A very close friend to Joann, Jennifer Lazarus, has written us a letter of submission in honor of Joann! Read the letter below and you’ll understand how Joann’s positivity, kindness and devotion to her family, motivates and touches hearts around her!
Joann is a mother of two, Matthew 3 and Alexander 5, and wonderful wife to her husband Sam. Joann is driven to spread love and compassion wherever she goes. Her personality is sweet, honest and that of a woman with a pure heart whose motives are always good. She is a natural giver and will go out of her way to help anyone in need. The expression of a person “giving you the shirt off their back”, isn’t just an expression with Joann. In addition, Joann’s natural ability to be creative allowed her to open her own jewelry line about three and half years ago. She was inspired by the need to help people get high quality and appealing jewelry for very reasonable prices. Moreover, she has been able to use the jewelry and the sale of the jewelry as gifts for when she supports the many fundraisers or charities she coordinates.
That gives you a glimpse of her background, but here is the essence of why she should be the mother of the month. When her son, Matthew, was two years old, Joann found out he was autistic. It was difficult to cope with the diagnosis, but her faith never gave up on Matthew living a life that was full of love and opportunity. Joann began to do what she did best, work hard and research everything there was to know about autism. She ran into one wall after another as she realized that insurance companies were not covering costs, as well as any treatments. Not only did she have a hard time wrapping her arms around autism, but she realized that it was going to be up to her and her husband to cover all the expenses.
Joann was determined and motivated to get the treatment Matthew needed. She was able to cover three months of treatment, and then miraculously Joann was able to keep her son in the program another 3 months. She went to therapy with him every day of the week, and on top of that she was caring for her older son Alexander and running the house. The grind of juggling a disease that Joann couldn’t control, the day-to-day visits with Matthew, the lack of financial resources for ongoing care, and the responsibility as a mother, wife, sister and daughter, all took a toll on her.
Sitting back and reflecting on how God always makes a way, she decided to use her talents and be creative. What about a fundraiser for her own child? Joann was thinking out of love and was determined to have a fundraiser called the Masquerade Ball for her own son, Matthew, so it could help financially with his treatments. In the process of putting this ball together, she would have to rally many sponsors, get people to help with ticket sales, setup, clean up, etc. Not too many people know what it takes to setup a fundraiser, but the work that was put into this masquerade ball was simply amazing.
The elegance, organization, entertainment of the ball was first class, and matched the very core of Joann and her love for Matthew. When I walked thru the doors, in my heart I had tears of joy for her. I thought this is one of the most dedicated mothers that would do everything in her power to help her son, so he could do the day-to-day functions we all typically take for granted. I have never heard her complain about how hard it is, how stressful, not one negative thing. The only words she will tell you are how wonderful her children and husband are, and how they enjoy each other every step of the way. Furthermore, Matthew continues the hope center program today and he is making remarkable progress. The key to his success has been driven by a mother whose compassion is her power and liveliness. This remarkable mother has fully committed herself to him, and has inspired me to never give up hope and never lose faith!
Way to go Joann, your a great example of a Glamorous Mom! We salute you and your efforts to stick by your family, including your son with Autism. We understand how challenging Autism can be and we salute your drive to keeping moving forward in the most positive way!
Thank you Joann for being so inspiring and thank you to Lauren Duvall of Advance Body Care, for your generosity!
Advanced Body Care is located at 1100 W. University Dr. Rochester. For more info on Advanced Body Care, please visit http://www.advancedbodycarerochester.com/