Good News Blog

Kids & Teens

Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2009

6 Year Old Alarm Raiser My Hero, Says Mum

Just as he was getting ready for school his mom collapsed right in front of his eyes.

But 6 year old Owen Stanley didn’t panic. Instead, he called emergency services which rushed an ambulance to help out.

“I’ve not been so well for a couple of months, then came down with a bug on Sunday, which didn’t help.

When I got up on Monday, I didn’t feel well at all and knew something was going to happen. I kept asking Owen ‘have you got mummy’s phone?’ ‘Mummy doesn’t feel very well’, as I felt myself getting worse.

The next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital. Apparently I had collapsed and Owen, just in his underpants went running across to my neighbour saying his mummy needs an ambulance.

It was she who called for help. Owen was so brave and didn’t cry or panic.

But the fact that he knew what to do is amazing and I have never explained what to do in those situations. It’s scary enough for me in that situation, let alone a little boy. I’m just so proud of him.”
— Deborah Stanley, 32

Deborah’s blood sugar and blood pressure had been extremely low and her body had gone into shock.

She’s expected to recover enough to attend a Mother’s Day school project.

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009

Pre-birth Surgery: Miracle Twins Survive Rare Condition

Every year one in 10 twins is diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; a rare and often deadly condition where twins share one and the same placenta.

Ronna and Doug Wilson’s baby boys Harrison and Dillon were on the wrong side of those odds.

In her 18th week doctors of Houston’s Texas Children’s Fetal Center diagnosed her with the condition.

They suggested a pre-birth surgery during which the placenta would be split up to create two distinct placentas.

Only 11 institutions in the USA perform the procedure. Only 65% of babies survive the procedure.

The success rate depends largely on how early the condition is diagnosed.

“Our plan is to go in with a very tiny telescope in the sac of the recipient and operate underwater.

We actually take a laser light.

I wish we could get them all early, so we can anticipate the problems”
— Dr. Kenneth Moise, Texas Children’s Fetal Center

The procedure was a complete success.

“He smiles a lot, and he frowns. That’s really the only way we can tell the difference between the two of them.

They’re so much fun. Miracles!
— Ronna

About Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

Toddler Survived 18 Minutes Under Water

September 2008 the then 2 year old Oluchi Nwaubani fell into a swimming pool in London. At that time of year the water was freezing cold.

By the time she was rescued she had been under water for at least 18 minutes. Serious and extensive brain damage normally sets in after just 5 minutes without oxygen.

Paramedics were unable to start Oluchi breathing again. A medvac helicopter rushed her to the Royal London hospital where doctors gave her a 2% of surviving.

“For days we were thinking is she going to live or is she going to die.

Doctors were telling us she was never going to pull through.

They said that if she had not started breathing again in six hours she would probably not survive.

Six hours went by and when the doctors discussed turning off the machine we asked them to hold on.

Three days later my daughter suddenly started breathing again.

The doctors said she would never pass urine again because her kidney failed. But she is passing urine normally now.

They said she would not be able to talk anymore, she would not walk again – she would be a vegetable.

But she is walking, she is eating normally and she is able to say what she wants.

The doctors said that the amount of time she spent in the water meant she would never recover but when I asked her to say ‘hello’ to the doctor she tried to speak. And then I asked her to wave goodbye and she moved her hand.

Her doctor said he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. Staff were calling her a miracle baby.

She seems to have defied doctors at every stage.

It was hard to explain to her sisters that she was alive because they had seen her die at the pool.

It has been a difficult time for us but the support we received from friends and family has helped us make it through.”
— Junior Nwaubani, Oluchi’s father

Doctors now believe her survival was due to a combination of the diving reflex, which slows down the body’s metabolism and need for oxygen, and the very cold temperature of the water which would have protected the brain from more extensive damage.

“It was really almost a miracle that this child has a normal recovery.

Some young children, particularly babies, have a special reflex that they had when they were in utero called the diving reflex. It essentially slows the body’s metabolism down to almost nothing, so they almost need no oxygen for the brain cells to survive.”
— Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

To Toya, her mother, the details matter a lot less.

“She shouldn’t be here, but she is.

There’s still room for recovery. She’s still on a road to recovery.

I’ve said it’s not a miracle instantly, it’s a miracle over time.”
— Toya Nwaubani

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009

Reunited Years After Near Tragic Accident

Ted Scercy usually didn’t work on Sunday. But on Sunday November 22, 1992, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, he had to; the supervisor at the trucking company he worked at had him scheduled for a tractor-trailer drive.

It was somewhat depressing news to Ted. He had been looking forward to see his kids perform in a Thanksgiving program at the church he and his family went to.

A faithful man, Ted started his trip with a prayer.

“I asked God, ‘Just make something good out of this night.’

God will answer your prayers… There’s no doubt in my mind that night that a miracle took place. I’ve always said that, and I’ll tell anybody.”
— Ted Scercy

A little bit after midnight Ted came around a sharp curve. At the bottom of an embankment he thought he saw a small red light.

He pulled his truck over and went down to check; a destroyed Datsun came into sight. The car had apparently hydroplaned on the wet road, got of the road and had hit a tree at high speed.

To this day Ted swears to have seen the red light and thinks it must have been an indicator light from the Datsun’s dashboard. However, the car’s battery was no longer working…

A man had been thrown 15 feet away; a woman had crashed through the windshield.

