With the new year comes new hope – especially for the Fink family, who’s son, Dylan, battled stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2020 and now celebrates his remission as he prepares to graduate high school.
The Fink family celebrates son Dylan’s (far right)
completion of cancer treatments in May 2021. Photo
The family’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, requiring extensive in-patient treatment for their son during an especially difficult time marked by the challenges of COVID-19. The outpouring of help from the community, including meals, gifts, cards and prayers, was a tremendous source of comfort for Krista and Ed Fink, both Hudson grads now living in Stow, who said they quickly learned not everyone in their situation had the same support.
“I was lucky that I was able to quit my job because we were [at the hospital] weeks at a time. We saw single parents who couldn’t be there all the time, couldn’t quit their jobs. We saw kids in rooms by themselves and people who were having financial struggles,” she noted. “We knew we really wanted to give back and help.”
In 2022, during Dylan’s early remission, Krista and Ed founded The Fearless Fighters Foundation to give back to others facing economic hardships in similar situations. The nonprofit is dedicated to assisting families battling pediatric cancer by fundraising for patient care, treatment and research. It operates entirely on volunteer efforts, ensuring that every dollar raised directly benefits those in need.
Through fundraising events like golf outings, soccer tournaments, 5K runs and more, the Fearless Fighters has raised over $110,000. According to Ed, this money has been directed towards patient care, providing comfort items, family care packages – and for those who qualify – financial assistance for mortgage, car and utility payments. They also address tech needs for telehealth and deliver special treats like Chick-fil-A and Handel’s ice cream to boost spirits in the pediatric cancer ward.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re trapped there, and so a little bit of the outside world is very uplifting. Just those little things, they get super-excited about it,” said Krista.
Looking ahead, the Finks are passionate about increasing funding for research, recognizing the critical role it plays in developing new treatments. Their experience with Dylan exposed them to the urgent need for advancements in pediatric cancer treatments, as some children undergo outdated, adult-oriented therapies that carry substantial risks.
“It’s those types of things we’re trying to change,” said Krista, who’s “super excited” about the foundation’s first fundraising event of 2024 designed to do just that. The “More than 4” comedy night on February 24 at the Acker-Moore Banquet Hall in Stow (3733 Fishcreek Road) kicks off at 7 p.m. with live music, cocktails, and appetizers.
Ed explained the dual significance of “More than 4”: five comedians will perform and a mere 4% of the $250 billion in annual government funding for cancer research is allocated to pediatric cancer research. He used a striking analogy “to put it into perspective,” stating that the 4% allocation is less than what Americans spend at Starbucks in a week. “It’s up to foundations and private families to try and raise that money and help make up that difference,” Ed said.
Jeff Robinson, a committed supporter and comedian, brings his talents to the cause. A Hudson grad and friend of the Fink family, Jeff’s life was touched by cancer when he lost his mom to it at the age of 12. He’s rallied four professional headliner comedians to join him in performing at the event: Tim Folger, Mike Conley, Michael Gershe and Jeff Blanchard.
Jeff’s done this kind of thing before, performing in clubs and at charity and corporate shows throughout the midwest. For 11 years, he was the organizer of Comics for a Cure, a stand-up benefit in Delaware, where he enjoyed putting smiles on otherwise weary faces. Jeff said audience members often thank him for the opportunity to put aside the difficulties in life for a little while. “The thing I hear the most,” he noted, “is it’s just good to get out and laugh.”
The comedy night promises more than entertainment, featuring a 50/50 raffle and plenty of Fearless Fighters merchandise for sale. Tickets, priced at $40 (including one drink), can be purchased at ticketstrip.com/morethan4-comedynight. For more about Fearless Fighters, visit fearless-fighters.org.
Speaking of fundraisers, the Diamond Club of Hudson’s fourth annual “Christmas Vacation at the Ballpark” was a success, with 185 families participating on Dec. 9 and 10. This flagship event for the nonprofit Diamond Club of Hudson helps support trips, tournaments, camps, clinics, equipment and capital improvements.
While families ran the bases and collected prizes off Christmas trees, including exclusive Hudson winter hats and ornaments, donations were also collected for Fostering Hope, a local nonprofit serving the Cleveland foster care community. Keeping to tradition, participants met Santa on the pitching mound for photos, this time followed by surprise, DQ Dilly Bar treatsTop of FormBottom of Form.
Annette Affeldt, who chairs the event and whose youngest son is a recent Hudson High School ball player and graduate, said she loves the atmosphere and the way it brings the team and community together. “The feeling I get walking into the ballpark, watching the families participate together when all of the lights are shining, the inflatables are up, the trees are decorated, and the ballpark is filled with Christmas music in unbelievable,” she said. “It is truly a magical event. I love how it brings families together in our community and the opportunity for the high school players to interact with the Hudson youth.”
Congratulations to Hudsonite Jim Will, board president of Lifebanc, who was awarded Crain’s Cleveland Notable Nonprofit Board Leader for his contributions to Northeast Ohio’s only nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization. Well done, Jim!
Also hats off to Matt Bisbee, HHS Class of 2016, who successfully defended his dissertation at Ohio State University. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering for his research in improving physical acquisition and post-processing capabilities in fast neutron imaging. Matt Bisbee has accepted a position with MPR Associates.
Finally, kudos to Hudson resident Valerie Murry, the top fundraiser of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s 11th annual Selfless Elf 5k run/walk last month. She raised $1,400 for the foodbank, helping provide the equivalent of 5,600 meals. Valerie, you make your community proud!
Happy New Year, and as always, please share your news and adventures with us by emailing Hudson Life at email@example.com. ∞