The purpose of Garage 10 is to provide financial assistance for travel-related expenses to individuals who have rare disease. Because rare diseases are incredibly difficult to diagnose, individuals often seek opinions from multiple providers before receiving the correct diagnosis. Individuals often must travel to specialty centers for treatments due to the limited number of physicians knowledgeable about their disease.
If you or someone you know are facing the challenges of rare disease please reach out to us. You can do this through the CONTACT section of our website or fill out an application to receive a financial gift.
My family was touched by rare disease in 2019 which led me to start Garage 10. In January of 2019, my husband began having mild symptoms leading him to a urology workup. On the day of the workup, our world turned upside down when we heard the word CANCER. During the weeks that followed, we were on a medical roller coaster. We sought opinions from multiple local physicians including urologists, oncologists, and pathologists. At the time we did not know all the physicians had concluded with the wrong diagnosis and were preparing a treatment plan for the wrong disease. The misdiagnosis was Stage 4 terminal, treatable but not curable, cancer. In our thirties with 3 young daughters, we were facing my husband’s mortality. For several weeks, we lived in a world where we did not think we had a future together. We met with our attorney, financial advisor, and began to prepare and talk about what it would be like for me to raise the girls alone.
We decided to seek one more opinion before beginning the aggressive chemotherapy prescribed locally. For this last opinion, we traveled to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. By the grace of God, we received a new and CURABLE diagnosis. For us, the correct diagnosis was a matter of life or death. While traveling to and from Houston throughout 2019 for my husband’s treatment I began to think about the cost of travel…gas, hotels, and food add up quickly. MD Anderson is a huge place, so we always parked in the same place, Garage 10. Every time we paid for parking, I wondered about individuals facing the challenges of rare disease who may not be able to afford the cost of travel. This led to the idea to create a nonprofit to raise money and give back to our community. I shared this idea with Kasey and she immediately was on board.
My husband is now completely cured and cancer-free and I am delighted to be able to give back to the rare disease community! Our hope is to assist with travel expenses to ease the financial burden associated with the treatment of rare disease.
Of course, we can not do this alone. We would love to hear from you about any experiences with rare disease. Also, please consider a donation of any amount as it truly will make a difference for someone on the rare disease journey.
My rare disease journey began on October 29, 2017, when I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. Bells Palsy is damage to the 7th cranial nerve, located behind the ear, resulting in one-sided facial paralysis. For about 85% of people affected with Bells Palsy, the condition will heal itself quickly with no treatment. For a small percentage of people, the condition will last up to 6 months before healing. Then there is the rare few left with permanent facial paralysis. I am one of the rare few left with permanent damage. Unfortunately, because permanent paralysis from Bells Palsy is so rare, not much can be done for it which is hard for me to understand at times. After a significant stretch of time, physiotherapy and surgeries are available but do not cure the paralysis completely.
My journey through the rare disease of Bells Palsy has completely changed my life. I spent the first six months trying anything and everything to make Bells Palsy go away. I spent countless hours researching, making phone calls, and attending appointments with various specialists. Most doctors do not treat Bell Palsy because typically it heals on its own. I was excited to hear of a doctor in my home town who is a facial surgeon. After one visit with her, I knew she was the one for me! I have seen her many times over the past three years. Had this doctor been located out of state, which is often the case with rare disease, seeing her may not have been an option. She has given me hope and is working to restore some movement back to the paralyzed side of my face. I personally know how hard it can be to find the right doctor for rare disease. I immediately wanted to get involved when Ashley spoke to me about starting Garage 10. The struggle of rare disease is real and I am excited to be able to share my journey and give back to others. Wherever you are on your rare disease journey, we would love to help. Please reach out to Garage 10 as we are looking forward to hearing from you
The mission of Garage 10 is to offer emotional and financial support to individuals and families who must travel to receive care for a rare disease
Jeremy Perque is a partner and financial advisor at Altus Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm that helps clients focus on making better financial decisions to grow, protect and transfer their wealth.
He became aware of the rare disease designation when his best friend, Taylor Gravois, was diagnosed with an IMFT tumor in 2019.
Jeremy is a native of Chackbay, LA and 2003 graduate of Nicholls State University. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, Lindsay and their two children, Lillian and Alexander. They are parishioners of St. George Catholic Church and their children attend the St. James Episcopal Day School and the Montessori School of Baton Rouge
Kellie Schmeeckle, M.D.
Kellie D. Schmeeckle, M.D., is a medical oncologist with Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates in Baton Rouge with offices at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center on Essen Lane and in the Breast & Gyn Cancer Pavilion at Woman’s Hospital. She grew up in Lake Charles, LA, and attended Louisiana Tech where she received her B.S. in Biological Sciences. Kellie went to medical school at LSUHSC in New Orleans and graduated in 2001. She then completed her internal medicine residency at LSU-N.O. in 2004 followed by a hematology/oncology fellowship at Tulane in 2007. Kellie is a parishioner at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church and resides with her husband and two children.