By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
STRUTHERS -- June Baker met her neighbors, the Mirandas, about six months ago after her son hit a ball into their yard behind the Baker's Renee Drive home.
Baker noticed the signs on the Miranda's door as she approached, warning of oxygen use and other medical issues.
When Baker inquired about the warnings, Sonja Miranda said her infant son, Tyler, has an unidentified brain disorder.
Ten-month-old Tyler was born 11 weeks prematurely, weighing just over one pound, and has spent six months of his life in a hospital.
A CAT scan showed calcification over parts of his brain. During a February hospital stay, doctors thought Tyler only had six months to live.
Since then, Edwin and Sonja say their son's health has improved but he has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy on top of the still-unidentified disorder.
To make matters worse, their medical bills have blossomed to over $1 million, and Tyler is scheduled for more surgery over the next few months.
Entering the race: Now Baker, 37, has decided to use the burden of running in a marathon to ease the Mirandas' financial burden -- even if it's just a drop in the bucket.
The Boardman grade school teacher entered the Oct. 21 Columbus Marathon, her first such race, and is seeking sponsors.
So far she's received about $600 from friends and neighbors.
"All I had to do was explain the situation and people were so compassionate and generous," Baker said. "To see our neighborhood rally around this family that they don't even know, I love that."
Baker's cause has been mentioned in the current issue of the magazine Rosie after she was selected for a free makeover.
"I've gotten a lot more back from it than what I'm giving," said Baker.
Miranda said she was surprised to hear of Baker's plan.
"Insurance doesn't cover everything, so every little bit helps," said Miranda, who received a $100 check from an anonymous donor in the mail recently.
For more information on sponsoring Baker, call (330) 750-9176.