Moved by the outpouring of support her 16-year-old sister Abbey has received, especially from the ETC All-American Youth Show Choir community, since being diagnosed last summer with bone cancer, Megan Calderone is paying it forward.
The young Copley woman, assisted by her friend Lauren Nervo, is marshaling what she hopes will be a huge holiday effort to help families staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their sick child is being treated at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Megan, in a Facebook posting, talked about what got the idea rolling for “The 2012 Team Abbey Holiday Huddle!”:
“After sitting at home and wondering how I could make this holiday season one to remember, it was time to go to the hospital for a routine visit with my mom and sister. When I got there I saw a little girl riding a mini John Deere tractor through the halls who my friend Lauren Nervo and I had met the day before. Although we never learned her name, she sure was a cutie! After exchanging hellos, her dad told her it was time to say bye to her baby brother — a cancer patient on Abbey’s floor — and to go to Ronald McDonald House. Right then it dawned on me! Let’s help the Ronald McDonald House.”
So, on Dec. 21, at a time to be announced, Megan and Lauren will host a holiday party and ask their ETC guests and others to bring items for Ronald McDonald House. They suggest gift cards (Acme, Giant Eagle, Sam’s Club, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond); Clorox wipes, paper towels, napkins, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dishwashing detergent; juice boxes/bags, individually packaged chips, pretzels, crackers, wrapped candies, granola bars, fruit snacks; hand sanitizers; and children’s toys. At the party, guests also will make Christmas cards, holiday crafts and fleece blankets for the families at Ronald McDonald House.
Guests then will go caroling in neighborhoods in Copley and collect donations. For more information, please message firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a TubaChristmas
So few things in life are free.
That’s why I’m encouraging you, dear readers, to take advantage of the University of Akron School of Music’s annual TubaChristmas, with performances at noon and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at E.J. Thomas Hall.
It’s a wonderfully fun family event featuring hundreds of tuba players performing on stage, with lots of Christmas carol sing-alongs and more. And it’s free! UA music professor Robert Jorgensen is guest conductor.
“In a reversal of roles, Akron’s TubaChristmas is free for the audience while the musicians pay a $5 registration fee to participate,” said Cynthia D. Snider, assistant to the dean, marketing, communications and special projects at UA. “Low brass musicians who want to play can register on the day of the performances in the ticket lobby of E.J. Thomas Hall, accessible from the parking deck, between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. The rehearsal is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.”
And there’s this: I’ve been invited as a guest tuba soloist. No, I have never held a tuba, let alone played one. But Tucker Jolly, professor of music at UA who will conduct the event, has assured me he can teach me a few notes.
This gift to the community is in its 33rd year. Interested musicians should contact Jolly at email@example.com.
Woman leaves hospital
Phyllis Cottle — to whom so many of you have written a continuous flow of encouragement cards and letters — called with this update about her condition.
Phyllis, battling Stage IV cancer, is the woman who was beaten, robbed, raped, blinded with a knife and left to die in a burning car March 20, 1984, by Samuel J. Herring, who at the time was on early release from prison.
The Cuyahoga Falls woman continues to be an inspiration to all who know her or her story, always positive in spite of it all.
The latest is that Phyllis contracted a massive infection (she doesn’t know where she picked it up) and was hospitalized for a little over two weeks.
She’s happily back home now, receiving a twice-a-day infusion of antibiotics. “I’m gaining strength every day,” she said. “So, it’s just kind of wait-and-see at this point … When the infection is cleared up doctors will decide if they’re going to put me back on chemotherapy or radiation.” Phyllis was poised to receive a final round of chemo when the infection set in.
In the meantime, she enjoys receiving the cards and letters and having them read to her by a neighbor who is also her nurse.
“They really do lift my spirits and I’m so appreciative,” she continued. “We really get a kick out of the cards and the personal notes.” Mail cards to Phyllis to my attention: Jewell Cardwell/Phyllis Cottle, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309.
Special holiday party
Zane’s Foundation is hosting a holiday party for families with special needs children — complete with a quiet Santa and a couple of his elves, photo opportunities, refreshments and more — 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Journey Covenant Church, 2679 North Haven Blvd., Cuyahoga Falls.
The event is free, but donations are encouraged. Please RSVP by Saturday to 330-677-9263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hearing aid finds home
Big thanks to Becky Ciriello who has fulfilled her wish to donate the hearing aid her mother purchased in September but was never able to use, after it was announced in this column.
Cindy Idle called on behalf of her 79-year-old mother, who is on a fixed income and unable to afford the hearing aids she so desperately needs. “Not hearing well affects her daily life,” Idle said. “She volunteers at a hospice center and goes to church, yet she probably only hears half of what is said.”
So this gift of hearing will be a welcome change to her quality of life.
Pamela (Dague) Channell has this fond remembrance of Beatrice Huntley, the longtime resident of Medina’s Granger Township who toured the country for 44 years as a magician’s assistant, and who died last month at 106.
“I was born in Medina County and lived just one house away from ‘Beattie.’ It’s the one that is a gift shop now and has a wagon wheel out front. I remember a beautiful picture of her in a ballroom-type dress when she was quite young. It sat on the piano in the living room of their house and it always fascinated me. Both of her parents were alive at the time and I have fond memories of them too. We moved to Akron in 1963 when I was 9 years old and I only saw Beattie two or three times after that, but I’ve never forgotten her. She was a very, special lady.”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.