Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Laura’s pain under microscope

Laura’s pain under microscope

WHEN she was eight, Laura Baseggio sprained her right ankle.

It should have healed quickly but the 15-year-old is now enduring her seventh year of frustration and pain.

But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Laura has raised money to help research into her condition.

This week the Victorian schoolgirl flew to Sydney to present a $1000 cheque to Royal North Shore Hospital’s Pain Management Research Institute head Michael Cousins.

The year 9 pupil was inspired by an episode of ABC TV’s Catalyst, which dealt with her condition - complex regional pain syndrome - and research being carried out by Professor Cousins’ team. “I’ve just had an amazing tour of the laboratory here,” Laura said.

“And it’s absolutely fascinating and fantastic that people are putting so much time and effort into helping people like me. It’s really inspiring.”

Laura badly needs the institute’s help.

She said her ankle was painful “all the time” and she could not run or play sport.

For most of this year she couldn’t even walk and was forced to use crutches to get around.

Even worse, the condition seems to be spreading to involve both her legs.

Prof Cousins said the Pain Management Research Institute treated people with chronic pain or cancer pain and runs far-reaching educational and research programs.

“One in five people in Australia suffers from chronic pain, but less than 10 per cent of them gain access to effective treatment,” he said.

“Those are shocking statistics, but the good news is that we have strategies - including spinal cord stimulation, new drugs and physical and psychological therapies - to reverse the condition.”

For further information see www

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Corunna woman seeks help for painful condition

Angela White and her 10-year-old daughter Taylor hope that a treatment at a Florida clinic for Angela's chronic pain will allow her to live a more normal life. Taylor says she can hardly remember hugging her mom because that kind of contact causes too much pain.

Corunna woman seeks help for painful condition


The Observer

Angela White is in pain.

She sits rigidly in the livingroom of her mom's house in Corunna where they live with Angela's 10-year-old daughter, Taylor.

Taylor is careful to sit close to her mom without touching her. The slightest contact can hurt.

White, 27, suffers from an uncommon condition called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, which is believed to be a disorder of the central or peripheral nervous system that produces unrelenting pain and burning.

The condition has ruled her life since she was 13 years old. Apart from a two-year remission, White has been sidelined by the pain.

She's tried a succession of drugs and therapies but none have worked. She can push through the pain long enough to get Taylor off to school in the morning, but spends most of her time in bed.

"Life is passing her by," says her mother Jackie White. "It's not what it should be for a young woman."

But a solution is nearer.

Earlier this year, Angela White was introduced to a young woman from Mooretown who also suffered from CRPS and found a clinic in Florida that relieved her pain.

The results were so dramatic the Whites asked their own specialist at St. Joseph's Hospital pain clinic in London about the treatment.

It involves hefty infusions of ketamine, an anesthetic that White already takes orally in small doses. Ketamine infusions have been known to stop CRPS pain for months and even years but are unavailable in Ontario.

On the recommendation of White's specialist, Dr. Patricia Morley-Forster, the Ontario Ministry of Health approved White's treatment at The CRPS Treatment Centre and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida.

OHIP will pay the $8,000 price tag for the ketamine but won't cover travel expenses including hotel and food bills.

The Whites expect to stay in Tampa for 14 days starting Dec. 2 at a cost of approximately $3,000.

But they don't have the cash to go and are appealing for help. Angela collects disability and her mother works only two days a week.

"Some friends were going to have a benefit but it fell through," said Jackie White. "Angela says if we don't have the money, we can't go, but I want to see her get this.

"Even if she can get a few months of mobility, we'll take it."

The Whites are hoping a good Samaritan will assist them.

"As far as we know, there are no service clubs or organizations that help adults in these circumstances," said Jackie White.

She can be reached by calling 519-402-0876 or by e-mailing

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

United front to help brave Mitch

United front to help brave Mitch

MITCH Cavanagh spent his 12th birthday confined to a bed in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.

But Tweed firefighters, police and ambulance officers did everything they could to make the day more enjoyable.

The combined emergency services held a fundraising evening on Friday night for Mitch, who suffers from a rare neurological disorder which affects his muscle movement.

The money will help Mitch’s family, including dad Steve, a Tweed Heads firefighter, who has spent the past six months in Sydney.

“When Mitch’s hip started hurting in April they thought it was a football injury,” Mr Cavanagh said.

After months of tests, doctors still had no answers and Mitch had to be hospitalised for pain control.

“Finally the doctor diagnosed Mitch with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD),” Mr Cavanagh said.

“It affects Mitch’s entire left leg and hip and has also spread to his right shoulder and arm.

“He has not walked or used his arm for five months.”

Mitch, who previously enjoyed playing football, surfing and riding his motorbike, is bed-bound.

The brave 12-year-old receives two daily sessions with a physio and spends time with a psychologist to help him through.

“There is no cure for this debilitating and insidious disease,” Mr Cavanagh said.

“Mitch lives in a world of pain that is beyond our comprehension.”

Through generous donations and support, Friday night’s event raised $12,500 to help the Cavanagh family.

“There’s still money to come in,” Tweed Heads Fire Station commander Chris Perrin said.

The event was made possible through the help of a number of businesses, including North Real Estate, the Shaping Co, Fox Wetsuits and Cossy’s Mower Centre.

Donations to the Mitch Cavanagh Benefit Fund can be made through the Tweed Heads Fire Station on (07) 5536 2222.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Golf calamity yields $227,500

Golf calamity yields $227,500

A drunken round of golf has cost one man more than $225,000 and another man a lifetime of pain.

A Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision released Friday has upheld a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision awarding an injured golfer $85,000 in damages, $67,500 in lost income and $75,000 for lost future earning capacity.