And in the backseat, behind the driver seat, was 7 year old Jeremy Cook was seated behind the driver.

Wearing his seatbelt he hadn’t been launched out of the car but the impact had lifted the driver’s seat and smashed it on top him, crushing Jeremy under it.

Working alone he was unable to get the seat off the boy but getting help from a passing driver worked. Ted freed Jeremy and performed CPR on the unconscious kid until paramedics arrived.

After 3 months of deep coma, doctors took Jeremy off life support. Convinced that his son would die, James Cooke spoke through the telephone from his own bed in another hospital.

“His cousin held the phone up to Jeremy’s ear.

His dad said, ‘Jeremy, Daddy loves you.’ When Jeremy heard those words, he woke up.

He said, ‘I love you too, Daddy.'”
— Ted Scercy

Jeremy left the hospital in a wheelchair; paralyzed from the waste down. He’s had 18 surgeries and trained very hard. 24 year old today, he now walks with crutches and walks to church three times a week for worship services and Bible study.

Ted Scercy was named Goodyear’s North Carolina Highway Hero.

As Jeremy grew older he sort of lost contact with Ted. As he came past his telephone number recently he decided to give the man a call. They talked for nearly 3 hours straight.

“I thank God and I thank Ted, too, because he helped.

My parents feel the same way I do. They’re very thankful that Ted stopped that night.”
— Jeremy Cook

Ted Scercy now drives local truck routes for Estes Express in Charlotte. He’s involved in mission work and disaster relief for his church and has received several humanitarian awards.

“I don’t do it to be recognized. I do it because if you’re there, you’ve got to do it.”
— Ted Scercy

Ted and Jeremy have regular contact nowadays.

Monday, Feb. 9, 2009

Toddler Survives 3 Story Hotel Window Fall

Shelby Alexander, 23, and her grandparents had rented a room at the Bavarian Inn Lodge for a nice weekend getaway. Shelby’s 18 month old daughter Aerieana was with them, of course.

Police Officer Gregory Rehmann, a guest too at the hotel and trained as a medical first responder, was relaxing next to the pool when two women ran into the court. One of them was yelling “My baby! My baby!”

“He went to the edge of the pool. He saw no child there, but he happened to see (Hathaway) lying on a walkway and realized what had happened.

The baby was crying, which is usually a fairly good sign, but it could be an indication of something serious, too.

You have to be careful not to misinterpret those things. Our people were there in less than three minutes, so she was treated right away.

My goodness, what a fall … When we have someone who falls from that distance, being the third floor, it certainly warrants concern on everyone’s part.”
— Donald C. Mawer, Police Chief Frankenmuth

The toddler has fallen an estimated 20-25 feet but didn’t harm her spinal cord or neck.

The initial swelling of the brain, always a serious concern wit head injuries, has decreased a lot. She’s also breathing good enough that doctors are considering removing the ventilator.

“There is an immense sense of relief in the family, but there is still a long row to hoe.

She is still a very ill little girl, and it sounds like she will probably be there for a significant period of time.

We all have children. When something like this happens, you feel it so deeply within yourself. When you see a small child … it hits you right to the soul.”
— Jim Engel, manager Bavarian Inn Lodge, after visiting the family in the hospital

Aerieana’s family is calling her their “miracle angel”.

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009

Teen Hero Uses Body To Shield 6 Year Old From Bullets

Amidst a basket ball game gone wrong, one teen did what is right.

Last weekend about 300 people were assembled in the Tony Aguirre Community Center on West Pennway Street in Kansas City to watch a basket ball game between DeLaSalle High School and the Southeast Community Center team.

In the fourth quarter an argument broke out between two groups of people in the stands. At one point guns were drawn and 8 people starting firing.

As the hail of bullets sped across the hall, 19 year old basket ball player Jullaion Jones quickly stepped off the court, pushed 6 year old Desean Merritt to the floor, and covered him with his body.

Jullaion kept protecting the little boy like this even when a bullet grazed him in the leg.

“Jullaion moved me and hided me in the corner, and covered his body over mine.”
— Desean Merritt, 6

His father is grateful for the kind, potentially life saving act.

“I almost get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

It could have been worse than it was, God was really good that nothing happened to anyone.

I’m glad He put Jullaion there to do what he did.”
— Sean Merritt

In total 5 people were injured. Police said all the injuries are non-life-threatening.

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008

Father’s Quick Action Saves Kid’s Life

When 2 1/2 year old Shay Asser’s ear infection induced fever went too high, it triggerred a fit which stopped him from breathing.

His father, Brian, 32, went into first-aid auto pilot.

“Shay was lying on the floor having a fit.

I picked him up and ran downstairs with him, but by that time he wasn’t breathing and his lips and face were purple.

I learned how to do resuscitation years ago from St John’s Ambulance, but I had never used it. Somehow I remembered what to do. I think I was on auto-pilot.

I got two breaths into him and he started choking and threw up, then he started breathing.
Brian Asser

Paramedics arriving on the scene then injected the boy with muscle stimulants, effectively waking him up.

Dad is being hailed a hero not just by his wife but by the ambulance spokeswoman as well.

“This shows just how important first aid skills are in the home. We hope Shay is well again and praise Mr Asser for helping to save his son’s life”

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008

Miracle Surgery Had 4 Year Old Hear this Thanksgiving

These US Thanksgiving is a very special one for Nicholas Soma.

