Community auction suggested to help a downtown neighbor

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: 03.07.17

When Sylvania resident Cathleen Smith published her second book, ‘Rose Petals’, she was welcomed by Carol Matrisciano of the former Chic Happens for a book signing outside of the store on Main Street.

“What can we do as a community to help one of our members who is in need?” questioned Gabe Ng of
Spacebar, a computer shop located at
5687 N. Main St. in downtown Sylvania.

Ng’s question reflects his concern for a familiar figure on Main Street, Cathleen Smith, who has multiple sclerosis. An author and artist, Smith lives near downtown Sylvania and makes her way through the downtown area thanks to her motorized wheelchair. Her books, If I Can Make It, So Can You, and Rose Petals, detail her challenges associated with her disease.

“I first met Cathy during my open house shortly after I opened my business. She was not able to come into my store because of her wheelchair so we chatted outside. That gave me the opportunity to get to know her,” Ng reported.

That talk and subsequent conversations enlightened Ng about her condition. He found out that her father had recently died and her mother is unable to care for her any longer.

“Despite all of this, Cathy has a positive attitude and always has a smile and a good word for everyone she encounters,” Ng said. “And, she is certainly a part of our downtown community. But many people here don’t know Cathy and some may not even see her.”

He continued, “I want the community to be aware of the people that we see every day including Kathy, and if she or someone else needs help, we figure out a way to provide that aid. That is what being a part of the community is all about. I also think it is important that if we are part of the community, we should do things that make difference.”

In learning about Smith, Ng discovered that she could use a new laptop computer and that she has limited resources. Ng is organizing a community-wide “auction” to be held during the May Red Bird Art Walk.

“I am asking other downtown businesses to donate products or services that will be available during the art walk. Participants can buy raffle tickets and drop them off for a chance to win a prize of their choice. For example, I am going to offer computer repair services. Reve will have a gift basket of products along with gift cards for specific services just for starters,” he stated.

According to Ng, funds raised from the “auction” will go into an account at Sautter’s that Smith can draw upon.

In addition, Ng is encouraging Sylvania residents to bring their old laptop/computers to Spacebar to be refurbished for reuse.

“I’m hoping that people will be motivated to bring what they don’t use so I can fix it up and give them to people like Cathy,” Ng suggested.

“Not only will we be able to make a difference for Cathy, we will also have made people aware of her condition and hopefully make people more sensitive to others in the community,” he said.

People often ask me ‘There are so many people out there, how many people can you help?’ My answer is always ‘As many as I can, when I can.’ We live in the modern world where we stare at mobile screens more than people. It’s time for us to put our phones down and focus on what matters most, the people around us. What if Cathy were your sister or mother? What would you do for her?” he questioned.

“The greatest person is the person that make others feel great,” Ng reasoned.

If you would like to donate goods or services,
call Ng at 419-517-1313.