Health/workout addict. Vegan/whole foods, plant-based. Whole Foods, Plum Market addict. Equinox Gym. Stand over sitting. Love walk & talks. Detroiter, Michigangster. Love humans/animals/ideas. Minimalist. Simplifier. Dream: make world better place! Religion: kindness. Fav weather: 70/cloudy/breezy.
Jonny Imerman is a young adult cancer survivor who co-founded Imerman Angels, a non-profit organization that connects a cancer fighter (or caregiver) with someone who has fought and survived the same cancer.
At 26 years old in 2001, Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he did five months of chemotherapy and became cancer-free. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine. After another surgery, an 11-inch incision, and three months of recovery, Jonny was back in remission.
During his cancer fight, he realized what needed to change in the cancer world. Despite loving support from family and friends, he was unable to find a cancer survivor like him. Jonny wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor, who not only had beaten the same type of cancer, but who also was around the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel ⎯ walking, living proof that the fighter could win too. That amazing connection would provide inspiration, knowledge, and hope. This is why he created Imerman Angels.
Imerman Angels carefully matches and pairs up a person touched by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Cancer caregivers (spouses, parents, children and other family and friends of fighters) also receive 1-on-1 connections with other caregivers and survivors. These 1-on-1 relationships inspire hope and offer the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. The service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world. Today, Imerman Angels has more than 6,000 cancer survivors and more than 1,500 caregivers in its network.
Imerman Angels was chosen as “Top 3 Most Innovative Creator Idea in Midwest of 2017” by WeWork (2017 Creator Award), “Top 25 Most Innovative Programs of 2015” by National Journal / Atlantic Media, Haute Living’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2010; Chicago Scene’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2010; Chicago Scene’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2008; and Chicago Social’s #1 Charity in Chicago in 2007. Imerman Angels has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Harpo Radio’s “Oprah and Friends” with Dr. Oz, CNN, TEDx, The Huffington Post, Men’s Health, National Public Radio (NPR), Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s “Doctor Radio” - Channel 81, NBC Chicago News, CBS Chicago News, ABC Chicago News, WGN Chicago News, FOX Chicago News, FOX Detroit News, ESPN Radio Chicago, WJR Radio Detroit, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Detroit Free Press, HOUR Detroit, LIVESTRONG Quarterly, CancerToday, CURE Magazine, Oncology Nursing News, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, and Nonprofit Chicago Magazine.
Jonny received a 2015 Michigan Avenue Magazine 'Chicago's Leading Men' Award; 2015 ‘The 100’ Award from Mass General Cancer Center; 2012 CNN Hero Award; 2012 Salute of Gratitude from The City Council of Chicago; 2012 Lincoln Park Young Professionals ‘Chicago Best of The Best’ Award; 2011 Twilight Foundation Detroit’s Civic Leadership Award; 2012 Susan G. Komen ‘Pink Tie Guy’ Award; 2011 Chicago Social Magazine’s ‘Who is Chicago’ Award; 2010 Jefferson Award for Public Service; 2010 University of Michigan Humanitarian Service Award; 2009 Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults ‘Hope Award’; and 2007 Daily Candy ‘Sweetest Thing’ Award.
Jonny has been invited to speak at cancer centers such as MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mayo Clinic, Dana-Farber, City of Hope, Northwestern, Rush, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; and companies such as Google, LinkedIn “Speaker Series”, Salesforce/Dreamforce, Walgreens, UBS, Discover, Hyatt, Steelcase, Peapod, kCura, 1871, TechWeek, and Free The Children’s “We Day” (18k youth).
Jonny was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1975. When just a baby, his parents divorced, and he moved to Bloomfield Hills, a suburb of Detroit. He attended Cranbrook Kingswood School from kindergarten through high school. After graduation, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Jonny earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. After college, he returned to the Detroit area. He worked during the day while earning an MBA from Wayne State University at night when he was diagnosed.
Imerman Angels has been a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization since 2006.
John May co-founded Imerman Angels with Jonny Imerman and served as the Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2021. Inspired to make sure no one faces cancer alone. John’s primary role is developing Imerman Angel’s strategic plan while making sure its program and operation support its mission on a daily basis.
Jeff Imerman followed his passion for storytelling from journalism to law to food to social impact. Working with his brother Jonny and close friend John, he enjoys telling the stories of amazing nonprofit organizations that are making the world a better place!
A lawyer and former TV journalist, Jeff became passionate about the organic food movement after his younger brother Jonny’s battle with cancer, when he began learning more about the importance of eating foods without synthetic pesticides and chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones, and genetically modified ingredients. He co-founded Imerman Cake Company, a wholesale supplier and online retailer of USDA-certified organic coffeecakes.
Prior to Imerman Cake Company, Jeff was a federal law clerk for the Honorable Bernard A. Friedman in the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) and a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City. He was also a general assignments reporter/weekend-anchor at the NBC-TV affiliate in Joplin, Missouri and a reporter at the ABC-TV affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky.
Jeff serves on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee at Imerman Angels (Chicago).
He grew up in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, and graduated cum laude from Cranbrook Kingswood High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and earned a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law, where he was on the Duke Law Journal.