As we enter another new year, I would like to thank each and every reader who, over the last year, was inspired to embrace a cause or a lend a helping hand to a need spotlighted in my column.
Perhaps you made a monetary donation to the family of a sick child whose parents have no health insurance or are underinsured.
Perhaps you turned out to help rehabilitate the home of a low-income elderly or disabled person. Shoveled snow from her driveway or walkway. Or took him a hot meal when he needed it.
Perhaps you helped a family that lost all of its possessions in a fire.
Perhaps you supplied a toy or a gently used coat to a child who otherwise would have gone without.
Or just maybe you were a blood, bone marrow or organ transplant donor.
Whatever the deed large or small please know that it made a difference in somebody's life.
So, continue reaching out with your good deeds and being that change we all desire to see.
Help a little guy
Prayers and support are needed for Jaxon Fuller, the 8-month-old son of Nicole and Jerry Fuller Jr. He will undergo brain surgery Friday at the Cleveland Clinic.
Paul C. Markland, pastor of Akron's Eastwood Church of the Brethren, explained the baby's plight in a recent letter:
''Born April 15, 2009, young Jaxon has been hospitalized several times for seizures. Originally, doctors believed the seizures were the result of a stroke prior to birth. However, it was later determined that Jaxon has hemimegalencephaly, that is, the left side of his brain is larger than the right which not only produces the seizures but also prevents and prohibits the development of proper motor skills. . . .
''Outside of surgery, every option has been exhausted. Therefore, young Jaxon is scheduled to have surgery on Jan. 7, 2010. The surgery (hemispherectomy) will be both elaborate and extensive whereby the left hemisphere of Jaxson's brain will be removed. Surgeons are optimistic about the results and Jaxon's recovery.
''To help Jaxon's family with the medical expenses, the Akron Eastwood Church of the Brethren has established the Jaxon Fuller Fund. . . . If you feel so led, we ask that you write a check to the Eastwood Church of the Brethren (581 Darrow Road, Akron, Ohio 44305) and specifically note that the check is to be designated to the Jaxon Fuller Fund so that we can distribute the money accordingly and appropriately to the family.
''Your gift will be considered a charitable contribution.''
• Also, a benefit spaghetti dinner is planned for 5 p.m. Friday at St. John/St. Paul Lutheran Church, 282 W. Bowery St., Akron. Cost is $6 adults; $4 children.
Coordinators are Jenny Lewis, 330-618-8939, and Janet Mason.
Donations may also be made to the Jaxon Fuller Benevolent Fund at FirstMerit Bank (any branch).
Hooray for Howie
Hats off to local radio station WNIR's Howie Chizek for raising more than $14,000 through the Helping Hand drive to help brighten the holidays for several area families in need.
Sponsors and listeners were encouraged to send in checks, and that money was converted to Acme gift cards, which were disbursed to the previously identified families.
Kick out autism
Laurie Cramer, president of the Autism Society, Greater Akron chapter, has reason to be rah-rah happy about the Ohio Vortex, the area's new professional indoor soccer team.
That's because the Vortex are pledging to be good friends of the local autism community in a number of ways.
''The Autism Society, Greater Akron chapter is one of the recipient charities for one of the games,'' on Jan. 16, Cramer said.
''What is unique about our game is that we are doing a 'Sensory Friendly' game.
''What does Sensory Friendly mean? Well, in its simplest terms it means that it is autism-friendly. It means that we are working with the team to turn down the music, minimize the announcements, cheer with our hands, provide a 'quiet place' for anyone who gets overwhelmed and best of all it will be a place where our families can go and not worry about harsh stares if their child has trouble.
''The National Autism Society is very excited about this venue and is watching our game to see how it turns out,'' Cramer continued. ''We also view it (as does the Vortex's league) as an opportunity to educate others about autism, and will be providing information about the disability at the game.''
Tickets for the 7 p.m. game at the Canton Civic Center are $11 and $13 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the door. Team owner Nick Bogdan is a former Canton Invader.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.