UPDATE: Joshua’s walk, originally scheduled for Oct. 19, was rained out. He will try again at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. The walk begins at the gazebo at South Central Park and will take participants along Bainbridge Road to Wilcox Elementary School before returning to the park.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE — When Joshua Shadle was strong enough to be walking around the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital following open-heart surgery July 6, 2012, he came across a very disheartening sight.
“After I’d been there a couple of days I went to the children’s room and was very surprised and disappointed to find very under-age toys and how limited it was in fun things,” the 17-year-old North Ridgeville High senior said this week.
“Younger kids I was there with were practically living there and had decorated rooms like their own bedrooms” but they lacked age-appropriate toys and other things to engage them and while away the hours.
“There was Elmo and board games like CandyLand and what 13-year-old boy wants to play with that,” Shadle said.
Deciding to make it his mission to see that pediatric patients have more toys and games, Joshua began making plans for his “Pump Up the Heart” Walk 10 a.m. Saturday at South Central Park.
The event, which is sponsored by Joshua’s Boy Scout Troop 140, will include a fundraising 2-mile walk that will take participants from the park gazebo along Bainbridge Road to Wilcox Elementary School before returning to the park.
“I wanted to make sure there would be brand new toys for kids who have to stay over the holidays or for extended periods of time,” Joshua said.
The walk also is serving as Joshua’s Eagle Scout Service Project.
“One of the best choices I made was to take up Scouting,” Joshua said. “It has had a huge impact on my life. The guys always have my back.”
Joshua’s own stay at the clinic proved to be life-changing. Born with a condition known as aortic stenosis, which translated to an abnormally small and deformed aortic valve that prevented his body from receiving as much blood as it should.
The Scout also hopes to boost awareness of heart disease with the walk.
The son of Dann and Jasmine Barczyk, Joshua urges anyone who wants to join the walk be at the park before 10 a.m.
“I’m very punctual,” he said.
The walk has a Nov. 2 rain date.