Fourteen-year-old Kelsey Parkman was a lifesaver Sunday on Turkeyfoot Lake at Portage Lakes State Park, where his church, New Covenant, had gathered for “an afternoon of relaxation and fellowship to conclude a week of Vacation Bible School,” his mother, Melody Parkman, shared.
“Kelsey had not planned to go swimming because he wasn’t feeling well, changed his mind once he got to the park,” his mother continued. “He went into the lake with his friends and church members. While playing he noticed his Vacation Bible School teacher going under the water, waving frantically and trying to call for help. Kelsey acted quickly and pulled his teacher away from the deep drop-off he fell into. After ensuring his teacher was OK, Kelsey went back to playing.”
Kelsey — who attended St. Mary’s Elementary School (K-8) and will be attending Akron’s STEM High School in the fall — had taken American Red Cross swimming lessons a couple of years before but had no lifesaving instruction. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, as there were no lifeguards on duty.
Healthy Spaces Project
The University of Akron’s American Society of Interior Design (ASID) students recently put their skills to good use when they partnered with the Karen E. Mumford (KEM) Foundation to complete a Healthy Spaces Project that is already making a huge impact in the life of a local woman.
On the receiving end of this goodwill and talent was breast cancer survivor Shelli Prater of Green. Shelli — who was diagnosed in October with Stage 3 cancer — completed 6½ weeks of radiation last Thursday, and the magic team showed up Saturday. “It’s been quite a journey,” Shelli said.
“I call it my princess apartment,” she continued. “This project was amazing. Quite a blessing!”
Nicole Reagan, president of UA’s ASID chapter, said about 20 students worked on the project, which involved cleaning everything (even the baseboards) and putting in new shelves in the kitchen.
“They did something in every room of the apartment,” Shelli said.
The students reorganized everything in an effort to improve the flow, including installing a TV mount (donated by Best Buy) in the living room, and incorporated many accessories they purchased with the $1,000 raised at a benefit at Jimmy’s Martini Bar in Akron. They also purchased a queen-size mattress with funds from the KEM Foundation.
“She already had beautiful furniture,” Nicole said. “So we added accessories — new bed spreads, rugs and wall hangings — to brighten things up for her.”
One of Prater’s bathrooms went from black and white to blues and greens, to her delight.
“Nicole is just such a compassionate person,” Shelli wanted me to know. “I met her in February when the group came for the review. But I almost didn’t recognize her when she came Saturday. She had shaved her head for a [St. Baldrick’s] benefit to raise money for children’s cancer research. She’s such a compassionate person. What they did for me, I’ll never forget!”
Shelli Prater was recommended for the project by a social worker at Akron General Medical Center, where she is being treated.
Tourney on the Turf
Tourney on the Turf, a charity volleyball tournament, will host its seventh annual event Aug. 4, to benefit 5-year-old Zander and 3-year-old sister Lexi Helfrich,who are battling spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Their parents are Ryan and Diana Helfrich of Medina.
“SMA is the No. 1 genetic killer of children under the age of 2, is an often fatal disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement, which affects crawling, walking, head and neck control, and even swallowing,” tournament co-organizer Matt Weiss wrote. “One in every 6,000 babies is born with SMA. … There is currently no treatment or cure for SMA and it is a degenerative disease.”
The tournament, with first serve at 10 a.m., takes place at Prentiss Park, 2009 East Ave., Akron.
Cost is $20 per player; high school students, $15; with each participant receiving a T-shirt. Prizes, concessions, and the famous Slip-n-Slide are planned.
For more information, including division details, please contact Chad Kelly at 330-730-8204 or chad@volleyball project.com; Rachel Roukey at 330-618-3513 or email@example.com; Matt Weiss at 330-703-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jamey Price at volley email@example.com.
Kudos to Darden, LongHorn
Three cheers for LongHorn Steakhouse’s parent company Darden Restaurants, which, over the last 10 years, has donated more than 62 million pounds of food to community food banks across the country.
Jenni Izzo, a spokeswoman for the company, places the estimated value at more than $560 million. “In the Cleveland area alone, LongHorn Steakhouse has donated more than 99,800 pounds of food through this program, 23,769 pounds in just the past year,” Izzo said. The LongHorn in Copley Township regularly donates unused food to food banks like Akron’s Good Samaritan Hunger Center.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org