The case is the result of a golf game played over seven years ago. The decision does not say where the game was held.

On June 18, 2002, Alan Bezanson and Travis Hayter, accompanied by two other men, headed out to play golf.

The game followed a wedding celebration and along with their clubs, the golfers were packing tequila, marijuana and beer.

According to the decision, by the time the group hit the 16th hole, Mr. Hayter had smoked a joint and drank nine beer plus about 280 millilitres of tequila.

It was on that hole, that the game went south.

Mr. Hayter was the last to hit. His first shot went into the trees. He hit a second shot which landed on the fairway. Believing Mr. Hayter was finished, the others headed toward their balls. That’s when Mr. Hayter hit a "Happy Gilmore" shot with a running windup. The ball headed straight for Mr. Bezanson.

Mr. Bezanson heard someone yell "heads up," and had just enough time to put up his hand to protect his head, when the ball hit him on the wrist and then bounced to his chest.

"The defendant’s conduct breached the standard care required of a golfer playing on a course with other golfers," the appeal decision quoted the trial judge.

The injury permanently damaged Mr. Bezanson’s radial nerve or its distribution from the wrist, and Mr. Bezanson suffered complex regional pain syndrome as a result.

The ongoing pain in his hand and wrist has made it hard for the 38-year-old married woodsman, who has three children, to cut wood. He has been able to do light farm work.

In reaching their decision, the panel of justices rejected Mr. Hayter’s appeal of the initial court’s decision that awarded the cash to Mr. Bezanson. They also denied Mr. Bezanson’s appeal for more money.

Both Mr. Bezanson and Mr. Hayter must pay their own costs resulting from the appeal, the decision states.


Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Hospitalized 7th-grader shares his faith

Hospitalized 7th-grader shares his faith

Posted on Nov 16, 2009
by Ken Walker LOUISVILLE, Ky.

(BP)-- Sandra Flaherty's son, Michael, was about halfway into a seven-week-long rehabilitation regimen at a Boston hospital when he received a surprise present from fellow church members: a Nintendo Wii.

The popular game system included an exercise module designed to make his daily routine easier and more fun.

The seventh-grader called the gift from Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church "over and beyond a million percent."

"I couldn't put it into words," he said of the support that included more than 150 get well cards and other expressions of encouragement for him and his family.

"My Sunday School class did stuff for me, or their parents, or their parents' friends," Michael said of the Louisville, Ky., church.

"People across the country were praying for me -- people I didn't even know," he added.

Michael admitted that when his battle with CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) began, it shook his faith. Not only did his condition keep getting worse, he kept praying but not seeing any answers.

"When I got to Boston and met some nice doctors, they knew I wasn't faking it," Michael said of the frustration of originally being told there was nothing wrong with him. "I met other people, too, and we cheered each other on."

Still, he had a painful first week there, screaming regularly because of pain and continuing to suffer numerous symptoms. Doctors told him that was normal for the first week, which proved to be true.

At the end of that week, he was able to twitch a toe without it hurting. That was followed by a foot and an ankle.

"I couldn't believe it," Michael said of his first pain-free movements in months. "It was the most awesome miracle I had ever seen."

His mother is proud of the way her son regularly asked doctors and other hospital personnel if they were Christians.

One of those encounters was with a clinical assistant who regularly visited with Michael and handled tasks that his condition prevented him from undertaking.

Michael asked if the man's Baptist church had AWANA, a Bible-based children's program. The question subsequently led to a visit from an AWANA representative to the church – followed by plans to start AWANA there this fall.

"I felt so good," Michael said when he learned of the church's decision. "I was so happy. I saw how God was using this and how He can turn something bad into something good. It shows how good He is."

"My little missionary," said his mother, who has taught 3- and 4-year-olds in the AWANA program at Hunsinger Lane for 10 years. "There are hardly any AWANA churches in Massachusetts."

Flaherty said her son also shared his faith in Christ with four teenage girls who were in the same rehabilitation wing.

A booklet of about 30 Bible verses about healing and other topics that she prepared for Michael to use during therapy proved so popular she wound up making copies for all the girls, Flaherty said.

Today, after once thinking he would never walk again, Michael plans to play for his middle school's soccer team and is overjoyed that he is able to run and do back flips on his trampoline.

Reflecting on the most important lesson he's learned during the past six months, Michael said he sees that when life is rough and it feels like nothing will get better, God is always there.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "He's always waiting for you and He's always with you.

"That's huge. God does everything for a reason. We can't always see it but we've got to trust Him."

His mother, meanwhile, has become an advocate for informing the public about CRPS, which used to be known as RSD, for reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Hence, the website for CRPS is

Usually caused by a minor trauma, CRPS is characterized by such symptoms as burning, stabbing pain, extreme sensitivity to any touch, swelling and pain that steadily worsens instead of getting better.

The doctor who admitted Michael to the clinic in Boston told Flaherty that he had treated 900 patients with CRPS over the last 25 years.

"What a horrifying statistic," Flaherty said.

She said that 80 percent of patients respond to outpatient and occupational therapy, with only 20 percent becoming severe enough to require further intervention.
Ken Walker is a freelance writer based in Huntington, W.Va.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Single mom & son buoyed by their church

Single mom & son buoyed by their church

Posted on Nov 16, 2009
by Ken Walker LOUISVILLE, Ky.

(BP)-- To Sandra Flaherty, her church has always felt like family. But after members rallied to help when a rare disease struck her son, she feels like she has seen God in action.

Among the numerous tasks members of Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church handled this summer were mowing her yard, trimming her bushes, power washing her deck, installing light fixtures and stocking her refrigerator.

