YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The second annual Guinathon was held Saturday at Youngstown State University, helping raise money for children at Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley.
Some of the children who have stayed at the hospital were invited to the 8-hour dance marathon to be honored in a special ceremony before the dancing began.
But for one family, the dance marathon means a chance for a better life.
The Plant family, from Mineral Ridge, spent their Saturday at Guinathon. Parents Sarah and Chris have their hands full with their two young children, Bekah and Sam.
Bekah was born five weeks early.
“We knew something wasn’t right. Right away one of the nurses said, ‘I’ll be right back’ and ran out of the room with her,” Sarah said.
Bekah was born with a fold between the two parts of her heart. At only four months old, she needed open heart surgery.
“There was a really good chance that she might not make it, even to get to open heart surgery,” Sarah said.
After a long time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Bekah was finally able to go home.
Now, six years later, the family is being honored by the students at YSU.
“To be able to have them here is so amazing because we get to see what we’re truly doing and what we’re doing it for,” said Dawn Stewart, a Guinathon dancer.
Sarah says the day truly means something special to her family.
“Our kids have real-life heroes that they can look at who are college kids that are out there raising money for kids they may never ever meet,” Sarah said.
The couple had Sam four years ago. He’s had a few allergy issues but is doing well.
They are expecting their third child in June.