Photo Courtesy: Rhonda McClelland
Obtained From Brunswick Post
By: Melissa Martin
BRUNSWICK – There’s definitely no place like home.
No one can attest to this truth more than the thousands of children stricken by illness, tragedy and other unfortunate events who are forced to spend time in the hospital.
That’s where the Brunswick High School varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders are hoping to step in and make a difference.
As part of the squad’s third annual community service project, the team gathered in the high school’s east cafeteria the week of April 20 where they spent several hours pouring all the love they could into making 64 fleece blankets for children who will spend time at Akron Children’s Hospital this year.
Akron Children’s Hospital is the largest pediatric health care system in northeast Ohio, treating more than 600,000 patients annually.
The cheerleaders took on the task for the first time in 2012 to show support for their squad member, Cora Flemming, who was then in the midst of an uphill battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
“The team wanted to do something to support sick children in her honor,” said Rhonda McClelland, a cheerleading mom who organized the service project and was able to get 64 of the $34 blanket kits – one for each member of the squad plus a few extras – needed to be donated by JoAnn Fabrics.
After successful campaign in 2012 and 2013, the girls decided they wanted to take on the project for a third time in remembrance of Flemming who lost her fight with cancer two years ago this week.
“The girls want to know that the kids in the hospital will have something to hold and comfort them,” McClelland said.
As part of their mission, the cheerleaders also coordinated a drive with the students of BHS and the Brunswick community to collect new boxes of crayons and coloring books for the children in the hospital.
When a small group of cheerleaders delivered the donations of 64 fleece blankets, 298 coloring books and 282 boxes of crayons to Akron Children’s hospital on April 24, the cheerleaders met with Gerri Sexton, an Akron Children’s volunteer coordinator, and learned how the donations would be used.
The girls also toured several departments in the hospital where they not only met a service dog, but learned about the hospital’s new neonatal intensive care unit which will be opening soon.
“It was a heartwarming experience and the BHS cheerleaders were happy to host the event.,” McClelland said. “No matter what each child is going through, they will know there are 60-some cheerleaders in Brunswick who have them in their thoughts.”