They also bought gasoline and food cards and offered other financial assistance.

"I thought, 'This is the way God works,'" said Flaherty, a member of the Louisville-area for 10 years. "This is how He uses people to solve problems. My church family has gone above and beyond the norm."

A single mother of three boys, Flaherty's ordeal started last March when she took 12-year-old Michael to a Louisville hospital for treatment of strep throat and a stomach virus.

She said the nurse who administered a penicillin shot for strep throat put it in the wrong place and nicked a vein, causing a blood clot to lie on the sciatic nerve.

That triggered a central nervous system condition known as CPRS (complex regional pain syndrome), which short-circuits the nervous system and causes it to misfire.

As a result, the brain perceives every sensation as severe pain, Flaherty said.

Following intense pain the night of the shot, Michael was unable to walk the next morning. He walked with a limp for a week and complained of a burning leg and a knot at the injection site.

The following week a pediatrician told him the discomfort would clear up on its own. It didn't.

Symptoms such as sharp, hot pains in his leg, swelling in his foot and discoloration of the skin led to the use of crutches, then a walker and in May confinement to a wheelchair. As the pain intensified, Michael would spend hours a day screaming.

What hurt worse was the reaction of various doctors, Flaherty said.

"Many of them told him there was nothing wrong with him and that he was 'making it up,'" she recalled. "That only traumatized Michael and made the whole situation much worse."

Unable to find help locally, Flaherty did extensive Internet research, trying to learn more about her son's ailment. One night around 1 a.m., she said, "God, I don't know what else to do."

Just then, a pop-up ad appeared on her screen. When she closed out the ad, she found herself looking at the site of a special children's clinic at a Boston hospital that opened last year.

She called the next morning, telling them she didn't have a doctor's reference since she had been unable to find any help for her son. Though the clinic was full, the hospital agreed to see Michael for an evaluation on May 13.

Then God intervened again. Before the trip to Boston, Flaherty took Michael to see a specialist. He wound up being examined by the doctor's partner, who recognized CRPS.

"I thought, 'How cool of God to send in a different doctor,'" she said. "When we flew to Boston it was on a private medical jet owned by the hospital here. I wouldn't have even known to ask for that, but the specialist became an advocate. She also made multiple calls to Boston."

Michael was admitted to the hospital on May 24, two weeks before space opened in the clinic. After staying in a special parents' room for the first 18 days, Flaherty needed a vehicle and a place to live.

Instead of renting a vehicle, Flaherty received the use of a van for free from a single mother at the Boston church a Hunsinger Lane member formerly attended.

And a couple from a Methodist church in a suburb offered the use of their home for a month.

While in Massachusetts, Flaherty said, she felt like she was along for a ride arranged by the Lord.

"Michael's doctor was one of the leading specialists on CRPS in the country," she said. "He does seminars, has written articles and parts of books. God did all that; I didn't. All I did was try to take care of my child."

Back in Louisville, meanwhile, God was moving hearts at her church.

After learning about Flaherty -- who works as a baby photographer at Baptist Hospital East -- one member gave Hunsinger Lane senior pastor Charlie Davis a check for $2,000, insisting his gift remain anonymous.

Other financial help came from a special fund initiated last February, where members put spare change into plates at the end of Sunday's service, which raises up to $300 a week.

"We talk a lot in church about finding ways to express our Christian faith and what we're learning, so this created ways to do that," Davis said.

Paul Bruce, who teaches the Sunday School class that Flaherty attends, called the assistance one of the most meaningful activities he's been involved in over the past eight years of teaching.

"We really felt needed," Bruce said. "The need was way bigger than us. You know the Lord would have to do that, but we could help. That's how each one of us felt."

After a painful first week in which Michael gradually learned to wiggle a toe, followed by a foot and an ankle, he gradually improved. By the time they returned home the second week of July, he could walk, run and do back flips on a trampoline.

Flaherty's battles aren't over. She has consulted an attorney after a dispute with the hospital over responsibility for the misguided injection. And in August, her paternal grandfather and a friend from the church died.

Even so, Flaherty said, "I want to thank God. We want everyone to know who helped us how appreciative we are. Every little thing that Michael can do now -- he's like a kid in a candy store. He says, 'I don't know how God will use this, but He will.'"
Ken Walker is a freelance writer based in Huntington, W.Va. This article first appeared in the Western Recorder (, newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Law Firm Boone & Davis Settles Slip and Fall Case for Local Woman

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Law Firm Boone & Davis Settles Slip and Fall Case for Local Woman

Michael Davis, Esq. a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney, announced today that a slip and fall case has been settled for a local woman suffering from complex regional pain syndrome.

Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) November 12, 2009 -- Michael Davis, Esq. a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney, announced today that a slip and fall case has been settled for a local woman suffering from complex regional pain syndrome in the court case Clark v Onesource facility services, LP Case #04018871 in Broward County, 17th judicial circuit.

"The plaintiff, a woman in her early 40s was walking in the area and slipped, but did not fall and suffered a minor sprain. The sprain was treated with a cast by an orthopedic surgeon. Within a few months, the orthopedic surgeon saw symptoms consistent with CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome)" said Michael Davis, partner at the Boone and Davis Law firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The owner of the property and the cleaning company initially denied the claim alleging that the plaintiff saw the defendant's employee with a mop in hand, had ignored the caution sign and had insufficient symptoms to support a diagnosis of this crippling disease. After years of litigation and countless depositions regarding liability and the diagnosis of CRPS, the case was scheduled for trial. Approximately 30 days before the case was to be determined by a jury in West Palm Beach, the defendant agreed to a significant, confidential settlement.

