29th Annual Cleveland Clinic Children’s Gala Nets Over $1.3 Million to Support Pediatric Research

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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.

2019 Courage Award honoree, Vinny Mercurio (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

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.

About Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a part of the Cleveland Clinic health system and offers full medical, surgical and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents. Cleveland Clinic Children’s supports 389 beds in four acute care hospitals and one post-acute specialty hospital. In addition, pediatric services are available at more than 50 outpatient clinic locations across Northeast Ohio. A staff of more than 300 full-time pediatricians and sub-specialists see 750,000 pediatric visits each year and provide hospital care for 13,000 children per year. Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a non-profit, multi-specialty academic medical center integrating clinical care, research and education. Cleveland Clinic Children’s consistently ranks among the “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Visit us online at www.clevelandclinic.org/childrens and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clevelandclinicchildrens.

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