Blog : Rett's Roost To Be Sanctuary for Cancer Families

By Katelyn | Sep 2, 2015 | in

The goal of Rett’s Roost is, at its core, a simple one: to be a sanctuary—a source of rest, respite and repose—for families with children fighting cancer.

After a wildly successful inaugural retreat, held two weeks ago in Western Massachusetts, the young organization is setting its sights on a trio of events closer to their Seacoast roots.

First up: another retreat at Shilo Farm and Eco B&B in Eliot, Maine, slated for the weekend of September 11. The second “Roost” will include many of the hallmarks of the first: home-cooked meals, creative activities for kids, educational workshops, games and—perhaps most important of all—a chance for families to share and connect with one another in a relaxing, peaceful setting.

Shilo Farm will once again be at the fore on September 27, when Rett’s Roost will host their Harvest Moon Gala dinner, the organization’s first official fundraiser.

With the purchase of a $75 ticket ($60 for Green Alliance members), attendees will enjoy a four-course meal rife with local fare, including beer from Smuttynose and Great Rhythm Brewing Cos., wine from Andrew Bevan Wines and meat from Kittery-based Maine Meat (MEat).

Additionally, Rett’s Roost will be auctioning off a slew of items—a list that includes everything from locally made goods and services to an all-inclusive African Safari—to help raise money for future retreats and programming.

“While we hope Rett’s Roost will reach families all over the country, we want it to be an organization that values its local roots,” says Deana Cavan, the organization’s Executive Director. “That’s why the Gala is such a big deal for us. We love our local community, and want it to be an integral part of who we are and what we do.”

Rett’s Roost will hold its second fundraiser, “A Spooktacular Kids Fest,” on October 10 at Stratham Hill Park in Stratham, New Hampshire. Featuring a spooky fun run, live music and magic, train rides, face painting, games, crafts, a toy flea market and numerous local food trucks, the Spooktacular promises to have a little something for everybody.

“We’ve already had over 300 people commit to attending on Facebook,” says Deana Cavan. “It’s the kind of event that will be fun for both kids and adults, and another great way to connect with the community while getting the word out about our mission.”

Cavan credits Melissa Aho—owner of longstanding GA Business Partner Ultra Geothermal, a sponsor for the event—and her daughter, Jordan, a senior at Coe-Brown Academy in Northwood, for helping organize and promote the Spooktacular.

“Melissa and Jordan have been incredible,” Cavan exclaims. “Their experience in running events, their energy and enthusiasm, their kindheartedness—it’s all meant the world to us.”

Deana, along with her husband, former Green Alliance Media Director Jim Cavan, say they find in Rett’s Roost not only a source of community, but of healing as well.

In February, Deana and Jim lost their son, Everett Thomas Cavan, to a rare form of pediatric cancer. He was 10 months old. For the Cavans, the four-month long battle, which included multiple rounds of chemotherapy and one near-unprecedented surgery, was nothing short of devastating.
At the same time, they recognized early on that Everett’s calling was one that needed heeding.

“We were amazed by the sheer amount of love and support from the people around us—many of them total strangers,” Jim Cavan recalls. “After we knew our insurance would come through, we decided to take the seed money raised and create something Everett could be proud of.”

To honor Rett’s legacy, the Cavan launched Rett’s Roost in early July. Families attend these “Roosts” free of charge. To cover expenses, Deana and Jim plan to conduct regular fundraisers to supplement their individual donations.

Twos have played an important role in Jim and Deana’s healing. Which is why they chose to turn their son’s “Angelversary”—February 22—into Rett’s Roost’s rallying cry:

2 Love. 2 Live. 2 Heal.

And while the void left by their blue-eyed boy’s wrenching loss will never fully close, the Cavans find solace in knowing Rett’s spirit is alive and well, his presence a peaceful harbinger of the healing and good works to come.

“We feel like he’s working through us every day, all the time,” Deana Cavan says. “He wants us to be heal and be happy, and he he’s doing that by giving us the strength to help other families do the same.”

To learn how you can help give love, life and healing to those who need it, please visit You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@RettsRoost).