The plaintiff will now be able to offset her diminished earning ability with the interest to be earned on the settlement proceeds and will have the funds necessary to obtain continuing medical care.

"We are thrilled that our client has been able to put this case behind her and receive compensation for her case" said Michael Davis, a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer.

About Boone & Davis At Boone and Davis, we know there are many Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers to choose from. David Boone & Michael Davis built their reputations over the past 28 years as south florida personal injury lawyers on sheer commitment; hard work and ethical conduct that help dictate the favorable results for most of its cases. Their long years of dedicated effort has also provided the firm's attorneys the ability to resolve claims for amounts that leave them proud and their clients thrilled.

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Click Here For The Original Article Online.


More pain means real gain in complex regional pain syndrome treatment

Contact: Mithu Lucraft
SAGE Publications UK

More pain means real gain in complex regional pain syndrome treatment

New research published this week in Clinical Rehabilitation

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (November 12, 2009) –The saying "more pain, more gain" may be true for those already in terrible pain due to a chronic and debilitating condition, contrary to received wisdom. For those with Type I Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), working through the pain of an aggressive physiotherapy program often leads to far better results than a more cautious pain-free approach. That was the result of a new study in Clinical Rehabilitation, published this week by SAGE. In fact, nearly half those who were given the painful treatment recovered normal physical function, whereas those who avoided painful physiotherapy usually had further loss of physical function.

CRPS is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The cause of this syndrome is currently unknown. Although CRPS may follow injury and surgery, this is not always the case.

Jan-Willem Ek, Jan C van Gijn and colleagues from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Bethesda Hospital in The Netherlands studied 106 patents suffering severe physical impairments from CRPS Type I, which does not involve nerve lesions (unlike Type II). They found that almost all the patients improved significantly when subjected to a rehabilitation program involving graded pain exposure. In fact, more than half the patients in the study recovered full physical movement, and none of the patients experienced adverse effects from this more aggressive approach. While this "full on" approach doesn't reduce the amount of pain associated with the condition, it does provide sufferers with a significant increase in mobility, function and quality of life. Traditional treatments for this chronic condition typically minimize the pain, which limits physiotherapy significantly and usually leads to greater deterioration of the affected limb.

CPRS can vary from joint stiffness and moderate pain in the arms or legs to paralysis and complete loss of function in more extreme cases. People suffering from this condition usually have a poor prognosis. That's because the condition often leads to extensive changes in the brain itself, making treatment to the affected limb almost ineffective. Given that the brain is usually affected in this chronic condition, it's almost impossible to reduce the pain of this disease by trying to treat the isolated limb. The result is a vicious circle, where the pain of the condition limits the amount of therapy, which in turn causes more deterioration in the limb and the brain, which further hampers any recovery.

Typically, physicians resist therapies where excessive levels of pain are involved, for fear of causing further injuries to the arm or leg. However, the habitual pain from CRPS Type I is often a false warning sign. This seriously limits the extent of therapy that's offered, and often precludes the more aggressive treatments like traction, stretching and massage. Often, the result is that people's joints begin to deteriorate even faster.

"In our experience one of the cornerstones of the success of pain exposure physical therapy is to motivate the patient to undergo both the painful interventions and to keep training and exercising at home," says one of the co-authors, Robert van Dongen. This new insight into this debilitating condition allows doctors and physiotherapists to provide patients with hope for a more functional and normal life.


Pain exposure physical therapy may be a safe and effective treatment for longstanding complex regional pain syndrome type 1: a case series
By Jan-Willem Ek, Jan C van Gijn, Han Samwel, Jan van Egmond, Frank PAJ Klomp, and Robert TM van Dongen is published online now in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, published by SAGE.

The article will be free to access online for a limited period from

Lead author contact: R van Dongen (

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Fox News Video)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Updated: Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 11:27 PM PST
Published : Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 11:04 PM PST

Posted by: Tony Spearman

Los Angeles ( - More than a million Americans may suffer from pain and the majority of them are women. Often times they are told the pain is all in their heads. Christine Devine reports on a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that can go misdiagnosed.

More Info:

To learn more about Cynthia Toussaint's For Grace Foundation, go to:

To learn more about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (C.R.P.S.) and Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy (R.D.S.) and to reach Dr. Edward Carden, call (310) 842-8668 or go to his Web site at .

Currently, Dr. Carden and his D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center has formed a partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee to develop a care and treatment program for Olympic athletes through 2012.


* * * * * (Click here to view video) * * * * *



Thursday, October 29, 2009

A heritage of fishing

A heritage of fishing

Towamensing resident harvests 20,000 pounds of salmon in two weeks

By ELSA KERSCHNER ekerschner@]

For some people, fishing is more than a casual hobby. It's in their blood, or part of their constitution.

Lorrie Cockrell, an Alaskan Aleut, moved to Towamensing Township to find specialized medical care for her daughter who has reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a difficult and hard-to-treat lifetime disease.

In July, she returned to Alaska for the two-week salmon fishing season. Cockrell is very familiar with the fishing industry.

She said her grandfather, Carl Aspelund, was Swedish. When he went to Alaska he told his family he "was going and not coming back." Cockrell still has the letter he sent his family.

He settled in Naknek and married Anna, an Aleutian native and lived at Libbysville, one of the major salmon canneries, which was built in the early 1900s.

Her maternal grandfather was Oloe Peterson, a Norwegian, who also married a native.

"In my grandpa's day they used sailboats," said Cockrell. She thinks motorboats were not used until the 1950s and 60s. They are made of fiberglass and are not damaged by being pulled up on the shore for much of the year as wooden ones would.

Fishing became a family tradition.

"My mother said we can do everything as a family," said Cockrell. "It's wet, cold and dark. My brother started fishing at 6. My father, Alvin, was a boat operator versus fishing on the beach.

