BAZETTA - With the aim of helping children battling cancer, a local organization and several musicians joined forces for a benefit to help those youngsters.
Randy Lytle with Hugs-N-Bugs said the benefit included a dinner and also musical performances by local Trumbull County musicians and nationally recognized concert pianist Christopher Milo.
Lytle said money raised at the event helps meet the needs of families whose children are battling cancer.
He said the money can help when children have to go to children's hospitals and the family needs help with gasoline for the trips, food vouchers and hotel costs when a child has to stay at hospital.
Milo provides music therapy when a child is receiving medical help and wants to hear music or learn to play a musical instrument.
Lytle said they are trying to reach out to Trumbull County families who need help.
"There are families locally, including a child who attends the Maplewood school district,'' he said.
Fundraisers to help generate needed money have included a bike run in September and a 5K run. Plans are to make the bike event an annual event.
Milo said he speaks to the children who are battling cancer to provide them comfort.
He said when he was 20, he experienced two herniated discs that pressed into his sciatic nerve and he soon lost all feeling in his legs. He has since founded Hugs-N-Bugs, which has the theme "Fighting Childhood Cancer - One Bug at a Time.''
Milo said he remembers having to use his arms as legs to make trips down the hallway through the living room and to the front door in order to see outside. He also did this to get to the piano.
Milo said he was paralyzed more than six months.
"I was going nuts and did not want to live like this. How would you think if you were told by five specialist that you may never walk again and never play the piano again?'' he said.
Milo said he spoke with God and said if God gave him his legs back, he promised to do something good with his music.
Soon, Milo had feeling in his legs and feet and after enduring over a year in physical therapy he began to share his music on piano with anyone who would listen.
''I learned my favorite audience to perform for are children who are battling cancer. I began traveling from hospital to hospital performing for children in oncology," he said.
Milo said he believes that God had a plan for his life.
The mission of Hugs-N-Bugs is to reduce the pain and suffering of those touched by childhood cancer through the use of music therapy, treatment, and helping these families by asking what they need. The program then creates realistic solutions to their concerns.
Lytle said the program provides financial assistance and provides opportunities for children to learn to play musical instruments under Milo's guidance with six months of music lessons.