About Us

Our Mission

The Dear Jack Foundation provides impactful programs benefiting adolescents and young adults (AYA) diagnosed with cancer and their families to improve their quality of life from treatment to survivorship.

Through programs and strategic partnerships, Dear Jack addresses the physical and emotional needs of AYA cancer patients, survivors and their families. One-on-one patient support and wellness programs allow the Dear Jack Foundation to empower patients, survivors and their caregivers in their healing and to provide assurance that they are not alone in their cancer journey.

Our Values

Community is at Our Core


We take responsibility for our actions through respect and accountability in all that we do.


Community is at our core. Together we are stronger and strive to embody this in our programs, fundraising, relationships, and in our communication.


Our commitment to diversity and inclusion builds a stronger and more powerful community.


We provide our services with the utmost empathy and kindness. We take pride in creating moments of joy or relief during a time that can often bring stress or fear.

Our Story

A Voice for Young Adults with Cancer

In the spring of 2005, Andrew McMahon and his band Jack’s Mannequin embarked on their first U.S. headlining tour. Before completing the tour, Andrew paid a visit to his voice doctor in New York City due to a growing number of health concerns. The results from the blood work that came back the following morning were alarming and Andrew was quickly admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Ultimately, everyone’s worst fears were confirmed: Andrew, at the age of 23, had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

After his diagnosis, Andrew underwent two rounds of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and a lifesaving stem cell transplant from his sister. During his battle with ALL, it became clear that in a generation where cancer has become the second largest cause of death in the U.S. and the biggest public action item relevant to health, there were still major shortfalls in treatment, support, and research on behalf of the young adult demographic.

In an effort to initiate change and provide a voice for the generations of young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, Andrew McMahon founded the Dear Jack Foundation in July of 2006. Since then, the Dear Jack Foundation has served hundreds of young adult cancer patients and survivors through programs that provide support and community to a demographic far too often forgotten.

About Andrew

Our Team

Advocates for Change

The Dear Jack staff and board of directors are experts in their field and have an affinity for supporting AYA cancer patients, survivors and their families.


Ryan Pettengill Executive Director
Lilly Dugan Director of Programs
Sonnie Jardine Office Manager
Susan Wandishin Senior Manager of Programs and Community
Val Lopez Marketing & Operations Manager


Andrew McMahon Founder
Steve Mitzel Board Chair
Elisa Chin
Justin King
Denisse Martinez, LSW
Dr. Allison Rosenthal
Darren Shames
Neil Sinay
Mike Sigmond
Steve Smith

2022 Annual Report

The 2022 Dear Jack Foundation Annual Report is now available.

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Strategic Plan

The 2023-2025 Dear Jack Foundation Strategic Plan is now available.

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Our Awards

We’re Proud of our Achievements

Platinum Seal of Transparency

The Dear Jack Foundation has been recognized for sharing clear and important information with the public about our goals, strategies, capabilities and achievements that showcase the impact we have in the AYA community.



Partners in Philanthropy Nonprofit Award

We are honored to have been recognized by the Denver Business Journal! We won the Partners in Philanthropy award for having an “innovative approach to solving problems and helping those in need throughout the Denver area”.

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