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 2018. 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.
Anne Lynch Assistant Director
Anne is a native of MA but has made the seacoast of NH her home for the past sixteen years. Anne served as a home school tutor for Gary who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of thirteen. Over the years through many ups and downs of remission, recurrence and surgeries, Anne became a close friend of Gary and his family. She rode in the Pan Mass Challenge with Gary as her motivation for six years and served as a volunteer for many more. When Gary passed at the age of thirty, Anne turned her efforts to the Boston Marathon and ran it three times to raise money for the Mass General Hospital for Children in Gary’s name. Anne is excited to combine her skill set of fundraising, marketing and data analytics to help Rett’s Roost. Anne is the proud aunt to Joe, Courtney and Grace and enjoys any moment she can spend with them.
Jess Austin Program Coordinator
Jess became connected with Rett's Roost shortly after her son, Evan, was diagnosed with DIPG (a terminal brain tumor) in July 2019. Rett's Roost has been a great support to the Austin family over the past few years and the Austins have also participated in multiple fundraising events. Jess has a background in Psychology and previously worked as a Disability Case Manager for many years. Since Evan's passing in June 2022, she has been volunteering for Rett's Roost and recently took on the role of Program Coordinator. Jess is planning to assist with running bereavement retreats and event planning. She is looking forward to continuing to connect with and support other bereaved families. Jess lives on the seacoast of NH with her husband Brent and daughter Avery.