More than 650 people came together to raise over $1.3 million at the 29th annual Cleveland Clinic Children’s gala held on Saturday, May 4, at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.
Proceeds raised at the event will help advance pediatric research, which is critical to promoting health, training caregivers and transforming patient care for the future.
This year’s inspiring celebration – presented by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Scala Family Foundation – also recognized Vinny Mercurio, 11, of Brunswick with a Courage Award.
Last year, Vinny Mercurio had what at first seemed like a simple headache. After becoming unresponsive, he was flown to the Cleveland Clinic, where doctors determined he had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. Two days later, he underwent successful brain surgery that cleared the blood clot and bleed. While he was now medically stabilized, the once very active Vinny was unable to walk or talk.
After 129 days in the hospital, Vinny headed to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation where his days were filled with intense speech, physical, recreational and occupational therapy. It took a lot out of him, but it was working.
“We kept hearing that Children’s Rehab is a place where miracles happen,” says Vinny’s mom Betty Mercurio. “I can confidently say that’s where our miracle happened. The caregivers never gave up on him.
They brought our son back to us.”
Today, Vinny is back in school, and earning good grades. He no longer takes medication, talks and walks with the help of a posterior walker.
The event was hosted by Fox 8 anchor Stefani Schaefer and featured performances by classical pianist Daisey Yu, a former Cleveland Clinic patient as well as the Press Play dance band from New York City.