Health Care

‘Magic of Michael’ Gives $250K to Akron Children’s

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley announced today it received a $250,000 donation from The Magic of Michael Foundation. The funds will support Akron Children’s new Palliative Care Center here.

Poland’s Hirschbeck family created the foundation to celebrate the life of their son Michael. At the age of 5, Michael Hirschbeck was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare neurological disease with no cure, and died at in 2014 at the age of 27. The Hirschbecks’ eldest son, John, died of the same disease in 1993 at age 8.

“Michael handled his illness really well,” said his mother, Denise. “He never gave up, and he always made the best of things. That’s why we established the Magic of Michael Foundation – to inspire, empower and provide hope for families enduring the ‘curveballs’ of life.”

The hospital’s pediatric palliative care program works with children and their families to enhance quality of life and minimize suffering for patients with serious illnesses. It provides not only medical care, but support for any psychological, emotional, social, spiritual and educational issues that may contribute to suffering or interfere with healing.

“When children suffer from chronic, complex or incurable illnesses, not only are the kids overwhelmed and scared, the rest of the family is too,” said Sarah Friebert, M.D., director of pediatric palliative care at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Palliative care is a system that guides the family through the whole process as healthily as possible and with the least amount of stress.”

The donation will be used to establish a fund that will go directly to patient and family care. It also will make it possible for Mahoning Valley families to have the support of specialized care – which is not well-reimbursed by insurance – without the added stress of traveling to Akron.

“We are so grateful for the support of the Hirschbeck family,” said JoAnn Stock, senior director of development at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “Through the Magic of Michael Foundation and the good that they are now doing for other children in the Valley, the ‘magic’ of Michael and his memory will continue forever.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.