Meet January Volunteer of the Month, Janie Kasse!

We are thrilled to recognize Janie Kasse, one of our volunteers who is #kickingbutt in many ways! Janie has been involved in so much of the work we do, and we are very grateful! Learn more about Janie below, including one interesting fact about her that most people don’t know!

How did you get involved with The Project?

My involvement was initially “event based”.  I love watching an event go from the beginning planning stages to a full blown party. I was looking for an event to be a part of and came across something about The Bottoms Up Bash.  In November 2014, I contacted Lindy to see how I could get involved.  I didn’t know anyone with colon cancer but I do have Crohn’s Disease with a permanent ileostomy so I felt that something “involving/for/about” the colon was surely a worthwhile mission.   Interestingly enough, three weeks after the 2015 Bash, my sister-in-law, Julie, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.  She is 38 years old.

What is most meaningful to you as a volunteer for the Project?

Definitely raising awareness.. for two things: 1) Screening saves lives and 2) if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out!  No one knows your body like you do!!  My sister-in-law listened to her body and became her own advocate.  I do believe that her odds for survival were greatly improved because she got checked as soon as she had symptoms!!

Why the Louisville area?

Because Kentuckiana is my home.  I am originally from Shelbyville, KY and have lived in New Albany, IN for 17 ½ years.

What is your favorite restaurant in Louisville?

I do eat out a lot … but I’m a fast food girl .. I can (and do!) eat Zaxby’s A LOT .. like 3x/week!!!  There is nothing better than a Kiddie Finger meal with a mild and hot sauce .. OH .. and a sweet tea, of course!! 🙂

What is one interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?

I am the Manager for the band, Black Friday.  My “other” life is full of booking gigs, arranging rehearsals and trying to get them noticed!!  My son, Lucas, is the lead singer and they’ve been together for 4 ½ years! I LOVE it!!

What is your motto you live by?

“Motto?  What’s a motto?  Nothing!  What’s a “motto” with you?”  Ha!!  For those of you that aren’t familiar, that’s a quote from Disney’s The Lion King (only the best Disney movie – EVER!) .. So, naturally, my most referenced motto is Hakuna Matata … It means No Worries .. For the rest of your days .. Oh, sorry!  I broke out into song on that one!! 🙂

What is some advice you were given long ago and still live by?

Try to be nice to everyone .. You don’t know what they may be dealing with…

I don’t think I was very good at that for a lot of years of my life but in the past 4-5 years, I have definitely tried to remember those words.  We’re all battling something .. Just because someone is lying on a bed of roses, doesn’t mean they aren’t being stuck by thorns.

What is your guilty pleasure? (Yes, we mean the one you are slightly embarrassed to admit.)

Oh!  Definitely reality t.v.!  I love Survivor, Big Brother, Chrisley Knows Best (Todd is a riot!) and Married at First Sight!!  It is mindless and entertaining t.v.  I lead a crazy, busy life .. sometimes a “veg out” session in front of the old tele is just what the brain needs!!

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

New Zealand or Australia .. My oldest son, Austin has been to both and he loved both!!  He talks about how beautiful and laid back both countries are.  I’d like to judge for myself 🙂

If you could trade places with anyone in the world (dead or alive) for a month, who would choose and why?

This is a no brainer .. I’d definitely choose Ellen DeGeneres .. The reasons are two-fold .. For me, I’d love to experience her “every day” life.  I’d imagine she is surrounded by such kind and funny people!!  I’d have lunch with Andy and knock on some doors with Jeannie.  I bet her house is relaxing and inviting and I’d love on every animal she’s rescued!  I visited her show set last summer and stood exactly where she stands for her monologue every day.  I was over the moon excited!!  Our LA trip could’ve ended right then and there and I would’ve been just fine (it was day one!  ha!).

On the flip side .. since we’re trading places .. What better influence on my family could there be than Ellen – freaking – DeGeneres?!  She is kind to everyone, she is hilarious, doesn’t take herself too seriously, she is tolerant and believes that we’re all just humans trying to live on the same planet .. What better role model is there than that?!  My family would get to spend A MONTH with Ellen .. I mean, I’d be jealous but that’s okay .. I’d be willing to suck it up and “take one for the team!”

Thank you for all you do, Janie! You are truly #kickingbutt!