It’s his first Thanksgiving that he will sit down with his family and actually be able to hear them.

He was born with the continental defect, affecting his outer ear cartilage and ear canal.

His malformed ears and absence of ear canals meant he was mostly deaf.

His parents never stop looking for a solution. With the help of family, supporters and donations from Hawaii residents they were able to pay for the reconstructive surgeries by two doctors in California.

Nicolas now doesn’t need any hearing aid and looks like any other kid.

Monday, Nov. 24, 2008

Persistent 5 Year Old Girl Rescues Family From Fire

As part of the fire prevention program the Stratford fire department spent a day at a school teaching “stop drop and roll”, the importance of testing smoke detectors, and how to escape a fire.

That evening Emily, five, was quiet when her father tugged her in bed.

When he inquired as to her silence she started explaining her day at school and the conversation developed.

“Daddy, do we have smoke detectors?” she asked.

“We do,” he said.

“We need to test them. The firemen said so,” Emily said.

“We’ll do it in the morning,” he said. “It’s time to go to sleep.”

“No, Daddy, now. Please?” she pleaded. “We have to.”

So holding her in his arm he carried her into the hall way and tested the first detector: he pushed the test button and nothing happened. Tried again nothing.

The other new batteries that they have in the house and while Emily was watching change the batteries of the smoke detectors.

Emily, her big dog Jack, enter Winny went to sleep peacefully.

That night the family and the animals fled the fiercely burning house, having been awakened by shrill siren sound of the smoke detector.

It was only two weeks later that Fire Marshall Tom Velky learned about Emily’s role in the family’s survival.

“Her persistence undoubtedly saved her family from probable, serious burn injury and possibly death.

She’s a hero.

In a surprise award ceremony Emily last week received a “State of Connecticut Honorary Service” medal from the Stratford fire Department. It’s only the second time ever that such a metal had been given to a nonmember of the fire department.

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

UK Students Go Extra Mile for Charity

In the UK too it’s not too hard to find the good kids, the good people.

This week students from the Faraday house of the Philip Morant School in Colchester have been raising money for charity by all means possible.

First they selected a bunch of good causes, among which Cancer Research. Then they came up with activities to support those; a car wash, a pupils versus staff football march and a charity concert.

In one case 11 of them even made the almost ultimate sacrifice: they shaved their head. Fun? Yes. Embarrassing? A bit, maybe. But they did raise almost $800 with it.

Others avoided the bus and opted for sponsored walks to school which for some meant a 32 mile walk. That marathon walk brought in another $700.

All together they raised well over $4000 in one week. For charity.

Good kids: they’re everywhere.

Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2008

Teenage Boy Turns Hero in House Fire

In Milwaukee a 14 year old boy rescued his two younger sisters.

A grease fire had filled the house with smoke.

The boy called 911 and then was able to not only crawl out of his own bedroom window but the break the window of the room his younger sisters were in. He helped them out and got them to safety.

Authorities say the combination of the working smoke detector and the boy’s quick thinking and reaction has saved the live of all three children.

2008-09-10.jpg

The scene of the fire.

Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2008

Quick-thinking hero teen rescues angler

A QUICK-THINKING teenager has been hailed as a hero after hauling a pensioner out of perilous waters.

Sixteen-year-old Will Hughes was fishing with his grandfather at an angling pool near Worcester when an elderly fisherman fell in.

Will, a student at North Bromsgrove High School, quickly jumped in after the man and pulled him out. “The man went in backwards and only his head and hat was visible. He couldn’t get himself out because of the weight of his clothes,” said Will.

“I got a bit of an adrenalin rush, and my heart was thumping, but I just did what anyone else would have done.”

After the drama, which happened at the Newton Works waters in Hallow, the lucky man, 75-year-old Brian Waldron, from Charford, Bromsgrove, went home with his wife none the worse for wear.

A grateful Mr Waldron said: “If it hadn’t been for Will’s actions, it could have been a much different story. He jumped in beside me almost as quickly as I hit the water. There was no way I could have got out on my own.”

Mr Waldron said he has been ordered by his wife to fish by the shallow end in future. As a thank you, the couple presented Will with a £30 gift voucher and the Newton Works Angling Society awarded him free membership for a year. Will’s mum Cheryl said: “I am very proud of Will. Young people generally get a bad name, but this action shows that they are not all bad.”

Monday, Jul. 14, 2008

Southern tier teenager hailed as hero

A southern tier teenager is being hailed as a hero after pulling a two-year-old out of Chautauqua Lake.

A toddler’s life hinged on the efforts of 14-year-old Josh Sweatman.

Josh Sweatman said, “I gotta get him out before his dies.”

“When I got him out, he was choking up all the water he swallowed.”

Last Sunday, police say a twelve-year-old was pushing his two-year-old cousin around in a stroller at Celeron Park in The Town of Ellicott.

When the twelve-year-old got too close to the edge of the Chautauqua Lake, the two-year-old went under.

Josh Sweatman dove into action.

“I put down my stuff and ran over the tires from the stroller was sticking up so I grabbed it and I pulled him out.”

Josh’s father says he and his son were out fishing that day.

“I was fishing out at the Pier and I heard a little boy calling for help, and Josh my son was running over to the short dock where they were and I see him pull a stroller out with a two-year-old child in it.”

