Three cheers for the nearly 500 volunteers, businesses, community organizations, walkers and their furry companions who participated in the recent Stewart’s Caring Place: Cancer Wellness Center’s sixth annual Hope Walk at the Fairlawn Community Center. They raised more than $50,000 for the wellness center.
Breast cancer patient Christy Mattey, with the support of her husband and two young sons, spoke about the powerful role Stewart’s Caring Place has played in her life:
“I was diagnosed on my 43rd birthday on Nov. 15, 2011. My first call to Stewart’s was on Nov. 16. The staff at Stewart’s talked to me before I could even reach my physicians…
“There were hugs and tears and friendships formed from the moment I walked through the doors. I sat in an empty chair next to the most amazing survivor sister, her name is Ginni. ... Between the phone calls and text messages of support, Stewart’s gave me one of the greatest gifts of all in Ginni — a dear friend.”
Mattey also credits child life specialist Avni Sahgal with helping to explain “cancer, losing her hair, finding a wig, and so much more to her two children.”
For information about Stewart’s Caring Place, please visit www.stewartscaring place.org or call 330-836-1772.
Heartfelt congratulations to two longtime hospital employees on their recent retirements.
• Harriet Montgomery, at 72, will log out for the last time this week at Akron City Hospital after 51 years of service. “She started at the hospital in 1961 and has worked (as an LPN) in endoscopy, assisting physicians in endoscopy; colonoscopy, bronchoscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy, for about 37 years,” co-worker Amy Goddard said.
“Her hobbies involve watching NBA basketball. She is a loyal Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but she still follows LeBron and the Miami Heat. She’s also read every Dean Koontz novel ever published and likes to eat double cheeseburgers at Swenson’s. She also loves to shop and buy purses at Macy’s.”
On hand for her June 7 roast at an area restaurant will be several physicians who have worked with her and Dr. Edward Esber, gastroenterology and internal medicine, is poised to emcee the event.
• Millie Sweatt of Cuyahoga Falls retired last Friday after 45 years at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Children’s is the only place she has ever worked,” her very proud sister Sally Dowling shared. “She has been a witness to the tremendous growth of the hospital over the years. She started in the Development Office and worked in several different departments during her employment.” Of late, she’s been a social worker in neurology.
Among those attending her retirement tea was her mother Dorothy Sweatt, 92, of Cuyahoga Falls, who also is a Children’s Hospital retiree, with 15 years of service.
Dance marathon benefit
The RYGT Step Line Dancers is presenting the Steppin’ in the Name of Health Community Line Dance Marathon from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at Akron’s East Community Learning Center to help Ronald C. Clay and his wife, Yolanda, offset the medical expenses associated with his yearlong health battle.
The Akron couple was formerly active with the group, teaching the dance steps that got many folks, especially senior citizens, up and moving — moving to better health.
RYGT refers to the first initials of the dance instructors: Ronnie, Yolanda, Gina and Tim.
Here’s the back story, as shared by Yolanda: “On June 14, 2011, my husband was rushed to emergency due to severe pain in his abdomen. After tests were run, they found that he had a gallstone blocking his pancreas … Once the gallstone passed on its own, too much stomach acid was released into his belly and caused his organs to shut down. Ronnie suffered three major medical issues in a very short time … He was put on life support and remained in a coma for almost two months.”
Over the next six months, Ronnie underwent 14 operations, including the removal of his gall bladder and 90 percent of his pancreas. “He is now insulin dependent,” his wife said. “He has been intubated [tube down his throat] and trached [breathing tube] three times.”
Long story short, the 44-year-old Ronnie — who is always at risk for infection — has lost 122 pounds “He is in end stage renal failure and has to have dialysis for 4 ½ hours three times a week,” his wife added. “He has been on massive amounts of antibiotics and is currently struggling with constant pain.”
Yet through it all, his wife said, it’s her husband who continues to worry about everyone else.
So, Tim Anderson and Akron Councilman Russel Neal and others are asking the community to put on its dancing shoes and come dance for their health and help Ronnie on his long journey back.
Various organizations will enter teams of five or more, with each team seeking pledges from family and friends based on the number of continuous hours on the dance floor. Organizations keep 100 percent of the sponsorship dollars by their team, but all ticket sales will go to the Ronald C. Clay Charitable Foundation at any FirstMerit Bank.
For information, please contact Russel Neal at email@example.com or 330-714-8443 or Tim Anderson at 330-414-2627.
Girls on the Run
Congratulations to Girls on the Run of Greater Summit, which had more than 1,200 participants in its recent 5K event.
The mission of the national program is “to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and content using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”
Girls as young as 8 are fed a steady diet of healthy living education, life skills development, mentoring relationships and physical training.
“My hope is that the girls will remember the challenge of the run and the feelings of power they felt when crossing the finish line,” said Robyn Cutler, local executive director of GOTR. “They can achieve anything they put their minds to!”
Special thanks to race director Michelle Mostow and operations director Monica Peritt.
Big, beautiful bouquets to the students at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Kent, who went above and beyond the call of caring, especially the eighth-graders.
“Mrs. Susanne Brych, one of the eighth-grade teachers, was very moved by the students in her class who decided on their own to do something worthwhile for her grandson, Truman Corpening,” wrote the school’s yearbook adviser, Penny Gretsinger.
“Truman, who is 4, received a kidney transplant earlier this year from his father, Clint. Truman has Down syndrome. To raise awareness for Down syndrome, the eighth-grade class held an event on May 8, where the whole school (K-grade 8) was invited to learn more about the condition.
“This was the brainchild of the four class officers — Adam Pastor, Olivia Rocco, Paige Scott and Maegan Wiles — who researched facts and came up with activities. During the event, students participated in stations where they learned facts about Down syndrome. Each visiting student was asked to donate $2. The total raised was $693. Half of the money raised was donated to Truman’s family to help with hospital bills, while the other half will be donated to the National Association for Down Syndrome (N.A.D.S.).”
Belated beautiful bouquets to Akron’s Pfeiffer Elementary School for its successful Mother’s Day Tea, which actually pirouetted from breakfast into a rather artsy blanket-making production line.
Thirty-four students from the school’s two first-grade classes participated, along with 26 “mothers,” making 10 knot-tied blankets for patients at Children’s Hospital, first-grade teacher Pamela Toppin shared.
“Mothers, grandmothers and aunts cut the edges and the students tied the knots,” she said.
Toppin’s class fashioned blankets with a frog theme and Barbara Sharnsky’s class used a bear theme.
“In less than an hour, the blankets were finished and the students and mothers were thrilled with their work,” Toppin said. “The object of this event was to show the students the best gift is that of giving while working with their mothers. … I don’t know who had more fun, students or their mothers!”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.