The JMM Bush Foundation

by Christa Smith

In 1999 Joann Bush lost her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter when they were killed in a car accident.  Not long after she started the JMM Bush Foundation.  An organization set up to help sick children.  Something she feels, her son John would have wanted. "It just came to me and I feel like he's the one that told me that he wanted children to be helped.  And so that's what I want to do is help the children," Joann said.

Then, in 2002, her daughter gave her some terrifying news.  Joann's 2 year old granddaughter was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease.  She has Juvenile Dermatomyositis. It's so rare that many people know nothing about it.  So the JMM Bush Foundation is trying to fight the cause. "It's a disease that affects every muscle in the body and it effects the skin and it can be crippling and very little is known about it," Bush said.  And it can be very painful.

Joann's granddaughter Jona says it's sometimes hard to be a kid.  "Sometimes when I walk a long way my belly starts to hurt or my leg starts to hurt or any part of my body can hurt," Jona told us.  But Jona isn't the only sick child they help.

Since they began they have helped about 13 other children from around the country.  One of them, right here in Center. "Last August she was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  And it's a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes," Allison Johnson told us. And finding out her daughter was sick was a shock. "It was devastating.  You know you don't think this can happen to you.  You know, it's not going to happen to my child.  You know I never would have thought there was anything wrong with her cause she was perfectly healthy," Johnson said. Her daughter Callie doesn't seem to mind the cancer.  She takes it all in stride. "I have to get my chemo through my port," Callie informed us.

While the JMM Bush Foundation is great, the true heroes are these kids who stay strong and wait to get healthy.  And Jona and Callie both know they will.  Now, they want other kids to know there is an end in sight. Jona says she wants other kids to know, "It's ok, cause you're going to get over it someday."