Town of Ellicott Police Officer Matt Kubinski said, “Luckily, the child was not hurt badly.”

Officer Kubinski says they’re still unsure why a child was pushing another child in a stroller, and why the two were so close to the lake without an adult supervision.

Authorities charged the toddler’s mother Kristen Anderson with endangering the welfare of a child. She’s expected to answer to those charges in a Town of Ellicott courtroom, next week.

In a small community where news spreads fast, just about everyone is calling Josh a hero.

Even Josh is starting to believe it.

“I’m a hero…”

Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008

Miracle Girl Survives Tractor Accident

A six-year-old girl remains hospitalized in serious condition after she fell off a tractor last week and was caught under the machine’s mower, according to family members.

Jessie Keaton was riding a tractor last Tuesday afternoon when her father, Jason Keaton, was apparently distracted by his five-year-old son, Jason, who was also on the vehicle while Keaton was operating the bush hog. The boy was not injured.

Brenda Jester, Jessie’s aunt, described the accident, which occurred around 3:30 p.m. She spoke Monday night with Jason Keaton and the girl’s mother, Loretta Lynn McGee.

“He told me that it all happened in a blink of an eye,” Jester said.”All he remembers is that the tractor had run over her and she was under the bush hog . . . The little brother saw that. He was talking to his daddy and got him distracted . . . They were just about done for the day. It just happened so fast.”

Keaton immediately jumped off the tractor on his property off U.S. 601 South near the Davie/Yadkin county lines and called 911. Emergency first responders, including members of the Courtney Volunteer Fire Department and the Yadkin County EMS, rushed to the scene. Although critically injured, Jester said that Jessie was still conscious.

She remains at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem where Jester said she had undergone several operations. Jester said that doctors, despite their best efforts, were forced to amputate Jessie’s right leg below the knee, and part of her left ring finger. Doctors, who have kept the girl heavily sedated for most of her hospital stay, were also tending to a large cut to the back of her head, Jester said.

“The worst of it is over,” Jester said. “She has another surgeryscheduled for Thursday. Her left foot is still a little iffy and her hands had real bad cuts on the palms . . . But she is really improving. She was more alert and hungry this morning before she went into surgery. Right now, it’s just a waiting game. We just hope it continues to get better.”

Jester said that the father is inconsolable.

“He’s been there at the hospital nonstop. But he’s blaming himself,” Jester said. “He always had the young-ins with him in the yard when he was working. It was a habit; not a good habit.”

Jessie’s mother, Jester said, is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

“She’s holding up pretty good,” Jester said. “She has not leftthe hospital.”

The family has medical insurance. But there’s no way to estimate how long and costly Jessie’s hospital stay will be.

“It’s just like anything else,” Jester said. “It will only pay so much.”

Zola Murphy, Jessie’s grandmother, was emotionally devastated when she first learned of the accident. She said that she still can’t get the terrible image of her granddaughter’s near-death experience out of her mind.

“I’ve done cried all I can cry,” Murphy said Monday. “She’s justa little miracle girl.”

Jester said that the family has been overwhelmed by the community’s response. So many have telephoned or visited the hospital, she said.

“The people have come down here left and right,” Jester said.”All of my prayers are working. Jessie is doing so much better today.”

Wandering toddler reunited with parents

Maryland Human Resources officials say a 3-year-old boy found wandering in West Baltimore in pajamas and flip-flops has been reunited with his parents.

The boy, identified as Nazaiah Johnson, was found Tuesday in the 2500 block of West Lanvale Street. He was too young to tell people his name or where he’s from.

His parents, Brian Johnson and Tynisa Leach, say they asked a friend to care for the toddler while they were at work and agreed to let him stay there overnight.

Leach says the sitter told her about 5 p.m. that Nazaiah was missing and she thought he left the house early in the morning as the adults and other children in the home slept. Leach called authorities, but they weren’t able to take the boy home that night. They were reunited Wednesday morning.

4-year-old boy wanted to give

Give credit to Brandon Wilkes Tidwell, 4, who grew his hair halfway down his back so that it could eventually be cut off and donated to make wigs for children who have lost their hair.

Brandon was just 3 years old when he saw bald children on television and decided he had to help them. He endured the indignity of being mistaken for a little girl in order to stay true to his goal. For the obvious reason, most donors are, in fact, girls.

His hair has been cut and donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit Florida group that accepts donated hair for wigs for children with hair loss. Brandon now looks more like a boy. But this may not be the end. He’s thinking about growing it out again for future donations.

We wish him well with any such goal. He’s truly a special little boy.

Gold award for pupils’ art

Getting smart in art! That’s a Bury school which is believed to be the first in the borough to snap up a top arts award at the first attempt.

Bury Catholic Preparatory School is celebrating after being awarded the coveted Artsmark Gold by the Arts Council England.

The accolade recognises the Manchester Road school’s firm commitment to art and co-incides with an innovative arts project currently involving the prep school and nearby Holy Cross College.

Teacher and arts co-ordinator, Elizabeth Gaskell said: “The Artsmark award was set up eight years ago and I found out about this three years ago. I began to look into it and spent a year auditing everything that we already did. We found out that as far as the guidelines were concerned, with an extra push we could apply for gold.

“We applied last November for the award after auditing everything we did. After being assessed, we were recommended for gold and then later we were told we had achieved it. The extra push involved us reaching out to the community, putting on a concert at the Grundy Day Care Centre and our choir taking part in a carol service in Bury town centre.”

