Climb a virtual mountain to help kids with behavioral, mental issues


By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation is gearing up for its virtual mountain climb fundraiser, dubbed “Climbing for Kids,” Aug. 13-17.

Founded by Dr. Ronald Dwinnells, chief executive officer of ONE Health Ohio, in memory of his parents, Donald and Hisako Dwinnells, the purpose of Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation is to raise awareness and money for children with behavioral and mental- health issues.

Dwinnells and his daughter, Abbey Dwinnells, were part of a group that recently completed a real climb to the 19,563-foot high summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in eastern Africa.

Now, he is asking the community to support the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation by paying a minimum $5 registration fee to begin a virtual climb and try to walk 50,000 steps in five days Aug. 13-17.

The deadline to register is Friday. For information and to participate, visit www.butterfliesandhope.org and follow the instructions.

The Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

Donors can deduct contributions under Internal Revenue Service Section 170. For information, visit www.butterfliesandhope.org.

“Adverse experiences in my family with mental- and behavioral- health issues are what brought about the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation,” said Dwinnells, a pediatrician recently inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

After his mother’s death in 2016, Dwinnells, who has been climbing mountains for several years, founded the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation to “transform the lives of children afflicted with depression, addiction and other behavioral health problems.”

“Kids who are abused emotionally and physically and live in dysfunctional families too often become drug addicts. My thing is, shouldn’t we identify these kids as early as possible and help them,” said Dwinnells of Poland,

Dwinnells, 63, regularly competes in half-marathons and 10K and 5K races and has climbed the summits of 14 mountains, including Rainier, Shasta, Whitney, Hood, Washington, St. Helens and Fuji.

“I thought, why couldn’t my passion for mountain climbing provide a platform to increase awareness for mental- and behavioral- health issues in kids and raise money for projects benefiting behavioral health programs that will improve the lives of children, adolescents and young adults,” he said.

One Health Ohio, which Dwinnells founded, is a federally qualified health center that serves 25,000 people in area communities.

ONE Health Ohio has been awarded more than $50 million in federal grants and has brought more than $100 million into the local economy since its inception, Ohio Department of Health officials said.

To launch the Virtual Climb campaign, the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation is hosting a Virtual Climb Kick-Off ceremonial walk at 11 a.m. Aug. 13 at ONE Health Ohio’s Youngstown office at 726 Wick Ave., Youngstown. There will be African-inspired music and entertainment and food.

Participants are urged to bring a comfortable pair of shoes for the walk on Wick. Parking is available at the Ursuline High School parking lot.

In addition, ONE Health Ohio is celebrating National Health Center Week by offering free medical and dental health screenings from 1 to 4 p.m. that day.

Entertainment, giveaways and a raffle are available for those who attend.

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