"Mom, Freda, was an orphan and just loved kids. She had a high heart for kids teaching us to work," said Cockrell.

"Mom and the children were set netters."

Cockrell said by fishing the hard way they found easier ways to do things. A person could carry six or eight salmon at five-to-eight pounds each from the nets to the truck that came to pick up the catch. They made it a goal to see how many they could carry.

It was round-the-clock work because the fish came in on the morning and evening tides. By the time one catch was brought out of the water the next tide filled the nets again.

"Mom gave us positive reinforcement that we could move a lot of fish," Cockrell said.

They had two to three weeks to earn a year's income. Although a few fish come earlier or later and can be fished, the busy season is short.

The government's Department of Fish and Wildlife decided it wanted to manage the fish, Cockrell said.

Her dad still thinks fishing should be open to any person. All they would have to do is lower the amount of gear that can be used and anyone could be allowed to do commercial fishing, in his opinion, and that it would remain sustainable.

A boat permit costs $150,000 and the cost for a set net permit is from $40,000 to $65,000. However, the annual renewal is only $100 to $150 for set netters.

To qualify for a permit you had to have points that were gained by justifying every year you fished. She had enough points that she earned her permit by right, not the high fee.

"My dad felt as soon as you were old enough to work, we worked. We got a crew license when I was 13. When there was a limited entry I could prove I fished and had enough points to get a permit. I thank my father for making it possible," Cockrell said.

"We moved so much fish in a short period, which is why we could get a crew member license. It was my Mom's and Dad's main income," she added.

When boat fishing, the boat should remain idle in one spot. When someone is caught drift fishing, there is a fine of $1,000. If a boat operator receives three tickets, they lose their license.

The catch for a boat fisherman would be anything from 100,000 to 500,000 pounds of fish.

Cockrell's mother told her you can't chase the fish, you have to be where you know they will be so it's best to be in the channel when they are coming. She said her mother always knew where and when that would be.

When Cockrell was 16 she started her own site for beach fishing or set netting. The sites a person can fish are set by the state shore fishery.

She will bring in between 20,000 and 25,000 pounds per season, but has caught as much as 50,000 pounds.

This past year the price for fish was 70 cents a pound but it has brought as much as $2.25.

"You set the nets at low tide and the tide brings the fish in. Now, many use set-net skiffs. The nets are brought closer to shore to empty," said Cockrell.

She has since received the legacy of her mother's site.

Natives are allowed to do sustainable fishing for their own use, for barter or to sell with a limit of $700. Some are going beyond that point and illegally sell their catch which puts them in competition with legal commercial fishermen.

Cockrell smokes and cans fish for her own use, and provided fish for her daughter's recent wedding.

The Naknek River, the salmons' destination, is a mile wide at the coast. Naknek is a fishing camp. The natives live upriver at Old Naknek except during fishing season.

Many of the fishermen begin the season in Alaska and follow the fish south as far as California.

Cockrell said her family did ice fishing for food and did a lot of hiking for recreation. In winter, recreation was ice skating and sledding, although she also played basketball in school.

Her parents ran a movie theater that they built by hand, with hammer and saw. Her father wanted a place for children to go.

Her mom was generous, giving things to local kids. If youngsters didn't have money, they were allowed to go to the movie without paying.

"My generation thinks of them (her parents) as angels because, thanks to them, they could do the things people with money could do," said Cockrell, who is the mother of four Kreistal, Robert, Samantha and James.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alpharetta student awarded 'Very Best in Youth'

Alpharetta student awarded 'Very Best in Youth'

October 07, 2009
GLENDALE, Calif. – After a nationwide search spanning nearly a thousand entries, Nestlé USA is proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth Competition, including local winner Mackenzie Bearup, 16, from Alpharetta.

"I'm so thrilled to have been named as one of the 2009 Nestle Very Best In Youth" said Bearup. "It's a great way for teens to see the various ways award winners across the country have made a difference, and hopefully be inspired to get involved and find their calling. Being active and helping others can really make you feel good about yourself."

Hailing from 18 states, each winner represents a driving force for change in their local community and wins a donation of $1,000 to the charity of their choice.

Honoring young people between the ages of 13 to 18 for achievements in local community service and academic excellence, the biannual Nestlé Very Best In Youth Competition is now in its twelfth year.

Bearup caught the judges' eye because of her fundraising and community spirit as well as the courage she has shown in overcoming physical difficulties.

Diagnosed a few years ago with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a painful neurological disorder, and unable to attend school, Bearup found comfort in reading and wanted to ensure that every child in her community had access to books.

With that goal in mind, she set up a book drive that to date has donated more than 22,000 children's books to homeless shelters and residential treatment centers throughout Georgia and Kentucky.

Currently, Bearup is opening reading rooms in 15 shelters throughout Georgia.

"Mackenzie and the rest of our 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth winners truly represent the best and brightest of our future leaders," said Ken Bentley, vice president of community affairs/educational programs at Nestlé USA.

"These winners reflect not only the best in youth, but set an example for us all of how to change and improve the lives of those around us. We at Nestlé are excited to play a supporting role in Mackenzie's story and to bring attention to the young people making a difference in our local communities."

Bearup and the other 23 honorees will each receive a four-day trip to Los Angeles for an awards ceremony in July 2009 and a donation of $1,000 to the charity of their choice.

The winners will also be featured in the 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth book, a publication with complimentary distribution to schools and libraries nationwide.

Nestlé's judging panel looked for a combination of academic achievement and special contributions to school, church or community groups from entrants.

Following a call for entries in spring 2008, the panel reviewed hundreds of letters of recommendation for applicants nationwide before naming this year's honorees.

