Jake's stepmother, Laurel Allison Qualls, passed away on September 14, 2017 following a valiant battle with breast cancer. Laurel spread light and love to all she knew, and devoted herself to serving others. She extended her service beyond the ordinary bounds of family, friends, congregation, and co-workers, and touched many lives in the broader community through exceptional humanitarian and spiritual outreach.
Jen's father, Jim McDonald, continues his heroic battle with Stage IV Thymoa, a rare cancer resulting from his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the Naval Air Force during the Vietnam War. Jim was diagnosed with six-weeks to live in the summer of 2012, but has defied all odds since, continuing his fight today at the National Institute for Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he is participating in a Thymoma treatment study. Jim too has devoted himself to serving others. Jim not only sacrificed to serve his country, but for decades has sacrificed in order to give to his loved ones, his community, and countless others in need.
These two incredible humans have forever shaped Jake and Jen's hearts, fueled their spirits, and taught them the importance of love, selflessness, and generosity. In the spirit of that love and generosity, Jake and Jen ask that in lieu of wedding gifts, you consider contributing here, to the Cancer Research Institute, or any other outside charity that speaks to you.