Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well Said Abe :)

This quote is from my friend LeighAnn Taylor Clapp (she may or may not be related to Rick and Laura) :)

"By serving others and putting others' needs before oneself, only then can anyone truly impact the world with change."- Abraham  Lincoln

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Video of The Babies Being Taken Care Of At God's Littlest Angels Orphanage in Haiti

This is a video of the babies being cared for by God's Littlest Angels a Christian orphange in Haiti.

Sorry for part of this being sideways as the person who took it was using her flip camera for the first time :)

Please continue to keep all the Haitian orphans and those who work with them in your prayers.


KD <>< :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Social Net Works A Lifeline For The Chronically Ill (

Social Networks a Lifeline for the Chronically Ill

A former model who is now chronically ill and struggles just to shower says the people she has met online have become her family. A quadriplegic man uses the Web to share tips on which places have the best wheelchair access, and a woman with multiple sclerosis says her regular Friday night online chats are her lifeline.
Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Amy Tenderich, who has diabetes, writes a blog and manages the social network Diabetic Connect from home in Millbrae, Calif.
For many people, social networks are a place for idle chatter about what they made for dinner or sharing cute pictures of their pets. But for people living with chronic diseases or disabilities, they play a more vital role.
“It’s really literally saved my life, just to be able to connect with other people,” said Sean Fogerty, 50, who has multiple sclerosis, is recovering from brain cancer and spends an hour and a half each night talking with other patients online.
People fighting chronic illnesses are less likely than others to have Internet access, but once online they are more likely to blog or participate in online discussions about health problems, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation.
“If they can break free from the anchors holding them down, people living with chronic disease who go online are finding resources that are more useful than the rest of the population,” said Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy at Pew and author of the report.
They are gathering on big patient networking sites like PatientsLikeMeHealthCentral,InspireCureTogether and Alliance Health Networks, and on small sites started by patients on networks like Ning and Wetpaint.
Sherri Connell, 46, modeled and performed in musicals until, at age 27, she learned she had multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease. She began posting her journal entries online for friends and family to read. Soon, people from all over the world were reading her Web site and telling her they had similar health problems.
In 2008, she and her husband started a social network using Ning called My Invisible Disabilities Community. It now has 2,300 members who write about living with lupus, forthcoming operations or medical bills, for example.
“People have good and bad days, and they don’t know a good day’s going to come Wednesday at 5 o’clock when a live support group is meeting,” Ms. Connell said. “The Internet is a great outlet for people to be honest.”
Not surprisingly, according to Pew, Internet users with chronic illnesses are more likely than healthy people to use the Web to look for information on specific diseases, drugs,health insurance, alternative or experimental treatments and depression, anxiety or stress.
But for them, the social aspects of the Web take on heightened importance. Particularly if they are homebound, they also look to the Web for their social lives, discussing topics unrelated to their illnesses. Some schedule times to eat dinner or watch a movie while chatting online.
John Linna, a pastor in Neenah, Wis., did not know what a blog was when his son suggested he start one after discovering he needed to stay home on a ventilator.
“That day my little world began to expand,” he wrote in a post last year about blogging. “Soon I had a little neighborhood. It was like stopping in for coffee every day just to see how things were going.”
When Mr. Linna died earlier this year, people all over the Web who had never met him in person mourned the loss.
Others use the Web to find practical tips about living with their disease or disability that doctors and family members, having not lived with it themselves, cannot provide.
On Diabetic Connect, a diabetes social network with 140,000 members, people share recipes like low-sugar banana pudding, review products like an insulin pump belt and have discussions like a recent one started by a patient with a new diagnosis. “I don’t like to talk to my family and friends about this,” she wrote. “Honestly I feel helpless. I really just need some advice and people to talk to who might have been experiencing the same things.”
Amy Tenderich is the community manager for Diabetic Connect and writes a blog calledDiabetes Mine. “There’s no doctor in the world, unless they’ve actually lived with this thing, that can get into that nitty-gritty,” she said. “I’ve walked away from dinner parties with tears in my eyes because people just don’t understand.”
Patients often use social networks to interact with people without worrying about the stigma of physical disabilities, said Susan Smedema, an assistant professor of rehabilitation counseling at Florida State University who studies the psychosocial aspects of disability.
From her home in Maine, Susan Fultz plays online games at and commiserates with people who are frustrated that they do not have a diagnosis for their symptoms.
“There’s no worry of being judged or criticized, and that is something that I know a lot of us don’t get in our daily lives,” said Ms. Fultz, who has Lyme disease and psoriatic arthritis.
Those with chronic diseases or disabilities, like all Internet users, have to be wary about sharing private health information online, particularly with anonymous users.
Research has also shown that emotions can be contagious, said Paul Albert, digital services librarian at Weill Cornell Medical Library in New York who has researched how social networks meet the needs of patients with chronic diseases.
“If you hang out on a message board where people are very negative, you can easily adopt a negative attitude about your disease,” he said. “On the other hand, if people are hopeful, you might be better off.”
Some people also worry that patients might exchange erroneous medical information on the Web, he said. Yet most patient social networks make clear that the information on the site should not substitute for medical advice, and the Pew study found that just 2 percent of adults living with chronic diseases report being harmed by following medical advice found on the Internet.
Instead, the sites are used to share information from the front lines, said Lily Vadakin, 45, who has multiple sclerosis and works as a site administrator for Disaboom, a social network for people with disabilities. For instance, she has discussed with other patients how to combat fatigue by working at home and taking vitamin supplements.
“That’s what the community can give you — a real-life perspective,” she said.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Am Living, Not Just Existing (ESPN.COM)

