Monday, January 16, 2012

Finally an Update

The Jake Cavanaugh Foundation received its tax exempt status – 501 (c) (3) effective on July 19, 2011 which would have been Jake’s 23rd birthday.

The Turkey Bowl was awesome.  It was a great day for the participants and those that just came out to see old friends.  We were able to help Mark McFerren’s family with medical expenses.  They are a wonderful family.  Mark, his sister Kate, and his dad Dave were able to come to the event.    

We want to share this painting that Eric Silkwood did for our family. We love it.

 Another very good friend of Jake’s, Jillian Otis, had the idea to bowl in a league and the proceeds will go to Jake’s Foundation.   It has been a lot of fun – it’s comforting to get together with those who loved Jake. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remembering Jake- Ron Zluticky & Enzo Gentile(Age 9)


Jeremiah 29: 11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I recently read an article about people’s lifelong dreams and goals in life.  In that article was a short story about Robert Woodruff.  Most people have never heard of him, yet his goal in life probably touched them.  As President of the Coca-Cola company, he wanted to say that in his lifetime everyone in the world had tasted a Coca-Cola.   The article discussed goals and dreams of several kinds—short & long term goals; big & small dreams; those realized & not realized. 
Last week I sat among hundreds of mourners, attending the funeral of a family friend who’d lost a long, valiant fight against cancer.  After hearing of his death, one of my first thoughts was how sad it was that he had died, therefore losing out on the chance to see many of his life’s dreams come true.  I wondered how many of his goals in life he had been able to accomplish.  That was only one reason that I thought his death was tragically premature.  Knowing that 1200 people had attended the previous night’s visitation and then seeing the hundreds at the funeral, I believed that many others viewed his death the same way.
Then I heard stories of how the man had touched the lives of people everywhere; how he let no obstacle get in the way of his making new friends for life (he once disappeared for over three hours and his family began to worry…until they found out that he had crashed a family’s reunion and made such a connection with them that every day afterward, they came to see him---their new family member!); how at each of the hospitals where he’d been treated he had always made it a point to thank the nurses and staff members for each little thing they did for him; how he went around the hospital to visit other patients (especially children), using his humor to cheer them up, helping to ease their times of suffering. 
We were told at the funeral of how beating cancer was his number one goal and how his determination to do so inspired the families of other patients; how no matter how many times the cancer came back, and no matter how the side effects of the treatments affected him, he never lost his positive attitude; how no matter what he was going through, his primary concern was for how his parents and his sister were doing—he didn’t want them to be feeling bad about what was happening to him.  All of these were intentional efforts…they were his goals.
Hearing all of this was not surprising to me, but it did make me realize that Jake’s life was really amazing.  He accomplished more things and impacted the lives of more people than most…even though he died at age 22.  I was wrong; his was not a life cut tragically short with unfulfilled dreams, but rather a life that was short in years, but long on accomplishment, especially in what matters most: making the world a better place for those he came in contact with.  He certainly left this world having accomplished something…he showed me how the Lord wanted us to spend our days here on Earth.  He was an example of God having a plan…using Jake to give the rest of us hope for the future. 
                                                                                                                                                              -Ron Zluticky

 I love you and miss you. I still look at the website you gave me "The many Roars of T Rex!" It is on my desktop still.  I wish you were here to play my new Troy game for the PlayStation 3.  You are still in our prayers, especially your family.  Whenever I watch the Avatar movie I think of us laying in my room watching it togther.  You are so much fun... wish you were here to go back to the beach.  I know you are in heaven watching over all of us.  I still call you Jakey Boy!
                                                                                                                                                         Love, Enzo

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Annual Jake Cavanaugh Turkey Bowl

Four years ago, Jordan and his brothers – Justin, Luke and his twin, Clayton Whitworth – called a few friends together to play some Thanksgiving holiday flag football.
Last year Jordan got the word out among the Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, and Grain Valley football communities that the game would be a charitable event for Jake.  Jordan said, “We didn’t have any idea what the response would be, we had 21 teams sign up and 19 played.  It was pretty amazing.”    
Luke brought us $500 to help with expenses – Jake was very touched by the support and honored that they thought of him and our family.       
In January, Luke contacted us and said he and his brothers wanted to rename the tournament to The Annual Jake Cavanaugh Turkey Bowl.  Curt, Ali, and I want to thank Justin, Luke, Jordan and Clayton Whitworth for their desire to rename the tournament.   It means so much to us and we are proud to be aligned with a group that wants to help others.  
The Annual Jake Cavanaugh Turkey Bowl will be held Friday, November 25th at Blue Springs High School, Peve Stadium.  There will be approximately 20 teams with 12 – 15 people on each team.  We will be selling t-shirts with sponsor’s names on the back.  Sponsors will also be mentioned on this website, Jake’s Caring Bridge page and on posters and fliers.  We are asking that each sponsor donate $250.00.  If you are interested in being a sponsor for the event, you can e-mail me at  Please make checks payable to The Jake Cavanaugh Foundation.    
We are very close to getting our 501(c) (3) tax exempt status and will be able to provide that to you before the end of the year.
Thank you on behalf of the Jake Cavanaugh Foundation and our family.
As Jake would say “Peace”,
The Cavanaughs

