Jason's life was flipped upside down when his wife Valerie was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Jason was the clinical director of a recovery treatment program, and they were building their dream home while their boys were thriving in school and sports. After Valerie's initial diagnosis, they were given two to three years for her life expectancy. Nine months later, they found themselves saying goodbye at her funeral.
After the funeral, Jason found himself alone, trying to pick up the pieces of life. His support from family and friends quickly disappeared. He was overwhelmed with fear as he was swallowed with his thoughts of the future because he realized he was going to have to do this all alone, and that thought was terrifying. As a clinical therapist, he knew he could help others going through challenging times in their life, but he could not help himself at this time.
Jason reached out to his friends and family that he thought would have been there for him from the beginning and sent a “heartfelt” text asking for help. That text felt like he had finally accepted defeat and failure. It used up the last hope he had within him. Later that day, he saw 15 of the 15 people he texted arrived and were ready to help. Jason now calls these 15 people his “healing team”. After this meeting, each one of them took the initiative to help Jason in his life. It led to asking for help, and when I needed it most all I would have to do was send out my “code word- Help” and then all of my team would come and support me when I was overwhelmed and struggling.
He decided to quit his job as a therapist and take the summer off to be with his boys. That summer, Jason and his boys reconnected and decided to set a mantra in their lives that "nobody should have to suffer alone". They decided to have a lemonade stand and raised $1500 to create 25 “hope kits” for people going through a difficult time.
As they continued to create and deliver these hope kits, a lady from Virginia asked if she could get one because she was struggling alone. From there, they created a hope kit that truly provided comfort today and hope for tomorrow, which could be shipped and begin delivering them to people across the United States. Currently, as a request from his 2 boys (to deliver 50 hope kits to 50 states) they have delivered hope kits across all 50 states and 4 different countries.
Jason and his business partner, Wyatt Ernst, have been inspired to create "The Hope Kit" to help those that are suffering from life altering events. They are now working hard to provide comfort today and hope for tomorrow to those that have lost loved ones, are struggling with Cancer, or are fighting mental health issues.
Jason loves what he does, and he loves that he truly gets to help others who are struggling alone to find some comfort today and hope for tomorrow. The experience of losing his wife was difficult and life-changing, but he found a way to turn his pain into something positive and help others who are going through a similar situation, But when I was the one going through it, I felt lost and alone. That's why I created The Hope Kit. It's a tangible way for people to show their support and love to those who are struggling. Each kit contains comforting items like a cozy blanket, a journal for writing down thoughts and emotions, a candle for relaxation, and more.
But the most important part of The Hope Kit is the message of hope it provides. Every kit comes with a letter from me and my boys, sharing our story and reminding the recipient that they are not alone in their struggle. We want people to know that there is hope for a better tomorrow, even in the midst of their pain and sadness.
Since starting The Hope Kit, I've been able to connect with so many amazing people who are going through difficult times. I've heard their stories, cried with them, and provided support in whatever way I can. And seeing the impact that our kits have on these individuals is truly heartwarming.
I've learned that there is so much power in community and connection. No one should have to go through life's challenges alone. And while it's not always easy to ask for help, it's important to remember that there are people who care and want to support you.
So if you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. And if you're looking for a way to show your support, consider sending a Hope Kit. It may seem like a small gesture, but it can make a world of difference in someone's life.
As for me, I'm grateful for the journey that brought me to where I am today. Losing my wife was the most painful experience of my life, but it also opened my eyes to the power of hope and community. And now, through The Hope Kit, I'm able to pay that forward and help others find comfort and hope in their own struggles.