Magician, cancer survivor to headline Judson Inspirational Series

Skepticism came naturally to Jim Munroe.

"I was a self-proclaimed agnostic, borderline atheist," says Munroe, an author, inspirational speaker and magician from Dallas headlining Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series Oct. 9.

Munroe's baseball career at the University of Texas ended when he suffered an injury after which he turned his focus to investigating various philosophies and beliefs. His exploration into the unknown and the supernatural fueled a passion for magic.

By 2009, Munroe became one of the most sought after magicians in the world performing in hundreds of cities, concert halls and theaters.

Though religion was still a mystery and a "lie," a brush with his own mortality became the turning point of Munroe's life.

At 29, Munroe was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and given months to live. Miraculously, he said, a bone marrow match was found out of an international database of nearly 9 million potential donors and he received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant five months later.

"For me, it opened up what real spirituality is," said Munroe, now 38, who is in full remission. "What if there is more going on behind that which we experience with our five natural senses alone. In the midst of all the science, amid all the hospital visits, there is still something maybe even more profound ... the common thread on which all this hangs. Maybe there is something bigger going on behind the scenes."

Munroe will talk about surviving cancer, his spiritual journey and being a spokesman for Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program, at Judson's forum. His show, The MAZE, has become a tool for recruitment of potential donors.

"The vast majority of blood cancer patients don't have a fully matched donor in their family," Munroe said. "I know I wouldn't be here today without Be The Match."

Representatives of Be The Match, which manages the largest and most diverse global database marrow registry, will be at the forum promoting awareness of the need for donors. Munroe's donor, Jennell Jenney of Milwaukee, also will be present.

"It's an honor to collaborate with an organization that is so important to this community and our keynote speaker," Judson University President Gene Crume said. "We hope Be The Match's presence on campus will help students and visitors learn more about the organization and ways they can help."

The goal of Judson's forum is to offer students and the larger Elgin community an opportunity to be inspired by noted thought leaders. The series has featured Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton and Life Without Limbs founder, author and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic.

Munroe will speak at 7 p.m. in Judson's Herrick Chapel, 1151 N. State St., Elgin. General admission tickets are available for $25, with priority seating for $75 and VIP tickets for $500. For more information, visit

"We're going to have a ton of fun ... minds will be blown," Munroe said.

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