It’s become a holiday tradition in the Mahoning Valley, and a signature event for Akron Children’s Hospital.
Holiday Hopes and Wishes drew more than 300 people in its 7th year, and proceeds benefited the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley Palliative Care Fund.
“It’s a fun, festive event that many local businesses have incorporated as an annual tradition,” said JoAnn Stock, director of development, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “Many of them sponsor a table and send their employees as a special holiday treat. They’ll see friends, have a chance to win prizes and know that they’re doing it all for a really good cause.”
The Kids Crew, a dedicated group of more than 100 volunteers who assist with the local hospital’s fundraising efforts, hosted the event. It featured 70 basket raffle items, a silent auction, a grand raffle that awarded an Apple iPad II and a holiday bake shoppe.
“Each year the planning committee determines a specific hospital program to support, which gives us the opportunity to educate the community about the impact we make in the region,” JoAnn said. “And part of the event that makes it extra special is to hear from a patient family who’s experienced our services.”
Amy Daprile of Canfield shared her experiences with the hospital’s palliative care specialists in the context of her son Nathan’s health scare 7 years ago.
Nathan, who was born with a genetic disorder, experienced a near-death emergency after surgery. The palliative care team became a permanent part of Nathan’s care during his 78 days in Akron Children’s pediatric intensive care unit and from that point forward.
Despite it being the Dapriles’ darkest time in their lives, the palliative care team helped counsel them with psychological, emotional, social, spiritual and educational support to help ease their suffering.
Akron Children’s is in the process of expanding its palliative care program to the Mahoning Valley, providing easier and more convenient access to its life-changing services closer to home.
Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of pediatric palliative care at Akron Children’s Hospital, spoke at the event about how the proceeds would help patients and families from the local community with expenses that are not covered by insurance.