Every February, one of our local radio stations, 98.1 WKDD, hosts a radiothon that benefits Akron Children's Hospital. The radiothon calls anyone who donates a certain dollar amount each month a "Miracle Maker" because the money goes directly to patient care and the hospital doesn't refuse any family based on ability to pay. They believe that every child should get the absolute best care regardless of financial status. Every year, I think to myself I want to figure out how to give back beyond my standard pledge and I have found just the opportunity.
This mix is personal because it was Akron Children's Hospital that saved my life and gave me the chance to live a normal, healthy life. When I was born, there were a number of medical issues that I don't remember, but my parents do. I had what they called a level 4 intraventricular brain hemorrhage. A level 4 WHAT?! In simple terms, it's a brain bleed and they rate the bleeds on a scale of 1-4, 4 being the most severe. Along with the hemorrhage, I had seizures and a host of other (relatively more minor) issues. The doctors told my parents that there was a very good chance that I would be a "vegetable" for the rest of my life and quality of life would not be ideal.
The doctors put a shunt in my brain to aleviate the fluid and pressure a few days after I was born. This ended up working way better than anticipated and I was on the road to recovery. Fast forward six or seven years where I would find myself back in Akron Children's Hospital because as I was growing, the tube that was attached to the shunt was no longer long enough, so it snapped and needed revised. I spent more time in the hospital as the doctors went in and did surgery to remove the tubing that broke. They put in a new, longer tube to accomodate the growing that a six year old goes through.
As I was in the hospital recovering, I had a window view of Canal Park being built. This became the new home of the Akron Aeros (now Akron RubberDucks and AA affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians). Baseball is my FAVORITE sport, so this worked out well! The doctors weren't able to remove the old, broken tubing because there was so much scar tissue, so to this day, I tell people that I'm not fat, I just have tubing floating around! All jokes aside, after that revision, I haven't experienced any issues since (Thank God!).
Presently, I am healthy working a full time job and three part time jobs, one of which is being an usher at Canal Park, where I have ushered for the past 10 (going on 11) seasons. That hospital (and ballpark) saved my life and I owe it to them. Being an usher at Canal Park has been an absolute blast and I plan on working at the stadium for as long as I am able. It's cliche to say, but while Canal Park doesn't need me, I need Canal Park. It's way more than just a baseball stadium for me. Every time I clock in and make my way to the concourse, I look over the left field wall and see the hospital that gave me the chance to live my life.
Because of the generous donors before me, I am able to live a healthy life and I want to give back, even if it's just a very small portion of what I have been given. In order to do this, I will be donating $1 of every Miracle Maker blank sold to Akron Children's Hospital. It is my hope with donations to the hospital that saved my life that others will continue to have the best quality of life they can have going forward.