AKRON — Thirty-one days just isn’t enough time for Lavar Jacobs Sr. to raise awareness about breast cancer.

What You Need To Know

  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • Lavar Jacobs Sr. thinks the disease is worthy of attention all year

  • He founded a nonprofit called Not Just October to raise awareness and provide support to patients 

  • The organization opened up Ohio's first Black-owned breast cancer center last year

“I felt like I could really, really make a difference if I started my own organization,” Jacobs said.

So he founded Not Just October, a nonprofit that provides resources to breast cancer patients, survivors and their supporters. The organization opened up the Kim Jacobs Breast Cancer Resource Center in 2021.

“Well, the primary goal is to be a safe haven for women who are battling breast cancer," he said. "As soon as women are diagnosed, I want them to call here. I want them to come in and visit."

Jacobs said the location is Ohio’s first Black-owned breast cancer center, and all are welcome.

“Every background, every nationality, every walk of life, all social statuses,” Jacobs said.

The center is named after his mom, Kim Jacobs, who died from the disease in 2009.

“If I knew what I knew now, there are certain things that I would have done," he said. "Like, ‘Mom, immediately, let's go to the biggest cancer center in the world. They can help you,’ you know what I mean? So, I just wish I could have done more while she was still here."

In many ways, Jacobs said his mom’s spirit is still here. He keeps her ashes at the front of the building for inspiration.

“You know, when the people walk in and see that, you know, some people are a little shocked,” he said. “It's important to know my mom is here. Her presence is everywhere in this building, and it's everywhere with me.”

His mom is also his muse for the free services that the center provides. Jacobs said he takes requests from the women who he serves and admitted that no task is too big or too small.

“That's why we're out here, making sure women can get their grass cut and things like that," he said. "So, anything that I remember my mom going through or just seeing other women go through, that's how our services come about. I want to do every single thing that I can to help women who are battling breast cancer.”

This includes having a space for free food and a place where women can be fitted for wigs.

“We have a hairstylist come and fit them for the wig, ask them exactly what style they want, and then they go make the wig, and then they come back together, here, and they get that crown put on their head,” Jacobs said.

Although he wished he could have done more for his mom when she was here, he hopes his efforts are making her proud.

“I hate the fact that my mom had to pass away for me to find my purpose in life, but I’m sure she’s happy that I found my purpose and I know exactly why I’m on Earth,” he said

Jacobs encouraged people not to put their pink away at the end of October to continue to raise awareness.