By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
By the time he is 20 he is likely to have undergone as many as 30, according to his mother, Melanie Diaz.
To help lighten the financial burden that comes from these expensive surgeries and the travel expenses from seeing out-of-town specialists, the Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club will donate a portion of the proceeds from its “Cars in the Park” event Sunday to the Diaz family.
“Cars in the Park,” the MVOCC’s 36th annual car show and flea market, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Boardman Park.
The event will feature live music from Band of Brotherz, a DJ, door prizes, an auction, a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle and the main event — displaying and judging 28 classes of old cars. Richard Posivak, one of the founding members of the club said he expects some 300 cars at the event, including a group of 35 cars coming from Toledo.
Jackson is just one of many beneficiaries of the MVOCC, which hosts three benefits a year to raise money for children in need, as well as hosting a weekly “Cruise Nite” to benefit Hospice of the Valley.
“It all goes to kids — kids who didn’t get a fair start in life,” Posivak said. “These kids, when they go to the hospital ... they’re in a bind. I know a lot of young couples who started building a house and had to stop because of [a situation with their] kid.”
The club’s members receive nominations for children in need who can benefit from a donation from the club. The club selected Jackson to be the beneficiary of this year’s event because of the huge expense his family undertakes to correct the congenital disorder with which he was born. Apert Syndrome affects the skull, face, hands and feet, resulting in the need for dozens of corrective surgeries.
Another local person who has benefited from the MVOCC’s charitable events is Frederick “Freddie” Seitz, 22, of Poland. Freddie, who is both deaf and mute, has had at least 50, but possibly more than 100 surgeries in his life. He and his grandparents, Mary Ann and Robert Beck, cannot even remember the number because there have been so many — on his brain, his ears, his eyes, his back.
Posivak said he and the other club members have a special bond with Freddie, as they hosted a benefit for him 20 years ago and then continued to sponsor him at various benefits.
“Of all the kids I know, this is the story of my life,” Posivak said about Freddie, remarking upon the progress Freddie has made as he gets ready to attend the University of Akron this year.
Over the years the club has donated at least $7,000 to Freddie, according to his grandparents, who are both longtime members of the MVOCC.
“The car club has helped so many children throughout the years,” Freddie’s grandmother said. “The Mahoning Valley Car Club is a good club to support because they do so much to help Hospice, and children who need help.”
Posivak said he expects the club to raise about $3,000 at the car show, of which it will give as much as possible to the Diaz family.
“We’re looking for recipients for the next event we do,” said Dennis White, the chairman of “Cars in the Park”.
White encouraged people to contact the MVOCC with nominations for who the club should benefit next. To nominate a child in need, contact White at 330-518-9338.