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  • Alec Chenkus

Ohio Marijuana Card Gives Back

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Ohio Marijuana Card Manager Alec Chenkus with Brent from the Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation
Brent (right) from the Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation and OMC Social Media Manager Alec Chenkus (left)

Ohio Marijuana Card’s team of physicians have been writing recommendations for medical marijuana since the summer of 2018. In that time, our doctors have evaluated tens of thousands of patients, young and old, all across Ohio.

In celebration of our successful first year in the Buckeye State, Ohio Marijuana Card will be giving back all throughout 2019! To do this, we will choose a new local charity each month and donate a portion of that month’s total proceeds to the chosen organization.

“Every patient we’ve seen has their own unique story about how they discovered that medical marijuana can help treat their medical condition,” Ohio Marijuana Card president Connor Shore said. “We have been so touched by these stories, we’ve decided to donate to nonprofits, charities and organizations that benefit our patients.”

Ohio Marijuana Card chose the Alzheimer’s Association - Cleveland Area Chapter as their first major donation, and we have decided to double up the amount of organizations we donate to this month. For the month of April, we will be donating to two organizations that personally mean a great deal to me: the Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation (NE Ohio Chapter) and Empowering Epilepsy based out of Solon, OH.

Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation

If anybody keeps up with the blogs here at OMC, you may recognize the stories of my childhood friend that has suffered from Chiari Malformation since a child. Growing up, I had to watch one of my better friends make sacrifices at every turn due to the condition; whether he was forced to miss school for weeks due to sickness, the amount of surgeries he had to endure, or watching him give up soccer due to fear of head injury, I've watched in awe as Brent has dealt with this adversity, always with a smile on his face and enthusiasm in his demeanor.

Brent and his brother Calvin were both born with Chiari Malformations - it is something that was unavoidable. Seeing two of her children afflicted by such a rare condition - the estimated rate of diagnosis in children is around 3% - Cathy took actions into her own hands and was instrumental in establishing the NE Ohio Chapter that has formed into one of the most active chapters in the country, offering hope and optimism to Chiari & Syringomyelia patients across Ohio.

Each year there are multiple different events organized by Cathy that brings together, not only those affected by Chiari & Syringomyelia, but the entire community of our local city:

Brent and Cathy from the Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation with OMC Social Media Manager Alec Chenkus
Brent and Cathy from the Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation with OMC Social Media Manager Alec Chenkus at the 2019 Celebrity Bartending at Rush Hour
  • Celebrity Bartending at Rush Hour - each year volunteers step behind the bar at Rush Hour in Twinsburg to raise money during a celebrity bartending event! With prizes, giveaways, raffles, and drinks designed personally for the foundation, this event is a community favorite!

  • "Kickin' Chiari" Kickball Tournament - sponsored by the San Diego Taco Factory, this event takes over the Twinsburg Glen Meadow Park Softball Fields as teams compete against each other to fundraise and win the tournament! Speaking as a returning champion of the event, I can tell you this is an amazingly fun day that sees 100% of proceeds benefiting the Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation.

  • Annual Dinner Dance for a Cure - the culmination of the year's events, this 9th annual dinner brings together hundreds of people to the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg for a fabulous evening of dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Speakers, including Cathy, provide attendees with insights into the foundation's work and the effect it has had on patients.

Empowering Epilepsy

Studying the use of CBD for seizure disorder patients was the first insight that motived me to further study the possible medicinal benefits of medical cannabis. My aunt suffers from epileptic seizures, and it was paralyzing to not be able to do anything to help. As I learned more about the characteristics and testimonials associated with CBD use for treating seizures, it immediately brought me optimism that medical cannabis can make an absolutely life-changing turn for seizure-related conditions.

Ohio Marijuana Card President and Empowering Epilepsy Founder Pose for Picture
Empowering Epilepsy Founder Leigh Goldie with OMC President Connor Shore

Empowering Epilepsy was founded in 2014 by people in Cleveland, Ohio directly affected by epilepsy and their families. While looking for support, many people with epilepsy found limited resources and help outside of their neurologist’s office. Empowering Epilepsy’s goal is to create and maintain a caring community that empowers people with epilepsy and their families to  proactively manage their seizures and take charge of their lives.

Empowering Epilepsy holds annual events, including Purple Day Parties in both Cleveland and Akron, Art Therapy Program for adults and families, a team in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, IEP Clinics to help children with epilepsy be more successful in school, and Pottery Painting Parties to celebrate Epilepsy Awareness Month in November. We run monthly support groups with personalized Empowering Epilepsy Restorative Yoga in Northeast Ohio, and participate in health and wellness fairs to empower people with epilepsy to reach their goals and help them realize they are not alone. "We are also focused on educating the general public about epilepsy, seizures, and the centuries old stigma that can be defeated by providing accurate and up to date information."

"Ultimately, our goal is to open a respite center for people with epilepsy and their families where they can gather to find proactive ways to lessen their seizures, meet others who understand epilepsy, take classes, listen to speakers, and discover resources and opportunities to empower their lives." You can learn more about Empowering Epilepsy, or donate, through their website:


No donation is too small! Amazon recently established a really amazing initiative called "Amazon Smile." At no additional cost, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of an item purchased on Amazon! Make sure to use their site when shopping on Amazon to donate to the cause of your choice.


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