Jewell Cardwell

The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis is partnering with the Akron RubberDucks baseball team to pitch the message about MS and other disabilities to area elementary schools.

The project is being shepherded in part by registered nurse Lauren Buehrle, Trish Jones and Sue Arnold, and involves visiting schools in Stark and Summit counties.

“Our project begins with a 30- to 45-minute presentation to children centering on a book called My Grampy Can’t Walk, which was written by Vanita Oelschlager, who along with her husband, Jim, founded the Oak Clinic,” the release reads. “Orbit, the mascot for the RubberDucks, would be with us also.

“We talk about the disease of multiple sclerosis, tolerance of those with disabilities, and philanthropy and giving back to the community. Finally, we talk about the 1K Diamond Run that will take place before the Akron RubberDucks baseball game on Sunday, April 27 and invite the students to be a part of it. They will solicit sponsors for their run and in turn, receive a ticket to the game!”

Representatives of the clinic, located in Green, will present each teacher with a signed copy of the book and will return on April 10 to collect the proceeds and distribute the game tickets. Students will get activities and prizes before the 2:50 p.m. game.

Spaghetti dinner

The Celebration of Life Cancer Benefit, in the works while Rootstown resident Mary Long Blankenship was still alive, will still go on from 4 to 8 p.m. April 26 at the Ravenna VFW Post #1055, 6000 New Milford Road, Ravenna, according to planners.

The aim? To help Mike, her husband of 20 years, with medical bills and other expenses.

Mrs. Blankenship was a member of Field High School’s class of 1985 and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at Newman Center in Kent, and the mother of two. She was diagnosed in June with acute myeloid leukemia and died Jan. 24. She was 46.

Cost of the spaghetti dinner is $10 for adults, and includes a DJ, drawings and raffles (Magic Mountain family 4-pack, autographed items from sports teams, Quail Hollow Resort deluxe room and $50 gift card for its steakhouse, and more). It’s free to children 10 and under.

For more information or a reservation, please call Brenda Rice at 330-947-3598. Donations also accepted at FirstMerit Bank (any location) in care of the Mary Blankenship Memorial Fund.

A big thank you

When last we chatted about the urgent need for a van for Copley resident Lill Ford and her 10-year-old daughter Michelle, who has multiple and severe disabilities, fundraisers were underway and a 2006 minivan with 90,000 miles on it had been secured.

Now for the rest of the story as shared by dedicated advocate Margaret Rininger:

“As of February 24, 2014, the debt for the van has been paid in full! Money that was raised in excess of the cost of the van will be used to install a simple wheelchair lift and/or help with the repairs that may come up … An extreme weight has been lifted off of Lill, and she now can continue to focus on caring for her disabled daughter.

“Only through your [donors’] prayers, concern and financial support was this accomplished, and we are so grateful to God and to you. It is truly difficult to express thanks especially to the many donors for the van who have wished to remain anonymous. Thank you to those people and to those who have contacted me with different ideas of how to go about the task of financing a car … Thanks to VanDevere Auto for allowing an early payoff without penalty … Thank you to all who were able to raise a prayer or send a kind, encouraging word …

“Lill has been overwhelmed with gratitude and has often expressed to me through tears that she just doesn’t know how she can thank everyone. I know that she has been praying for each and every one of you as will I.”

Happy Day fundraiser

The Happy Day Parent Council is sponsoring a spaghetti dinner fundraiser 3 to 7 p.m. May 10 at Happy Day School to help raise funds to purchase a van and other medical necessities for 2-year-old Paxton Hemberger, the son of Christina Matthews and Todd Hemberger. Paxton was born prematurely, suffered from three brain bleeds, then was diagnosed with periventricular leukomalacia with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

“Paxton is unable to walk or crawl,” his aunt Dona Bica said. “He now has a GJ [feeding] tube to get his nutrition and medication … His other diagnoses consist of failure to thrive, cortical vision impairment, seizure disorder, dysphasia and dystonia … With his frequent medical appointments, proper transportation is essential.”

Cost of the dinner is $10. Also on the menu? A bake sale, 50/50 raffle, Chinese auction and more.

The school is located at 2500 Brady Lake Road, Ravenna. Here is a link to Paxton’s benevolent fund: www.gofundme.com/72r8y4.

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