Avery Renee Blinco weighed just 2 pounds 3 ounces when she was born Jan. 2, 2004. Her twin brother, Nathan Dane, arrived less than an hour later, weighing slightly more at 2 pounds 12 ounces.
That day marked the first of many challenges for the twins and their parents, Alexia and Curt Blinco of Moundsville - challenges they met with the help of West Virginia University Children's Hospital.
The poster children for this year's hospital fundraiser survived breathing problems, bleeding on the brain, blood transfusions, heart rhythm and blood pressure issues and even an ambulance crash. Nathan did not come home until late March, with Avery following in early April 2004.
To help provide the care that children like the Blinco twins need, Ohio Valley Friends of WVU Children's Hospital will present their eighth annual fundraiser - A Magical Evening - on Saturday at the White Palace in Wheeling Park. The magical theme is intended to whisk guests away as they enjoy gourmet dining, entertainment, dancing and silent auctions.
A 6 p.m. cocktail reception kicks off the evening, giving attendees a chance to bid on auction items while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and their favorite beverages. After dinner, guests will be entertained by the magic of Craig Karges. Following the show, they can dance to the sounds of the Bobby Nicholas Band.
"In 2011, families from the Ohio Valley turned to WVU Children's Hospital more than 8,000 times and found hope and healing," event organizers said. "In addition to these Ohio Valley children, families from across West Virginia and the surrounding region counted on WVU Children's Hospital to be there for their child another 123,000 times."
MAGIC NIGHT ON TAP
Ohio Valley Friends of WVU Children's Hospital will present A Magical Evening fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday at the White Palace in Wheeling Park. Call 877-356-7007 for tickets or information.
Funds generated by events like A Magical Evening support pediatric programs, such as the Pediatric Transport Program, and patient services like the purchase of specialized equipment.
Seats at the event are still available, and sponsors are always welcome. For tickets or to help sponsor the event, call Andrea Parsons at 877-356-7007.