When U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Jason Duff ‘96 was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for lymphoma last year, he often thought about how he could make a difference once he regained his health.
Now, just nine months after his cancer diagnosis, the Widener University School of Nursing graduate has planned Mission: Possible – a Feb. 18 event that will bring together top bands and artists in Philadelphia to benefit The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia, an organization that supports local families dealing with cancer at no cost.
“I consider myself very fortunate in regards to the people and resources that I have in my life,” Duff said. “I ultimately decided to organize an event that would be a fundraiser, an awareness event, and essentially a ‘thank you’ to all of my friends and family who supported me.”
Duff graduated from Widener with a bachelor of science in nursing in 1996. He went on to receive a master of science in nursing from MCP Hahnemann University in 2000, a master of science in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006, and a doctor of psychology in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2008.
Duff, a northeast Philadelphia native who currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia, has been an active duty U.S. Navy psychologist since 2007. He served for three years overseas in Japan and has deployed twice.
After being treated for lymphoma, Duff wanted to use his connections in the Philadelphia music industry, many of which were formed when he was a DJ while in school, to create a cancer benefit.
The idea grew bigger and bigger as local businesses and organizations, some with Widener connections, came onboard.
“Mission: Possible is going to be a remarkable event for an exceptional organization,” Duff said. “The proceeds from our ticket sales, merchandise sales, raffles and auction items will go directly to The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia to support local Philadelphia families living with cancer.”
Mission: Possible will be held at Xfinity Live!’s Victory Beer Hall and will feature six live performances, a special “All Star Acoustic Jam,” open bar and buffet, as well as ticket and exclusive raffle and auction items.
Kicking off the event will be the “All Star Acoustic Jam” starring Steve Turner and Cara Lynne (Late Last Night), Ray Ray (Split Decision), Michael Anthony Thompson (Deez2Guyz; Masquerade), Richie Yusko (Lima Bean Riot), and more.
Following the jam, the day’s musical lineup will begin with a variety of artists taking the stage, including Featherborn (featuring Danny Beissel and Charlie Colin founding member/former bassist from Train), Octane (acoustic), Bonehead, Bryen O’Boyle (Mr. Greengenes), Gypsy Wisdom and LauraLea & Tripp Fabulous.
“I believe we are going to help a lot of people,” Duff said. “I am at the point now where I anticipate hosting additional events under the Mission: Possible banner for years to come.”