Miracle babies flip the switch on Beeghly campus holiday tree
It was a joyous day that stood in stark contrast to how it was 4 years ago – to the day – for Rachel and Barry Wardle.
That day, the Wardles were told their twin babies, born at 21 weeks, 5 days weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces each had a 0% chance of survival. But against all odds, here were James and Claire flipping the switch on the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley Christmas tree to officially begin the 2019 holiday season.
“Our children wouldn’t be alive today without Akron Children’s Hospital,” she told the crowd gathered at the annual event. “They bring happy moments even in the scariest times in life.”
11th annual Beeghly campus tree lighting
Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, thanked volunteers and staff who coordinated the 11th annual tree lighting event. It drew hundreds of patient families to the campus.
“As our tree grows each year so does our list of services here at Beeghly campus,” Hrina said, referring to the newly expanded Behavioral Health Center, one of the latest additions to the Mahoning Valley.
The hospital’s Chief Operating Officer Lisa Aurilio expounded on the impact the Behavioral Health Center will make locally. She said it is available through all Akron Children’s primary care practices and is among the top accomplishments of the year at Beeghly campus.
“None of this would be possible without the amazing staff and support we receive from the community,” Aurilio said.
And the community showed up to be part of the night’s festivities. It included cookies, cocoa, carols and a visit from Santa Claus. Many families said the event has become a holiday tradition.
“While planning the event we had one goal in mind, and that was to make the children smile … and they did!” DeMain said.
Asked what they’re most looking forward to this holiday season, attendees sang a consistent and heartwarming refrain.
“Just being with my kids and family,” said Youngstown’s Heidi Orosz, who was there with son Eli and daughter Annabelle.
“Spending time with family,” said Danielle Riccitelli, a repeat attendee who was there with son Dominic and daughter Sofia.
The Mahoning Valley hospital’s Foundation department is hosting 2 more major holiday-themed events this month, a Breakfast with Santa and Holiday Hopes and Wishes luncheon. Call 330-746-8712 for more information.
26th annual ‘Children’s Tree of Lights’ in Akron
Blue and white lights dazzled the over 200 attendees at the Akron main campus tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 6. This was the 26th annual Children’s Tree of Lights, which is sponsored by The Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital.
The blue and white lights that decorate the tree are given in celebration, honor or remembrance of loved ones.
This year, the bambino that tops the tree was sponsored by the family of Rose Carlson, an Akron Children’s volunteer. Rose, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 103, began volunteering at Akron Children’s at the age of 89 and served as a volunteer for 14 years.
Together, patients Benjamin Chikosky and Serenity Anderson had the honor of flipping the switch to illuminate the tree.
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived to entertain children and parents with a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Thank you to everyone who sponsored lights and snowflakes for our tree lightings. The lights on both campuses will be lit throughout the holiday season so be sure to stop by for some holiday spirit.