• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

For the kids

Kernels for the Kids opens the season at Colony Pumpkin Patch
Sara Erbes tells the story of her son (Grayson, held by Mike Erbes), his battle with Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS) on Sunday, Sept. 16, at a Kernels for the Kids fundraiser at the Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty. Admission fees for the day, the opening day of the 2018 season, were donated to the Dance Marathon. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– The Colony Pumpkin Patch, in North Liberty, has been bringing smiles to families for 13 years. However, another group in the area is zeroing in on 25 years of brightening the lives of families and giving them reasons to smile. Colony partnered with the University of Iowa (UI) Dance Marathon this season for a special corn maze honoring the marathon’s 25th anniversary (in February 2019). The patch opened the 2018 season donating admission on Sunday, Sept. 16, to the Dance Marathon and hosted a Kernels for the Kids event with Dance Marathon Morale Captains showing off their dance moves along with testimonials from families who received support from the marathon while undergoing treatment at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
Co-owner Katie Colony said the 2017 marathon executive chair approached her and husband Dean and asked how they came up with a theme for each season. The timing was perfect as the couple was starting to bounce around ideas for 2018 and hadn’t settled on anything yet. With family members impacted by cancer, and knowing the effect of the UIHC (now Stead) Children’s Hospital, partnering with the Dance Marathon was, Katie said, “a no-brainer.”
This year, Colony Pumpkin Patch features three mazes: one celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dance Marathon, featuring a “Farm Scene Investigation” puzzle based on the classic board game “Clue,” and a large “#FTK (For The Kids) 25” logo. Along the way, visitors see signs highlighting families helped by funds raised by the marathon.
One family directly impacted is the Erbes of Marion, who spoke during the Kernels for the Kids event. Sara Erbes told how, in March of 2016, her and husband Mike began to notice odd eye movements in their youngest son Grayson. A visit to the UIHC Emergency Department led to being admitted to the hospital for a battery of tests, including a neurology consultation.
Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS) was the diagnosis.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ rarediseases.org website, OMS is an inflammatory neurological disorder characterized by associated ocular (eye), motor, behavioral, sleep and language disturbances. The onset is usually abrupt, often severe, and it can become chronic.
Signs and symptoms include repeated, random and rapid eye movements in both horizontal and vertical directions, unsteady gait, and brief, repeated, shock-like spasms of several muscles within the arms and legs. OMS victims can also have extreme irritability, insomnia, rage attacks, difficulty articulating speech or an inability to speak, decreased muscle tone and vomiting.
A tumor is often the cause. This was the situation in Grayson’s case as a tumor was discovered on his spine. Complicating matters, his immune system changed, so instead of attacking the tumor, it attacked his brain instead. Doctors at UIHC were able to remove 95 percent of the tumor but Grayson will have OMS for the rest of his life and has to undergo CT scans every six months, Sara said.
The UI Dance Marathon has been a light for her family, she added,Among the financial support the marathon provides are parking for daylong hospital visits and co-pays for very expensive medications. And then there’s the emotional support, which includes, “fun things in the mail,” Erbes said.
“You guys, the students, mean the most to us,” she said, looking directly at the morale captains and other team members. “Know that we appreciate all you do, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
The 25th Dance Marathon will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, 2019 at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus, in Iowa City. More information on the event, how the proceeds have been spent, and the 100 percent student-run organization can be found at https://dancemarathon.uiowa.edu. Donations can also be made through the website. For more information on the Colony Pumpkin Patch’s 2018 season and upcoming special events, go to http://colonypumpkinpatch.com or call 319-626-6091.