'I am living, not just existing'

CapleBy Jim Caple
Archive | Contact
Alexi Salamone
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesAlexi Salamone helped lead the United States to gold in sledge hockey.
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Turns out we were following the wrong athletes all along.
As always, I was dazzled and inspired by the Olympians at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, from the champions who went home wrapped in glory to those who returned without a medal but with the satisfaction that they competed despite whatever obstacle was thrown before them. I'll always remember the words of 51-year-old skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who first competed in the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics and told me after he raced the slalom at Whistler, "You can do more than you think."
Then I went to the Paralympics finale this past weekend and really learned that lesson.
Alexi Salamone was born near Chernobyl 14 months after the nuclear disaster there. His legs were horribly deformed at birth and had to be amputated. Orphaned, he was adopted by a couple in Buffalo, N.Y., and raised in the United States. He scored the winning goal in the United States' gold-medal victory in sledge hockey Saturday night.
Germany's Gerd Schonfelder tried to jump aboard a moving train 20 years ago. He missed, losing his right arm and the fingers on his left hand. He won the gold medal in the super-G on Friday morning while his wife was in labor delivering their son. He won the super-combined the next day, his 22nd Paralympics medal.
Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever has roughly 10 percent of normal eyesight, all of it peripheral. He qualified for the regular Olympics, but the team chose not to start him in his event. He won three gold medals in the Paralympics, including the final 1K sprint, in which he raced so swiftly he passed his guide (his brother, Robin) and crossed the finish line on his own.
You can do more than you think.
The downhill is intimidating enough for able-bodied skiers. Imagine doing it without an arm. Or a leg. Or without sight. (In the visually impaired events, athletes ski with a guide ahead of them calling back directions and instructions.) That's dramatic, "you must be joking" stuff, but forget about that for a while. Just getting from the car to the snow over a gravel-filled, slushy parking lot in a wheelchair would stop most of us.
Sean Halsted knows what that's like. He lost the use of his legs during a search-and-rescue training fall from a helicopter with the Air Force in 1998. He said he thought his life was over until the Department of Veterans Affairs got him involved in the Wheelchair Games and then winter sports. A former collegiate rower at Washington State, he tried downhill skiing and hockey before finding that cross-country skiing suited him best. He finished 10th in the 1K sprint (sit-ski division) Sunday.
Sean Halsted
Courtesy of Jim CapleSean Halsted, right, his wife Sarah and son Ethan made the trip to Vancouver for the 2010 Paralympic Games.
"It feels really good that the community is embracing this, that we're not going, 'That guy is in a wheelchair. He can't do anything but sit in his hospital room,'" Halsted said. "That's what I thought my life was going to be like. Computers, the Internet -- it's good there is all this technology for me to use, but that's not really life. And for a while I wasn't really living; I was existing. This has allowed me to live and given me reasons to get up in the morning and better reasons to go out and do stuff and push myself harder to find what I can do."
"It is the endorphin rush that keeps him balanced. It allows him to handle all the other challenges in life," said Halsted's wife, Sarah. "It's awesome to be able to flush the negativity and the daily challenges. You can really work it out. It helps his mental balance. It reboots him every day.
"Instead of him being defeated and a victim, he became a victor over the circumstances."
I had always wanted to see the Paralympics, which are held after the Olympics at the same site, but staying on an extra couple of weeks in Athens or returning to Beijing was not an option. Living 150 miles from Vancouver finally provided me the opportunity to see them. After all, where else could one come across this quote at a sporting competition: "I looked up and saw the leg flying into the forest"? (Swedish guide Mattias Westman said that after seeing Hakan Axelsson's prosthesis fly off during the men's 20K race.)
A shameful aspect of the Paralympics, however, is that the credentialing process is separate from the Olympics for some reason. I had assumed my Olympic credential would be good for both. I'd assumed incorrectly, which I learned just before I was about to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. After getting shut down cold by someone in the credentialing office, I decided to drive up anyway for Sunday's final races at the cross-country course. (I missed but was informed later about Salamone's goal and Schonfelder's golds.) I figured I probably would be able to talk my way in; if not, I could buy a ticket and at least see the races.
Fortunately, the Olympic credential looked similar enough to the Paralympics credential that no one at the course noticed (or cared), and after buying a ticket, I was able to get to the mixed zone, where athletes meet with the media after they finish an event. I didn't check thoroughly, but I didn't see any other American reporters in the mixed zone. (There were very few reporters of any nationality.) Later, though, I was barred from going into the Whistler media center simply to get copies of the results and athletes' bios.
Now, I freely acknowledge it was my ignorance for not going through the proper credentialing procedure ahead of time. But I know two other reporters who made the same assumption I did and also were shut down by officials when they asked to cover it. They chose not to go at all.
[+] EnlargeU.S. Paralympic Team member Monica Bascio
Jim CapleAmerican Monica Bascio, who was paralyzed in a ski accident 18 years ago, finished eighth in the 1K women's sprint.
Paralympics officials may feel smug --"We are NOT the Olympics! We are separate! Now go away and get your applications in for Sochi!" -- but the end result is very few people were made aware of these incredible athletic performances and the inspiring stories behind them. And the people hurt most are the athletes who desperately need the publicity so others can learn about the possibilities and join them. Finding adequate competition is one of their greatest challenges.
"The one excuse I hate the most is 'I wish I knew about that,'" Halsted said. "We're such a small population so we can't afford to have people say, 'I didn't know about it.' If there are 10 of us in an area, we have to know about it so all 10 come out. … [The Paralympics] are a vehicle to send a message out to all those people sitting there saying, 'I didn't know.' Hopefully this opens the door for all the kids, all the people who have injuries, you name it, to come out. Next year, I'll have three people to ski with. And we'll bring them out and they'll say, 'I want to go to the Paralympics.'"
Hopefully more people will learn about the Paralympics and the sporting possibilities, despite a few officials who chased reporters away.
"I'm glad I can compete at this level, but a part of me wishes I didn't have to compete at this level because I just want to compete against 30 people," Halsted said. "Don't get me wrong -- I love competing at internationals. But if I could stay in the Northwest and compete against 30 people, I'd be happy."
You can do more than you think. The Paralympics are proof. And the athletes' stories are worth telling and hearing, whatever your physical condition.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for He can be reached here. His Web site is at

