Special guests and surprises are expected at “Maggie's Second Annual Lucky Strike Challenge” Saturday at Canton's Super Bowl.
Nicole Blaszczyk, crowned Ms. Michigan in June 2009, and Joel Nitchman, who plays center on Michigan State's football team, are showing their support by attending the fund-raiser. Last year's event sold out and raised $8,000. All proceeds benefit Kelly's Kidz.
In November 2008, Kelly and Dave Hermann launched Kelly's Kidz and the not-for-profit organization has raised $110,000. Its mission is “to provide financial assistance and resources to physically-impaired children with special needs and to create an opportunity for them to lead the best life they can possibly live.”
The Hermanns run Kelly's Kidz from their Canton home and are committed to providing $35,000 to Oakwood Hospital's Center for Exceptional Families. The Center is an innovative program that provides comprehensive, coordinated, family-centered care for children with a wide range of chronic, complex disorders and disabilities. To date, they've helped six families at the Center.
“There are other people out there that are going through the exact same situation,” Kelly Hermann said. “There's always going to be some kind of support.” Hermann's motto: “Stay positive. There's going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.” Hermann speaks from experience, since Kelly's Kidz was inspired by her daughter, Maggie, who was born with cerebral palsy in December 2002.
Maggie attends Dodson Elementary and is in a mainstream first grade classroom. “The whole staff at Dodson has completely embraced Maggie in her situation and we're willing to [work with them to] do whatever it takes to provide whatever she needs,” Hermann said. “Dodson's been a positive experience for us and we're really happy with how things are going.”
Jennifer Wilmarth, a speech pathologist at Dodson, said she wants people to be “open-minded about people in wheelchairs and not make assumptions.
“Just because they're in a wheelchair, doesn't mean they're not mentally as able as you or I,” Wilmarth said. “It's not a cognitive impairment; it's a physical impairment.”
Stephanie Rudelic, a special education paraprofessional who's worked closely with Maggie since last year, sees her use the low-tech method with her classmates. “She makes friends just like the other children -- only she communicates in a different way,” Rudelic said.
One of Maggie's friends is first grader, Alex Voss, who said, “We talk about how we love each other. I ask her what she likes and how she does stuff. We play matching games on the computer.”
- What: Maggie's Lucky Strike Challenge" fund-raiser to benefit Kelly's Kidz
- Where: Superbowl, 45100 Ford Road, Canton
- When: Saturday, Feb. 13, 2 p.m.
- Cost: $20, which includes two games of bowling and two pieces of pizza
- More info: Call (734) 844-7871 or visit www.kellyskidz.net