The Coughlins may be famous for their drag racing and aftermarket parts retail prowess, but in some ways they are like your average family in that they have been touched either directly or indirectly by Cancer. While they have seen friends develop the deadly disease, they had to look no further than the patriarch Jeg, Sr., (bladder) and Jeggie’s wife Karen (Cervical) for a diagnosis that hit close to home. In both cases, it was through family support and research that they overcame the odds stacked before them. Remembering the pain and anguish often associated with their trials and tribulations, the Coughlins decided to do something in hopes of making a difference in the lives of those affected through support of research to find a cure. Thus was founded the JEG’S Foundation, a special program designed to aid in raising awareness of the preventative measures through research.
|Jeg Coughlin, Sr. was affected by Cancer as he successfully overcame bladder cancer.
“My wife and I were actually sitting in the waiting room at the Hospital here in Columbus and came up with the idea that it would be neat to develop a ribbon that would signify a ‘race for research,” explained Jeggie Coughlin. “We were talking and I happened to have my computer with me and I started sketching some things out.”
It didn’t take long before a family meeting was called and both Jeggie and Karen presented their idea. The vision was met with unanimous approval and from that point on; all members of the Coughlin clan were hands-on in the bid to create not only a ribbon, but also a special program that could aid others.
“Obviously, we could all relate,” said Jeggie. “All of my brothers or either their spouses have had a touch along the way with the disease. It’s been well received both inside the family and outside. I think we’re on our way as a family to making this a success by letting people know that there is help out there and prevention is the best key to it.
“The thing that encouraged us the most about the program is the fact that we could do it together as a family.”
Coughlin admits that one of the foremost objectives is to encourage people to pursue early detection, if at all possible. He knew that his family’s status in the racing community would only aid in the success of the project.
|Jeg Coughlin, Jr. feels that his wife Karen has developed a program that can aid in creating cancer awareness by using drag racing as their platform.
“We were confident that our racing and our media attention could create awareness in the race to cure cancer,” explained Jeggie. “It wasn’t just for the cure, it was to also create awareness of how people who had survived the disease could help in the overall program. I think the bottom line is that we knew our exposure in racing could help us to do a good thing here.”
The program was officially kicked off in Gainesville at the NHRA Gatornationals and was met with overwhelming support from both the racers and the media.
“Whether people realize it or not, one in four people will be affected by cancer,” Coughlin explained. “That’s a pretty staggering number when you look at it. You don’t have to look far to see four people. I think that’s a real eye opener. We’ve been extremely fortunate in the business world and just as blessed in the racing world. We’d like to add cancer research and aiding in the fight to be on our resumes as well.”
So confident of the merits of the JEG’S Foundation are the Coughlin siblings that all have committed a part of their race earnings all season long as a donation. All of the money is then channeled through two of the leading cancer research facilities out of only 39 nationally designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at the Ohio State University (www.jamesline.com), and the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Health System (www.irelandcancercenter.org).
“We selected two of the most powerful research and development facilities in the country,” explained Coughlin. “That has to say a lot about our dedication to this.”
|The special ribbon lists all major forms of cancer and aspires to defeat all of them.
Jeggie believes in giving credit where credit is due and his wife deserves a lot of credit.
“Karen has been very instrumental in making this all work by volunteering at both the James and Solove facilities over the last five years,” added Jeggie. “She has a real passion to make this a success. She has participated in a number of activities that has helped tremendously. Now our family is involved with all of it and it has helped to bring us even closer together in this fight.”
Jeggie admitted that one can expect his family to be as dedicated to winning this fight as well as the battles they encounter on the track.
“There’s no doubt that we want to be aggressive in the amount that we can earmark into the program,” added Coughlin.”I think the aggressive side will be aided by the media. I think what I really want to point out is that we want to get as much as we can for it.”
Karen and some of her friends at the Ireland Cancer Center began to develop the idea of a special ribbon to commemorate the battle that we all have the potential to fight.
"This is such an important cause for my husband, myself and
the entire Coughlin family," says Karen. "It's been five
years since I was treated for cancer. I was able to experience first
hand the impact of innovative treatment and care. Almost everyone
has a family member or friend affected by cancer. The important
thing to remember is that there are almost 9 million people alive
today who have successfully fought the disease - and we want that
number to grow."
"Karen designed it and put her heart and soul
into it," says Jeggie. "And we think it's going to attract
a lot of attention. People are going to want to know what it's all
about and everyone is excited to help educate the public from coast-to-coast.
Using the unique stage that NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and
Lucas Oil Sportsman Series provides will enhance top of mind awareness
in a new and exciting way."
"We are so pleased to be able to do this," says Karen. "Like many cancer patients and cancer survivors, I've felt the need to give back something. The entire Coughlin family feels this is the best way to do it, and we hope others will join us in creating awareness and racing for the cure. We have a lot to be thankful for."
Even the doctors at these reputed facilities are excited about the Coughlins involvement in such a program.
|Both the Coughlin Family and the doctors at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at the Ohio State University (www.jamesline.com), and the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Health System (www.irelandcancercenter.org) are committed to winning this battle.
"We are honored to add The JEG'S Foundation to The James Team," says Dr. David Schuller, executive director of The James and deputy director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Their support and dedication are a source of inspiration to all of us who are working so hard to reach the goal we all strive for, a cure for cancer."
"We at the Ireland Cancer Center are excited about are new partnership with the JEG'S Foundation," said Dr. Jim Wilson, director of The Ireland Cancer Center. "This is a partnership we are excited about and can see the synergies is creating awareness for cancer research in a mainstream way."
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), "the nation's investment in cancer research," supports scientific discovery and its application in clinical practice through NCI-funded research in the U.S. and around the world. By stimulating the generation of new knowledge and tools and encouraging collaborations among researchers in a myriad on NCI-supported initiatives, the NCI works toward its goal "to achieve a future when all cancers are uncommon and easily treated."
So how can the average race fan help out in this program?
“They can get involved in a number of ways,” explains Jeggie. “If you go to our website (www.jegs.com) there’s a ribbon icon that takes you to a page which explains the many things you can do to get involved. If you want to get involved financially then there are they two renowned facilities that we have made part of this program. We have links to their website, of which you will find our ribbon icon on their website as well.
“One hundred of the proceeds generated through the JEG’S Foundation will go directly to research. We have developed a good reputation with both facilities and they believe in what we are doing as much as we do.”
“I see the look in the doctors’ eyes; they are very much committed to winning this battle.”