Jeff Jones is vice president of Admiral Pest Control, a company that has been continually in Jeff’s family since 1947. Along with his brother Brian, Jeff helps run the day-to-day operations of the company their grandfather founded 65 years ago. As you can imagine, being at the helm of any successful business offers its own challenges, but in Jeff’s case he has an additional anxiety that eats up his time and energy more often than he would like—cancer.
Six years ago Jeff woke up one morning and found a lump on his shoulder the size of a baseball, which had literally grown overnight. He immediately went to the doctor, at which time an MRI revealed he had soft tissue sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Fortunately, it was treatable. A biopsy and several tests determined that Jeff would have to go through six months of chemo treatments to shrink the tumor so that it would be small enough to remove safely. Looking on the bright side, enduring this grueling procedure meant Jeff wouldn’t lose his right arm, which was extremely good news since he’s right-handed.
When the day came to remove the tumor the surgeon unfortunately had to take most of the muscles from Jeff’s right arm. After coming out of surgery his doctors told Jeff that he would never be able to use his right arm again and that he had a 50/50 chance of living beyond five years. Six years later he uses his right hand just fine and although there have been setbacks along the way (a three-year checkup showed the cancer had returned, which meant chemo and surgery all over again) he continues to be a trusted and dependable leader at Admiral Pest Control, as well as a loving husband and father of four.
However, this unexpected journey gave Jeff, his family, and co-workers a new appreciation for what cancer victims have to go through. Within a year of Jeff’s diagnosis, Admiral Pest Control decided they wanted to help rid the world of a different kind of pest: cancer. So they formed Team Admiral and joined Relay for Life, a global event that helps communities fundraise to fight cancer by celebrating the lives of loved ones who’ve both won and lost battles against this ugly disease. In their first year of participation Team Admiral raised $11,500, which won them recognition that year as the newest team to raise the most money. (Just to give you perspective, the entire city of Bellflower raised $60,000 that year, which means Team Admiral contributed a little less than 20% of the total.)
The experience was so positive and fulfilling that Team Admiral has participated in Relay for Life annually for the past five years. This year Team Admiral hopes to raise $15,000, which does not appear to be a problem, since as of May 25 they’ve already raised $12,772.25, and this year’s Relay for Life event is not until June 30!
As for Jeff, he couldn’t be more grateful for the support of his friends, family, company and community. However, his fight is apparently not quite over yet. A month ago Jeff found out at his regular checkup that he has a small spot in his right armpit. It’s impossible to be 100% certain without surgery to determine if the cancer has returned, so his doctors will evaluate the spot again in August to see if it’s grown. If it is cancer, Jeff will most likely lose his right arm and shoulder this time. Even though this news strikes a hard blow, Jeff’s facing it with his customary dignity and tenacity by taking this time to teach himself how to use his left hand, just in case. He will also especially enjoy these next couple of months and participate proudly, along with his Team Admiral teammates, in the Relay for Life on June 30. If you happen to be in Bellflower that day you might want to come by Bellflower High School (home to the event) and cheer on Team Admiral and Jeff, who, by the way, is the team captain. They’ll be hard to miss. Just look for the people at the family-owned pest control company working their hardest to “exterminate” cancer once and for all—one donation dollar at a time.
Help Team Admiral make (or better yet exceed) their goal of $15,000 to help exterminate cancer? If so, please click here to go to the Team Admiral page on the Relay for Life website and donate online. It only takes a second and every little bit helps. Thanks!