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BW Grads Combine to Aid Pediatric Hematology Oncology at Akron Children's Hospital

Scott and Julie Mawaka, Dr. Jeffrey Hord, Jen and Phil Lopez
Scott and Julie Mawaka, Dr. Jeffrey Hord, Jen and Phil Lopez

By:  Director of Athletic Communications & Public Relations Kevin Ruple

BEREA, Ohio --  Baldwin Wallace University graduates Scott Mawaka '90 and Phil Lopez '94 had a common interest while on the Berea-based campus as undergraduates. They have turned that common interest into a bond that now truly benefits Akron Children's Hospital in a profound way through its annual LoPen Golf Outing.  This year's LoPen Charity event is on June 1, 2019 and the headline performer at LoPenRocs is quintessential musician and performer Sammy Hagar.

Mawaka and Lopez played baseball at BW and loved the game. Today, they still love baseball and have added the game of golf, and that love affair developed into a passion not only for the sport with the little white ball but also for helping children in Northeast Ohio who have blood disorders through the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children's Hospital.

BW Trio Combines with Dr. Jeffrey Hord

Lopez, who resides in Hudson and works as a financial advisor for Park Avenue Capital, is passionate about for giving back to the Greater Akron community and he began this endeavor in 2002 when he met with Dr. Jeffrey Hord, who directs and manages the Showers Center at ACH and is the first-ever Chair of the LoPen Charities and Mawaka Family Foundation in Pediatric Hematology Oncology. 

"I seems to me that students and graduates at Baldwin Wallace must come to embrace the concept of "giving back" based upon my interactions with three BW graduates -- Phil Lopez, Brad Croce ' 93 and Scott Mawaka," said Hord. "In 2002, Phil and Brad came to me telling me of their desire to start a fundraiser that would support hematology oncology patients at Akron Children's Hospital. I loved their desire and enthusiasm to help those in need.

"With that, LoPen Charities held its first-ever golf fundraiser in 2003 and raised $10,000," said Hord. "Each year, the event has grown larger and has expanded to include auctions, dinners and concerts (rock and roll star Steven Tyler was the 2016 headliner). In 2016, Scott Mawaka and the Mawaka Family Foundation joined Phil and Brad to help develop the fundraising even further. I have been so amazed to see the amount of work and level of dedication they have to help some of the sickest children on Northeast Ohio as they battle cancer and other life-threatening blood disorders. Between 2003 and 2017, they have helped to raise more than $820,000 to support our patients and programs.

And Hord didn't stop there.

"Always looking to the future and pushing the limits, Phil, Brad and Scott have now committed to raise $1-million dollars between 2018 and 2020 to establish an endowed chair which will be of great help to the Director of Hematology Oncology at Akron Children's Hospital today and forever," said Hord. "I am humbled and proud to be the first to hold the LoPen Charities and Mawaka Family Foundation Chair in Pediatric Hematology Oncology."

The Passion Behind the Pledge

"This is our passion and our way to give back to the community and to young children who are fighting for their lives and the ability to live a healthy, normal life," said Lopez, a 2018 inductee into BW's Alumni Athletic Association Hall of Fame. "This began in the early 2000s with Brad (Croce) and now includes Scott and Julie Mawaka. It is our pleasure to help the community."

Mawaka, who is the Chief Executive Office and President of Fleet Response, based in Independence, is another former outstanding Yellow Jacket baseball student-athlete who has developed Fleet Response into a successful national business entity. A member of the National Association of Fleet Administrators, Risk and Insurance Management Society and the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, Mawaka was a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. 

"This is a passion, a labor of love and something we really enjoy doing," said Mawaka, who is the CEO and President of Fleet Response in Twinsburg. "Julie and I enjoy working with Phil, Jen and Brad and others to make the LoPen Charities weekend of events both special and memorable for both the people who attend and generously contribute, and those hard-working individuals at Akron Children's Hospital who provide care second-to-none to the children. It is a wonderful event." 

If you or your business is interested in becoming involved in the LoPen and Scott & Julie Mawaka Foundation, please click