Everett's Mugs

Organization that raises awareness of congenital heart defects, autism and chromosome disorders through the use of handmade mugs decorated by children.

In spring of 2010 in Atchison, Kansas we found out we were expecting a child. This was a complete surprise to us. Everett came into this world on the first snowy day of December 2010 in a warm birthing center in Topeka, KS. When he was born he weighed a mere 4lbs. 14 oz. a perfect little peanut. We took him home that snowy cold December night. 

A week later our pediatrician found a heart murmur and it was later diagnosed as an Atrial Septal Defect and a Ventricle Septal Defect. It would be a year before Everett had open-heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee, three days after his first birthday. This was one of the most trying ordeals our family has ever been through. We made it through this difficult time with help from our family and friends as well as very supportive and amazing surgeons, doctors and nurses. For the duration of the procedure at the hospital we were able to stay four nights at the Ronald McDonald house in Milwaukee. We were amazed by the comforting atmosphere, the warm homemade meals cooked by volunteers and the outpouring of community support that went into the Ronald McDonald house. We decided right then and there we would somehow have to give back to this amazing place that took such good care of our family.

These difficulties were only the beginning for our family we are now facing new challenges. Everett was diagnosed with Autism and a rare genetic chromosomal deletion in the spring of 2013. It was that spring where we found ourselves lost in new diagnoses, without a job, and our new baby, Forrest, that was born with a cleft lip and palate. We had hit another low.

We were trying to find the silver lining in all of this when we remembered our promise to give back to the Ronald McDonald house. We are both artists having graduated with our BFA and MFA’s and we decided our love of art needed to be shared. 


Our idea is to have skilled ceramic artists make cups and mugs, which are then decorated by children and community members. These handmade cups and mugs would be food safe, able to be used in a microwave and dishwasher safe. We would then donate these cups and mugs to the Ronald McDonald House to be given to families in their care packages. Ideally we would have enough mugs and cups in inventory so each family can take one with them once they leave the Ronald McDonald House. We would like to start this project with the Milwaukee Ronald McDonald House in hopes that we could eventually furnish every Ronald McDonald House in the country with “Everett’s Mugs”. Through this project it is our hope to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disease, Autism, rare genetic conditions and also give back to the amazing people that have helped us through this journey.

Every time that we visit the Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee (which is at least once a week), we are struck by the amazing artwork done by children that is scattered on the walls throughout the entire hospital. It is our hope that the cups and mugs decorated by children with inspirational images of hope will have the same effect on families that have been through similar ordeals. 

Check back soon- we will have some of the mugs for sale to help support the continuation of Everett's mugs!

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james may gallery© 2018