Everyone knows him as Mojo but only a few get to call him Dad. Matt Lersch — otherwise known as Q106’s DJ, Mojo, is a household name for anyone who’s ready to rock, but Mojo found a new calling outside of his love for music, and it’s his love for his kids. Mojo was a friendly, outgoing kid with a love of baseball and music. He dreamed of playing for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. When he attended Lansing Community College, he followed his love of music down a different path. “When I moved here and started at LCC, I was a little undecided. I really liked music, so I followed that. I got a commercial gig to watch and take transmitter readings. I got some airtime there, although brief. Then got hired at 92.1 The Edge, did nights and mornings and then landed at Q106 where I am now. It’s been great doing what I do,” Mojo said. Mojo’s career allowed him to meet influential people and do some amazing things. He has interviewed some of the rock and roll greats, but found his voice in helping others and giving back to the community. “It’s great to do the charitable work that I do. I think a lot of jocks get to meet some really cool people and I do enjoy that. But what I have learned from that is, the people that make an impression are the ones that make a change. And I want to do that,” said Mojo. “I love being part of and supporting great causes. I love when I can get people fired up and inspire them to donate or get involved. I think that positive energy leads to great things.” Mojo found a cause that hit close to home when he was diagnosed in 2008 with multiple sclerosis (MS). “I woke up and my eyes were pointing in opposite directions, like in a cartoon. I’m the kind of guy that likes to tough it out, but when I got to work they kept telling me to get it checked out. They had no answers for me at the ER,” Mojo said. “After that, I got a great MSU neurologist and he said, you either have a tumor or you have MS.” It was confirmed that Mojo had MS. There are four main types of MS. Mojo was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting, meaning that he goes through periods of “flare ups” in his neurological function that are followed by periods of recovery. “I remember him saying ‘Matthew you have MS’ and thinking, ‘OK let’s take this on,’” Mojo said. “I feel for others who have a different outcome, so in a way I kind of felt that I was lucky. I didn’t know anything about it, so the first thing I did was get in touch with the MS Society and told them who I was and what I did and asked how I could help.” Mojo recounts the challenges surrounding his diagnosis, but also recalls that it was an equally wonderful time in his life, as it was around this time he met his wife, Sarah. “I was doing a radio promo and thought she was stunning and asked her if she wanted to go out. At first she said no,” Mojo said. “But I told him if he could find my name in the registration box (for the drawing) he could call me,” Sarah chimed in. “I found her name before she even left the lot,” Mojo joked. “I called her and she didn’t sound thrilled, so I didn’t call her back. A week later she emailed me wondering why she hadn’t heard form me and we have been together ever since.” The fun-loving pair has two children, Sarah’s nine year old daughter, Haley, and the couple’s two-and-half year old son, Myles. Both have changed Mojo’s life for the better. “For me, having these two great kids changed a lot of how I looked at things. I look at children differently now. I am not afraid of another kid’s spit,” Mojo joked. “Before that wasn’t my scene. Haley was my first and if you asked me 10 years ago where I would be, I would have told you a lot of things, but I would never imagine my life would be this awesome.” According to Mojo’s wife Sarah, he takes his role as dad very seriously and contributes to his family in any way he can. “He is very involved with both kids. He wasn’t the type of dad that just sat back and let me parent. He is very hands on, he knows everyone at daycare,” Sarah said with a smile. Mojo’s love for being a dad is evident when he talks about his kids. He has found that each of his kids brings something different to his family and loves spending time with them. “Haley and I have found some cool things we like to do. Legos is a big one. A year ago she had no idea how to hold a baseball bat and now she can hit a pretty mean curve ball. I think it’s pretty cool, I got to see her grow up. It makes me proud,” Mojo said. “And with Myles, we like to do some stereotypical guy stuff like go to Lowes. Myles has a lot of energy so we do what he wants to do right now, because he’s going to do it one way or another.” Mojo notes he has a lot of “favorite” parts to being a dad, but he can pinpoint his least favorite part at the drop of a hat. “The easier question for me is not what my favorite part is, but rather what is my least favorite part. My least favorite part is dropping them off at school and daycare because I just hate saying goodbye,” Mojo said. Mojo enjoys sharing in his kids’ successes and challenges. He aims to be there when they are sad and share in their happiness. His advice to future dads would be just that. “A quote that really stuck with me is from Modern Family. One character says, ‘The biggest part of being a dad is just showing up.’ I think that is true” Mojo said. “I think if you do that, the battle is won. If they are happy, you share in that, and if they are sad you are there to wipe away the tears. That is being a dad.” There are many parts to being a dad, and Mojo does them all well. It shows in everything he does for his family and the way his face lights up when he talks about his kids. He can teach them how to play baseball, or what the best music is, but he notes the most important thing he wants his kids to learn from him is respect. “I want them to respect themselves and others,” Mojo said. “I want them to stick up for themselves, respect themselves and stick up for someone else. If they love themselves, respect themselves and help others, we’ve done our job.”
Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.