Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Jones

Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Jones

Tell us about your professional/educational background.
I’m a lawyer who represents individuals injured by corporate negligence, usually through defective pharmaceutical products or other toxic product exposures.

What makes the National CMV Foundation's mission powerful for you?
My son Ross died from CMV-related complications at just three days old in April 2019. I had never even heard of CMV until about six weeks after he died, but it turns out that my wife was likely exposed to CMV during the first trimester of her pregnancy with Ross. This makes the National CMV Foundation’s mission to inform parents of this risk and to prevent other babies from being affected very personal and powerful for me.

What made you decide to get more involved with the National CMV Foundation, as a Community Alliance Chair?
2019 was a very hard year for my family. I have two other young kids, and it was obviously very difficult on everyone to lose Ross the way we did and caused me to do a lot of soul-searching. After taking a lot of time to process what had happened, I knew I wanted to be a part of bringing about big change for CMV education and prevention especially in Alabama, not just through donating or smaller efforts alone.

In your role as CMV Community Alliance Chair, what goals have you set for 2020?
My biggest goal is that I want to work with the Alabama Department of Public Health to get a pamphlet in the hands of all parents-to-be in the state warning them about the risks of CMV exposure and the steps to take to prevent it.

I also want to host a fundraising event to generate more donations to further the Foundation’s work in both Alabama and throughout the country.

What does success look like to you?
Success to me is preventing any additional kids from being affected by congenital CMV. While we make substantial progress at minimizing the harm through awareness efforts, I don’t think we have succeeded until we have a vaccine that can completely prevent congenital CMV infections.

What motivates you?
I’m most motivated by things I find challenging, and by trying to help change things for the better.

As a volunteer leader, what advice do you have for people who want to work on CMV advocacy, but don’t know where to start?
I would say to first spend some time researching online to see what, if anything, is being done in your area for CMV advocacy and then go from there based on what you find. Along the way, never hesitate to reach out to the National CMV Foundation or any of the Community Alliance Chairs for advice or guidance. People bonded by a common tragedy like CMV are usually very supportive and happy to help in any way they can.
Favorite quote?
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
--President Theodore Roosevelt

What do you like most about living in Birmingham?
Birmingham is big enough to have a lot of opportunities but small enough to have a more personal feel. There are lots of great things to do outdoors, and we’re just a few hours away from the Appalachian Mountains to the North and the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to the South.

You're happiest when?
I’m happiest when I’m outdoors enjoying nature with people I love.