Michelle Sergi was inspired by the children and families she visited through her volunteer efforts at Akron Children’s Hospital. She goes out of her way to accommodate and give hope to the families within the palliative care program.
Sergi has volunteered with the palliative care program for more than five years and has seen firsthand how every service and program provided affects the families and children involved. The hospital not only focuses on improving the quality of life of each patient, but also ensures the child feels at home and part of a family of passionate staff.
The Palliative Care Center serves children who have complex, chronic, or serious medical conditions regardless of ability to pay. Each patient receives customized care allowing each family to choose from a variety of programs and services that best meet their needs. These services include pain control, difficult medical decision advisement, bereavement counseling, and many more.
Caring for a child with a chronic or terminal illness is challenging, but this program guides families to make certain they are never alone. Sadly, many of the children must endure hospital visits lasting weeks or months in duration. This puts a significant amount of stress on the child and the caregivers. Sergi has met families that live in the Youngstown, OH area, and their biggest dilemma is trying to hold a job, provide care for all of their children and visit their ill child in the hospital over an hour away.
Meritage of Miracles was created to expand and support the pediatric palliative care program for Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, therefore creating greater access to care and increasing quality of life for all children. Currently, there is only one pediatric palliative care program located in Akron, OH. Building another location will benefit more families and children. In 2014, the Akron palliative care program served more than 250 families. Sergi raised more than $41,800 to support the program in hopes of expanding it to other Children's Hospitals in Ohio.
Sergi experiences and supports the miracles that are resultant of the program. Every time she volunteers she receives a list of patients to visit. Some of the children have never been outside of the hospital, others are not visited by their families very often due to the long distance they ahve to travel and some pass away never having a chance at a true childhood. What makes this painful truth brighter are the miracles from care. The children of the pallative care programs are provided with legandary medical care and served by volunteers like Sergi. Every child is entitled to this kind of care, and Sergi is working towards making this a reality for those outside of the pallative care cernter in Akron's reach. Sergi is currently in medical school so she can continue to play a significant role in the care of these special children.