They were friends — just friends — when they first met in 2003 through the Akron-based Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW) under the baton of the multitalented Leslie Parker Barnes.
Garrick Black and Daisiree Young thought they were only learning to reach for their creative talents through gospel music.
They didn’t know that they would fall in love in 2011, and that each — despite their long-distance relationship, he in Akron and she in Milwaukee — would have the potential to “save” one another.
Daisy, as she’s called, is a 22-year-old nursing student who learned after doing a physical exam in November 2011 that she was in Stage 5 renal failure. Just as frightening as the diagnosis was the fact that she didn’t have any symptoms. She went on dialysis Nov. 15.
Garrick said his 33-year-old sister Lucrecia Tolbert, a schoolteacher in South Carolina, volunteered to be tested as a potential living donor. She’s a match; the good news was delivered Thanksgiving week.
“All that we’re waiting for now is a date for the [transplant] surgery,” Garrick said.
The severity of his girlfriend’s struggles motivated Garrick to address his own health problems.
“I was at 422 pounds,” the 26-year-old said. “After Daisy’s diagnosis I was determined to put myself on the right track, so I had gastric bypass surgery in August 2012 and I’m now down to 245 pounds … I’m in the gym five to six days a week and I don’t eat any meat now. I did the Portage Lakes Triathlon [swimming, biking and running] in September and I plan to do the nationals in Milwaukee in August.”
So, here’s to the power of love as a life-changer and a lifesaver, and a sister with her heart in the right place.
Misfit toys workshop
Sorry for the short notice, dear readers, but only learned about this myself.
“Make room for new toys by bashing old ones into bits and pieces, then construct your own one-of-a-kind sculpture,” reads the invitation from the Akron Art Museum about the eighth annual “Island of Misfit Toys” workshop today. “Enjoy a day of creative holiday fun as you and your family break, bash and build bits and pieces from electronic toys, stuffed animals, action figures and other odds and ends.
“Kids will have a blast deconstructing everything from remote control cars and plush toys to Barbie dolls and reassembling the parts into strange and humorous sculptural artworks.”
No charge. Just bring an unwrapped toy for a child in need of one. Donations of clean but unwanted or broken toys are happily accepted in the lobby.
If you are interested in attending the 3:30-5 p.m. time slot, please call 330-376-9185 today between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The museum is at 1 S. High St., Akron.
Kent police aid needy
The Kent Police and Citizens Association is sponsoring a “Fill-A-Cruiser” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at Walgreen’s, 320 S. Water St., Kent. “We will be accepting toys, games, nonperishable food items and monetary donations,” wrote Rosemarie Mosher, dispatch coordinator for the Kent Police Department. “Proceeds and items collected will be used to benefit families in the Kent area during the holiday season.”
Unable to make the event? Please consider dropping off items at the police department before Dec. 14. Checks should be made out to the Kent Police and Citizens Association.
Deli launches campaign
Akron’s Diamond Deli restaurant, 378 S. Main St., has launched a “Help for the Holidays” campaign to give a hand to those in most need.
Drop off your canned or dry goods, gently used or new clothing, and/or unused school supplies now through Dec. 18 to be earmarked for OPEN M (Opportunity for People Everywhere in Need Ministry).
Donors will have their names entered for some fabulous Diamond Deli gift certificates (two $25 and one $50) and T-shirts. Winners need not be present. But, of course, you won’t want to miss the great deli grub. For more information, please call 330-762-5877.
Hamilton Appraisal Services Inc. is teaming up with the Marine Corps-sponsored Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys for children who otherwise wouldn’t have them.
“We decided to be one of the host businesses for Toys for Tots this year because we recently moved to our new location and want to aid in the effort in any way,” wrote office manager Rebecca Davey-Vivalo. The office is at 1660 20th St., Cuyahoga Falls.
Drop-off is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 13. For more information, please call 330-928-7243.
Nominate a hero
The American Red Cross, Summit and Portage counties chapter, is encouraging you to identify someone worthy of its annual Hero Awards. Perhaps a firefighter who entered a burning house to rescue a family, a passer-by who saved a drowning child, a neighbor who administered CPR, a dog that alerted its family to fire.
“If you know of a hero, please nominate him or her to be a hero for the Red Cross,” wrote Mike Taylor, local Red Cross spokesman. “Each year the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage counties holds two events, the Acts of Courage in Summit County and the Real Heroes Awards in Portage County, to honor local individuals who have performed courageous acts to save a life.”
The heroic act may have happened anywhere but must have occurred in 2013. Nominees must reside or be employed in Summit or Portage County. Nominations will be reviewed by a panel and are due by Dec. 31. Heroes will be selected in January.
Nominations are accepted online at www.redcross.org/oh/akron, by mail (501 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303) or fax (330-535-4330). For more information, please call 330-535-2224.
Gifts for ‘Batkid’
Just so you know, the Akron area was well represented with many items in the recent Make-A-Wish Bay Area (San Francisco) tribute for 5-year-old cancer survivor Miles Scott, a.k.a. “Batkid,” who attracted crowds of supporters to cheer him on and national media attention.
Locals Sandy and Bill Van Auken personally delivered the following to Miles: a Beacon Journal mug and tote, a Rubber Ducks baseball, an Aeros pendant and foam No. 1 finger, an Akron Zoo key chain, Batman comic books, a T-shirt from the Quaker Square General Store and a postcard showing the silos, a hand-sewn and hand-quilted wall hanging from Mildred Hamilton, an Akron Magazine donated by Patty and George Jedlicka and more.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.