Sara (Natoli) Duda is an Akron native and former athlete at St. Vincent-St. Mary and Ellet high schools, but she was never a runner. Now she’s training for the Akron Marathon and she hopes to garner the support of those who knew her back then — classmates, neighbors and others.
Sara, now of Grand Blanc, Mich., is hoping to raise awareness and research dollars for congenital heart defects through Hearts of Hope of Southeast Michigan (contribute at www.heartsofhopemi.org).
It’s a cause that’s very personal to her: “On June 1, 2012, my son Tony was born with undiagnosed multiple congenital heart defects, and we almost lost him. During the first year of his life he spent close to three months in the hospital at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital. He has had one open-heart surgery at 11 days, spent a month on life support in January with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and pneumonia, has a paralyzed vocal cord from the surgery and has been diagnosed with Shone’s complex (multiple left side of the heart defects). He still has one more surgery when he is around 3 years old …
“I am also a survivor of CHD and had heart surgery at 19 years old. I have been on a mission, one mile at a time.”
The Southeast Michigan chapter of Hearts of Hope “helps with care packages at the hospital, moral support, as well as group events for our Heart Warriors.”
It’s time again to honor area nurses, was the reminder I received from nurse extraordinaire and super volunteer Mary DiDonato:
“Come honor this most noble of professions through a Eucharistic Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing for those serving in the nursing profession 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at St. Paul (Catholic) Church, 1580 Brown St., Akron,” the invitation reads.
“We welcome all nurses, their families and the entire community to join in this celebration to seek God’s blessing on all nurses and for their healing work. Father Neil Kookoothe, who is also a registered nurse, will be the celebrant. The Peace Together Choir will be singing during the service.”
Peace Together is a group of musicians dedicated to performing and recording inspirational music, started by a hospice nurse.
For more information, please contact the Rev. Ralph Thomas at 330-724-1263 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mary DiDonato at 330-620-3568.
Internationally acclaimed jazz pianist, arranger and educator Bill Dobbins will be performing at 7 p.m. Saturday, at the Medina United Methodist Church, 4747 Foote Road, Medina, as a benefit for Feeding Medina County.
The nonprofit has as its mission “to educate, engage and lead our community in creating an environment where no one goes hungry.” The county recorded more than 12,000 people participated in the SNAP (food stamp) program, an all-time high, in December 2012.
“Bill Dobbins is professor of jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he teaches courses in jazz arranging and composing, jazz pedagogy and history and directs the award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra,” Feeding Medina County business manager Sandi Sammon wrote. “From 1994 through 2002 he was principal conductor of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany, where he also headed the jazz studies department at the Hochschule fur Musik from 1998 to 2002. He continues working in Cologne as guest conductor, as well as with the Metropole Orchestra in Hilversum, Holland.
“Mr. Dobbins also has a background as a classical pianist, having performed with orchestras and ensembles under the direction of Louis Lane, Pierre Boulez, Lukas Foss and Frederick Fennell.”
A freewill offering is planned for Feeding Medina County.
Sammon also wants folks planning to attend the Medina County Fair July 29 through Aug. 4 to know that a local businessman has donated the use of his West Smith Road property, across the street from the fair entrance, to the organization to raise money for the hungry.
“For a $3 fee fairgoers can park across from the West Smith Road fair entrance,” Sammon said. “Also, every cent collected from fair attendees during fair week will go to feed the hungry in Medina County.”
Feeding Medina County is recruiting volunteer parking attendants. Interested? Please contact Sammon at email@example.com or call 330-421-4816.
Charity Golf Classic
The Junior Women’s Civic Club (JWCC), which has been there all along helping Akron’s Ronald McDonald House over its 29-year history, is again sponsoring a Charity Golf Classic to raise funds for the house.
The event on Aug. 25, at the South Course of Firestone Golf Club, has already drawn 120 golfers to help the home, which is in the middle of a $10 million expansion project aimed at tripling the number of rooms available to out-of-town families of seriously ill children who are patients at the hospital.
Chairpersons of this year’s golf classic are Linda Woods of Akron and Linda Yohman of Uniontown. Underwriters are Apteryx, Rubber City McDonald’s, RMH Charities of Northeast Ohio and JWCC.
JWCC, a 150-member service organization led by president Donna Nelson of Cuyahoga Falls, is currently seeking advertisers as well as donations for the silent auction. For more information, please contact Woods at 330-697-9674 or Yohan at 330-571-5088.
While Akron’s Ronald McDonald House is the primary beneficiary, JWCC also will deposit 25 percent of the funds in JWCC Charities for distribution to other area nonprofits. Earlier recipients of gifts have been the Akron Art Museum, Battered Women’s Shelter, Hospice Care, Interval Brotherhood Home, Summit County Children Services, Victim Assistance Program, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Salvation Army, and more.
Kids and grief
Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) is sponsoring its eighth annual Camp Promise from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5-8 on the grounds of the Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Copley Township.
“Camp Promise focuses on helping children ages 6-11 who have experienced a significant loss, such as that of a parent, grandparent or sibling,” said Amy Kilgore, the hospital’s manager of internal communications. “Children will learn to manage and understand their grief through creative activities such as journaling, sand tray therapy, music, drama and art therapy. Meals and snacks provided. A staff of professional facilitators will oversee the children as they go through creative stations.” To register a child or for more information, please call 330-668-4662.
Montrose Ford helps
A thank-you to yet another local business, Montrose Ford, which gave generously toward the purchase of furniture for Camp Quality Ohio, a free weeklong summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. Many renovations were done recently in an effort to ensure a sterile environment for children with compromised immune systems.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.