Fundraiser benefits research for childhood diseases

Fundraiser benefits research for childhood diseases

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The Research Institute for Children’s Health is a facility that digs into the genetics behind children’s diseases to help develop new treatments. Based at Case Western Reserve University, the institute has held fundraising events in Sonoma, California and at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland since its founding in 2015 by New Philadelphia native Mitch Drumm, PhD.

On Aug. 27 at 6 p.m., a large fundraiser is planned at Columbia Woodlands in Dover. Giving Kids Hope will honor local natives and feature entertainment, auctions, a raffle, live music and food.

“Since we started in 2015,” Drumm said, “we have gradually been increasing our outreach in making people aware of what we do and in our fundraising. The last two years have been remote, virtual things. This year, since we can do this in person, I really wanted to pull in people from Tuscarawas County and honor those who have made such a difference. There are just so many great people from that area.”

The idea to host such a big fundraiser, likely to draw people from around the country, in Dover came about when Drumm, his wife, and friends including Dover native and Cleveland media personality Kim Scott Sowinski spent a weekend at the luxury resort.

“They came back and were just raving about how great it was and that we needed to do something there. We went and had a look, and it is indeed just perfect for us. We’re very happy about the location,” Drumm said.

Attendance for the event can be either in person or virtual, but those who attend the fundraiser will find themselves getting a culinary experience. The evening will be hosted by emcee David McCreary, who hosts “Cash Explosion.”

Sowinski will be honored with the Giving Kids Hope Award. Drumm will speak and help guests better understand the mission of the Research Institute for Children’s Health.

Dover native and Nashville musician Max Beal will perform to wind up the evening’s festivities. A raffle will be held for a trip for two to a five-night getaway at a luxury resort in Belize, a $2,995 value.

Sowinski will be recognized for her dedication to and support of treatments of genetic-based disorders. Starting in 2017, Sowinski created two third-party fundraisers for the institute: Hike and Seek for Research and Yoga for Research.

Previous recipients of the Giving Kids Hope Award have been the Boodjeh family in 2018; Pamela B. Davis, PhD, in 2019; and the Doris and Floyd Kimble Foundation and Jim Demuth, both in 2020.

Also speaking at the event will be New Philadelphia native Ryan Ress, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a young child. Drumm credits Ress, whose family lived next door to Drumm’s as children, as the inspiration for his decision to begin research into childhood illnesses.

The prognosis for Ress’ illness improved greatly in 2012 with the advent of new treatments based on the genetics of the illness. According to the institute’s website, “Ryan’s successes show us that we should never say never and that it is possible to beat the odds, as what we thought was impossible may very well be possible. This is why the Research Institute for Children’s Health exists, to provide hope to the families coping with any of 7,000 other genetic disorders affecting our children.”

Now in its seventh year of biomedical research focusing on improving the treatment of genetic diseases and disorders, there have been advances in understanding and treating certain genetic-based childhood illnesses, but thousands of conditions still lack effective therapies.

Drumm was actively seeking cystic fibrosis treatments through genetic research in the early 1990s, treatments he has seen come to successful fruition in recent years.

Tickets for the Giving Kids Hope fundraiser are available at In-person tickets are $225 each, or virtual tickets made be had for $25. More information about the Research Institute for Children’s Health is at

Columbia Woodlands is located at 6593 Mckracken Drive NW in Dover.