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Solace from the streets: Ministry helps comfort the homeless, disadvantaged

Solace from the streets: Ministry helps comfort the homeless, disadvantaged

Auburn Reporter Editor

Oct 21 2009, 5:53 PM ·

Through his tireless work, the Rev. Jerry Larson has seen the sorrow and felt the despair of the human struggle – of those living and dying on Auburn’s lonely streets.

At times, it is too difficult to describe, let alone comprehend the anguish of the homeless and the plight of the disadvantaged.

“It is almost animalistic,” Larson said bluntly. “People fight among themselves, steal from each other. … They live in their cars.

“When you live on the streets, you don’t have a lot of support. There’s not a lot to hold onto,” Larson added. “You see, you don’t live for very long on the streets.”

Larson understands this all too well. Of the thousands he has tried to reach, Larson knows of 31 homeless people who have died on local backstreets and alleyways in 12 years of work with his ministry.

In almost every case, those who died were racked by alcoholism and drug abuse. For these homeless, both young and old, there was no turning back.

Despite the struggles and what happens to too many he tries to help, Larson remains undaunted and committed to his cause today. He continues to offer hope and a helping hand.

He and his wife, Jan, persevere as unheralded shepherds of God’s work – as they best describe it. They are passionate stewards of a non-profit, Bible-based ministry that is fighting to survive financially to help those caught in the pincers of homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic violence.

Such a difficult mission keeps the Larsons determined to provide a forgiving means to a promising end for the many who need a hot meal, a warm place to sleep, counseling, medical treatment and recovery. It is a bold, comprehensive program, all in the spirit and purpose of sharing the Gospel.

“We like to lead them to Jesus, but we don’t cram (religion) down their throats,” said Jerry Larson, 63, a lifelong South King County resident and ordained minister for more than 20 years. “We work with the problem. We don’t just disguise it. We want them to discover the Lord and change their lives for the better.

“We get them to shoot for the moon. We might not reach it, but you will be better off than most people when you are reintegrated into society.”

Since His Ministry was established in 1998, the Larsons and their volunteer staff have supplied food, clothing and shelter to thousands of Auburn-area homeless and disadvantaged people. It is one of the few ministries of its kind in Auburn.

The Larsons say they are making a difference and point to ministry’s 92-percent success rate of those who complete the recovery program.

“It’s rewarding, but it’s a tough ministry to be involved in,” said Jan Larson, who has helped cook about 70,000 meals in her 12 years with the ministry. “But there’s nothing we would rather be doing.”

The work is gratifying and at times, thankless. The Larsons don’t earn a wage, but consider influencing and changing lives the ultimate payoff.

Even more challenging is the fact that Jerry Larson goes about his work despite battling health problems. He has undergone 17 surgeries and suffers from complex regional pain syndrome that has diminished the use of his arm and affects his legs.

For the most part, the ministry's work goes almost unnoticed.

“I certainly respect what they have done,” said Pat O’Leary, pastor of Lifegate Auburn Foursquare Church. “(Jerry’s) been a great fixture in Auburn in reaching the needy. He’s made a real difference in the community and being a great example of loving the unlovely. He inspires the rest of us … to get up and get going.”

Lifetime leaders

The Larsons are personified as difference-makers.

Jerry Larson, an experienced counselor and former sports coach, was a successful homebuilder who employed the disadvantaged. Jan, who was in the insurance business before retiring, was an agent and training coordinator. Together, they raised three sons.

As a senior pastor at a nearby church, Jerry Larson wanted to make more of an impact by reaching beyond his own congregation. It was a gamble, but he insists the ministry was God’s calling.

The Larsons began serving meals out of Les Gove Park and Grace Community Church. The mobile ministry bounced around a few locations before the Larsons secured more permanent grounds by leasing office space on Auburn Way South earlier this year.

The new center provides room for consultation and counseling. A volunteer-staffed kitchen serves hot meals twice a week, feeding about 40 each seating. There also is storage for a clothing bank, and when the weather turns colder, limited shelter to accommodate homeless overnight.

The ministry works with other organizations to provide referrals for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, transitional housing, spiritual guidance and counseling, computer training and other educational opportunities.

“People are on the street because they made bad decisions, and Jan and Jerry are there to help them make good decisions,” said Dennis Brooke, a ministry volunteer. "Unlike some groups, they’re not interested in enabling them to continue to live a homeless lifestyle. They provide resources to help them become productive members of society.”

As effective as the ministry has been, the problem remains just as chronic and challenging, especially in these trying and desperate times.

“And it has changed a lot,” said Katherine See, who has worked as an active volunteer since the ministry’s inception, “We are seeing families, couples and the working poor.”

Many of the today's homeless might be working poor, living in cars. Many remain hidden, preferring anonymity, the Larsons observed. A vast majority of homeless people exist out of sight in refuges, squats and unsatisfactory or overcrowded accommodations, or on the floors or sofas of friends and families.

The Larsons have seen the gamut. While they have witnessed tragedy, they have been a part of many inspirational stories and successful recoveries.

Yet more homeless victims appear at the ministry's doorstep each day. Some stay, some go.

Through donations of supplies and money, the Larsons hope the ministry will continue to serve in these uncertain times.

“I think we are making a difference,” Jerry Larson said. “We have to open their eyes and see that their lives can be better.

“This is what needs to be done,” he said. “I’m not going to walk away and turn my back on these people who need help.”


