Paws & Play owner organizes fundraiser for former employee

Mike Cavinder is asking the community to contribute to a former employee who needs a liver transplant.

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  • | 1:04 p.m. August 22, 2018
Emily Lowing was loved interacting with the dogs at Paws & Play Pet Resort.
Emily Lowing was loved interacting with the dogs at Paws & Play Pet Resort.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Paws & Play Pet Resort owner Mike Cavinder treats his employees like family. So, when one of his employees was forced to leave her job because of a severe autoimmune disease, he created a GoFundMe page to help that employee cover medical bills.

“We just thought of what we could do to help her,” Cavinder said. “We all try to help each other out any way we can.”

That employee is Emily Lowing. She recently left her job after working at Paws & Play for about two years. She moved Aug. 13 back to Michigan to stay with her family during her ongoing treatment and recovery, Cavinder said.

Lowing has autoimmune hepatitis, a liver inflammation that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the organ.

“Unfortunately, the liver damage for me has gotten worse and has turned to cirrhosis,” Lowing said. “There are times, especially if I have a cold or something, where it flares up and causes severe abdominal pain and my liver does not function properly. Instead of filtering out toxins, they go into my blood and mess with my enzyme levels, which causes my body to basically shut down.” 

The ongoing treatment means Lowing will be in and out of hospitals — sometimes for two weeks at a time — making it difficult for her to work and live a normal life. The only way she could get better is with a full liver transplant, Lowing said.

Lowing is on a waiting list with more than 350 other people who are in need of a liver transplant, according to the GoFundMe page set up on her behalf.

In the time that Lowing worked at Paws & Play, she grew a strong bond with her co-workers and even considers some of them her best friends.

“I was speechless,” Lowing said of learning about the GoFundMe page. “I’ve had a few friends mention the idea, but I always said I was fine and would make things work and do it on my own. … When he (Cavinder) reached out to me, I was shocked. I have never had a boss that cared so much about their employees. He said I am family to him and he wants to do anything he can to help me get better.”

In addition to creating the GoFundMe, Paws & Play also donated $1,000 to the page. 

“Hopefully, the community will help us support her,” Cavinder said.


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