Big, beautiful bouquets to Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (heard locally on WZAK 93.1-FM). Upon learning about an 8-year-old Akron girl with a rare and severe heart ailment, he purchased a much-needed automated external defibrillator (AED) for her parents to have in case of emergencies.
Emani Myers was profiled in a recent column regarding a “Back to School Bash” dance party, which local dance instructor Sheena Mason was sponsoring for her former student to raise funds for the AED.
Pulling out all the stops for the dance party didn’t seem nearly enough for Mason, so she placed a call to Joyner’s show, pleading on behalf of Emani in the hopes of getting a “Christmas Wish” from the talk-show host, who grants such requests every Wednesday. Joyner did not disappoint.
Emani, the daughter of Ricardo and Stacy Myers of Akron, has been diagnosed with Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare condition that accounts for less than 1 percent of all congenital heart defects. Her doctors sent letters to the parents’ health insurer requesting an AED, valued at $1,900, but were denied. “She has braved many extended hospital stays at Akron Children’s Hospital as well as several open-heart surgeries at Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Cleveland Clinic while battling this defect,” Mason said earlier.
Thank you, Sheena Mason, for going that extra mile.
Matches in memory
Norton High School is remembering beloved student and athlete Basil James “B.J.” Ranier in a big way when it sponsors “Volley for a Cause,” a benefit volleyball match between Norton and Springfield High School on Thursday. Doors open at 4 p.m. at Norton High.
The event honors the memory of B.J., a 2009 graduate and league-honored lineman for the Panthers, who lost his four-year battle with leukemia Aug. 23.
B.J. was majoring in pathology at Kent State University, and had a career goal of finding a cure for chronic myeloid leukemia. He had his future all mapped out. In fact, he was to be married this month to Deanna Kupar.
B.J. can also be honored with donations, as requested by his family, to the Norton Stadium Project of Norton City Schools Foundation. Write Stadium Project on the memo line and mail to P.O. Box 1012, Norton, OH 44203. Or donate to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Northern Ohio chapter at 5700 Brecksville Road, Third Floor, Independence, OH 44131, with B.J. Ranier on the memo line. You can also call 888-557-7177.
Norton’s football team is honoring B.J. by wearing his number, 62, on helmets and dedicating the season to him.
As was declared in his obituary, B.J. “would also be honored to save other lives by encouraging you to register to be a marrow donor [bethematch.org]. His generous donor from Germany gifted him with two years of love and life.”
The ninth-grade game gets underway at 4:30 p.m., the junior varsity at 5:30 p.m., and the varsity at 7 p.m. Admission is $6 adults, $4 students. A basket sale and raffle drawings are planned. For more information, please call the Norton High School athletic department at 330-825-4167.
October project needed
Neighborhood Conservation Services of Barberton (NCS) is urgently looking for an October project.
“With the assistance of Alcoa employees in Barberton and donating siding, NCS would like to put new vinyl siding on a one-and-a-half story Cape Cod or ranch-style home,” Executive Director C. Thomas Anders said. “To qualify for the free home improvement, the homeowner must be a senior citizen [65 or older], a disabled citizen or a disabled veteran. The home must be located within the Barberton city limits.”
Please call the agency’s office at 330-753-8500 to apply. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Deadline is Sept. 27.
Benefit for truck driver
Come out to the Randolph Community Center, 1640 State Route 44 in Portage County’s Randolph Township, for a fun time and good food Sept. 22 to help support Leslie McCallister in his battle to get a kidney transplant.
Leslie, 52, a self-employed truck driver who has been diagnosed with IgA nephropathy and is receiving dialysis, continues to work. He’s trying to keep the creditors at bay as his medical bills mount.
The Atwater resident, who is in desperate need of a kidney, is the married father of one and grandfather of three.
Tickets are $7 presale, $10 at the door, for a meal, a beverage and a chance at a door prize.
Also on the agenda: raffles, silent auction, gift baskets that include car wash kits, golf baskets, authentic Coach and Dooney & Bourke purses, Silpada jewelry, Premier Designs, gift cards and more.
A Leslie McCallister Benevolent Kidney Fund has been set up at KeyBank (any branch). MiCasa Mexican restaurant at 903 W. Market St., Hartville, will donate 10 percent of its profits from 3 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 8 to Leslie’s fund.
Teddy bear run
The 18th annual “Children’s Caravan Teddy Bear Run” is happening Sunday.
Registration begins at Adventure Harley-Davidson in Dover at 9 a.m. Participants will leave at noon for the police-escorted ride to Akron Children’s Hospital, wrote Anne C. Merchant, senior public relations specialist for the hospital’s foundation.
“Participants are asked to bring a new, [plastic] bagged teddy bear. … Once the motorcycles arrive in Perkins Square Park at Akron Children’s Hospital around 1 p.m., the stuffed animals will be distributed to patients. Extra stuffed animals will be given to patients at the hospital throughout the year. On average, 20,000 stuffed animals are collected during the event.”
The Children’s Caravan Teddy Bear Run was the brainchild of Penny Martin “to show thanks to the hospital and to help patients like her son, David, who receives care at Akron Children’s.”
“Teddy bears provide comfort and courage to the kids,” Martin said. “It gives them someone to talk to.”
For more information, please contact Martin at 330-401-2858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy 100th birthday!
Rita Lance is asking readers of this column to remember Yrma Ratener with a card for her 100th birthday celebration in October.
Lance and her husband, Tim, will be traveling to Naples, Fla., for a weekend of celebrating.
The Rateners owned The Freez in Montrose as well as the Montrose Drive-in Theater. “Many people may remember working there, seeing movies there, sneaking people in their trunks and even the flea markets,” Lance wrote.
“Mrs. Ratener also was one of the original members of TWIGs (Together With Important Goals), the Children’s Hospital charity. … The Rateners resided in the Akron area for most of their lives until retiring to Naples.
“By the way, Mr. Ratener has passed away but lived to be over 101! At his 100th birthday celebration in Los Angeles in 2008, he told Mrs. Ratener that if he could make it to 100, then she could, too!”
Birthday cards should be mailed to: Yrma Ratener, P.O. Box 4216, Copley, OH 44321.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.