Mom’s Story

This whole entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t just about some random monkeys and attaching cancer to their name. It’s about my Mom… and too many others like her.

The SMAC! monkey line was inspired by my Mom, Leslie Lehrman, who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer six years ago. No, she never smoked. ANYONE can get lung cancer (‘nother whole story).

Mom with “Hope” & “NED”

When my Mom told me she had lung cancer, I started a social media movement called “WTF? – (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer?” to help raise awareness & funding for lung cancer – the #1 cancer killer and the LEAST funded.

I had long wanted to give something to my Mom – a “buddy” she could hug to remind her that I’m with her.

My Mom lives in Arizona. I live in Nebraska. Being far from her during her many treatments and scan results has been extremely difficult…for both of us.

When Mom landed in a Denver hospital for a week, I wanted to give her something tangible and special to keep when I had to return home. I gave her two sock monkeys my daughters gave to me for Mother’s Day. She was definitely surprised. She named the monkeys “Hope” and “NED” and held them tightly.

I decided on that plane, on my way to that Denver hospital, that EVERYONE with cancer (or impacted by it) needs a constant companion/warrior in their fight.

An idea was born. So were two SMAC! monkey prototypes:

  • NoMo – ALL-cancer fighting monkey
  • Phoenix -“WTF? (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer?” fighting monkey

Mom with “Phoenix” and “NoMo”

Mom and I believe everyone impacted by cancer deserves to feel the same…and to hold in their hands, or hug snugly in their arms these soft, cuddly creatures whose hair is as crazy as their determination to SMAC! this disease.