Auto Fest, McDonald's donation boxes to benefit babies at Covenant

SAGINAW (WJRT) - (06/25/19) - A combination of classic cars and change dropped in donation boxes made a check presentation possible Tuesday morning.

Altogether $66,125 has been donated to the Covenant HealthCare Foundation to purchase six new ECG monitors to be used with existing baby warmers.

Covenant HealthCare has 15 warmers, but only had nine monitors.

"It allows us to closely monitor while we're also observing and doing other things to make sure that baby is stable," explained Leena Erskine, manager of the Neonatal Intenstive Care Unit. "If we notice maybe they're not breathing right, or we listen and, 'hmm, their heart rate isn't sounding right' -- that's when that tool, that monitor, we do hook that up to the baby."

The donation will mean extraordinary care for the roughly 3,000 infants a year who come to Covenant. Those babies come from 20 counties in Michigan.

Cameron Huffman, who is 21-months-old, spent his first 121 days at Covenant.

"I never thought I would go through something like this," said Trina Huffman, Cameron's mother.

Cameron was born at just over 26 weeks. His connection to the people who made the donation possible is pretty cool.

"When this happened to Benny and Sandy's grandson, we were going, 'wow, we've got to make sure we're there'," said Tony D'Anna, who heads up the Frankenmuth Auto Fest. He also owns the McDonald's restaurant in Michigan's Little Bavaria.

Cameron's grandparents, Benny and Sandy Braeutigam, founded the Frankenmuth Auto Fest 36 years ago, before D'Anna took the wheel. It's always been a charity event.

The Auto Fest is part of Cameron and Trina's DNA. "I have been volunteering with the Auto Fest since I could walk," Huffman said.

Little did Huffman know, giving back all those years, would eventually directly impact her family.

The Auto Fest donated $30,000 from last year's show, with the remaining $36,125 coming from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan.

If you dropped spare change in a donation box at McDonald's restaurants in Frankenmuth, or on Michigan Avenue in Saginaw, you helped too.

The Frankenmuth location is owned and operated by D'Anna, while the Saginaw restaurant is owned and operated by Shawn Saputo who was also at the check presentation.

"It's just a great combination. I just think this is a good day and we're very excited," D'Anna said.

"I just want to say thank you to all of you who have donated," Huffman said. "You pretty much saved my son."

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