“Moms often bear the brunt of the burden in managing family life, and because that burden is compounded in the case of special needs advocacy and care, many experience intense emotional and physical burnout. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of access to regular caretaking and therapies and homeschooling exponentially increased the need for support. It is for just these reasons that the workshops, resources, education, support groups, and network offers of We Are Brave Together became a vital (if virtual) lifeline for many moms across global borders.”
Founder and Executive Director, Jessica Patay, is a mother, wife, and advocate/cheerleader for caregiving mothers of children with special, medical, or extreme needs. She has been married to her husband, Chris, for 24 years and they reside in the Palos Verdes area of Southern California. They have two sons, Luke, 20, and Ryan, 18, and a daughter, Kate, age 15. Their second son, Ryan, was born with a rare, medically complex genetic disorder, called Prader-Willi syndrome. Chief clinical symptoms include an insatiable food drive (known as hyperphagia), anxiety, behavioral and intellectual impairment. Because hyperphagia is life-threatening, Jessica and her family must live with a locked kitchen, and be ever vigilant to protect Ryan from overeating into a medical emergency.
Jessica believes in the power of gathering to empower, strengthen and uplift moms in their unique, diverse, and difficult journeys. The journey to support and care for a child with additional needs is often a uniquely isolating experience, but, a few days into receiving Ryan’s diagnosis, a phone call from a local mentor mom at the Prader-Willi California Foundation gave Jessica immeasurable relief and comfort of knowing she was not alone in her experiences. This sense of community — this power of gathering — is something she’s been advocating for ever since.
Jessica likes to say We Are Brave Together was born out of a beautiful collision in her heart. Her passion for deep friendships and an understanding of the vital impact of supportive communities, combined with her experiences with special needs families ultimately inspired the creation of WABT.
We Are Brave Together is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support caregiving mothers of children, any age, with any diagnosis, disability, or challenge, including mental health and educational challenges. Based in Southern California, WABT has an international membership. The organization launched in 2017 with a core group of 125 moms and is now 1,300 women strong. The intention and mission of We Are Brave Together is to help combat the isolation and compassion fatigue that these mothers face: providing virtual and in-person support groups, educational workshops, and low-cost retreats, and retreat scholarships. WABT believes that if they can empower, educate and provide a community for moms, they will impact whole families. WABT also offers the inspirational and resourceful podcast, Brave Together.