“Dr. D Live” Event At Maumee Indoor Theater Raises Thousands To Assist Ukrainian Refugees

Toledo Helps Ukraine, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Ukraine native Alona Matchenko and Hope Luther, sold T-shirts at the event with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to Ukrainian aid. Pictured with Matchenko (center) are husband Jesse Smith (left) and Maumee Mayor Richard Carr. MIRROR PHOTOS BY DENNY McCARTHY
Local musicians Shawn Sanders, Kyle White and Johnny Rodriguez took turns singing lead on some of their favorite songs, resulting in a crowd-pleasing medley of popular tunes.
Ukrainian citizens Yuriy and Tetiana Griga appeared onstage at the “Dr. D Live” event last Thursday night and shared their personal story with the audience.
Deitra Hickey answers a question during the “Dr. D Live” segment of the successful Ukrainian fundraising event held at the Maumee Indoor Theater last Thursday evening.
Popular WRQN morning radio host Denny Schaffer provided a few timely one-liners during the “Dr. D Live” segment on Thursday evening.

BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — A night of great music and plenty of good laughs in uptown Maumee has resulted in some serious cash to help those who are suffering in Ukraine.

The “Dr. D Live” fundraiser, held at the Maumee Indoor Theater last Thursday evening, was a huge success with 420 tickets sold and thousands of dollars raised to help the people of Ukraine.

The event was co-sponsored by the city of Maumee and the Maumee Chamber of Commerce. The featured attractions were Deitra Hickey, Ph.D., the three members of the Denny Schaffer morning radio show crew, and local musicians Kyle White, Johnny Rodriguez and Shawn Sanders.

The evening opened with a brief round of popular song medleys from the three musicians who took turns singing some of their favorite songs as audience members were seated.

After about 15 minutes, Hickey took the stage and explained that she would be taking questions from audience members about relationship or other personal issues. Hickey is a licensed counselor and life coach who also owns Serenity Health & Wellness Center in Maumee.

For the past seven years, Hickey has been appearing weekly on Schaffer’s morning radio show on WRQN. “Life Coach Tuesdays with Dr. D” starts at 8:00 a.m. each Tuesday with people calling or texting questions, seeking advice in their personal lives.

The questions are read on the air and Hickey offers her response while Schaffer chips in “improv-style” with his witty quips.

Following this same format at the Maumee Indoor Theater on Thursday evening, audience members were invited to write their questions on the index cards provided on the chair seat backs in their rows, and then submit their questions for Hickey and Schaffer.

For the next few minutes, the musicians continued trading songs as volunteers collected the cards from audience members, many of whom seemed to thoroughly enjoy the process.

When Hickey returned to the stage, she and Schaffer addressed a handful of the questions, which were selected from a spinning raffle drum by Schaffer’s WRQN radio show producer, Paul Spoerl. Suzie Moser, another member of the radio team, watched the proceedings from the audience.

Hickey went on to answer the chosen questions with a mix of sincerity and humor, while Schaffer drew some big laughs from the audience with his rejoinders following Hickey’s answers.

The program was then returned to the musicians for 30 minutes of inspired musical selections before Hickey and Schaffer returned to the stage to finish their second segment of “Dr. D Live.”

Following the segment, Hickey introduced Fred Dannhauser, the president of Focus CFO, who had pledged $25,000 in matching funds for the event. Hickey also took a moment to recognize other sponsors of the event.

Dannhauser was then invited to draw the winner of the “Ultimate Night Out” grand prize, including prizes from the Chop House, Extreme Class Limousine and Serenity Health & Wellness Center, valued at $1,000. Willa Norris, a Toledo police officer, excitedly claimed the prize.

Hickey then introduced Dr. Richard Paat, who practices internal medicine and is affiliated with McLaren St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee. Dr. Paat is leading a medical relief effort in Ukraine this week with his wife, Myra, and two other doctors. Dr. Paat was met with a loud round of applause for his efforts.

Hickey then took the opportunity to invite a Ukrainian couple to the stage to share their story. Yuriy and Tetiana Griga were met with a warm round of applause from the audience as they spoke earnestly about their own situation and thanked the Maumee community for the fundraising effort to help the people of Ukraine.

The couple had already secured visas to visit the United States on March 8, less than two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine. This allowed them to escape and make their way to Toledo. Tetiana is a professor and Yuriy is the owner of an upscale clothing store in Ukraine.

“They now live in west Toledo due to the generosity of Tom Hudak, who is providing them with a place in which to live,” said Hickey. “Their main goal is to get a social security number that would enable them to get jobs and work in the United States. Their long-term goal is to get back to Ukraine where their children and parents still reside.”

When the couple finished their remarks on stage, they were met with an enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience.

The show concluded with a gathering of the event volunteers onstage, accompanied by an extended reggae rendition of “Lean on Me” by the three musicians who continued playing as the audience members filed out of the theater and into the cool spring night.

With a positive vibe in the theater throughout the night, it was clear that this fundraising event was destined for success.

With the money raised on the night of the event, combined with the Dannhauser $25,000 matching contribution, along with the individual donations received in the days following the event, Hickey reports that the fundraising effort could eventually generate as much as $50,000, or possibly more, when the final numbers are in. That is the goal between now and Sunday, May 1, she said.

“The overwhelming pride I feel for the community coming together is so beautiful and powerful,” Hickey said on Monday.

“Yuriy and Tetiana have an amazing perspective and it’s inspiring,” Hickey said. “I think of the quote from Bob Marley whenever I talk with them: ‘You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.’”

Those who wish to donate to the Ukrainian fundraiser before the Sunday, May 1 deadline can write a check to the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, 605 Conant St., Maumee, OH 43537. Please write “Ukraine” in the memo line.

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