‘Jammin for Jaclyn’ cancer charity’s 8th edition virtual for ’21
For the second year in a row, an annual New Jersey fundraiser first held to benefit a woman battling cancer is adopting a virtual format, elements of which may remain if and when an in-person event returns in 2022.
As a local musician and brother of the charity's namesake, Michael Squillace has been involved with "Jammin for Jaclyn" at every turn, and said the last two years have been unlike any in the yearly concert's history.
"It was fun to change it up, sad that we couldn't be in person, but a nice challenge," Squillace said. "So we'll be doing the same thing this year."
Even though Jammin for Jaclyn happens just once a year, Squillace said planning for the next year's event begins the day after the current year's — if not sooner.
He said it took a long time for him and the other organizers to perfect the one-night-only show, and to be able to maintain that is a continuous effort.
"It probably starts during the event," he said. "You always find things that you could do better when they're occurring. That's the best way of fixing something."
The first thing that had to be adjusted last year was the time of year the fundraiser took place. Usually in April (Jaclyn's birthday was April 10), the event was pushed back to June, which is a change that will stay in place for this year.
And instead of 600 to 700 attendees at the Sayreville Knights of Columbus, the show, featuring eight New Jersey musical acts, will stream on Facebook Live.
Still, Squillace said, the new, virtual format yielded the charity's second-largest one-year amount in 2020, a total of $35,260 in donations.
Although initially meant to help offset some of Jaclyn's medical expenses, Jammin for Jaclyn grew to benefit other New Jersey individuals and families touched by cancer, both while Jaclyn was in remission and since her 2018 passing.
The 2021 beneficiary is local business owner Brian Da Silva, who is fighting pancreatic cancer.
This year's show will be on Saturday, June 12, starting at 7 p.m. There are several ways to donate: at givebutter.com/JamminforJaclyn2021, by texting J4J2021 to 202-858-1233, or going to jamminforjaclyn.org for more information.