Bury Catholic Preparatory School’s devotion to the arts is well documented. Pupils already benefit from a whole range of art-related subjects and activities including painting and drawing, dance, ballet, guitar lessons, dance workshops and fencing.

Elizabeth added: “We’ve also shown partnership with another educational establishment and done work on the model of a man with Holy Cross College.

“Our children did the template for it. Our Year 1 pupils sat down and helped design different parts of the body and we made our 7ft sculpture out of cardboard.

“The Holy Cross students took it away and assembled it.

“Our children have been working with Holy Cross to refine their sculpture skills and they spent an afternoon at the school assembling the sculpture.”

Commenting on the Artsmark award, she added: “As far as I am aware, it is rare to receive gold at the first approach. Naturally, we are all delighted.”

Wednesday, Jul. 9, 2008

Firefighters rescue children

The Patriots in the Park annual carnival turned into a tense situation for several children stranded on a ride.

Sometime between 4 and 6 p.m. on Friday, six children between the ages of 3 and 8 were stranded for about 25 minutes on the Crazy Bus, a children’s ride that goes in circles for several minutes. An electronic problem caused the malfunction, according to Granite City firefighter/paramedic Craig Sykes.

Sykes was one of nine special responders from the fire department who rescued the children by carrying five of the six down a ladder.A child of about 8 was old enough to climb down the ladder by himself, Sykes said.

The children were stranded a little more than 20 feet off the ground in an upright position while they were rescued by firefighters. The rescue took about 15 minutes. No one was injured, Sykes said.

“The youngest one (about 3 or 4) seemed scared. The others seemed fine,” Sykes said.

“This was the first time we had any problems with any of the rides since I’ve been with the Park District,” said Dave Williams, executive director of the Granite City Park and Recreational District. “We’re thankful no one was hurt.”

Williams, who has been the executive director since 2000, said the ride was shut down for the remaining two days of the carnival.

The rides at the Patriots in the Park carnival are owned and operated by Swyear Amusements Company, of New Athens.

Swyear has been providing rides at the carnival for several years, Williams said.

Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2008

Kids join forces for Shop With a Cop

Like many kids, Nick Novak doesn’t remember the gifts he got last Christmas, but he does remember presents under the tree.

Now the 7-year-old is joining forces with Kole Hendrickson, 11, to run a lemonade stand this Saturday to help make sure other kids have Christmas presents.

The pair also is joining forces with Mayor “Skip” Edwards and Fremont Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 37 to challenge other kids to sell lemonade on Saturday for the Shop With a Cop program.

“Help us help the other kids,” Kole said. “It’s fun and you get to help others. It’s a simple thing to do and you can change a life.”

Shop With a Cop is a program where FOP Lodge

37 raises money throughout the year to make Christmas a better time for underprivileged children. Off-duty officers take the children shopping at Wal-Mart Supercenter and spend $100 per child on winter clothing and an age-appropriate toy. Children are usually nominated by their schools and their families are invited on the shopping trip.

Edwards signed a proclamation marking July 12 as “Whet Your Whistle Day,” a day of challenge to area youth to run lemonade stands with Kole and Nick and donate the money to the Shop With a Cop program.

“I think any time our young people step up and support those less fortunate, it’s a good deal. I think we need to support it,” the mayor said, adding he admired that Kole and Nick wanted to challenge others to participate. “I think it would be nice if we could get a nice cross section of young people to do it. It shows responsibility on our young people’s part for stepping up.”

The boys and Edwards said they thought having the challenge during John C. Fremont Days might drive a few more people to participate.

Sgt. Bob Buer, president of FOP Lodge 37, thought a prize might help out with the challenge. He said the FOP will present the lemonade booth that turns in the most money by July 18 to dispatchers $50 in Chamber Bucks to be used at area merchants.

“It’s just awesome that other kids help raise funds for kids who don’t have as much as the rest of us,” Buer said. “That’s what (Shop With a Cop) needs. We can’t do this alone.”

This will be the fourth year Kole has run the stand outside his home at 428 W. 16th St. and the second that Nick will help out. Kole’s sister, Korri, 14, was a partner the first three years and in those three years more than $1,000 was raised through selling 25-cent cups of lemonade.

The boys said they learned the importance of helping others from their parents. In fact, Nick went to Costa Rica with his family on a church mission trip last year.

“I felt good when I did it,” Nick said. “You can help people.”

The boys said they have been spreading the word among their friends and hope the fundraiser catches on and that other kids want to help Shop With a Cop.

“You have it good even though sometimes you might not think you do,” Kole said. “I hope we can get a lot of money.”

Their lemonade stand will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, but there is no time limit on when competing stands can be open.

“We wanted to see if we could raise more money to help more people if other kids do it,” Kole said. “We don’t want to be in it all by ourselves.”

Monday, Jul. 7, 2008

Irish twins saved by miracle operation in womb

The parents of baby twins who defied death due to groundbreaking surgery in the womb have thanked the hospital that saved them.

Fidelma and Paul Greene, from Swords, Dublin, said yesterday their daughters, Lauren and Sophie, were thriving three months after being born.

Their unborn children had been given almost no chance of survival when Rotunda Hospital medics discovered they suffered from a rare medical condition.

Doctors diagnosed them with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) when their mother was 21 weeks pregnant.

