News Release: JAG-K Staff Member, Cancer Survivor, Appreciates Health Care Workers

Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) is thankful for the support of Kansas’ medical community, particularly during February, which the evidence-based program recognizes as Health Month.

With Stormont Vail as a sponsor and involvement on the local level from a host of health care workers, JAG-K is pleased to direct students’ attention to careers in the medical field.

One member of the JAG-K family is particularly appreciative of the impact of health care providers on his life. 

JAG-K Regional Manager Patrick Dake was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia at 18 months of age. After long stints in cancer wards, he was finally free of the disease at age seven.

Dake’s mother is also a cancer survivor, and his grandfather died of cancer when he was young. Dake experienced the pain at a young age of seeing other children die of cancer.

“Losing friends at a young age taught me a lot about the fear of losing someone close to me, fear of my own mortality, fear of my inability to control my own destiny,” Dake said. “Fear is the greatest challenge a cancer patient faces, and the ability to harness your fear is critical if you’re going to truly live a full life, as opposed to simply existing.”

Dake learned about the power of hope to overcome fear. He worked for seven years as a JAG-K Career Specialist, trying to instill hope in students at Stafford High School.

“Overcoming my own trials in life has granted me a new lens to see many students and the individual battles they face,” Dake said. “This generally has allowed me the ability for strong connections across many student groups, treating them all as a equals, with lessons we can learn from each other.”

Dake’s message to students is simple: no matter you are facing, you can overcome.

“Just because others don’t see it or believe it, doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” Dake said. “Don’t ever let a few people or a few events distort the way you view the world or your place in it.”

As a JAG-K Regional Manager, Dake now helps equip Career Specialists across southwest Kansas. He is thankful for the medical providers who helped him beat cancer as a child.

“I was fortunate to have a team that never backed down through all the complications, and I’m forever thankful for those that came into my life through those years,” Dake said. “I have undying respect for all workers in the medical field who do their utmost to find treatments and cures, and to provide comfort where they can.”  

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 6-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, Goldstein Charitable Trust, John Deere, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Stormont Vail Health, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation and Walmart.

To learn more about JAG-K, visit, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.