BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — It has been difficult and uncomfortable for most Americans to watch the horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfold on their television screens, night after night, over the course of the past five weeks.
As we watch from the comfort and safety of our own homes, we see nothing but sadness, despair, heartbreak and incredible moments of madness, and we wonder to ourselves: How can we help these peaceful people who have lost everything and have done nothing to provoke this human tragedy?
To meet this challenge directly, a colorful array of individuals, entertainers, organizations and business leaders from this community will forge their talents and resources to help the Ukrainian people by participating in a huge fundraiser planned for Thursday, April 7 at the Maumee Indoor Theater in uptown Maumee. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the event will commence at 6:30 p.m. for two hours of fun, mixed with a healthy dose of humanity and compassion.
“Dr. D Live” is the name of this fundraiser, the divine inspiration of Dr. Deitra Hickey, Ph.D., a licensed counselor and life coach, who also owns and operates the popular Serenity Health & Wellness Center in Maumee.
“I was inspired by the email I received from the Maumee Chamber of Commerce echoing Mayor Richard Carr asking businesses to display and promote the intention that ‘Maumee Stands With Ukraine,’” said Hickey.
“I thought it was a class act in leadership and it initiated my thinking of ways I could also step up and try to make a difference,” she added.
With so much doom and gloom over the past two years, Hickey said that one of the reasons she championed this fundraiser is that the Ukraine tragedy stands out in the sense that there is little to no divisiveness on this issue since an overwhelming majority of Americans are united in their desire to support the people of this war-torn country.
“It’s refreshing to deter from the division and come together in unity,” she stated.
Hickey coordinated the event with the cooperation of the city and the Maumee Indoor Theater, which donated its space to the cause. Among the highlights of the evening will be live musical performances by local favorites Johnny Rodriguez, Kyle White and Shawn Sanders.
“We have a raffle and a cash bar,” said Hickey. “One hundred percent of the proceeds from the ticket sales, raffle and bar sales will be donated … to assist with the efforts for Ukraine and its refugees.”
For the past seven years, Hickey has been appearing in a regular weekly segment of the Denny Schaffer morning radio show on WRQN 93.5 FM. “Life Coach Tuesdays with Dr. D” starts at 8:00 a.m. with people calling or texting questions, seeking advice in their personal lives.
“The questions range from relationship advice, work problems, self-esteem, family issues and everything in between,” said Hickey. “Sometimes, they are humorous, some serious, and often question are obscure and really out there!”
Hickey will incorporate elements of the radio show into “Dr. D Live” and Schaffer will be on hand to assist. The evening will begin with 45 minutes of live music by the three popular musicians. During the concert, the audience members will be given note cards to write down their advice questions.
Following the concert, Maumee Chamber of Commerce executive director Kristin Meyer and Paul Spoerl, of WRQN, will draw the assembled cards from a raffle drum.
“I will then tackle the questions ‘improv-style’ while Denny Schaffer, who will be emcee for the evening, chimes in, just as we do every Tuesday morning,” said Hickey with a smile.
Local businesses are also stepping up to help. Bartz Viviano Flowers & Gifts is donating a dazzling display of sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, for the evening. Heidelberg Distributing is donating a portion of the alcohol for the cash bar. Businesses such as The Chop House, Extreme Class Limousines and Serenity Health & Wellness Center are offering prizes for the raffle. Area business raffle items are still being collected, so local business owners are invited to contact Hickey to make donations.
“Amazingly, early on, Fred Dannhauser, the president of Focus CFO, donated $25,000,” said Hickey. He has also been an integral part of the planning for the event.
The primary financial goal of the “Dr. D Live” fundraiser is to raise money to donate to Rotary International District 6600 in Northern Ohio, which will, in turn, match each dollar raised up to $50,000.
“We would love to cumulatively distribute at least $100,000 to Ukrainian refugees that desperately need our assistance,” said Hickey.
Individuals interested in attending the “Dr. D Live” fundraiser may purchase tickets for $20.00 each, and raffle tickets may also be purchased online for $10.00. The grand prize is an “Ultimate Night Out” valued at $1,000.
For those who want to help, but are unable to attend the April 7 event, there is also an avenue to donate directly through the ticket link.