The condition means one baby gets too much blood and the other too little. In almost all cases it leads to death of both twins, if it’s not treated.

Consultant obstetrician, Professor Fergal Malone, decided the foetuses had to be operated on while they were still inside their mother’s womb if they were to have any chance of surviving.

He performed the life-saving procedure in the hospital’s new foetal operating theatre on January 10 this year. The operation involved the obstetrician and his team inserting a camera, less than an eighth of a inch thick, and other tiny surgical instruments, into the womb.

The camera helped the team identify abnormal blood vessels, which were then repaired using laser therapy.

The girls were born by caesarean section three months later on April 7.

Lauren and Sophie are among the first children in Ireland to survive the pioneering surgery. It also saved the lives of twin boys Ryan and Dylan Kershaw, who were born in March last year.

The radical surgery was previously available in only a handful of clinics in Europe and North America.

Mr and Mrs Green said their babies would not have survived without Professor Malone and his team and thanked them for their care. “Paul and I are absolutely delighted that this story has had such a happy ending,” said Mrs Green (43).

“We would like to thank all the staff in The Rotunda for their excellent care and professionalism. Lauren was discharged home with me after five days and Sophie joined us at home nine days later. Now the girls are three months old and are thriving.”

Professor Malone said almost a third of all twin pregnancies were identical, and up to a quarter of identical twins could develop Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

“When one considers that up until recently survival for these babies was so poor, it is gratifying to see the Irish health service investing in new technology that provides such an immediately apparent benefit to our patients.”

Miracle girls get audience with Pope

HER courage and extraordinary will to survive has won her the admiration of all Australians – now Sophie Delezio is set to be rewarded with an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

And she will be joined by bashing victim Lauren Huxley, another young Catholic who has shown a strong will to live

The two will be among a group of young people to meet the Catholic leader when he arrives in Australia later this month.

While 21-year-old Lauren’s introduction will take place at the Sacred Heart Church in Darlinghurst, Sydney, on July 18, seven-year-old Sophie – who, along with her family, has been named as one of nine official World Youth Day ambassadors – will be part of a large group of festival volunteers to be thanked by him at The Domain on July 21.

Sophie, who had excitedly waited since she got home from school to meet Lauren yesterday, immediately welcomed her new friend into her life.

It was a joyful first meeting and both excitedly spoke of the the once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“It’s just an honour, an amazing opportunity I can’t believe it,” Lauren said yesterday.

Sophie said she was would be “praying for all the sick kids” when she was in the Pope’s presence.

When she was just two, Sophie suffered third-degree burns, lost both her legs and a hand when a vehicle ploughed into her childcare centre, trapping her beneath it.

Two years later, Lauren was the victim of a violent bashing by a stranger in her family’s western Sydney home and was given only a 5 per cent chance of survival.

As she watched her daughter pose for photographs yesterday, Sophie’s father Ron Delezio said World Youth Day was incredibly special for their whole family.

“To go through what we went through without having faith in something, well it would have been a very lonely place,” he said.

“It will be wonderful if we could get the Pope’s blessing on Sophie, it would be a real dream come true.”

Lauren’s father Pat said the crime inflicted on his daughter left them with little else to believe in and they recited the Lord’s Prayer more times than they could count.

The family decided to have her baptised and confirmed in a special ceremony just prior to a marathon 13-hour surgery as she lay in a coma – in case she did not survive.

“She just moved her whole body for the first time after that. We knew that it was with God then,” her mother said.

World Youth Day coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said both girls symbolised how courageous and inspirational young people could be.

“(They are) an absolute inspiration to us all,” he said.

Washington Township teen grew hair for image, cut it for charity

Washington Township teen Sebastian Canigiani didn’t mind being ridiculed a bit by his friends for having long hair.

After all, he had grown it with the best intentions at heart.

Four years ago, the 13-year-old guitarist began letting his hair grow long to complement his rock star image.

About two years later, he made the decision to grow it longer and have it cut and donated to his father’s friend, Marty “Moe” Ferrari, who was diagnosed with cancer.

Ferrari lost his battle with the disease last August but Sebastian remained committed to a charitable cause.

He decided to give 13 inches of his wavy, brown tresses to the Locks of Love foundation.

Locks of Love, a nonprofit Florida organization founded in 1997, provides hairpieces to children in the United States who suffer from long-term medical hair loss.

Canigiani only had to grow his hair 10 inches to make a donation, but he went the extra mile.

His mother, Valerie Canigiani, her son will help four children because of the length and thickness of his donated hair.

Hair stylist Kim Hazy of Washington Township, a friend of the Canigiani family, cut Sebastian’s hair for free May 20.

Sebastian’s mother, Valerie, said the haircut was a drastic change for her son.

“He got quite a reaction in school the next day. Teachers didn’t know who he was,” she said with a laugh.

Sebastian said he now prefers his hair short, especially since the summer has arrived.

He said there was much more support than criticism for his deed.

“I got a lot of good comments,” Sebastian said. “A couple kids wanted to do it, too.”

Monday, Jun. 9, 2008

Bungalow toddlers rescued from fire

TWO toddlers and their grandmother were rescued from their smoke-filled bungalow after arsonists set fire to a caravan in its driveway.

