In 2010, Jon Thomas attended an awards ceremony recognizing people making huge contributions in the nonprofit community. Up to this point, Jon had done very little charity work and he was dreading the conversations he would have with the other attendees. People he knew had given back so much.
On his way home from the event, Jon knew he needed to do more. That is when the seed for Tap Cancer Out was planted. Jon had lost a nephew to cancer and he was determined to make a difference for cancer research.
Jon was an active Jiu Jitsu competitor at this point and he realized there was little to no nonprofit work being done within the Jiu Jitsu community. He saw the opportunity to tap a previously untapped resource. But how? Jon's first attempt at selling Tap Cancer Out
t-shirts at an MMA event was by no means a success. Rather than being discouraged, Jon regrouped and with the advice of his instructor, Jon decided to host the first Tap Cancer Out Jiu Jitsu tournament.
In 2012, with no experience hosting a tournament, Jon dove in headfirst. Renting a venue and sending out posters, he was now fully committed. In a school gymnasium with borrowed wresting mats, Tap Cancer Out's first tournament drew over 150 competitors and smashed the goal of raising $5,000 by raising over $17,000! That success only fueled Jon to have Tap Cancer Out host larger and more professionally run tournaments.
On weekends when a tournament was scheduled, Jon and other volunteers would load up a truck with everything needed to run a Jiu Jitsu tournament and hit the road. Over the next several years, hosting tournaments across the country, Tap Cancer Out continued growing and making increasingly larger contributions to cancer charities.
In 2018, Jon made Tap Cancer out of his full-time job. Along with his wife Becky who is VP of Marketing and Operations and Operations Manager Dave Bannan, Tap Cancer Out has gone from raising $36 dollars selling t-shirts at an MMA event to raising over $2,250,000 by hosting some of the best tournaments in BJJ.
Even today, with all the setbacks 2020 has thrown at Tap Cancer Out, Jon and his team have kept growing, innovating, and exceeding expectations to make a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many suffering from cancer.
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