Westerville News & Public Opinion

'Sing for Joy' will raise money for MJB Foundation

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Having been denied by Medicaid, Emma Brohard and her husband, Andy, were fundraising to build a ramp and deck to allow their son, Abram, to play in the backyard with his four sisters.

Six-year-old Abram has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound.

"We couldn't get Abram out of the house in his wheelchair. The girls would go outside and play," Mrs. Brohard said. "By the time we had him ready in his wheelchair to transfer him to get him out of the house, everyone else was back in."

The Brohards were part way through their fundraising when they received an unexpected call.

The MJB Foundation, a charity the Brohards had never heard of, was going to donate $2,100 for the ramp and deck -- the exact amount the Brohards still needed.

"I didn't tell them anything. They called me," Emma Brohard said. "That doesn't happen. People don't just call and say, 'Would you like some money?' "

Since that time, Brohard has done some research on, and fundraising for, the MJB Foundation.

The foundation, started by the Brochowski family in memory of daughter Meghan Joy Brochowski, raises money to support central Ohio families like the Brohards who have children with disabilities.

"The MJB Foundation is such a lifesaver in many situations for children with disabilities. When you have a child who is disabled, it costs a lot of money to meet your child's needs. The more profound the disabilities, the more expensive it gets," Brohard said.

"They remove red tape. They see a need, and they try and help give a gift of joy to children with challenges in Ohio."

Since being on the receiving end of the MJB Foundation's work, Brohard has worked to pay the gesture forward.

At Christmas, she posted a note on Facebook asking friends looking to make a holiday donation to consider donating to the MJB Foundation in honor of Heath, Abram's twin who died at three weeks old. Through that call, more than $400 was donated to the foundation.

Brohard also participated in the foundation's Bowl for Joy event, saying she would front $250 and asking her friends to help her double that. She raised $840.

The next step for Brohard was creating a fundraiser of her own to benefit the MJB Foundation.

Brohard, a saxophone player who performs regularly around central Ohio, will host Sing for Joy with guitarist and vocalist Shane D. Wilson and keyboardist Andy Launer from 7 to 10 p.m. April 13 at Java Central, 20 S. State St. in Westerville.

"It will be a lot of fun, swinging music. It will be a lot of backward and forward chat with the crowd. It's just a fun night. We have people who come in, and they end up dancing," Brohard said.

All tips given to the band or the baristas during the event will go to the MJB Foundation.

Brohard said the goal of the event is not only to raise funds for the MJB Foundation, but also to raise awareness and let other families with disabilities know that there are organization that can provide support and resources.

"Knowing that there's an organization like MJB there to catch you if you need some help with something is such a good feeling,"Brohard said. "It takes a lot of pressure away, and I am hopeful that more families get to know about their existence so that they can feel a sense of relief and get something their child needs desperately that they have no way of getting themselves."

Brohard said the ramp and deck the MJB Foundation helped her family build is a perfect example of what the organization does.

"When you have a child with disability, it's not the end of the world. Things are doable, things are fun, things are hard, but because of places like MJB ...

"Without MJB, we wouldn't have that ramp and deck for Abram," Brohard said. "We might just (now) be in a position where we'd be able to build it."

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