Wheelchair Basketball Game to Benefit Veterans

To do good deeds unto others is a mitzvah. To those of you who are unsure what the word mitzvah means, it’s a Golden Rule – do unto others what you would wish upon yourself.
Spring brings renewal to an outside world left barren for the cold winter months. It is this renewal I ask you to keep in mind as us who are more fortunate than others give back to those who deserve it most.
American University is hosting the Armed Forces Wheelchair Basketball game at Bender Arena on April 1 at 6 p.m. The game features Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s “Wounded Warriors” as they take on the San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center team.
All proceeds from this event benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and Push America.
University President, Neil Kerwin, will be attending and speaking at the event in addition to wounded veteran and Wounded Warrior Project representative Ryan Kules.
Can’t make the event? The Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity – Theta Eta chapter from American University, the game’s organizers, encourage you to make a donation to the cause.
For more event information, visit the event’s website or its Facebook event page.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Come On Get Happy (

Come on Get Happy


Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, and we all feel down in the dumps once in a while. But, when the pity party becomes tiresome, it is time to take a good look at your life and revel in what makes you happy. As the Partridge Family taught us so may years ago, “Come On, Get Happy!”

Friends and family
A study conducted at the University of Illinois found that happy people tend to have strong friendships and family ties. Cultivate your social skills and make time for family, especially if the relationships are positive and uplifting. Connections equal happiness.

Enhance relationships
If you are lucky enough to have a significant other in your life, work on keeping that relationship strong. Express your feelings of happiness with the other person through a thoughtful card, a hug, or a night out. We all like to feel appreciated, so share that simple gift with someone you care about.

Help others
Helping others, through volunteering or charitable works, will help you too, by putting your own problems in perspective, making you feel needed and helpful, and making you feel good about your place in the world.

Save for the future
We all have bills to pay, but watching a nest egg grow provides a measure of security, which leads to happiness. Even a small amount saved over time will help you achieve peace of mind.

Remember to be grateful
Take a few minutes every day to count your blessings and remind yourself of the wonderful things in your life. It is guaranteed to increase your happiness.

Take stock
At the end of a day, even a bad one, take a moment to focus on things that went well and why. Focus on the positive skills and abilities that you have to offer to the world. Write them down if necessary, and think about all that you have to contribute to society.

Happiness is a choice
We all have within us the ability to affect our own happiness. You can learn to be happier by focusing on what is good in your life, and what you have the ability to affect. Ultimately, happiness is less about what you have and more about how you decide to live your life.