Is volunteering the new

Here’s something that ought to make all the single ladies and men, for that matter, perk up. Volunteering improves your love life.

I’m not kidding. It’s also good for expanding your social circle, enhancing your relationships and boosting your career, and in many instances, it encourages physical activity.

This being Atlanta, where there are 80,000 more single women than men ages 18-64, I thought inquiring minds might want to know that volunteering just might be the new

In a nationwide survey by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Giving and Getting Back: Volunteering in America, nearly 90 percent of those polled said that volunteering had proved to be a winner when it came to their social life. The number was even higher — 96 percent — for male millennials.

“In our effort to find cures and ensure access to lifesaving treatments for blood cancer patients, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has set the standard for volunteerism,” said Fran Schefer, a campaign director responsible for the Atlanta office’s Team in Training program. “But it’s clear from the survey that special bonds often develop while volunteering with others.”

Ten percent of volunteers said that helping others led to romantic relationships and, of those, 6 percent ended up walking down the aisle in marriage.

It’s true. It happened to Jen and Bill Moss of Smyrna.

Bill was training for a half marathon with Team in Training, but during long Saturday morning sessions in 2005, he found himself in need of a sitter for Haley, a rescue mutt he’d just adopted.

Would Jen take care of her?

Must be a lady magnet, she teased as she took Haley from Bill’s arms.

Must have been. The two became quick friends who could talk about just about anything, sitting still or running and training together as they often did.

In the summer of 2006, their volunteer efforts took them to Dublin, Ireland, for a run that would change their lives.

By then, Bill knew he was falling for Jen. He didn’t mind her stinky sweat. She didn’t mind his. The two of them had become an item, going on dates to the movies and dinners and TNT fundraisers.

Once while heading up Rivers Road in Buckhead, Bill talked about his late mother, who’d passed away in 2000 from leukemia. As they entered the final stretch of the 20-mile run, Bill broke down crying. His mother had brought him to LLS. Now she was pushing him toward the finish.

They could feel themselves drawing closer. They officially abandoned their eHarmony accounts and, just about the time Bill tore his ACL, they headed to Dublin along with 22 other team members.

Jen had run herself ragged by the end of that Dublin run. As night fell, she realized she’d given every supplement she had to the runners on her team. She was wondering what she was going to eat when she looked up and saw Bill.

“I realized he was my partner,” she said.

Bill realized he wanted to take care of her. For the rest of his life.

On Nov. 28, 2006, two weeks after ACL surgery, he did his best to get on his knee to pop the question. Jen said yes and the two were married in June 2007. They went on to have two daughters, ages 7 and 4.

Bill and Jen knew at least a half dozen couples who’d met while volunteering with LLS and married. Now the match god had worked its magic for them.

None of them had been looking for a love match when they signed on to help the national nonprofit. They were, however, looking for a way to honor loved ones: Bill’s mother, Margaret, and Jen’s grandmother, who passed away from lymphoma.

In the summer of 1996, Margaret was diagnosed with leukemia and wasn’t expected to live through the night.

“That’s when I met LLS,” Bill said. “It helped mom get into a clinical trial and that helped prolong her life. We got 18 more months with her.”

In 2004, Bill moved to Atlanta and was looking for a place to get involved when he heard about an information session with LLS and signed on to volunteer.

“Not many months go by when we’re not doing something with this organization,” Jen Moss said.

Together they have raised nearly $50,000 for LLS. Each has been a candidate for man and woman of the year. Jen Moss has coached at least six TNT teams, and just last month, she was a volunteer coach at Walt Disney World.

Bill has been a participant and mentor for several teams and is a member on the National TNT Advisory Board and chairperson of the Georgia Chapter TNT Executive Leadership Committee.

Since being founded in 1949, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in cancer research to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. LLS research grants have funded many of today’s most promising advances, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

Matchmaking just happens to be an added bonus. Jen’s and Bill’s story, Schefer said, has been replicated numerous times within the LLS community across the country.

“It doesn’t surprise me that people are meeting their life partners, but that’s not why we’re here,” he said. “We’re really working for a much higher purpose.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Confederate leaders’ descendants: The statues can come down
Confederate leaders’ descendants: The statues can come down

The year is 2017, and as the president of the United States vehemently defends monuments to the Confederacy, some descendants of Confederate leaders are calling for them to be taken down. On Saturday, an attacker drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a rally of white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, renewing a long-standing...
North Georgia towns brace for huge crowds for solar eclipse
North Georgia towns brace for huge crowds for solar eclipse

Dillard City Clerk Glenda Enloe was in her office when she got an unusual call from a man looking for a house or cabin to rent — two years in advance. » RELATED: The ultimate guide to the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse this August  “He was the first one who told me about the eclipse,” she said. “He said, &lsquo...
Christopher Rude off 93.7, 680/The Fan; Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini staying
Christopher Rude off 93.7, 680/The Fan; Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini staying

Christopher Rude is off 93.7/680 The Fan after 15 years. CREDIT: Facebook profile page This was posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog Sports talk station 680 and 93.7/The Fan has decided to part ways with Christopher Rude after 15 years as the morning host. Chris...
7 places to people-watch at DragonCon (without a ticket)
7 places to people-watch at DragonCon (without a ticket)

Combine science fiction and gaming into a single super convention and what do you get? Dragon Con.  The cosplay extravaganza, which takes places Sept. 1-4, has been a long-standing staple of Atlanta (celebrating its 31st year on Labor Day weekend), growing momentum ever since its first year in 1987. More than 82,000 people are expected to...
Shania Twain coming to Infinite Energy June 4, 2018
Shania Twain coming to Infinite Energy June 4, 2018

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Shania Twain performs on stage at the Citi Concert Series on TODAY at Rockefeller Park on June 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Citi) This was posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on Melissa Ruggieri’s AJC Music Scene blog Melissa is on vacation...
More Stories