and preaching early detection of TC by teaching its signs and symptoms. We are beyond honored and thrilled to be attending the first-ever Testicular Cancer Summit.
Jaimeson Jones Memorial Scholarship