Health Forward Foundation

From tragedy to triumph: Luke’s journey of hope at The Carousel Adult Daycare Center

The Carousel Adult Daycare Center, under the umbrella of Jacob’s Well of Kansas City Ministries, offers an adult day program that provides an array of quality, holistic services to the elderly as well as adults with special care needs.

Luke arrived in the US as a 20-year-old Haitian immigrant in desperate need of medical care for his muscular dystrophy. Karen Allen, president of The Carousel, discovered his love of art. The subsequent weekly art classes she arranged for him made all the difference in his fight to live.

Luke is showing off his artwork, pictured with US State Representative Randy Dunn.

Luke's artwork is on display at the Truman Library and the Genealogy Library, both located in Independence, Missouri.

He also enjoys pet therapy at The Carousel.


The Carousel Adult Daycare Center opened its doors in January 2003. Today, The Carousel continues to serve the families of the Greater Kansas City area, dedicated to providing care to the elderly and adults with special needs. Our goal is to provide a safe place where care givers can rest assured that their loved ones are in a loving and caring environment.

Going above and beyond offering incontinent care and assistance with personal hygiene and grooming, The Carousel applies faith-based principles to support, strengthen, and enhance the quality of life for everyone who becomes a part of our family. Such was the case with a client who came to The Carousel in desperate need of a reason to live.

Overcoming a grave diagnosis

Lukenson (Luke) Henrius was like any other boy growing up in Haiti until he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 11. Most commonly found in boys, this group of diseases causes progressive weakness, loss of muscle mass, and in some cases, trouble breathing or swallowing. In Luke’s case, he lost the ability to walk, and was allowed to come to the United States to receive proper treatment.

When Luke enrolled in The Carousel as a Haitian immigrant on June 3, 2014, he was 20 years old; however, it was under unusual circumstances. Luke was a hospice patient whose case was so severe that he was given only six months to live. A member of his hospice team accompanied him to The Carousel every day, ensuring the highest level of comfort. Luke’s dying wish was to see his 21st birthday.

Keeping hope alive

With over 25 years of experience in the social and mental health arena, I have worked with many special needs clients, infusing them with hope and helping them to live their lives to the fullest. Despite the gloomy prognosis, I set out to do the same for Luke. I wanted to show Luke how to walk by faith and not by sight.

In my research, I discovered that Luke enjoyed art. I immediately took action, hired an art teacher, and began offering class on a weekly basis.

Luke was thrilled. You could see a difference in him every time he attended class. He just lit up!

Engaging in an activity that he enjoyed sparked a flicker of hope inside of Luke’s heart. After a few months, that flicker turned into a burning flame as Luke arrived at The Carousel without hospice. He was no longer waiting to die, but he was thriving to live!

Life at The Carousel

Luke surpassed his wish as he just celebrated his 24th birthday! He continues to attend The Carousel where he is not only thriving through the arts, but also learning to cook, assisting with cultivating an organic garden, sewing, crocheting, making jewelry and making a host of friends. Luke is a beloved member of The Carousel family and his artwork is on display at the Truman Library and the Genealogy Library, both located in Independence, Missouri.

Open seven days per week from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., The Carousel provides music, occupational therapy, and an array of other quality services. It is equipped with an onsite beauty salon for hair and nail care, and it has a special unit for clients with Alzheimer’s.

Caring for clients like Luke is the heartbeat of The Carousel. My greatest joy is in helping those who need it most.

Karen Allen was born and raised in Kansas City Missouri. As a single mom, at the age of 30, she decided to return to school to change the quality of life for her and her children. Now, as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and mental health therapist, Karen provides individual and family group counseling as well as treatment for children, youth, and adults. She is currently working on a doctorate in human development.

For more information on The Carousel and Jacob’s Well of Kansas City Ministries, please contact Karen Allen at (816) 920-7003 or jacobswellks@sbcglobal.net, or click on the following links: Website | Facebook | Donations


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Health Forward's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City MO 64108
(816) 241-7006