Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thank You!

It has been a few weeks since I have written anything or educated you on a new subject. My bike ride is coming up in just 11 days and I spend extra time out on the bike training. I am getting so very excited for the ride and can't believe it is so close. I was out riding yesterday and after about 2 hours, my butt was starting hurt. I mean seriously, why wouldn't it. Anyway, I thought I would start to head back to the house. Then I started thinking about all the people who have MS and how many of them can't even walk. I was also thinking about all of those people who have donated. I kept thinking that if all of these people have donated then they believe in me. They believe that I can make a difference. They believe that me riding a bike for 62 miles can make a difference and possibly help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. I continued to ride for another hour. So "Thank You!". "Thank You!" to all of those who have donated. "Thank You!" for believing in me and for caring about others. You all have made a difference in me.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shoes for children - TOMS Shoes

TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.

One Day Without Shoes is the day we spread awareness about the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. On April 8th, we ask people to go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time.

You must OFFICIALLY register at http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com to be entered to WIN a TOMS Shoe Drop!!


. . Why would a shoe company sponsor an event to not wear shoes...
Why would a company GIVE away a pair of shoes for every pair they sold? Sure, it might sound crazy at first but One Day Without Shoes expresses everything we stand for: educating consumers about the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's like and empowering them with simple actions that address the need for shoes. Learn more at http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com

. . Sorry, I work... I can't participate!
There are a ton of creative ways to participate in One Day Without Shoes. Walk for an hour barefoot after work, plan a barefoot evening event or breakfast with friends, participate simply by sharing the message with friends who are able go with no shoes. The possibilities are endless, and people are getting creative. There are plenty of events all across the country: search by zip code at http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com

. . Will i get in trouble for not wearing shoes??
We hope not. But we've anticipated your coworkers, teachers, principals, or community leaders having questions. We have a letter you can download and send to them at http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com. Go check it out!


- Find events in your area or create your own event by visiting http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com


Fact #1:In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to food, clean water and to seek medical help.

Fact #2:Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.

Fact #3:Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.

Fact #4:In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.

Fact #5: Podoconiosis is 100% preventable by wearing shoes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the brain, autism interferes with the normal development of the brain in the areas of reasoning, social interaction, and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. They may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking, etc.), have unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resist changes in routines. In come cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may occur. Individuals may also experience sensitivities to the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

How is Autism Diagnosed?
There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the individual’s communication, behavior, and developmental levels. However, because many of the behaviors associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms exhibited.

A diagnosis of autism is based on the standards set forth in a diagnostic handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, now in its fourth edition (DSM-IV). The diagnosis of autism is made when a specified number of characteristics listed in the DSM-IV are present in ranges inappropriate for the child’s age. By comparison, a diagnosis of PDD-NOS may be made when a child exhibits fewer symptoms than in autism, although those symptoms may be exactly the same as those in a child with an autism diagnosis. Asperger’s disorder tends to involve symptoms more markedly different than those seen in autism, although there are some similarities.

A brief observation in a single setting cannot present a true picture of an individual’s abilities and behaviors. Parental input and developmental history are very important components of making an accurate diagnosis. At first glance, persons with autism may appear to have mental retardation, a behavior disorder, problems with hearing, or even odd and eccentric behavior. To complicate matters further, these conditions can co-occur in autism. However, it is important to distinguish autism from other disorders so that an appropriate and effective educational and treatment plan can be determined.

Most professionals will agree that there is no standard “type” or “typical” person with autism. Parents may hear more that one label applied to the same child: for example, autistic-like, communication disorder with autistic tendencies, significant developmental delay with autistic tendencies, high functioning or low functioning autism, mild or moderate or severe autism. These labels don’t describe the differences between the children as much as they may indicate differences in professionals’ training, vocabulary and exposure to autism. More important than the term used is to understand that, whatever the diagnosis, children and adults with autism can learn and function productively and show gains with appropriate education and treatment.

Many professionals still argue whether Asperger’s is truly a form of autism. Some professionals believe the distinction between autism and PDD-NOS is not significant. Some may believe they are “sparing” the parents by giving a diagnosis of PDD-NOS rather than autism. Unfortunately, this can lead to failure to obtain the appropriate services for the child. It is important to understand that whatever the type of autism diagnosis, these children are likely to benefit from similar approaches to education and treatment. We cannot stress enough, the importance of securing a timely and accurate diagnosis.

