Jewell Cardwell

Just by living life on her own terms, Ruth Barnes has painted quite the unique road map, complete with challenges and bumps in the road.

For that and more, Ruth, a wife and mother of two adult daughters, was honored in June at Akron’s Hardesty Park at a surprise flash mob celebration orchestrated by Crystal Pirri of Suffield Township. Ruth’s many cross-cultural and cross-generational friends, dressed in white and swaying to You’ve Got a Friend, greeted her as she stepped out of her daughter’s car. These friends, many strangers to one another before this day, had intersected with Ruth in her various leadership roles: home schooling; her always positive and encouraging Facebook posts; aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Polar Express, where she has been a longtime volunteer; or other venues.

They were there to say a collective “thanks” for all of the lessons she has taught them, especially the one about dying. Or in Ruth’s case, living despite a non-negotiable diagnosis.

“It’s not the length of life, but the depth of life,” essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was fond of saying, and it’s a philosophy Ruth has embraced.

Married in September 2012 to her beloved Dave Barnes, and diagnosed in May with inflammatory breast cancer, which had already metastasized into her brain and lungs, Ruth still manages to brandish the most beautiful, give-thanks-in-all-things smile.

Determination means everything to her, always has.

It means a lot to her friends, as here’s yet another example of the high esteem that rightfully continues to envelop her. This invitation came from Ryan Kneram, a friend of Ruth’s daughter, Kylia Radney:

“Friends of former Cuyahoga Falls resident and beloved wife Ruth (Radney Yoder) Barnes have planned a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to benefit Ruth and offset mounting medical costs. Barnes is forgoing chemotherapy and has enlisted hospice to help her live out her days more comfortably.”

The dinner/silent auction is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2141 Fifth St., Cuyahoga Falls. Music will be provided. Suggested donation is $10. Not able to attend? Donations will be welcomed at the Ruth Barnes Benefit Fund at any Huntington Bank branch.

For more information or to donate to the silent auction, please contact Ryan Kneram at 330-606-2404.

Holiday dinner relocating

The second annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted for 17 years by the Ellet branch of the U.S. Postal Service, is relocating to St. Matthew’s Catholic Church social hall, 2580 Berne St., Akron (across from Ellet High).

The dinner, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is free. Guests are encouraged to call the church at 330-733-9944 by Nov. 22 so they know how many meals to prepare.

“We were able to serve about 200 meals last year to those who might otherwise have not had a hot Thanksgiving meal,” said Mike Madonio, a member of the church’s Outreach Ministry.

Meals On Wheels milestone

Meals On Wheels of Stark and Wayne counties has been tackling hunger for 40 years, and will celebrate this milestone with a “Main Event” dinner and auction 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Alex D. Krassas Event Center, 251 25th St. NW, Canton. Casual football attire is the preferred dress, with a tailgate reception and silent auction followed by dinner, a live auction and a whole lot of fun.

“The second annual event will benefit Meals On Wheels of Stark and Wayne counties’ mission of serving the community and providing individuals of all ages with nutritional support for better health, mobility and independence,” wrote Becky Bernhard, the agency’s community relations administrator.

“This year the need to take care of the hungry and homebound in the community is even greater. Of the 1,500 clients served daily by Meals On Wheels, the majority of the clients are seniors who live alone or are recovering from illness. The nutritious meals and daily companionship provided by the Meals On Wheels volunteers and staff keeps these seniors living independently and with dignity in their homes.”

Event chair is Lisa Warburton-Gregory, and the honoree is Aultman Health Foundation.

Cost is $125. The reservation deadline is Friday. Please call 330-832-7220.

Teams collecting food

The Massillon-McKinley high school football game Saturday not only will offer a chance to root for your favorite team in the rivalry that dates back more than 100 years, but you also can also compete for bragging rights of another sort.

I’m talking about the second annual “Food Fight,” also pitting the Tigers against the Bulldogs, benefiting the Stark County Hunger Task Force. The schools are collecting nonperishable food and financial donations through Thursday. Presented by News-Talk 1480-AM WHBC and Mix 94.1-FM radio, it gives the rival schools the opportunity to win a traveling trophy, a day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and on-air bragging rights.

According to spokeswomen for the hunger task force and the radio stations, McKinley won the honors last year “by collecting the equivalent of 5,300 meals. Overall 9,500 meals were donated.”

This year’s winner will be announced during the game.

“Over 57,000 Stark County residents are hungry! One in four children in our area do not know where their next meal may come from. That’s where — with your help — we come in,” said Amy Weisbrod, executive director of the Stark County Hunger Task Force.

Monetary donations can be made at www.starkhunger.org. Specify the school of your choice. Donations also will be accepted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, McKinley and Massillon Washington high schools, or the radio stations at 550 Market Ave. S., Canton.

Zane’s Foundation

The Cleveland Cavaliers have tapped Zane’s Foundation Inc., as one of the recipients of its “Pack the Q for the Cause.”

Zane’s Foundation was founded by Stacy Youssef to help families with special-needs children by offering educational tools and grants for summer camps, respite, therapies or special equipment.

A super-enthusiastic Stacy had this to say about the game at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15:

“We have purchased oodles of tickets in ‘Loudville’ — er, the 200 level — for a discounted price for our family, friends and supporters for a low price of $15 each. Normally, these tickets sell anywhere from $30 to $50 each ... Also, during the game, volunteers for Zane’s Foundation will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets for a drawing to be held later in the game.

“Proceeds from this event will go toward the quarterly funding assistance program that has been one of the missions of Zane’s Foundation Inc. for the last five years.”

For more information about the Cavs game, please visit www.zanesfoundation.org or call 330-673-ZANE (9263).

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