Patient Advocates

Joshua’s Story

The Miracle of Nibs

The following is an account from Alison Frase, Co-Founder of the Joshua Frase Foundation.

The Joshua Frase Foundation (JFF) raises funds for medical research for the treatment of and/or cure for neuromuscular disorders, to increase awareness of these diseases, and to build a network of support for families affected by these devastating disorders. JFF supports doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Each institution is making great strides towards finding therapies to treat and potentially cure neuromuscular disorders. When a therapy is proven, thousands of sick children will be able to receive these treatments, which could extend and improve the quality of their lives. This may be the last chance to save my son Joshua. His health has declined dramatically and time is running out. It is a miracle that he is now 14, but it has been a tough year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that doctors show success in pre-clinical trials using a large experimental model, before considering therapies to be tested in humans. Testing on this type of model for MTM provides a critical opportunity to develop and test treatments for safety and efficacy before running human trials on children like Josh. And so our search began…Read More of Joshua’s story.


Liviya’s Story

“Virtually my entire career has been dedicated to the animal research industry—first as a lab planner, then as a sales representative, and now as the Business Development Manager at Allentown, Inc. But I never realized the true importance of animal research until the time my daughter’s life was saved by a horse. Since then I’ve been curious to find out more about animal research and how it led to every treatment my daughter received during her 16-month-long battle with a rare bone marrow disease. Was it just horses that saved her life, or were other animals involved too?” Read More of Brian Anderson’s story about daughter, Liviya.


Watch Liviya’s Story


Laura’s Story

“I remember only bits and pieces of that day: Being strapped into a gurney, the ambulance siren, nurses, doctors, the strange beeps and hums from the medical equipment around me, and the feeling of my young skin being pierced with needles. I also remember the fog and how I didn’t really care that it was enveloping me. I was seven years old, and at that moment, I was dying”…Read More of Laura’s story.


Davis and Booster’s Story 

A brutal assault and robbery 10 years ago left Davis Hawn of Mississippi riddled with fear and depression. A roommate had attacked him and stolen his truck. Soon after his vehicle was found, the tow truck company retrieving it discovered an 8-week-old yellow Labrador retriever inside. Hawn reluctantly decided to keep him. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he wanted nothing to do with the puppy, whom he named Booster after he stole a toy from a pet shop. Hawn frequently relived his trauma and had become isolated, and he hated the attention the dog brought him. Although he just wanted to be left alone, children frequently approached him to ask if they could pet Booster and play with him. Hawn was at the lowest point of his life and even contemplated suicide one night. The next morning Booster injured his paw by running into a truck’s trailer hitch. Hawn could see the pain his dog was experiencing, a feeling he could relate to all too well. He held Booster in his arms and comforted him. Their shared suffering forged a deep bond between the pair, and Hawn’s healing began. “Booster saved my life once,” Hawn said. “I made him a promise that I’d never take him or life for granted.” Read More of Davis and Booster’s story.


Heather’s Story, Part I 

Cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cystic fibrosis – these are ugly words.  I hate the words almost as much as I hate the diseases.  “It’s incurable”, “there’s no treatment”, “there’s nothing more we can do” – phrases I hate to hear. Phrases that one day, I hope we will never hear again.

“This is why I do, what I do, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I never want to lose another family member to any of these ugly diseases. Before I started working with a contract research organization (CRO), I went to school to become a medical assistant, with the goal of going back to school and becoming a cardiac nurse. At the time, I had no idea what a CRO was, and most of my family and friends referred to animal research facilities as “rat factories.” Then, as it often does, life happened. I didn’t go back to school for my RN, and I was in a job I didn’t care for.  However,  I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and I wanted to do more than test glucose, take blood pressure, and collect urine samples. Unexpectedly, my brother got very sick, and my life was changed forever”… Read More of Heather’s Story.


Heather’s Story, Part II

As I shared on my last blog post, my path to finding a career in animal research was unexpected. But now that I’m here, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I’m currently a Senior Departmental Trainer which means that I am responsible for taking the new hires and teaching them the ropes of working in the lab.  We work on basic husbandry, including transferring animals to clean housing, measuring food consumption (measuring the amount of food an animal has eaten over a given time period), and proper animal handling.  I show new staff how to check body weights of the animals, the frequency that we need to do it for each species, and evaluate when to submit requests for veterinary consults. Teaching how medications are administered is also an important part of the training.  I teach dietary administration, as well as small animal eye exams, receipt and acclimation of new animals arriving into the facility, and urine collections. I love what I do every day – I love working with the staff and the animals. But what I enjoy most about working in biomedical research in general, is knowing that we are saving lives, and helping people live longer, happier, and healthier.  We are helping in the mission to find cures for many different diseases, for both humans and animals.  Knowing that we are helping someone’s child, mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa is what motivates me.  Every day is a new adventure!” Read More of Heather’s story.


Watch Evan and Grayson’s Story