Hubbard sophomore organizes kickball game benefiting Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation

Hubbard event raises funds for Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation

HUBBARD — Every year, students at Hubbard High School are required during their sophomore year to take a course called community and career in which each student is responsible for coming up with a community outreach project for volunteer hours.

This year, Bella Bonivissuto not only found a project she felt a connection to, but made an impact while telling her story, as well as the story of a 4-year-old girl she never met.

In the later months of 2022, after several doctors visits and testing, Bella discovered she had epilepsy. Further testing showed she had a 7-millimeter ganglioma that was causing her seizures. After attempting to treat it with medication, she moved on to surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in the spring of 2023.

When she entered the school year in the fall clear and healthy, Bella was back to playing soccer for the Lady Eagles, being in band, and enjoying a typical school day, but she wanted to do something that would make an impact that meant something to her.

Through various activities with her soccer team, she discovered the Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation. When she found out about Melina’s story, a 4-year old girl who died in the summer of 2020 from a brain tumor, she felt a connection and came up with a plan to help bring awareness to this disease.

On May 11, Bella carried out her plan. She arranged for a kickball game to take place at Hubbard Schools, where dozens of kids volunteered their time on a Saturday night, all wearing shirts in support of the foundation, accompanied by parents and community members to help donate toward it.

During the game, parents would come out of the stands and join teams along with the kids for the family night. The competition raised $2,000 for childhood tumor research.

After several months of panning, Bella was asked how it felt to have everybody together to support her mission.

“It was stressful to know all that had to be done to run the game smoothly and set everything up, but everyone who helped me and supported this made everything less nerve racking and I couldn’t have done it without them. It was heartwarming to know that many people also cared about Melina and I wanted to help spread this cause as much as I did. It’s nice to know that there are good people out there who are genuine,” Bella said.

“Setting this up and talking to people about my story all brought back some of the trauma that I personally went through and everyone around me was understanding and just helped me every step of the way with this fundraiser.”

This is not the first time Hubbard students have been involved with the Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation. The foundation’s slogan, Choose Joy, was painted on the sides of several Hubbard buildings by Hubbard High School students in December 2022 under the guidance of art teacher Josh MacMillan.

Several weeks later, the art students won the 2022 ODOT District 4’s Paint-the-Plow contest using the Choose Joy theme. The design stated “Choose Joy” while having a string of Christmas lights wrapped around it with the name of the Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation boldly above.


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