Police were today hunting the arsonists who set fire to the caravan in the driveway of the property in Dobbins Road, Barry, shortly before 11pm last night.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had to negotiate their way along the side of the burning caravan, which contained gas cylinders, then in through the front door of the bungalow and help the woman, 59, and her grandchildren out through the window.

The woman and her two grandchildren, aged two and 18 months, were treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment.

A fire service spokesman said: “The caravan was well alight when we got there and since it was parked in the driveway close to the front door it made it difficult for firefighters to get into the property.

“The alarm was raised by two boys who were passing by. If it had not been for the swift action of the firefighters this could have been considerably more serious.”

He said the owner of the bungalow, who was not in the property at the time, had recently been subjected to verbal threats.

Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008

Boy in bubble cured of life-threatening disease

A seven-year-old boy kept in a “bubble” for two months has become the first person in Britain to be cured of a rare life-threatening disease with a bone marrow transplant.

Rhys Harris was kept in isolation in the airtight chamber while his immune system was destroyed by chemotherapy and replaced by being given new bone marrow.

During eight weeks of treatment, his parents had to wear specially sterilised gowns and, although they could dress and cuddle their son, they were not allowed to kiss him.

Rhys was initially diagnosed with a mycobacterial infection – a “cousin” of tuberculosis – which is rare.

When doctors investigated further, they discovered that he had an underlying immune deficiency disease called Nemo, Nuclear Factor Kappa B Essential Modulator, which effectively stopped his white cells working properly.

Less than 12 people in the UK currently have the condition.

Rhys, from Newbridge in South Wales, was transferred from care in Cardiff to Newcastle General Hospital, one of two units specialising in treating such diseases.

The transplant took place last October and this week his parents Kevin, 44, and Dawn, 39, were told the procedure had been successful.

Rhys, who was left deaf after suffering meningitis as a baby, now has a “normal” immune system and is no more at risk from disease and infection than anyone else.

Mr Harris said: “We knew it was a slim chance but we had to take it. The flipside of the coin just wasn’t worth thinking about.

“Rhys just went through hell and back and back to hell again – it was a really tough time for all of us. He is really tough and resilient. He is a normal seven year old boy apart from this who loves rugby and adores his brother.”

Dr Mario Abinun, consultant paediatric immunologist at Newcastle General Hospital, said 25 similar transplants were carried out each year.

“This is the first time this operation has been carried out on a child with Nemo in the UK. When Rhys came in he was a very sick boy but now he is so much better.

“All the staff at the hospital are happy and glad to see the little boy getting better and enjoying the normal things boys should be doing – running around and being mischievous.”

Teen fire rescue heroes to get award

TEENAGE heroes who rescued a family from a blazing block of flats are to be commended with a bravery award.

Joshua Cramer and Daniel Ridgeon, both 15, saw smoke billowing from the block in Anselm Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, in August last year.

They also heard screams coming from inside.

To try and alert residents to the danger Daniel shouted and pressed door entry buttons.

The pair was let in and they ran up the stairs to the top floor which was filled with black smoke. They found an armchair alight on the landing and Daniel ran to get a fire extinguisher while Joshua tried to stamp out the flames.

Then while Daniel fought back the flames with the extinguisher, Joshua escorted two children, Marcus and Jess, who were just two and 11 months old respectively at the time, and their mother Louise Ashton – down the stairs to safety, using tee-shirts to cover the children’s mouths.

The fire was put out with the help of other residents before fire fighters arrived on scene.

Next Tuesday the dynamic duo will receive bravery awards after being nominated by Suffolk’s Chief Constable Simon Ash. They will get certificates from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire and a cash sum from the Provincial Police Awards.

Mr Ash said: “I am very pleased to be able to recognise the bravery of these two young men, whose quick thinking saved a young family from a fire which was well alight.

“Both thought of the safety of others before themselves, but quickly reacted to the situation so no-one suffered any serious injury as a result of the fire.”

Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s western area commander John Wilcock said: “With little regard for their own safety, these two young boys displayed immense courage in entering a burning building and rescuing a young family.

“This demonstrated a community spirit and a willingness to respond and assist when a person is in need, and it is only fitting that they are receiving these awards.”

Neighbor rescues boy, 15, from pool

A 15-year-old boy was rescued from a pool Monday night after he lost consciousness, police said.

About 6:30 p.m., the boy was in a pool at a home on Sherwood Lane with two teenage friends when he went underwater and did not return to the surface, police said.

The two other teens saw that the boy was in danger, so one of them got out of the pool and yelled for help while the other tried to pull the boy to the surface, police said.

A neighbor, identified as Paul Urban, 61, heard the cries for help, responded and helped rescue the boy, who was unconscious and not breathing when he was pulled from the pool, police said.

Urban performed CPR on the boy and eventually revived him, police said.

The boy was taken to Capital Health System’s Fuld Campus in Trenton as a precaution, police said. His condition was not immediately available.

His identity was not released.

Tuesday, Jun. 3, 2008

Firefighters stage rescue for kids

FIREFIGHTERS staged the dramatic rescue of a motorist from the wreckage of a car to convince youngsters of the dangers of joyriding.

They cut a dummy free from a car before stetchering the `victim’ away for treatment.

It was part of an open day at Moss Side fire station organised by the East Lancashire Amateur Boxing Assocation.

Youngsters also got a chance to test their boxing skills in a ring put up in the station house.

Station commander John Varey said they now hope to make it an annual event.