What Causes Autism?
Medical researchers are exploring different explanations for the various forms of autism. Although no one cause of autism is known, current research links autism to biological or neurological differences in the brain. Scans such as the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) show abnormalities in the structure of the brain, with significant differences within the cerebellum including the size and number or Purkinje cells. In some families there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities. This suggests there is a genetic basis to the disorder, although no one gene has been directly linked to autism. In all likelihood, research will show that several genes are involved.

Several previous theories about the cause of autism have been proven false. Autism is not a mental illness. Children with autism are not unruly kids who choose not to behave. Autism is not caused by bad parenting. Furthermore, no known psychological factors in the development of the child have been shown to cause autism.

Here are some helpful websites if you want to learn more.


Thanks for listening!

Monday, April 5, 2010

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

As I continue to help others and keep everyone educated about things, it is heavy on my heart to write about today's topic.

SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. (Willinger et al, 1991).

In a typical situation parents check on their supposedly sleeping infant to find him or her dead. This is the worst tragedy parents can face, a tragedy which leaves them with a sadness and a feeling of vulnerability that lasts throughout their lives. Since medicine can not tell them why their baby died, they blame themselves and often other innocent people. Their lives and those around them are changed forever.

In the last 25 years the rate of SIDS has gone dramatically down. However, since the death is unexplainable, it it hard to know how to prevent it. There are some things that can be done to help reduce the risk of SIDS. So, What can be done?

Unfortunately, we cannot expect to prevent all SIDS deaths now. To do so requires a much greater understanding of SIDS, which will be achieved only with a commitment from those who value babies and with a considerably expanded research effort. However, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of SIDS.


1. Get medical care early in pregnancy, preferably within the first three months, followed by regular checkups at the doctor's office or health clinic. Make every effort to assure good nutrition. These measures can reduce the risk of premature birth, a major risk factor for SIDS.

2. Do not smoke, use cocaine, or use heroin. Tobacco, cocaine, or heroin use during pregnancy increases the infant's risk for SIDS.

3. Don’t get pregnant during the teenage years. If you are a teen and already have one infant, take extreme caution not to become pregnant again. The SIDS rate decreases for babies born to older mothers. It is highest for babies born to teenage mothers. The more babies a teen mother has, the greater at risk they are.

4. Wait at least one year between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy.The shorter the interval between pregnancies, the higher the SIDS rate.


1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.

2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.

3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.

4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair.

5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.

6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.

7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.

8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).

9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers.

10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.

11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.

12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.


Give a cash donation. Send a check or make a donation on-line (www.sids.org) with a credit card. If this donation is in memory of a SIDS infant or another loved one, an acknowledgement will be sent to the family of the deceased.

Hold an Event. An event to benefit the American SIDS Institute can help raise awareness about SIDS while raising much needed funds for research. For information about fundraising events call 1-800-232-7437 and ask for the Director of Development.

Donate Stock. By donating stock you can fight SIDS and probably receive a charitable tax deduction and avoid capital gains taxes at the same time. If you would like information about stock donations or planned giving call 1-800-232-7437.

Shop and Help Fight SIDS. Although the Institute does not endorse products we have entered into co-marketing agreements with several companies. The companies have agreed to provide us with a certain amount of money for every product sold. Therefore, if you are considering buying products such as those featured on our website, please buy those products that provide money for our research.

Donate an Auction Item. If you have an item(s) that you would like to donate for our silent or live auctions please call the American SIDS Institute 1-800-232-7437.

Use a Planned Giving Strategy. Talk to your financial advisor about building the American SIDS Institute into your planned giving strategy. Call the Institute and request a planned giving brochure.

In whatever way you choose to give, know that you are helping to defeat the number one cause of death in infants from one month to one year of age. Thank you!

Thanks for listening!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Heart Disease

Did you know that HEART DISEASE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH for men and women in the US ? !

Some ways to prevent heart disease are:
* quit smoking (I know this hard. I have done it myself.)
* lower your cholesterol
* control your high blood pressure
* maintain a healthy weight
* exercise

If you would like to know more and learn more about Heart Disease click on one of the following links: