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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.”
The fact that John Seville can tell this story is incredible.
“Once I found out I did die, it was extremely terrifying,” the 41-year-old New Jersey police officer said.
Seville was in his garden three months ago when he felt something terribly wrong.
“My legs felt cold. It felt like I had snow blindness,” he said.
Minutes after arriving at this hospital, Seville went into cardiac arrest; he flat-lined, no heartbeat.
“At that particular point in time, he’s dead. The question is: Is he going to remain dead,” Morristown Memorial Hospital Heart Dr. James Slater said. “He’s fallen off the cliff. We reach, we grab, we pull him back.”
Injecting medications started Seville’s heart again. However, doctors discovered another emergency: A deadly tear in his aorta, the major blood vessel in the body. A five-and-a-half hour operation repaired that blood vessel, but by now, many of his organs were failing, including his brain.
Three days after the surgery, the patient was only minimally conscious, paralyzed on his left side and making a little progress.
“He was on a ventilator, and I was afraid he would never be off of it,” Seville’s wife, Connie, said.
That’s when Connie 40 weeks pregnant with their second child went into labor. In that very same hospital, two floors down Levi Seville was born. Within hours, Connie decided this baby might hold the key to her husband’s recovery.
“The nursery brought the baby down with Connie and held him up to his face,” nurse Vicky Dunn said. “And he just cracked the biggest smile on his face. The unit got quiet, and then you just heard people crying. It was a beautiful sight. Then we just knew: He’s gonna make it.”
For the next several weeks, John’s recovery amazed even his doctors. Day by day, he gained strength and lost most of the paralysis.
Finally, it was time to head home. With a “thank you” to his doctors and nurses the Sevilles were soon back together again.
“Just to be able to come home and hug them, and just say ‘I love you,'” John said. “For a while there, you never know if you’re going to have that opportunity. It ‘s incredible.”
The office is decked out in red, white and blue, but they aren’t celebrating the nation’s birthday all month. President and CEO of the company, Don Crawford, arrived for work in a Santa Claus suit. Those who have worked at Delta Dallas for more than a year knew Christmas in July had arrived.
Delta Dallas, a Dallas-based leading provider of staffing and recruiting services specializing in administrative, accounting and call center staffing, today* announced the launch of its 10th annual Christmas in July. Throughout the month of July the company will sponsor a 31 day program of giving that it hopes will touch the lives of over 2,000 children in need.
It is common to see companies sponsor charitable giving opportunities during the Christmas holidays. But not many go all out to celebrate Christmas in July. With lights strung, a Christmas tree decorated in red, white and blue and the receptionist answering “Merry Christmas” every time she receives a call, Delta Dallas has thrown themselves into the Christmas spirit while temperatures outside are anything but wintery.
The purpose of the drive is to collect back-to-school supplies for children in under-served communities in Dallas and Plano. “We hope to make a significant difference in the lives of the children represented by the charities we have chosen to support this July,” said Yvonne Abel, executive director of client services for Delta Dallas. “Our employees, clients, candidates and friends look forward to being able to contribute supplies or cash donations to the children in our community.”
Delta Dallas’ Christmas in July campaign will benefit four local charities: Dallas Concilio, The Samaritan Inn, Shared Housing, and The Wilkinson Center. Non-profits receive most of their charitable giving from individuals and the corporate community during the Christmas season. During this time of year non-profits can experience a lull in giving. Delta Dallas hopes, with their Christmas in July program, to make going back to school a more successful experience for the underserved children in our community.
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.
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.”
Young people and adults who experience social anxiety may benefit from a revolutionary new study being carried out at the University of Sydney.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr Adam Guastella from the University of Sydney’s Brain & Mind Research Institute, said the treatment involves a combination of cognitive-behaviour therapy and d-Cycloserine (DCS), an antibiotic commonly used to treat tuberculosis.
“What is so exciting about this research is that this radical new method of treatment uses DCS to help patients learn to overcome fear faster so that it is less likely to return,” Dr Guastella said. “We use the medication in combination with the best psychological therapy approaches we have to create a top of the line treatment.
“This trial will test how effective DCS is for the everyday mental health professional, and the likelihood that DCS will revolutionise anxiety treatments for the general community.”
Dr Guastella recently led the largest and most comprehensive trial of this medication to treat social anxiety in university clinics, with a team of UNSW and Macquarie researchers. Published in Biological Psychiatry, it is the first international study to provide strong and comprehensive evidence for the benefits of DCS.
“We gave 56 adults either the medication or a placebo immediately before a therapy session. Those who took DCS with psychological treatment showed greater and faster improvement in total wellbeing,” he said.
Dr Guastella said social anxiety typically develops between the age of 12 and 27, and his new treatment trial is aiming to target sufferers from 12 years to 65. “We are hoping to develop a more effective treatment that is likely to have the greatest impact on reducing long-term disability across the lifespan.”
He said research has found that social anxiety in early adulthood can contribute to long-term social isolation and other mental health problems later in life. In the early stages social anxiety often appears as shyness or a fear of being perceived negatively by others.
Wayne Zappone has been called a hero after he helped resuscitate a man who had a heart attack at the wheel of his car.
AS Warren Zappone watched the car in front of him veer across the road and crash into an embankment yesterday morning, he knew something had gone terribly wrong.
He ran down the ditch off Norman Road, North Rockhampton, dialling triple zero before he reached the car.
When he opened the door to the silver Hyundai, he immediately checked the elderly driver for a pulse. There wasn’t one.
“He wasn’t breathing and I knew he must’ve hit his head or something,” Mr Zappone said.
“Another bloke came over and we pulled him out of the car and started CPR.”
The men worked desperately to revive him until the ambulance arrived minutes after the accident, which happened about 9.30am.
The ambulance officers managed to get his pulse going again before he appeared to go into cardiac arrest again.
The 83-year-old Farnborough man, who is believed to have suffered a major heart attack, remained in a critical condition at Rockhampton Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Mr Zappone is a truck driver for Kele Bros.
He was on his way to Yeppoon for work when the accident happened, and he very nearly had one of his own.
“We went very close to having a three-car pile-up,” he said.
“I had to go off to the side as well.”
He said he was relieved to hear the man had survived.
“I’m still a bit shaky now,” he said just hours after the incident.
“It’s not something you come across every day.”
With enough knowledge of what to do, having dealt with the ambulance service through work, Mr Zappone drew praise from officers on the scene.
“The ambulance officers said it was fantastic that I knew all that I did,” Mr Zappone said.
Police yesterday hailed Mr Zappone a hero, and Central Region traffic co-ordinator Inspector Lyle Mitchell said his efforts had certainly not gone unnoticed.
“I am going to make a recommendation for an award of some sort,” he said.
“His actions no doubt helped save the man’s life.”
U.S. Army Maj. David Underwood was released Monday from Brooke Army Medical Center to be reunited with troops returning from Iraq.
Underwood served as commander in Iraq for 28 months until he lost his arm in an explosion and was taken to BAMC for treatment.
“The explosion hit me … severing my wrist right off the bat,” said Underwood.
Part of Underwood’s leg was also wounded in the blast, but doctors were able to save the limb after a number of surgeries.
On Monday, the 38-year-old father boarded a special flight provided by Veterans Airflight Command to his hometown in Savannah, Ga., where he will welcome home troops who had served under his command.
“Last time these guys saw me, I was in pieces,” said Underwood. “I think they’ll be surprised.”
After his visit, Underwood will be transported to Walter Reed Hospital, where he will receive further treatment and be fitted with a new prosthetic arm.
The wounded hero has inspired many with his strong drive and incredible outlook on life.
He received a Purple Heart and met with President George W. Bush.
“It’s what I loved to do and I would not trade any of it for the last 8 months I had in Iraq,” said Underwood.
A man who received a bravery award for swimming into the ocean to help a woman being attacked by a shark says he is no hero.
Queensland Governor Quentin Bryce presented seven bravery awards this morning.
When 21-year old Sarah Whiley was being attacked by a shark at Amity Point Beach of Stradbroke Island in January 2006, Josiah Topou swam into the ocean to help her.
He brought her back to the beach and tried to stop the bleeding but Ms Whiley later died in hospital.
Governor Bryce says Mr Topou showed splendid valour to plunge through the water.
But Mr Topou says he did not do anything heroic.
“I think Sarah was the real hero,” he said.
“I think she battled it, she battled the sharks, that’s why her hands were bitten.”
Mr Topou says he did not see the shark as he swam to her aid but thought he could help.
“If it’s a shark then maybe I can divert it a bit because I’ve heard of people kicking and punching sharks,” he said.
Travis Brown, Tim Gurry, Kirk Muir, Evan Winstanly, Donald Smith and Andrew Bartley received awards for helping victims of car accidents.
TWO hero housemates have told how they pulled their neighbour from a smoke-filled kitchen after a fire in the early hours of the morning.
Rhys Lomax, 29, and Chris Clark, 25, of South Street, Haslingden, charged into the 41-year-old man’s home after they heard his smoke alarm at around 1.55am on Sunday.
Prison officer Mr Lomax said: “I had just picked Chris up from the airport and we were arriving back at our house.
“Then I heard this beeping and at first I thought it was the car because we’d left the headlights on.
“But then I realised it was my neighbour’s house and we could see smoke everywhere.
“We charged into the house and found him collapsed on the oven with black smoke coming from it – I don’t know how he had not burned.
“We dragged him out and put him out on the main road and then called out the fire and ambulance.”
Fire crews from Haslingden and Rawtenstall attended the blaze, which left the kitchen smoke damaged and the oven completely destroyed.
Paramedics attempted to take the 41-year-old to hospital but he refused medical attention.
Mr Lomax added: “If it had been another couple of minutes I think he would have been up in flames. He was a very lucky lad.
“He was also lucky I was bringing Chris back from the airport because otherwise I don’t think we would have heard the alarm.”
Afterwards, fire officers praised the pair, saying they had potentially saved the man’s life.
But Mr Lomax played it down and added: “I am a prison officer so I have dealt with things like that before.
“I didn’t see any flames so I thought I would risk it. It was a bit risky but it is just one of those things – the adrenaline was going.”
And Mr Clark, a shop manager, said: “If there had been flames we might have thought twice but we just covered our mouths and went in.
“We thought he was a goner because he was unconscious on the chair in front of the oven.”
Andy Sas, crew manager at Rawtenstall fire station, said the incident highlighted the importance of fitting smoke detectors.
He said: “It was potentially a very bad fire and the message to be brought home is the importance of smoke alarms.”
Fire officers would be making door-to-door calls in the area to offer home safety checks, he added.
Little Aisling Richardson never pestered her parents for a new Barbie or a pony. She craved just one thing – a baby brother or sister. And from the moment she could talk, she never stopped asking.
The youngster, who is now nine, little realised that her own existence was a longed-for blessing, and that another addition to the family would be little short of miraculous.
“She was desperate,” says mum Beverley, 39. “It was her one desire in life. She’d put coins in wishing wells, look at shooting stars and tell us she had asked for a brother or sister. It touched our hearts. We so wanted to make her happy.”
But Beverley’s husband Michael, a social worker, had been left infertile following cancer treatment 25 years ago. Aisling had been conceived using his frozen sperm and specialist fertility treatment – but this had failed when they had tried for another baby.
So imagine the family’s surprise and delight to discover that Aisling was to get her wish after all – miracle baby Eliza was on the way.
Astonishingly she was conceived completely naturally – a quarter of a century after doctors said Michael would never have children. “It’s incredible,” says Michael, 47. “Even the doctors are dumbfounded and haven’t heard of it happening before, especially after such a long period of time. I feel like I’ve won the Lottery.”
The Richardsons found out that Eliza, now five months old, was on the way last April, after Beverley, had gone to give blood.
“The nurse thought I had anaemia,” says Beverley, a primary school teacher. “She gave me iron deficiency tablets but they made me feel worse – nauseous and weak.”
Next she saw her GP and was shocked to be asked whether she had taken a pregnancy test.
She says: “I knew there was no way I could be expecting – Michael was infertile. But she needed to do it to rule it out. So I agreed.
“When the test came back positive, I couldn’t take it in.”
Michael was equally stunned by the news: “I thought Bev was joking. I was so surprised, I even joked that it couldn’t possibly be my baby. But obviously, it was.”
Michael from West Yorkshire, was 22 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a form of cancer. He needed radiotherapy, but was told it would affect his fertility. In all likelihood he would never become a dad.
In 1990, seven years after having radiotherapy, Michael was told the cancer was unlikely to return. It was then he met and fell in love with Beverley.
After they got married in August 1993, Michael felt the true pain of his infertility. “We wanted kids. But even though we had an intimate, loving relationship, and never used precautions, nothing happened. We accepted it was because I was sterile.”
Fortunately, Michael had been advised to freeze some sperm before his cancer treatment. In late 1997, after an assessment at the fertility centre at St James Hospital in Leeds, it was confirmed that using his frozen sperm was their only option.
So the next January, Michael and Beverley embarked on ICSI, a form of fertility treatment where sperm is injected into the egg.
Unfortunately, Beverley had a bad reaction to the drugs. “I suffered Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome,” she says. “My lungs flooded with fluid and I ballooned, putting on two stone in 48 hours. I was kept in hospital for two weeks.”
Yet two months later, Beverley bravely decided to try again. And this time, they were successful.
“We were speechless,” says Michael. “My frozen sperm, which was 17 years old by then, had actually produced a child.
“It had been such an outside shot.
We couldn’t believe it.”
On February 16, 1999, Aisling was born. “Her name is Irish for ‘vision’ or ‘dream,'” says Beverley, “which is exactly what she was to us.”
When Aisling was three, they tried ICSI again. But it cost £4,000 a time, and, after four failed attempts, they had to call it a day.
Michael and Beverley resigned themselves to having an only child.
But Mother Nature had other ideas. And on January 29 this year, Eliza came into the world.
“Eliza’s gorgeous,” says Michael, proudly. “I keep looking at her in awe. It’s phenomenal.
“The doctors can put it down to nothing other than that I’ve taken care of myself. I don’t drink, don’t smoke and I have a good balanceddiet.
I feel like Superman!”
Beverley adds: “Aisling is on cloud nine. She adores her little sister. One day, we’ll tell her. We’ve beaten cancer and infertility. It’s taken 25 years – now our lives are definitely complete!”
It’s incredible. The doctors are dumbfounded and I feel like I’ve won the Lottery
Big sister Aisling, nine, was conceived using sperm Michael had frozen in 1982
21 years Sperm frozen for that length of time was used by a British couple to conceive their first child in 2004
Durga Thangarajah was delivered alive and well in Australia in May after growing in her mother’s ovary instead of the womb.
4 years after her father’s death from cancer Jaimie-Rose Roberts from Chepstow was born in March using his frozen sperm
FUN-LOVING Paul Johnson has scooped the title of the Scarborough Evening News Teacher of the Year 2008.
Mr Johnson, of Hinderwell School, was presented with the award after four of his pupils nominated him for the prestigious title.
Evening News editor Ed Asquith presented Mr Johnson with his certificate – and a cheque for £100 yesterday. His class is also set to enjoy a free trip to the Sea Life Centre which includes being picked up by a complimentary Shoreline Suncruisers open-top bus.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Hunmanby, said: “I am just so shocked. I have been nominated for this award for a few years and I never thought I would win it. It is fantastic. It is completely out of the blue.”
Mr Johnson has worked as a Year 5 teacher at the school for seven years. He also works as an advanced skills teacher which involves visiting other schools in the county once a week to offer cross-curricular teaching.
He was chosen as the winner because of his dynamic but educationally engaging approach to teaching, and based on the real way he has demonstrated that every child matters. Each term he picks a theme for his class and the curriculum is based around it. This term they are studying medieval times – and his classroom has a castle in one corner.
He also treated his class to a three-day trip to London earlier this year.
His nominators were Lucy and Emily Desborough, Rachel Laverick and Rebecca Miller. Classmate Callum Macdonald, 10, said: “He is the best teacher in the world and he deserves this. He is brilliant with us and he is just so funny. He tells lots of jokes which always make us laugh.”
Beth Lawty, nine, added: “Our classroom is the best ever. We have really enjoyed being in his class and I will miss him next year.”
See our website for the celebration video.
The Evening News would like to congratulate eight other teachers who made our Roll of Honour. They are:
Mr Smith from Gladstone Road Junior School, Mr Bateson from Snainton School, Miss Morris from Barrowcliff Junior School, Mr Dyer from Gladstone Road Infant School, Mrs Gortzak from Newby and Scalby School, Miss Atkinson from Scalby School, Mrs Elsdon from Raincliffe School and Mr Hobkinson from Newby and Scalby School.
Teacher Jill Wnuk believes middle school is not just about math, science and social studies: It is also about helping them discover what is really important in life.
“At this age,” she explains “the kids are so ‘all over the place.’ They’re growing up. So we really try to not just teach them subject matter, but also teach them about how to take responsibility and how to make a difference.”
So, just before the school year ended Wnuk’s students donned rubber gloves and picked up garbage bags and trekked down to the banks of the nearby Hockanum River which winds its way around the bend behind the school.
The tally after the day-long campaign: 30 bags of trash – cans, cardboard, plastic, bottles, boxes and even some corroded lengths of pipe that looked suspiciously like an old football goal post from back in the day when football captain and quarterback John Larson was helping his EHHS Hornets score touchdowns on the old high school field at what is now the town’s middle school.
“This is our second time cleaning up along the river,” related Wnuk. “It’s part of an environmental project that we started last year sponsored by [non profit] American Rivers. We keep doing it because (students) understand that it’s important to clean up their community.”
Students really “get it,” said East Hartford Middle School’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ for 2008-2009. “We have 100% participation. They all do it.”
From the baseball fields of Labor Field in Mayberry Village down to the Forbes Street bridge, little seemed to escape the determined middle school garbage avengers.
Teacher Wnuk worked to restrain the students’ eagerness for safety reasons. The kids were given gloves and instructed not to pick up anything they could not identify.
“We told them not to pick up glass. Anything questionable, don’t pick it up. Let an adult pick it up,” Wnuk said. “Last year we spent a whole day out here, and collected crazy things” she recalled. “Chairs, a boat, a dead cat, and big rolls of chain link fence – the kids dragged everything out [and] our custodians put everything away in the trash.”
Among other things, the teacher said, kids organized a cell phone recycling drive. They studied articles on global warming and solar energy, and wrote letters to state leaders about the problem. “Nobody answered,” Wnuk observed.
What was important is that the kids responded to the message of social responsibility and civic mindedness, she added.
“When we were on a field trip in Hartford we went to the State Capitol as part of that, and they were mentioning, when we drove down some street, they were like ‘look at all the trash.’ They don’t litter, and when someone drops something they pick it up.”
As for the “Teacher of the Year” award Wnuk said, while it was a surprise and an honor, the title for her is more about representing the school than a personal accolade. “It’s a team effort” she stressed.
EHMS Principal Pietro Cerone pointed out there was a big reason Wnuk was picked. “She’s very involved in school activities. She’s very involved in our school,” he said. “She runs the Student Council as well as the River Cleanup. And there are many other positive programs that she’s involved with. All of these are volunteer programs. We don’t ask her to do it. She’s a team leader.”
THE world may know only one Carlos Santana — the guitarist and rock musician — but at Mayflower Primary, there are quite a few of him, so to speak.
Thanks to “Project Carlos Santana”, :conceptualised by Mr Melvin Cher, the school’s acting subject head of art and aesthetics, every student is given the opportunity to learn to play the guitar.
For his innovation and passion in developing his students through music and aesthetics, Mr Cher received the Outstanding Youth in Education Award yesterday. He was one of three teachers to receive the National Youth Council award for educators under 30.
:Mr Cher, who joined the school three years ago, said: “What inspires me is being able to give a child the opportunity to grow and to develop. I see that happening in my music class — not so much through just learning an instrument, but the kind of discipline, values and disposition it inculcates.” :
:The school’s modular music programme goes beyond the recorder, keyboard or usual classical string instruments — students are exposed to a variety of world music.
:Mr Cher has also played an integral role in moulding the school’s Primary Five and Six music programmes, which started two years ago.
:Said Principal Zainal Sapari: “He is doing it for the kids, and he is very humble in terms of learning from his peers and his colleagues.”: :
:The other two recipients of the award are Mr Quek Swee Nee from Bukit View Primary and Ms Chua Hwee Pheng from Paris Ris Crest Secondary.
:The award is supported by the Teachers Network and is for educators who go beyond teaching the formal curriculum to nurture their pupils. Winners get a trophy and certificate, and will be fully sponsored to attend an overseas conference to further their professional development. :
:Education Minister Ng Eng Hen, who handed out the honours at the National Institute of Education Teachers’ Investiture Ceremony, said that new programmes will be introduced over the next two years to help teachers upgrade. He encouraged teachers to make the most of the opportunities.:
:These include a part-time Bachelor of Education programme specially customised for non-graduate primary school teachers; and a new Masters programme — the MTeach — which is currently in development and is expected to accept its first intake in 2010.
A total of 1,672 newly-qualified teachers will receive their NIE diplomas this week.