He said: “It was really successful. It was a demonstration of the dangers of car theft and subsequent accidents.”

Monday, Jun. 2, 2008

Baby Miracle heading home

A deformed Samoan baby girl banned from entering New Zealand is heading home after extensive medical treatment in the United States.

Nine-month-old Miracletina (Miracle) Julie Nanai was born to her parents Sefulu and Mikaele Nanai in Falelatai, near Apia, with extreme deformities, notably around the face. Medical authorities had not expected her to survive.

The parents had been told the child would die within hours if not fed. Her family refused to let her die and secretly fed her.

Family backer To’oa Kristin Taylor has written to media organisations in Samoa saying Miracle was heading home.

She has been in Miami Children’s Hospital for extensive surgery.

“All of this work has been worth every second,” Taylor wrote.

“To learn to live your faith to the point of exhaustion, in the face of criticism, in the depth of financial need and when all is seemingly hopeless … is a gift few will realize unless they believe in ‘Miracles’.”

They say they will be back in Samoa this week.

The hospital donated many of the services while fund raising in Australia, New Zealand and Samoa raised $100,000 to send the child to Starship children’s hospital in Auckland but she was refused a visa to enter New Zealand.

The then head of Immigration, now suspended, Mary-Anne Thompson, declared last September that treatment was not advisable and “will not benefit Tina’s quality of life.”

Having now undergone surgery at Miami Children’s Hospital, Miracle could live a “long, long” time, chief of plastic surgery S. Anthony Wolfe said.

Saturday, May. 31, 2008

Teen heroes pull man from inferno

Three Bay of Plenty teenagers are being hailed as heroes after pulling a man from his burning home early today.

The trio of two boys and a girl had been at a nearby party when they saw the blazing house at Eversham Road in suburban Arataki around 2am.

Without any thought for their own safety they entered the house and dragged out the 64-year-old man.

“I saw an inferno…they saved that man’s life,” witness Catherine Devon told the Bay of Plenty Times today.

Other witnesses described how the young heroes got wet towels to put over the victim’s burns until the arrival of emergency services.

He was taken to Tauranga Hospital with moderate injuries.

Friday, May. 30, 2008

9-year-old gets national award for perfect penmanship

Kevin Lomax, 9, loves a good ‘K.’ But don’t even get him started on ‘G,’ which he says is the hardest letter to write in cursive.

But Kevin conquered the ‘G,’ and the other 25 letters in the alphabet, to win a medal as the National Handwriting Champion of all public school students in his grade level, beating out 177,000 other public school students for the honor.

He received a medal and a certificate yesterday at Greensboro West Elementary School, where he is in third grade. He was also awarded a Nintendo DS game package and a $500 U.S. Savings Bond.

Kevin, who prefers cursive but still prints sometimes, beat out students from around the country, after being judged on legibility, stroke formation, spacing and the size of each stroke, as well as dotting his ‘i’s and crossing his ‘t’s.

In an era when many students are focused more on thumbing cell phone messages, Kevin is serious about his penmanship.

‘Look at his ‘I’,’ said Jane Sharp, pointing to a sample of Kevin’s handwriting. ‘It’s perfect.’

Sharp is Zaner-Blosser educational consultant for Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Zaner-Blosser has sponsored the national handwriting competition for 17 years and publishes handwriting instruction books.

Tinesha Smith, Kevin’s mother, said that even though her son is a ‘perfectionist,’ she was surprised when he won the national award.

‘I was really shocked because he just started learning handwriting this year,’ she said. ‘But he just got it. Whatever he has to do, he has to be perfect. If he can’t get it right, he kind of gets angry with himself.’

Kevin’s grandmother, Patricia

Smith Johnson, agreed, adding that he always strives to be the best, no matter what the challenge. And when his teacher wanted him to learn handwriting, he put his mind to the task.

‘If somebody wants him to do better, then that’s what he strives for,’ Smith Johnson said.

Brenda Teacher, Kevin’s teacher, said she spends a lot of time working with children on their strokes.

‘He really focused on the strokes,’ Teacher said. ‘I spend a lot of time on strokes, because once they’ve got the stroke, then they’ve got it. But Kevin is a perfect student, not just in handwriting, but all the way around.’

Greensboro Mayor Vanessa Hill said Kevin’s achievement reflects well on the Hale County town.

‘We’re so isolated and so far behind the times,’ said Hill, ‘that I think it’s good for the entire area to know that kids in this area can meet such standards.’

Hill does not remember learning handwriting, but does remember, like many adults, when it became more important to be able to type, ‘and, at some point, handwriting didn’t matter anymore.’

Many educators today lament the lost art of handwriting.

Sharp, who taught school for 28 years, has seen the decline of handwriting instruction.

‘I really do appreciate it when proper penmanship is instructed. And all good instruction starts at the top, from the superintendent to the principal and on. It is almost a lost art,’ Sharp said of handwriting. ‘You can’t escape handwriting, even though we’re in a computer age. Children have to express themselves through handwriting even in a computer age. And handwriting can’t just be caught. It has to be taught.’

Kevin, who will attend fourth grade at the same school next year, said he’s just a regular kid. His favorite color is blue, and he loves pizza. But when asked what he will do this summer with his time off from school, it’s clear that he is exceptional:

‘I want to practice writing and try [to win the national championship] again in fourth grade,’ he said with an ear-to-ear grin.

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