Over the past 2 years our family has had the privilege of participating in Guinathon, Youngstown State University’s Dance Marathon, which raises money for Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. Last year, their first, the students raised over $18,000. This year’s goal was $30,000 — $1 for every time a child was seen in the Emergency Department over the previous year in the Mahoning Valley.
The total was outstanding. They raised over $45,000. But, for me, that’s not the most incredible part. As the mom of Bekah and Sam, 2 of their “miracles,” I have to admit that the amount of money a group of college kids came together to raise over the year IS AMAZING. More amazing, though, is the example of what it means to care for others Guinathon shows.
To the onlooker, Bekah and Sam are totally normal. Others don’t usually see her scar from open heart surgery or notice that she is missing a nerve in her eye. Unless a bystander notices Sam’s food allergy wristband, or sees us getting out special food for him, they probably wouldn’t realize that he’s allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, seeds and cinnamon. Other than keeping Sam safe when he eats, their medical histories aren’t something we think about much at this point, and even Sam’s allergies have become a way of life.
This way of life is what makes participating in something like Guinathon so remarkable. For 8 hours (not including all of the fun activities leading up to the dance marathon throughout the year), Bekah and Sam see a room full of dancing, jumping, singing college students who think their “problems” are pretty cool. I don’t. I don’t see that at all. Instead, I see leaders. I see people who are already making a huge difference in our community. I see students who could be dismissed as partiers and fun-seekers, but who just spent the last year working hard to raise over $45,000 to help make it possible for kids to receive care who may not be able to afford it otherwise — kids who they will probably NEVER meet!
That, more than having fun dancing and playing with the crowd, is what I hope Bekah and Sam will remember as most important. The desire to help others, even others you may never know, is WAY more important than the dollar amount and I’m thankful that Bekah and Sam have had the Guinathon team as constant examples of this over the past 2 years.