A Taneytown man found relief for his grandmother through lavender. Now he’s working to help others, too.
By Lisa Gregory
Carroll County Times|
Jan 21, 2020 | 5:00 AM
Kevin Dakin’s grandmother was in constant pain.
A cancer survivor, Patricia Davis suffers from neuropathy, or nerve damage, in her hands and feet as a result of the chemotherapy treatments she underwent for her cancer.
“I wanted to help her,” Dakin said.
Davis is being treated with traditional pain management medicine, but nearly a year ago, Dakin decided to go on a search for something more in hopes of further easing her discomfort. A scientist at heart, Dakin, who has a degree in biology and once considered becoming a neurosurgeon, went on a quest of sorts.
As a form of aromatherapy, the fragrance from the oils of the lavender plant is believed to help promote calmness and wellness. And as such, it can be helpful to those dealing with anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and even with chronic pain. “I felt it was a worth a try,” Dakin said.
He did his research, including reading up on studies by the National Institutes of Health.
“I wasn’t going to do this until I had read something on it from a credible source,” he said. “This is my grandmother, after all.”
Dakin introduced the use of the lavender — which had always been his father’s favorite flower, interestingly enough — into Davis’ daily routine, having her deeply inhale the fragrance. And over time, he observed her response to it and was pleased with the results — Davis, too.
“It helps me,” said Davis, who has been using the lavender for the past eight months. “It calms me.”
Now, Dakin wants to help others, too. He recently launched a new business that provides lavender sachets from his Taneytown home, Someday Came Farm.
“When you learn something good you want to share it,” he said.
And he is taking that spirit of goodwill one step further by including a charitable and community-oriented component to his business, which has as its motto: “Health, Wellness, Community.” Dakin is not only selling the lavender sachets, which he assembles himself with lavender from France, but is even providing them for free.
“As a business entity it was just intuitive to say if we’re going to have this product, we need to find a way to give back to the community,” he said.
“This is coming from a person who would take a walk in the park with a sandwich in his pocket to hand out to somebody who might need it,” Davis said.
And by providing the free lavender sachets with their soothing qualities, Dakin feels he can help others who could benefit from using them. As such, his first clinic sponsorship is with Carroll Therapy Associates in Eldersburg.
“I can’t believe that he is doing this,” said Melissa Ruff, a mental health therapist and owner of Carroll Therapy Associates. “It is so meaningful to my clients and to me.”
Those walking through the doors of Carroll Therapy Associates are immediately greeted with the aroma of lavender. A basket of the Someday Came Farm sachets sits at the ready for those who want to help themselves.
“He makes sure we are never out of it,” Ruff said of Dakin. “Our clients are embracing it. I don’t know of one client that has said, ‘No, I don’t want that.’ ”
According to Ruff, the research is good regarding the benefits of lavender, and even before Dakin’s free sachets she was encouraging her clients to use it. “The sense of smell has a huge impact on how we feel,” she said.
For example, “I had a 12-year-old in my office the other day with an acquired brain injury,” Ruff said. “I gave her a lavender sachet from Kevin, and oh my goodness. It made a huge difference in her. She was very blown away by the smell of the lavender. And it enabled her to focus. It is calming and relaxing. She took a couple of the sachets when she left and was holding on to them for dear life.”
Davis can relate. She never leaves home without a sachet and always has one within her reach when at home — sometimes not just a single sachet, but two.
“It has made a big difference,” she said — even on her worst days. But along with the lavender has come a little extra care and distraction from her grandson.
Not too long ago, Dakin said, Davis had a severe pain episode. Gauging her pain level on a scale of one to 10, that day it was an eight, he said.
“It was very high,” Dakin said. “So, I said, ‘Let’s do the traditional treatment and get the pain medicine in you. And then let’s grab some lavender and let’s work with that.’ We were taking deep breaths of lavender, and I decided to do a little dialogue with her.”
That dialogue enabled Dakin to distract his grandmother and let both the traditional medicine and the lavender do its work.
“I said, ‘Let’s talk about our favorite colors,’ ” he said. “We talked a little bit about her favorite colors, orange and yellow, like a sunset. And then we talked about a sunset we had seen recently here on the farm.”
Dakin then proceeded to talk about his own favorite color, green, and how as a little boy he had chosen the color as his favorite while gazing out over the local park during a spring day.
“By the time we had gotten finished with this dialogue about our favorite colors it had been about 10 minutes, and she had been deeply inhaling the lavender as we were talking,” he said. “I asked, ‘What’s your pain level?’ ‘She said, ‘You know what? I think it is a two.’ ”
Unlike with his grandmother, Dakin can’t be there to offer comfort and encouragement, or even distraction, to everyone. He hopes others will reach out to one another. But by providing the lavender sachets, he is touching the lives of people he does not even know, Ruff said.
“It’s powerful that someone, a stranger, is thinking about their mental health needs, their moods,” Ruff said of her clients.
It is a small sachet that one can easily clutch in their hand. But Dakin feels that it has big possibilities. And he plans to not only construct the sachets, which he sells online and through his website at www.sdcfarm.com, but to grow lavender on the family farm as well.
For now, the impact the lavender has had on those using it at Carroll Therapy Associates has been deeply rewarding for Dakin. As such, he plans to further extend the free sachet program.
“When Melissa came to me and said there are people who are reporting lower anxiety, lower stress, sleeping better after taking my sachets,” he said, “it hit me. It really was possible to have a larger impact with this.”