Organizers of a Jan. 19 chili cook-off at The Goddard School in Canal Winchester hope the event will be a fundraising recipe for success for a local family.
The chili cook-off will be held by the school, 6405 Canal St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help pay medical expenses for a former student's 2-year-old sister who needs brain surgery to ease or eliminate frequent seizures.
Kaylin Williams, daughter of Rodney and Stacey Williams of Canal Winchester, had her first seizure when she was just four months old. Doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital, according to her father, diagnosed the infant with epilepsy.
While many medicines have been tried, none of them have controlled the sei-zures, he said.
When Kaylin went into the hospital this past October to determine the extent of the seizures by "gridding" or mapping the areas affected, doctors discovered the entire right side of her brain is affected. After that, the bright-eyed little girl who is described as "adventurous" by her family, developed an infection and remained in the hospital until Nov. 29.
"She's very personable," Rodney Williams said. "She's always waving at other people and little kids. She's definitely special - a joy."
Now that she is home, Kaylin, who has experienced some developmental delays because of the seizures, is still on antibiotics to fight off the infection while doctors weigh options for treating the seizures.
"We always keep in mind what we can do to give her the best quality of life," Williams said. "Having surgery would give her the best quality of life and let her be as independent as possible.
"We would tell other parents in a similar situation to stay strong, keep a positive attitude and get a second opinion so you can make the best decision for your child," he added.
When the Williams family found out that The Goddard School that daughter Melia had attended was holding a fundraising cook-off for their youngest daughter, they were "speechless."
Melia is now a kindergartner at Indian Trail Elementary School.
"It's amazing that they would do this for us," Williams said. "We're very appreciative that we have such a great community and great people at Goddard that would want to do this for us."
To help cover Kaylin's medical expenses, an account has been set up at PNC Bank in Canal Winchester.
Those attending the chili cook-off can give a donation, purchase a meal for $2, or taste-test several chili samples provided by school families and community members for $5. Those who bring in canned goods for the local food pantry will also get a ticket for a free sample.
In addition, there will also be a silent auction of jewelry, gift cards, and arts and crafts that the community can bid on to raise funds for the family.
"We were thinking of doing a chili cook-off, and we thought this was the perfect opportunity to give back to the community as well as benefit one of our local families," said Heather Kamer, director of The Goddard School in Canal Winchester.