Sunday fundraiser at Stambaugh benefits gravely ill kids


Dan and Meghan Houck operate a one-patient hospital out of their living room.

Their son, Ryan, 4, was born with Miller-Dieker Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder marked by seizures and developmental delays.

As a result, they’ve been trained in the use of a nebulizer, deep suction machine and other medical devices. Thanks to support from the Akron Pediatric Palliative Care Program, the Houcks manage their son Ryan’s care from the comfort of their home, thus minimizing hospital stays.

The program at Akron Children’s Hospital has dramatically changed the lives of Meghan, Dan and their other son, Grayson.

Pediatric palliative care provides support to families with children who have serious or complex medical issues. However, many families who could benefit from the program are reluctant to seek support.

“...there is a stigma. People think of it as end-of-life care,” Meghan said.

In recent years, the program’s Mahoning Valley arm has grown substantially, thanks to Meritage of Miracles, the non-profit founded by Michelle Sergi of Lowellville. Her fifth annual fundraiser for the Mahoning Valley Pediatric Palliative Care Program is Sunday at 3 p.m. at Stambaugh Auditorium. The event will feature a silent auction, wine from L’uva Bella and craft beer from Birdfish Brewery.

Read more about the matter in Friday's Vindicator or on

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