Note: For those wishing to donate food, clothing and money, contact Jerry Larson at 253-315-9570. Checks may be mailed to: His Ministry Fellowship,

P.O. Box 221, Auburn, WA 98071-0221. For more information, visit

Auburn Reporter Editor Mark Klaas can be reached at or 253-833-0218, ext. 5050.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Jefferson Forest cashes in on home course

Jefferson Forest cashes in on home course

Jefferson Forest cashes in on home course

Elizabeth Vernon, of the Peaks View Pacers, finishes first in Wednesday’s high school girls cross country at Jefferson Forest’s Wolf Branch Farm course. Jefferson Forest took home the team titles for boys and girls at the meet.

FOREST — On a spectacular opening day at Jefferson Forest’s panoramic Wolf Branch Farm course, it came as little surprise that the Cavaliers’ varsity girls and boys cross country teams cruised to first-place finishes against Seminole District rivals Brookville, E.C. Glass and Rustburg and the Peaks View Pacers, a team made up of home-schoolers.

What should have turned a few more heads was seeing Forest freshman Katie Vann cross the finish line in second place in the girls JV race, finishing runner-up to Carsen Wilkerson in 24 minutes, 35 seconds in a 1-2-3-4 JF sweep.

Vann, who broke her ankle at a travel soccer tournament at Virginia Tech in January of 2008, was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, on her 15th birthday, last Feb. 11.

“It’s been a nightmare ever since,” Katie’s mother Kristi Vann said.

After dealing with RSD for more than a year, she went through four weeks of intensive therapy at Children’s Hospital Boston over the summer and was cleared to start running cross country again just three weeks ago.

Wednesday was her first race.

“I was hoping I could just finish,” Vann said. “It was tough, but it was worth it.”

“She’s been working so hard in unbelievable pain every day,” Kristi Vann added. “God’s been with us and it’s been incredible. He does the healing and Katie does the work.”

Forest’s boys team had a somewhat inspirational 1-2-3 finish in the varsity race, with Justin Resendes, who has battled acute asthma throughout his career with the Cavaliers, coming in third in 18:01 behind teammates Todd tenPas (17:31) and Robert Deis (17:50).

“He’s so competitive when he runs he wants to be up with the leaders, and every time he does that, he doesn’t finish the race,” JF coach Jerome Loy said. “He gets so anxious. Today, he came by with 800 meters left and he wasn’t even breathing hard. He looked so strong.”

tenPas set a fast pace and led from start to finish.

“That was the best race I’ve had on this course ever,” said tenPas, who was beaten by Deis in the past three meets. “My strategy was to go out pretty fast the first mile and see if I could leave anybody. I went out a lot faster than I expected. My first mile was 5:02 and I normally aim for a 5:20.”

Peaks View sophomore Elizabeth Vernon took the lead midway through the girls varsity race and won in 20:35, taking nearly a minute off her time from last fall’s Runnin’ with the Wolves Invitational, when she finished seventh in 21:31.

“That was a PR for her,” Peaks View coach Sue Jones said. “She’s concentrating on going faster.”

Mary Deis and Leigha Schimmoeller came in second and third, respectively, for the Cavaliers.

“Leigha and I are good at pacing off each other and pushing each other,” Deis said, noting Brewer didn’t surprise her. “She’s a great runner. I tried to keep her in my sight.”

JF held off Brookville 40-30 in the team competition.

The youthful Bees were paced by a freshman, (McKenna Coalson, fourth in 21:41), a junior (Cathleen McCarron, fifth in 21:50) and a sophomore (Kaitlyn Brown, sixth in 22:03.)

“I was very pleased with how we ran today,” Brookville coach Cory Morris said. “We’re into the home stretch and we’re just looking forward to districts. I’m hoping for them to peak right at the right time.”

Forest will host the Seminole District championships at Wolf Branch Farm on Sept. 29. Next Wednesday, most Seminole squads will compete in a Region III preview meet hosted by Lord Botetourt at Greenfield Park.

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Family in need

Family in need

Mary Ellen Green
Staff writer

Fern Kwantes has felt intense pain every second of every day for the last six years.

She was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD) after a long search to explain her relentless pain, which began spontaneously in her left knee, spread throughout her body and never went away.
"In six years, she has gone from an active, vibrant woman who was a school administrator, homemaker and mother of three, to someone for whom walking around the block is about as much physical activity as she can do in a day. In fact, when she goes out, it's usually in a wheelchair," explains Fern's husband, LS Theo Kwantes, who works as a clerk at Canadian Fleet Pacific Headquarters in Dockyard.

The pain is so bad, she can no longer hug her three children, ages 14, 17, and 20.

The Kwantes family have exhausted every pain-reducing treatment option available in Canada, and are now turning south of the border for a remedy.

Fern has been accepted into a five-day ketamine coma study being conducted at a world-renowned medical facility in Monterrey, Mexico. The cost to the Kwantes family is about $75,000.

The ketamine coma is designed to reset the nerves in the body, which have been kept on for such a long time. "If it works she will be almost entirely free of pain," LS Kwantes said.

"Right now she lives in constant, unrelenting pain. From her waist down, and to a lesser extent in other parts of her body, it feels like she's on fire, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the pain just continues to spread. There is no respite from the pain, ever."
Stitching on the top of a shoe can be unbearable. Wearing blue jeans feels like wearing razor blades, he says.

Fern's twin sister Faith, has started a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of treatment in Mexico. So far, half the $75,000 total needed has been raised, and Fern needs to make a payment when she arrives for treatment in Mexico on Sept. 10.

"This is Fern's last and only hope for a normal life," LS Kwantes said. "We need all the help we can get."

A website has been set up at where visitors can learn more about CRPS/RSD, meet Fern and her sister Faith, watch videos of Fern's treatments and donate to the cause.
"It's been really incredible. We're so extremely grateful for the response we've received from the people we know, and those we don't," LS Kwantes said.

