The Jay Michael Frozen Dessert Program

To fulfill the wishes of former oncology patient Jay Michael, Lifeway Foods will donate frozen kefir to oncology patients at Northwestern Medicine for the next ten years.



Lifeway will donate 100 percent of the kefir product and cups to Prentice, which will serve over 100 patients daily. The soft-serve machine that will dispense the kefir was purchased through a monetary donation made by Mr. Michael, a Lifeway fan and advocate for healthy living. Jay Michael, 34, passed away on January 8, 2016 after a yearlong battle with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He chronicled his fight in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Yesterday, a dedication to Jay Michael and Lifeway Foods was held at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. It was a very humbling and moving experience to have Jay’s closest friends and families there for the unveiling of the new frozen kefir machine.



“Jay was one of the hardest working young entrepreneurs in the city – you couldn’t keep his spirit down. In between his doctor appointments and treatments, he was working to make sure all patients could enjoy kefir like he did. He blew me away,” said Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky. “He was generous and thoughtful; he loved life and found joy in the mundane. He always found ways to reinvent himself and in the process, he inspired everyone around him to be better. This partnership is a gift from Jay to anyone fighting a battle with cancer. We’re proud to help implement his vision and only wish he could be here to see others receiving the benefits of probiotics. This is just one small way his legacy will live on.”