Combined Charitable Campaign CCC saves lives

BWC People – Making a Difference

By Adam King, Public Information Officer

Industrial Safety Consultant Specialist Tammi Nye is fighting for her life — again, making this year’s state of Ohio Combined Charitable Campaign especially poignant.
“The money you donate through CCC can change someone’s life or even save it,” said Tammi, who works out of the Toledo Service Office. “I don’t need CCC’s support for my health issue, but I’m sure countless others do – our loved ones, neighbors and friends, and others who have no support at all.”

In August, Tammi learned the disease that destroyed both of her kidneys is back, this time targeting the transplanted kidney she received five years ago. The disease – Glomerulonephritis syndrome – is extremely rare in women, and in 25 years doctors have made almost no headway in determining why it appears or how to treat it.
“The goal right now is to preserve the organ and not lose it,” said Tammi. “So you kind of feel like you aren’t necessarily back to phase one, but you’ve lost ground. The medications are a struggle with cost and insurance and pharmacy coverage. There’s always some battle to fight somewhere, essentially to survive.”

Tammi said she can’t imagine anyone battling a major health issue without financial stability. That’s one reason she accepted an at-large board position with the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio four years ago. The foundation serves 350 clients and distributes about $80,000 annually for medications, medical transportation, and supplements.

She said becoming a board member was a bit of a fluke. She responded to the organization’s Facebook post on Father’s Day to thank her living donor for giving her another year with her father. The director contacted her, and she’s been on the board since.

“You can feel you’re on your own if you don’t have an advocate or someone to educate you on certain things,” said Tammi, who uses her position to encourage organ donation, promote the foundation’s services, and share the ins and outs of being a kidney recipient.

Tammi said BWC was a lifesaver when she was hired in 2016. The year before that, and just two weeks after her successful kidney transplant, her employer of nearly 15 years told her that her safety manager position was eliminated.
Finding a new job wasn’t easy. Friends had to drive her to job fairs because she wasn’t allowed to drive for four months after surgery. Out of 40 jobs she applied for, BWC and a federal position were the only offers.

“So this must mean this is where I was meant to be,” she said.
Tammi started donating to the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio through CCC in 2017 and has continued every year since. In 2018, the Toledo office highlighted the foundation as a donation destination. Tammi already made her donation, but she offered to match her colleagues’ contributions dollar for dollar, which raised another $600.

Every dollar raised this year is important because the Kidney Foundation had to cancel its largest and most successful fundraising event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tammi hopes people consider the foundation during CCC, in part because BWC has its own small kidney transplant community — three employees have received one and another is a donor.

“Even with the disease reoccurring, I’m on the right side of this process with a new organ, and I’m the healthiest I’ve felt in years,” said Tammi.

The CCC runs through Oct. 9. We’ve raised $169,070, or two-thirds of our goal of $253,000, as of Monday morning. You can choose the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio using code 16040, or choose one of the many other deserving charities and organization in the 2020 Resource Guide. Visit myOhio.gov and click the myCCC button to start your donation or contact your area’s CCC coordinator for donation forms

Tennessee man’s false injury claim costs him $33K

Ohio BWC releases latest fraud convictions

A Tennessee man pleaded guilty to felony workers’ compensation fraud Sept. 9 after collecting more than $33,000 from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for a work injury he falsely claimed occurred in Ohio.

Roger Frankenberg, 60, of Sevierville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. A judge sentenced him to 11 months in jail, suspended for five years of probation, and ordered Frankenberg to pay BWC $33,210 in restitution.

“As many fraudsters discover, ripping off this agency clearly doesn’t pay, thanks to the good work of our Special Investigations Department,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Not only does Mr. Frankenberg owe us $33,000, he has a felony record.”

 Acting on a tip, BWC discovered Frankenberg had returned to work for his self-owned company, Custom Renovations and Beyond Inc., while receiving BWC disability benefits from December 2015 until December 2016.

 Further investigation determined Frankenberg sustained his injury in Pennsylvania, not Ohio. But because he didn’t have insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, he fabricated a BWC claim so he could have his medical bills covered and collect indemnity payments.

In a separate case on Sept. 9, a Columbus woman pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud after BWC found she had returned to work but didn’t tell the agency so she could continue to receive disability benefits.

Deborah Chenault pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud and was ordered to pay BWC $6,000 in restitution. A three-month jail term was suspended for five years of probation.

