Jewell Cardwell

Stow/Hudson Knights of Columbus and Quinn’s Butterfly Army would like to see huge support from the community for a pasta dinner benefit Feb. 12 to help Holy Family parishioners Marc and Mandy Seymour, whose baby is in a battle for her life. The event will take place 12:30 to 5 p.m., followed by a prayer service in the Lower Church Hall, 3450 Sycamore Drive, Stow.


Quinn Rosalie Seymour, 5 months old, has been diagnosed with junctional epidermolysis bullosa Herlitz, or EB as it’s sometimes called.


“This strange-sounding medical term masks the true character and identity of a rare and very painful and deadly genetic disease that attacks infants at birth or shortly thereafter,” writes Rob Kubick, one of the benefit’s planners. “EB causes the skin to be very fragile and to blister easily over large parts of the body … Mucous membranes may also be involved. Infants usually succumb to this disease by their first birthday.”


The Seymours are doing everything they can think of so that doesn’t happen to Quinn.


When they learned of a clinical trial run by the University of Minnesota, they temporarily moved there in mid-October. “Quinn entered the Children’s Hospital at that time, where she has been ever since,” Kubick continued.


“On Dec. 9, Quinn became the 19th and by far the youngest child in this program to receive a bone marrow transplant (BMT). BMT is supposed to help the body create a missing protein in her skin which would eventually prevent blistering and some of the other symptoms of this disease.”


It’s too early to know whether it is a long-term fix; some in the study are showing encouraging signs while others have died.


Fifty days after her transplant, Quinn is struggling with unexpected problems. “Quinn is battling blood clots, a severe form of pneumonia and other infections,” Kubick noted. “She has a breathing tube which the doctors almost could not insert due to blisters and lesions coating her throat. … Doctors liken her pain to someone experiencing second-degree burns or worse.”


The Seymours, along with their 2-year-old daughter Camden, are living at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis. Neither parent has been able to work. All the family is asking for is our prayers.


But so much more is needed. That’s why the Knights of Columbus and her supporters, Quinn’s Butterfly Army, have gotten involved, sponsoring the fundraiser.


Because the cost of the dinner is being underwritten, every dime received will go to the family. Cash or checks accepted. Please make checks out to Quinn R. Seymour Benefit and mail to Quinn R. Seymour Benefit, c/o Knights of Columbus, P.O. Box 2189, Hudson, OH 44236.


Tree Festival success


The Akron Children’s Hospital 30th annual Holiday Tree Festival in November netted the largest amount for the hospital in its history: more than $240,000. Volunteers, who make the whole thing possible, announced the total at a recent luncheon for participants.


“People’s generosity allows us to do what we do best — care for the children in our community,” said John Zoilo, executive director of the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This event has spanned generations and to have set a new record shows that the community supports our mission to provide care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.”


Anne Merchant, spokeswoman for the hospital’s foundation, said the festival is organized by more than 1,000 volunteers. “Since 1982, it has raised more than $3 million to benefit the continued efforts of medical research, education and patient care programs at the hospital.”


This year’s festival featured more than 300 custom-decorated trees, wreaths and holiday items donated by local corporations, groups and individuals.


Student artists help out


Big, beautiful bouquets to members of the National Junior Art Honor Society at Akron’s Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. They created and sold beautiful pieces of jewelry made from recycled materials, raising $350 for Project R.I.S.E. (Realizing Individual Strength through Education), a collaborative effort by Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the Akron community, providing educational services to homeless children and youth.


Susan Yingling, the school’s art teacher, said the students were extremely enthusiastic: “Some of the students worked on the pieces during lunch or took materials home to make even more. They really worked hard on the project.”


They made jewelry from such materials as potato chip bags and discarded computer parts. They also made “scribble cookies” and mini crayons. For three days, they sold items during lunch to faculty, staff and other students.


Project R.I.S.E., managed by Debra Manteghi, is a federally funded program through the Ohio Department of Education that served 951 students last year.


Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.