From premature baby to high school senior, Lake High School student Jonathan Harold says, ‘I probably wouldn’t be here without the care I was given at Mercy.’
Caption: While sitting in Mercy Lobby, Dan Harold shows his son Jonathan photos from when he was a baby in Mercy’s Neonatal Special Care Nursery.
Lake High School senior Jonathan Harold presented a check for $534 to Stacy Kovacs, RN, MSN, director of Mercy Maternity Services, at the Mercy Development Foundation board meeting held May 9 at Mercy Medical Center. The check was the result of funds raised through his National Honor Society service project.
“He’s a very special young man and a grateful patient,” said Elaine Campbell, director of Mercy Fund Development. “He approached us. He called and said he’d like to do a fundraiser at a Lake High School baseball game and give the proceeds back to Mercy’s Neonatal Special Care Nursery.”
The son of Dan and Jennifer Harold, Jonathan is a varsity basketball player and bright student who plans to attend University of Cincinnati this fall to major in information technology and cyber security. Each year, senior students in Lake High School’s National Honor Society are required to do a service project. Jonathan chose to do a fundraiser to benefit Mercy.
“I decided to donate back to the place that got me started,” Jonathan says. “I probably wouldn’t be here without the care I was given at Mercy.”
That’s because Jonathan was born three months premature at Mercy Medical Center on 1998. He weighed just 2 pounds, 7 ounces and stayed in Mercy’s Neonatal Special Care Nursery for nearly two months.
Jonathan’s father remembers the neonatologist saying, “’Whatever comes up, we will be very proactive, very aggressive, and whatever we can’t address, we rely on a higher power.’ To hear that from a doctor was very comforting,” Dan says. “Even if we saw the doctor during our visits to Mercy that day, he would still call us every night. He was amazing.”
Jonathan kicked off his fundraiser by collecting donations and raffling off Chipotle gift cards during lunch at Lake High School. He then partnered with Lake High School varsity baseball coach Joe Anderson to share his cause during a home game. First, he invited two community members who have a child being cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Akron Children’s Hospital to throw out the first pitch. Jonathan then shared his story at home plate and collected donations at an information table throughout the game.
Dan, who is also the principal at Lake High School, says Coach Anderson has had his players active in community events and acts of service. “He’s tried to have a cause behind every home non-league game, so he was the perfect partner to help Jonathan with his fundraiser. He’s a guy whose heart is in the right place,” Dan says.
Jonathan’s donation to Mercy Neonatal Special Care Nursery will be used to purchase pediatric stethoscopes, according to Kovacs.
“In this community, it is awesome to meet young people like Jonathan Harold and to learn that he understands that giving back in life is important,” says Thomas Turner, vice president of Development and Government Relations and president of Mercy Development Foundation. “I applaud his parents, the Lake baseball team coaches, and school district supporters who have nurtured a young person to recognize the importance of philanthropy. Because of his efforts, babies born at Mercy will benefit.”
Jonathan says he is grateful his parents had him at Mercy and he’s honored to give back. When Jonathan shared with his parents his idea for the service project, Dan says it made him extremely proud, and a little choked up, when he thought back to those early days and how far he has come in a very short 18 years. “My wife and I have always been so thankful for the care received at Mercy, and it’s nice to know that our son also realizes how lucky he has been.”
In Mercy Board Room (L to R) Barb Yingling, Stacy Kovacs, Jonathan Harold, Joe Anderson, Dan Harold, Tom Turner.