By Mike Scott
Jason and Becky Garvan have big dreams. And those dreams will ultimately have an incredible impact on the lives of children, their siblings, parents and grandparents around metro Detroit — and perhaps even over a much broader area.
The Garvans recently started Joanne’s Mark, a nonprofit organization for terminally ill children and their families that provides a dedicated caring, comfortable hospice facility for kids ages 17 and younger. It’s a dream that came about for the Garvans after the personal loss of an infant daughter they named Joanne in 2002, and from the couple’s experience managing and owning an adult hospice care facility in Macomb County.
The idea is being started from scratch and Jason estimates that it may take fundraising of $1 million just to secure a location and operate a six-bed facility in the Troy area for the first 12 months. Ultimately he hopes that the idea catches on and that there will be a similar children’s hospice facility within a 45-minute drive of children’s’ hospitals around the country. Despite the daunting task, Jason isn’t worried.
“Honestly we have experience in this field and running (an adult foster care facility) was one of the best things that happened to us,” said Jason, who lives in Lenox Township with Becky and their two children. “A children’s hospice facility is a need— there really aren’t any facilities like this anywhere.”
The reason, he believes, is the perceived prohibitive cost. While many adults and seniors may have savings or insurance that can help cover the cost of hospice care, younger families often spend their life savings trying to help a child fight a long-term illness, making the affordability of such care difficult. In fact, for-profit healthcare facilities may not see the concept as feasible in any way.
But early on Jason and Becky have done their homework. They traveled to Arizona to meet with Frank Shankwitz, the founder of Make-A-Wish Foundation. They also have held three Joanne’s Mark fundraisers in metro Detroit, including one at a cigar shop, a fishing trip, and most recently a late October event that raised several thousand dollars at Sherwood Brewing Company in Shelby Township that drew more than 50 people.
Local resident Justin Bright is the owner of third-party freight brokerage Brighter Logistics and met Jason at a networking event earlier this year. Once he heard about the goal that Jason and Becky had, he became fully committed to the effort. Justin and his wife Wendy are involved with their own children as coaches of local sports teams.
“I can say that the largest fear in my life is losing a child,” Justin said. “The challenges that these families must go through is overwhelming but it’s such a great organization that supports such a unique need. It’s just a great idea that Jason brought to life.”
Sherwood Brewing Company Owner Ray Sherwood also was moved by the idea of the organization, and donated food and drinks for the recent fundraiser, as part of many charitable events the restaurant support.
“How can you not love the idea?” Sherwood said.
Learn more by visiting www.joannesmark.org or calling Jason at 586-7195869.
At the bottom left is Justin Bright, up top is Jason Garvan; bottom right is Ray Sherwood.
PHOTO BY MIKE SCOTT
Article Source: The Macomb Daily (10/29/2017 Issue page A012)