MARIA STEIN – The story started two years ago with the frightening news that a 1-year-old child named Scarlett Unrast had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Her parents, Lindsay Pearson and Travis Unrast, helped her endure a long series of treatments which included two bone marrow transplants, ovarian preservation, a stem cell transplant and radiation.
The story ended June 1 with the Live Life Out Loud celebration held Sunday at the Maria Stein Retreat Center. There were many children’s activities like bouncy houses and games. Refreshments were available and a DJ played music. The high point of the evening was a fireworks display that the now-3 year old Scarlett thought were just for her. Her family had their own exciting news when doctors told them the week before that her body was clear of the cancer.
During Scarlett’s two years of treatments, Uncle Todd Unrast drew closer to Scarlett, engaging her in his passion for professional fireworks. He said Scarlett often came with her parents to watch Todd’s fireworks shows. “She loves the noise and lights,” said Unrast.
Toddler Scarlett was diagnosed with a Stage 4 neuroblastoma tumor on her adrenal glands two years ago. Her uncle, Todd Unrast, promised himself and family members that if Scarlett beat her cancer, they would have a heck of a celebration. Unrast is a professional fireworks technician.
“We then decided two months ago, why not have a party for all the children who have been sick and let them come out and celebrate?” said Unrast.
Also working for the event was Ryan Schwieterman. He and his wife Angie are the parents of their youngest child, who they call Miracle Mayah.
“Mayah has multiple issues,” said Schwieterman. “Her main issue is that the cartilage rings in her trachea never developed, so she has to be on a ventilator at all times to keep her airway open.” Many people wore T-shirts with “Miracle Mayah” on the back signifying their effort to support the Schwieterman family.
Funds were raised from over 40 local businesses to support this event. Family members and friends worked the refreshment stands, selling T-shirts, 50-50 tickets, and chances to shoot off a signal rocket five minutes before the show began. Eight Osgood State Bank employees came to run children’s activities. Volunteer Sherri Thobe said that they plan to give back to the community. “We’re not sure how yet, but we will give back.”
Both the Unrasts and Schwieterman families appreciated the support they have from the community. Several hundred people were there to show their support and see the show.
When it was time for the show to begin, Justin Knouff shot off the 5-minute warning rocket. The crowd than saw the first stage of the fireworks that were fan-shaped to represent angel wings. This display was dedicated to those children who did not survive.
“Those fireworks were all different colors to represent all the various illnesses the children had,” Unrast said.
The rest of the fireworks were a 20 minute show of fireballs, rockets and explosions that lit up the sky and the delighted faces of hundreds of spectators.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.