Slam Dunk for Rainbow

Tony Powalie

Tony Powalie, Painesville's Chief of Police recently helped raise money for Rainbow on Miracle Treat Day on July 28. Tony is pictured above with his wife, Faith, and their son, Max.

Tony Powalie, Painesville's Chief of Police, would do anything to help the patients at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. His son, Max, was born at UH MacDonald Women's Hospital at just 24 weeks old and spent the next four months at Rainbow, including three months in the Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Level IIIc Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

That's why it was a slam-dunk "yes" when Michael Thompson, Manager of the Diamond Centre Dairy Queen in Mentor, asked Powalie to sit in a dunk tank to raise money for Rainbow on Miracle Treat Day on July 28. Thompson reached out to the chief, not knowing about the Powalies' strong ties to the hospital. The chief quickly agreed to let people like his son, Max, now a healthy 6 year old, take turns trying to dunk him into the cool tank of water.

"I’ll do anything to help Rainbow. Getting dunked in water is a small sacrifice to make," Tony said.

Born 16 weeks premature to Faith and Tony, Max had numerous procedures during his long NICU stay, including eye and heart surgeries and blood transfusions. The couple placed their trust into the expert hands of Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital’s physicians, nurses and staff.

Today, the Powalies remain friends with many of Max's caregivers. They "talk" on Facebook and even hang out socially with one of the nurses and her family. "You get this bond when you're there. They've become family," Tony said.

As for Faith, she recently volunteered for a newly formed parent-family advisory council for the NICU. In her new role, she will talk with parents who are experiencing the same uncertainties and challenges the couple once faced and help bridge the gap between families and medical staff.

"We'll do whatever we can do to help. We're blessed to have the facilities that we have here at Rainbow," Faith said.

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