Woman's Friends for Life emails, prayer chain span nine states

KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- On the 13th of every month for over 15 years, WZZM 13's Friends For Life campaign has reminded women to perform a self examination to detect breast cancer. Juliet Dragos recently met Jan Ignatoski, who has turned the campaign into a personal mission.

For the past decade Jan has emailed friends on the 13th of the month. What started out as a short email to a few close friends and family members has grown to 60 recipients in nine states.

"The people who receive it encourage me to keep doing it, so I keep doing it," said Jan, who spends hours each month writing her thoughts. "I sit down usually on the 11th or 12th in the evening and whatever thoughts come to my mind, I just kind of put them in there."

Included in her email is a prayer list with the names of those who are currently battling or have battled all types of cancer. Jan gets a lot of requests; last month 125 names were on the list. "A gal in Texas right now is only 33 and she's going through treatment for lung cancer and she wrote me an email and said, 'Jan, I just appreciate you putting me on the list.'"

Seven years ago, Jan's 15-year-old grandson was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. His name went on the list too. "He'd say, 'I get cards from people I don't even know who they are, they're from all over the place, but I know people all over are praying for me,'" Jan recalled. He's been cancer free for nearly six years.

As the email chain grows, so does cancer awareness. Jan says she welcomes additional email recipients and will also add cancer patients to her prayer list. Her email is:




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