"It really means a lot that people whom we've never met have opened their hearts and their wallets to help Fern and our family. I'm really hoping we can reach a few more because we are only half way there."

All monies donated go directly into a trust fund in Calgary at Stewart and McCullough law firm. Cheques can be mailed to: Faith Wood, 117 5 Avenue NW, Airdrie, AB Canada, T4B 1C9.

Donations can also be made to LS Kwantes in building D70 until he leaves for Mexico with Fern Sept. 9.

Any donations in excess of Fern's medical treatments and directly-related costs will be held in trust for other victims of CRPS/RSD who seek to undergo coma therapy, says LS Kwantes.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Couple ready to hit road in customized van

Couple ready to hit road in customized van

By Wayne Laepple
The Daily Item

NORTHUMBERLAND — If you happen to see a large white van parked outside Paul and Barbara Schaffer’s King Street home, you’re looking at Harvey.

Harvey is actually a

Sprinter van that’s been customized to accommodate Barbara’s wheelchair.

“We named it Harvey after the big white rabbit in the movie,” Barbara said with a chuckle. “Maybe we’ll paint a pink nose and whiskers on it some day.”

Actor James Stewart starred in the 1950 movie, “Harvey,” about a man who befriends an invisible six-foot tall rabbit, or pooka.

The Schaffers never thought they’d ever be interested in a recreational vehicle or a second home, but after a visit to Arches National Park in Utah a couple of years ago, they changed their minds.

“We really wanted to sleep out under the stars,” said Barbara, “but we just couldn’t do that.”

Since 2001, the couple has enjoyed attending half a dozen music festivals every year, and they wanted to be able to join friends who camp at the events and take part in the after-hours jams they’ve only heard about.

“We started thinking about it, but no one builds any that are handicapped-accessible,” Paul said. “What we wanted just didn’t exist.”

Barbara, 60, who suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a debilitating nerve condition, has been using a battery-powered wheelchair for a number of years as her condition has changed. Paul, 63, took early retirement to care for her following her 1987 injury.

They did see a few motor homes that could have been adapted, he said, but they were all very large luxury units, so large that they would have had to tow their Dodge Caravan behind to transport Barbara from the campground to an event. Besides, those units were way outside their price range. Even an Internet search for a used vehicle came up dry, since their particular needs couldn’t be met in a used vehicle without extensive modifications.

“We decided we had to start fresh,” Barbara said.

She decided they should find the right lift unit to get her and her wheelchair into the vehicle. However, they didn’t want a unit that would occupy space inside the vehicle. She finally found a company, Creative Controls, in Madison Heights, Mich., that assured them they could mount their lift beneath whatever vehicle they chose for their motor home.

Next they found a custom builder of motor homes, Sportsmobile, in Huntingdon, Ind.

“They make custom vans, not RVs,” said Paul. “These are the people who, in 1961, modified the first Volkswagen vans into campers.”

The Schaffers found a perfect ally in Sportsmobile. The company provided an online floor plan that allowed the couple to develop a floor plan using the components the needed where they needed them. For example, instead of a right-hand front seat, a power-operated tie-down for Barbara’s wheelchair was specified.

Because Barbara cannot step over the entrance to the bathroom, they changed the layout so the commode is next to the doorway. She can sit on the commode, then lift her legs and pivot into the space. To make that change work, the hot water heater had to be downsized and relocated.

Working closely with the design team at Sportsmobile, it took nearly two months to get the interior layout completed.

“There was a lot of problem-solving by phone.” Barbara said.

They had already settled on the Sprinter, a vehicle designed by Mercedes and sold by Chrysler in this country, but it took some time to locate a 24-footer, the largest one made, and then have the necessary windows installed. The vans are shipped into the U.S. with only the windshield and door windows, so other doors and windows had to be installed after they purchased it.

The truck was purchased in Michigan and delivered to Creative Controls for installation of the wheelchair lift, then taken to Indiana for the rest of the work. The Schaffers went to the Sportsmobile plant to be present as workers installed the bathroom and kitchen modules to be certain the wheelchair would fit where it was supposed to.

“They were wonderful to work with,” Barbara said. “They wanted to be sure everything was right.”

At one point, the locking mechanism to hold her wheelchair would not work correctly, and a technician from Creative Controls came to Indiana to correct the problem. They wound up having to take the vehicle back to the plant to get it right, which held up work at Sportsmobile for a day or so.

The results, the couple agree, have exceeded their expectations.

They demonstrated the lift, which folds out from beneath the vehicle. Barbara backed her wheelchair onto it, and it hoisted her up to floor level. She backed in and turned around near the folding table where they can take meals. Then she moved forward and the electronic lock snapped into place. She pulled on her seat belt and was ready to go.

In the middle of the unit, the compact kitchen, complete with stove, refrigerator, microwave and sink, faces the lavatory, which features a sink, shower and commode. Behind them are two couches that quickly convert to beds.

“We’ve also got air-conditioning and a furnace,” Paul said, as he swung the rear doors wide to reveal a fabric screen across the doorway that will let them indeed sleep outdoors. There’s also a generator for lights, and they will be able to use it to charge the batteries on Barbara’s wheelchair.

“People told us we couldn’t do this,” she said. “We were persistent, and we found the right people to help.”

The couple drove the unit back from Indiana, and Paul said the 5-cylinder, three-liter diesel engine with a five-speed automatic transmission gave them better than 20 miles per gallon.

“A piece of you asks why you’re doing this,” he said, as he contemplated the cost of Harvey. He wouldn’t say exactly how much it cost them. “This cost more than either of the homes we’ve owned, but will let us do something together that we both enjoy.”

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