Local entrepreneurs start community wellness fund

Photo courtesy Jonna Huseman, Jonna Michelle Phtotography.

A group of local entrepreneurs has started a community wellness fund inspired by a resident undergoing cancer treatment.

The Community Wellness Fund Inspired by Bethany Meissner was announced on Valentine’s Day. It’s designed to help her and others in need of self-care not covered by insurance.

Jonna Huseman, owner of Jonna Michelle Photography, was moved by an article Meissner posted when she was initially diagnosed that urged people not just to say something like “what can I do to help?” but to take action.

“I knew that her insurance didn’t cover acupuncture and massage,” Huseman, said, noting that self-care is part of the treatment plan for both Meissner and her husband, Jarrod Jabre.

“It seemed like a really good fit to be able to do something like start something that other people can contribute to and feel good about and help her ease the financial burden in some way,” she said.

Huseman had been going to Joy Andrews, co-owner of Third Space Wellness, for acupuncture and recommended her to Meissner. Huseman took the funding idea to Andrews “who just took it and ran with it.”

Andrews shared the idea with her partners, Samantha Dublin and Rachel Brumberger, and “we really thought that, yes, we wanted to make it work for Bethany and also we wanted to make sure Jarrod would get self-care somehow, some way.

“That was one component that was important to us,” Andrews continued.

They also knew that Meissner wouldn’t agree to the plan unless “there was some kind of a giving aspect to it,” she said.

“We both feel like Bethany is all about the community,” Huseman said, explaining the thinking behind making it a community fund.

For every $500 raised, Third Space Wellness will donate a one-on-one service or $50 worth of yoga classes to someone of Meissner’s choosing. In addition, for every $3,000 raised, Jonna Michelle Photography will donate a family photography session.

“[Meissner] agreed with us that would be a fun way to get other people involved and we convinced her that the community wanted to show her love and support,” Andrews said.

“I’m fairly open about the fact that it’s Stage IV sarcoma at this point,” Meissner said via email. “I am extremely grateful to Silver Spring, and all the people who’ve shown us love and kindness. Reading some of the sweet things that people have written when sharing the fund or donating to it have helped me want to dig in deeper and fight a little harder.”

It’s a currently a three-week fundraising campaign but there are nascent plans to expand it later.

“Once we get the first phase figured out, then I think we might look at other steps how we can continue this,” Huseman said, “but right now it’s still to be determined.”

As of the morning of Feb. 20, the campaign had raised $3,700, Andrews said.

More information about the campaign is available here and here. Readers can follow Meissner’s story on her blog at www.bethanymeissner.com.

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