There is an old Tibetan saying, ‘tragedy should be used as a source of strength.’ This sentiment certainly rings true for Lucy Garrighan, CEO and Founder of Jade Wellness Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lucy and her two adult children John and Abbie founded Jade Wellness, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, after her oldest son, John, died from an overdose after a long struggle with addiction.
John’s addiction began like all too many—after an accident, he was prescribed opioid painkillers and became quickly dependent, ultimately turning to heroin as his addiction progressed. At the time, opioid-specific treatment programs did not exist, and the family struggled to find appropriate treatment for John. After his death, Lucy, Dan and Abbie dedicated their lives to creating for others the type of program that John so desperately needed.
Lucy, who had previously owned other small businesses, used her entrepreneurial background and her own financial resources to open the first Jade Wellness Center. Any revenue earned was channeled directly back into the business, allowing her to open a second location in Wexford and a third in the Southside of Pittsburgh. While Jade Wellness started by serving about a dozen patients each month, the business now employs 26 rehabilitation specialists and can help more than 600 people each month work through their addictions through an innovative outpatient treatment model.
An SBA 504 loan played an integral role in supporting Jade Wellness’s stability and growth. When the landlord for the original Jade Wellness location was planning to sell the building, Lucy was concerned that she may have had to relocate the business. Luckily, her accountant referred her to Pursuit where she received an SBA 504 loan for $289,000 in conjunction with a loan from First National Bank of Pennsylvania for a total of $722,000 to finance the purchase of the building.
“The SBA 504 loan is what really made buying the location possible,” says Lucy. “I had funded the opening of all three previous locations myself or with Jade Wellness’s profits, so buying the building with a conventional mortgage wasn’t realistic.” Thanks to the SBA 504 program, Lucy was able to invest in the future of her family’s business and continue growing her important service. The loan also made it possible for Lucy and her team to fully convert garage space into treatment rooms, allowing Jade Wellness to further expand services.
Lucy’s influence on the addiction treatment community extends beyond the patients at Jade Wellness. Through her work there, Lucy’s team at Jade Wellness Center has pioneered the use of medication combined with counseling, psychiatry and more to treat opioid addiction. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is now the gold standard for opioid addiction treatment nationwide. The methodology is now used at treatment facilities across the country.
Lucy has also served as a member of the First Federal Opioid Task Force and continues to work with the FBI and their Project Hope campaign to educate children on the harmful effects of drugs. Lucy encourages Jade Wellness employees to be active in their communities and is proud to say that many also volunteer.
In launching and now successfully running Jade Wellness for nearly 10 years, Lucy, Daniel and Abbie have created not only an essential community service, but a legacy for thir family, and their son and brother John. “We feel that John’s spirit is so strong within Jade Wellness,” says Lucy. “Our patients have helped me survive his death.”