My Voice: John Owen Dumm, 9 years old

For six years now, the Dumm family in North Royalton, Ohio has been hosting JOA Picnic in the Park to raise money and awareness for Duchenne research. This is just one of the many things John Owen's Adventure, Inc. (JOA) does for our community. At the heart of JOA is 9-year-old John Owen Dumm who is a rising fourth grader with Duchenne and an active participant in his namesake event. In fact, John Owen and JOA have been so successful in their fundraising efforts, they recently granted PPMD a $20,000 gift for our cardiac initiative. This month we celebrate the kid behind a great foundation that seeks to help all people with Duchenne! Meet our Feature Voice for July, John Owen Dumm! 

Meet John Owen

Hey John Owen! I know you and your family are busy getting ready for this month's picnic on July 27 so thanks for taking a minute to chat with us. How old are you and where are you from? 

I am 9 years old, in fourth grade at St. Albert the Great in North Royalton OH.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of school?

Build with Lego, shoot air guns with my dad and brothers (Rutger 11, Wade 6), swim, use the Slip & Slide, and explore outdoors.

Everyone loves Lego! What do you want to be when you grow up?

A Lego builder.

Yes! So tell us, what does it mean to you to have Duchenne?

It means I can’t walk anymore and things are hard for me to do.

And what do you tell people who ask you about Duchenne?  

That my muscles don’t work anymore.

(We asked Owen to tell us about his friends. His mom, Jen, shared this with us...)

Owen does not have any close friends with Duchenne. However, he has a very special relationship with his classmates.  One in particular, Mason, is his very best friend. At school Mason is always by his side and helps him. Owen nominated Mason for the Every Day Saint award this past school year. Here is his nomination:

I nominate my friend Mason  or the “Every Day Saint Award.”  I met Mason in Ms. Lucarelli’s class and we have been friends since then. Since I started at school, Mason has missed only one day. Mason helps me every day. When I drop my pencil, I don’t even have to ask him, he picks it up. Mason carries my things when we switch classes. In first grade Mason lifted things for me when they became too hard for me to lift and he keeps lifting things for me, like moving my desk everyday for me. Mason helps me pick out my library books, he hands in my class work and homework for me, he does all these things for me without ever complaining. At lunch, Mason sits with me, helps with my lunch and always gets my snack out and puts my lunch box away.

Mason has the qualities of an every day saint. He stands up for me when I need help (justice), he includes other people when he is at recess (kindness), he does things for me without me ever having to ask (thoughtfulness).

Ever since I can remember, Mason has been the one I count on to help me.  He is always nice to me and always wants to be my friend (compassion, empathy and sympathy).

I hope he is in every class I have for the rest of my life, to me he is my Every Day Saint.

What an amazing friend Mason is and what a good person! So in a couple of weeks your family has a big event. Tell us what the Picnic in the Park is.

It is where you play games, eat good food, I get to see all my friends, and we have a fun night hanging out.

What’s your favorite part of the event?

The setting up part of it is the best part – we all get to play around at German Central before the crowd gets there.

How do you help out?  

I help set up and I help my brother Rutger run his booth.

What makes it a special day?

It's fun and I get to see all my friends.  My parents let us drink pop and eat pretty much whatever we want.

When you see your whole family putting together an event, year after year in honor of you, how does that make you feel?  

It makes me feel really good and I know how much I am loved.

What would you like to say to them?  

Thank you.

That's perfect. Finally, if you could have dinner with any three people, real or pretend, living or deceasesd, who would you choose and why?

  • Adam & Eve to hear about what creation was like
  • George Washington to talk about his pet beaver and his teeth
  • Dr. Katz to ask him to approve the drug for me

That is one of the best dinner parties I've heard of! Thanks so much for spending time with us John Owen and good luck with your event!


To learn more about John Owen's Adventure, Inc. and this year's picnic, visit their website.

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