Isabella's Story

With the tremendous amount of support that Jake’s foundation has received we were able to help a family whose 9 month old baby girl is fighting cancer.  Her name is Isabella and she is just precious.  She has lots of personality and is a very happy baby.   Her big brother Donovan is very polite and smart as a whip.  We really enjoyed meeting Jessie (mom), Prince (dad), Isabella, and Donovan.    Jessie shared Izzie’s story below.
   Miss Isabella Love Davis, born November 16th, 2010. 6lbs 10oz, 21in. long and as deathly as can be! Little did we know the long journey she would go thought in just her first year?
    It was the first time daddy watched her all day by himself. She was only a month old so of course he was super nervous and didn't take his eyes off of her. As they played, he noticed something strange and called my out of worry. He told me she had held her breath and her face started to turn blue but it was only for a few seconds. We started to laugh at him because daddy is such a worry wart. So we didn't think much of it and told him she would be just fine. Three months later, in March, she had that same 'spell' but this time we call saw it and it happened 3 times that day. We were all sorry for not believing daddy the first time and call the doctor that night. They told us to come in immediately because this was a sign of something serious such as a heart murmur or seizures. After a long night in the emergency room and hours of testing they determined that her heart was very deathly but we were going to be admitted to Children's Mercy for further testing.
    The doctors scheduled an EEG which conformed she was indeed having seizures. They told us she has Epilepsy and will forever by on medications to control the seizures. To us this was a relief; it was something we can control. They informed us there was still one more test they needed to be done. They let us know that a MRI is always done just too much sure that there is nothing in her brain, such as a tumor, causing the seizures. The doctor actually told us most of the time it MRI shows up negative but it’s still done just in case.
     My husband and I were so exhausted and finally able to close our eyes without such a worry of what was wrong that we decided to take a nap while we waited for the MRI and results. I will never forget the feeling that was through my body when we were woken up by the doctor. That 'just in case' test came back positive. The MRI had shown Issie in fact had an abnormality in her brain. This was the biggest shock to everyone. How could this perfect, sweet little girl have a problem with her brain? The doctors informed us that it could just be abnormal cells or a tumor, but it would just be something that we will be monitoring. We met with her Neurologist, Dr. Cruse, who said we will focus of controlling her seizures and repeat a MRI in 3 months.
    At home, we started her first new medication. Weeks went by with dose increases and blood work but she was still having seizures, Dr. Cruse decided to change the medication. Feeling like we were back at step 1, we were hopeful for this second medication to control her 'spells'. Things did start to look up for her. The medication was working and she was almost a full month with no seizure until one bad weekend when they came back strong and heavy. Dr. Cruse decided it was time to do another MRI to see if there had been any changes.
    In May, we got a phone call with the MRI results and were told the abnormality in her brain had grown which would indicate that is was indeed a tumor and that surgery would be the next step. This was heart breaking news to everyone in our family. See, this little girl, Isabella, is more than just a daughter, granddaughter, niece, or cousin. She is the sweetest little angel that brings so much joy and happiness into every one’s life. She has made our family much stronger and closer together than we have ever been. The thought of our baby girl having brain surgery blew out minds. The only choice we had was to move forward and do what was best for Issie. All the calls were made and the appointment was set to discuss the next step.
    Fast forward to July 13th, where we met with Dr. Igbas, the most compassionate and caring doctor i have ever known. He informed us he would be her surgeon and explained the process of the procedure. He made us feel so comfortable and at ease with what Issie would be going through. He showed us the images of her brain and the difference between the two were obvious that it had grown. He told us he would like to see the surgery done as soon as possible given us the option of a few weeks or next month. After talking it over, my husband and I decided the selfish decision would be to wait until next month, but the right decision would be to do this as soon as possible.  So I called Dr. Igbas and we were given the shocking date of July 22nd, NEXT FRIDAY. We took that time to celebrate and prepare, though I'm not sure how well you can prepare for such a thing.
    The surgery took about 8 hours total. The longest 8 hours of our lives but completely worth every minute after seeing Dr. Igbas walk thought those waiting room doors with a smile. He pulled us into a private room and tingles went down my spine. He told us she was one tough little girl and that she did great. He had removed the entire tumor that he could see and was very pleased with the surgery. Tears of happiness and joy filled every one’s eyes. That next morning our little Isabella woke up with hugs and kisses for everyone. This 8 month old baby girl just went thought brain surgery and has bounced back to herself in just a matter of hours. It’s truly amazing. She has been seizure free since her surgery and is completely happy and healthy. She plays and laughs just like she had before the surgery. Dr. Igbas is such a talented man to have done was he has done.
We are still waiting for the results of the pathology tests to know exactly what type of tumor it is and to know our next step, if any. There is a chance Issie will need chemotherapy but if this little girl can go home just 3 days after brain surgery and be back to her bouncing self, we know she will fight and be strong through anything.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship

The Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship was established by cherished friends of the Cavanaugh Family, Jeff and Karen From.  The From's desire was to honor Jake's spirit through this scholarship.  Curt, Ali and I would like to sincerely thank the Froms for their kindness and generosity and for remembering Jake in a way that will benefit a young adult pursuing his or her dreams.  We are especially thankful that Jake's spirit will live on in the hearts of others through this scholarship.

To view the article in the Northwest Alumni Magazine click the link provided-     Page 23

Summer Birthday Memorial Blood Drive

We would like to thank everyone who came to give blood for the 1st Annual Summer Birthday Memorial Blood Drive in honor of Jake.  One hundred people showed up to give blood with many first time donors.  Also, a special thanks to Pam Thorp for having us in her thoughts and organizing the event. 

Jake's Birthday Celebration

Jake's birthday is July 19. A group of Jake's, Ali's, and our friends and family had a surprise party for us to celebrate his birthday.  It was an amazing day spent with those who love Jake so much.  Everyone wrote a personal wish to Jake of which was attached to the balloon that we sent to Jakey.