In other news, BWC secured three fraud-related convictions in August, bringing its 2020 calendar year total to 51. They include a case involving a Dayton man who stole a near $4,000 check BWC had sent his employer.

 

  • Eric Walker-Mabry of Dayton pleaded guilty Aug. 25 to one count each of theft of property, theft, and forgery, all fifth-degree felonies. A Montgomery County judge ordered Walker-Mabry to pay BWC $3,707 in restitution and sentenced him to five years of probation. BWC issued a full refund to the employer.

 

  • Danny Mitchell of Clarksburg, West Virginia, dba Mitchell Drilling Inc., pleaded no contest Aug. 18 in Tuscarawas County to one minor misdemeanor count of failure to comply and was found guilty after BWC found him operating his business in Ohio without BWC coverage. A judge waived fines and court costs. Mitchell Drilling paid BWC its outstanding premiums and is no longer operating in Ohio.

 

  • Nina Washington of Dayton must pay BWC $4,616 in restitution after pleading guilty Aug. 17 to a misdemeanor count of workers’ compensation fraud. A Franklin County judge also sentenced Washington to five years of probation for collecting disability benefits after she returned to work. Washington paid $500 toward her restitution the morning of her sentencing.

To report suspected workers’ compensation fraud, call 1-800-644-6292 or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

 

My family’s trauma changed my world

Thankfully, so did Kids’ Chance of Ohio

By Malerie Mysza

I remember the last truly happy moments I spent with my father. I was 4, and we sat watching cartoons and laughing in the living room of our home in Cleveland. Soon after, he suffered brain injuries and blindness from an on-the-job accident. My father as I knew him no longer existed.

Brian Mysza suffered brain injuries and blindness from an on-the-job accident. His son, Sam, walks beside him.

At age 5, I visited him in his new nursing home on Easter. I asked him to come hunt for eggs with me, but when I offered him my arm to come along, he grabbed and twisted it painfully. I wasn’t allowed near him after that.

Experiencing a trauma like that as a child forever changed me. It made me want to do something to help him and others who were living with similar brain injuries. But when you lose more than half your family income and your mom stops working in order to care for her five children, how do you finance such an ambitious goal?

Searching for scholarships, I discovered Kids’ Chance of Ohio. The nonprofit organization offers scholarships to children of workers who have been permanently disabled or fatally injured on the job. Kids’ Chance awarded me $18,000 over five years. Combined with local scholarships and other public financial assistance, it covered the costs of my undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati. When I say Kids’ Chance made my educational dreams possible, it’s no exaggeration.

Brian Mysza, before the accident, with daughter Ashley.

This spring I graduated from UC with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. I now hope to complete my master’s in Occupational Therapy at UC, with an anticipated graduation date of 2022.

The joy I experienced on my graduation day was surreal. Nine-year-old me, who asked my mom if she could get my dad exercise bands so he wouldn’t just sit in a chair and rock back and forth all day, was ecstatic. My 10-year-old self, who tried to figure out how to make treadmills brain-injury friendly during a fourth-grade invention discussion, was so proud.

The Myszas celebrate Christmas at Longhorn Steakhouse in 2018. From left, Malerie’s father Brian and mother Laura, sister Alanna, Malerie, sisters Ashley and Adriana, and brother Sam. Brian currently resides in a brain injury rehab facility in Pittsburgh.

And the adult me finds herself one step closer to fulfilling her lifelong goal – opening a rehabilitation facility that specializes in brain injuries, where  practitioners ask, “What matters to you?” instead of “What’s the matter with you?”

My college experience was wonderful inspiration and training for my future.

  • I interned for the Cincinnati nonprofit InReturn, leading a life skills class for brain injury survivors.
  • I volunteered for the rehabilitation department in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
  • I started a nonprofit organization, GIVE at UC, to promote sustainability and encourage volunteerism abroad.
  • And I took two life-changing mission trips to Nicaragua and Thailand, where I worked with children, built schools, was involved with turtle conservation and worked in an elephant hospital.

Malerie Mysza teaches English to children in Chiang Dao, Thailand, during a mission trip from May to June 2019.

Without Kids’ Chance, none of this would have been possible. I always say the most important thing is time and how you make the most of it. Kids’ Chance of Ohio’s altruism and generosity has – so far – given me the most life-affirming time of all.

I am beyond happy. And somewhere deep inside, I hope my father is too.

If you would like to support Kids’ Chance of Ohio or know someone who can benefit from its scholarships, please visit https://kidschanceohio.org.