United Way and LION Team Up for Family This Holiday Season

From the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area

Vandalia-based LION, a world leader in the delivery of equipment and training solutions for fire departments, worked with United Way officials to adopt a special family this holiday season with a child suffering from a rare, debilitating illness.

Each year, as part of their annual United Way campaign, employees at LION adopt at least one family for the holidays as part of their LION Cares program.  United Way officials connected with the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio, a United Way Partner Agency, and learned about a local girl who is suffering from a severe case of epilepsy and whose father is a firefighter.

Graeson Riley Rutmann was born on March 11, 2013 with a rare seizure disorder called Ohtahara Syndrome.  This severely progressive form of epilepsy affects newborns, usually within the first few days of life.  Seizures caused by this form of epilepsy are nearly impossible to control with medication, and the progressive nature of the disorder causes many children to die from it before the age of three.  Treatment is possible, but these children will be totally dependent on others, as their brains make little developmental progress.

Graeson’s father James Rutmann works full time as a firefighter and her mother Claudine works with a local health clinic – providing cost effective care to those in need.  The family is hoping to raise enough money to supplement their income so Claudine can work only part time.  The extra hours available in her schedule will be used to not only ensure that Graeson can receive proper care and attention but also attend to the active lives of their other older daughter and son, Dylan and Ian.

LION employees were happy to work with United Way of the Greater Dayton Area and Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio to make the Rutmann family’s goals a reality.  Steve Schwartz, 4th generation family owner of LION and CEO said: “Being a good corporate citizen is a core value of our company.  Graeson’s situation hit all of us very hard as parents and as members of the fire service family.”  Through this collaboration, we will raise awareness in our community about epilepsy and Ohtahara Syndrome and Graeson will be able to continue her fight while under the care of her mother and family.

To learn more about Graeson’s story, visit www.efwoflameofhope.org.