Behind the scenes at Rett's Roost is a team of cosmic proportions. We have unbelievable support flying in from all directions. The following beautiful people have helped bring it all together so far.
Founders & Officers
Everett Cavan CHIEF OPERATING OWL
Everett Thomas Cavan (aka, Rett) was born to this world at sunrise on April 27th, 2014; a little owl spirit in the form of a perfect baby boy. Despite his sickness, Everett exuded an infectious personality. People felt love just looking into his intense blue eyes, which showed life in a new light. He chose his mom and dad to carry out his mission, to open a retreat center for families facing childhood cancer and child loss—somewhere far from hospital rooms and the painful reminders; somewhere beautiful and serene; somewhere with friends that understand. Just once around the sun for this baby’s old soul; that’s all he needed to make his imprint on the world.
Deana Cavan Co-Founder & Executive Director
Deana always considered herself a caregiver, first to the earth in her environmental studies in college, and then to her students as a dedicated yoga teacher. But when she first held Rett in her arms and continued to nurture him through his unyielding battle with cancer, she realized her life’s true calling. Rett’s Roost has become a positive outlet for the grief of losing her precious boy. With her impeccable organizational skills, efficient time & task management, drive to do good, and deep compassion for families like hers, she has created something powerful and sustainable to honor her son.
Jim Cavan Co-Founder & Vice-Chair of the Board
Jim was long convinced he would never be more proud than he was the day his baby boy arrived. But through Everett’s brave battle with cancer, his dad’s pride, like the many tears, only swelled. And while the pain of losing his firstborn will never fully subside, Jim finds strength in knowing Rett’s Roost has a truly special spirit watching over it. Expect to see Jim doing a little bit of everything around the Roost: wrangling the Board of Directors, writing extraordinary stories of strength, conjuring up various family adventures, and cooking the best breakfasts this side of mom’s kitchen—a laughing, loving little owl on his shoulder all the while.
Kari McHugh Chair of the Board
Kari learned about Rett's Roost first in 2018 about a year after her son Michael passed away from rhabdomyosarcoma. At the time, Kari was the Executive Director of Dunkin's Joy in Childhood Foundation, for which she encouraged us to apply for funding. This past summer she stepped down from her positions at Dunkin', where she was also a Senior Director of Consumer and Community Relations. Her newest gig is at Break Through Cancer, as their Chief Communications Officer. Kari knows all about good branding, board leadership, donor stewardship, and how to raise big money for charitable causes. She’s ambitious and outgoing and very enthusiastic about the promise of Rett's Roost's future.
Maureen Dowst Treasurer
Maureen is a certified public accountant that owns her own firm in New Boston, NH. She has essential experience in small business finance, ethics, and accountability. Maureen is Rett's step-grandmother and she believes furthering the mission of Rett’s Roost as a way to honor her first grandchild and the other families that are forced to face pediatric cancer and child loss. She has been a generous donor since start-up, and watching us grow into a thriving organization has sparked her recent drive to help Rett's Roost succeed by joining our Board of Directors as the Treasurer.
Maureen Dowst, CPA
Leah Bares Secretary
Leah Bares has a background in environmental, business, and civil law, although she is currently focusing on her art career and raising two little ones. She is also the bereaved mom of Laurel Pearl, who died of Neuroblastoma in 2017. Leah has recently moved to Kennebunkport, ME and reached out in hopes of helping Rett’s Roost with fundraising and advocacy, which has become her passion since Laurel's death. With her legal background and an unbridled drive to help families facing pediatric cancer and child loss, Leah has taken on the role of Secretary for the Rett's Roost Board of Directors.
Jacquelyn Silvani Survivor Program Coordinator
Jacqui has been dedicated to public service and the support of families her whole life, beginning as a Navy sailor, a teacher, and a Family Support Coordinator for Partners in Health. In June of 2015, her family learned of her youngest son Joe's cancer diagnosis: stage IV neuroblastoma. After 18 grueling months of treatment, Joe was declared "no evidence of disease" and Jacqui started looking for support for families who are post-treatment. In 2017, she and her family attended a Rett's Roost Survivor Retreat at Shilo Farm in Eliot, ME. Since then, she has volunteered at retreats, and in 2020 became the Survivor Program Coordinator. She is happy to provide support to families as someone who's "been there," and has helped improve the programs for families of survivors at Rett's Roost.