Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tried & True Tuesday: GoTo Seat

Here is a GREAT review on an amazing product, ideal for our little bees who need a little extra "ooph" in the area of trunk support! 

Check out the GoTo Seat from Firefly in the UK

Then read the review from our friends at Adapted World in their recent post Take a Leap of Faith.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

National Infant Immunization

A part of World Immunization Week (WIW), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), April 26 - May 3 is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). 

Please note that I am not sharing this awareness campaign to spark debate on immunization, simply to provide a resource for you to do your own research when making the decision that is best for your child and your family.

From the Centers for Disease Control: 

NIIW is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, health care professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together through NIIW to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements.

During WIW, all six WHO regions, including more than 180 Member States, territories, and areas, will simultaneously promote immunization, advance equity in the use of vaccines and universal access to vaccination services, and enable cooperation on cross-border immunization activities.

As part of WIW, NIIW will be held in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA). Communities across the Western hemisphere will participate in awareness and education events, planned in conjunction with state and local health departments, PAHO, and the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission. 

Milestones Reached
Several important milestones already have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants worldwide. Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In addition:

  • Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
  • In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, few physicians just out of medical school will ever see a case of measles during their careers.
  • Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in direct costs.
  • The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.
  • It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.

One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases or outbreaks that were reported in 2013. Data from 2013 showed a higher than normal number of measles cases nationally and in individual states, including an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City that was the largest reported outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1996.

NIIW provides an opportunity to: 

  • Highlight the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially to infants and young children, and the importance and benefits of childhood immunizations.
  • Educate parents and caregivers about the importance of vaccination in protecting their children from birth against vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Focus attention on our immunization achievements and celebrate the accomplishments made possible through successful collaboration.
  • Step up efforts to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases and thereby give them a healthy start in life.
  • Encourage better communication between parents and health care professionals.
  • Remind parents and caregivers they need to make and keep needed immunization appointments.
  • Provide parents and caregivers with a toll-free number, 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), to locate a facility that offers immunizations through the Vaccines for Children’s program, a federally funded program that provides vaccinations at no cost to children whose parents cannot afford to pay for them.

NIIW also supports efforts to:

  • Provide web-based resources for state and local health departments and local coalitions to develop and implement a communication strategy that will increase awareness of the importance of immunization and improve local vaccine coverage rates.
  • Create events that attract community support and media interest in order to increase national and local coverage of stories on the importance of childhood immunization.
  • Provide a forum to pitch news stories, provide media hooks to interest local media in developing feature stories on the importance of childhood immunization, and create opportunities for local media interviews with immunization experts.
  • Recognize local partners and volunteers for their year-round efforts helping to raise childhood immunization coverage, with special emphasis on completing the vaccination series.
  • Create opportunities for local organizations and agencies to work together as immunization partners.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Donate Life

Did you know that April is Donate Life Month? 

I had no clue and wish I'd known sooner, but will be ready next year with a little more research.

Oftentimes, babies born with terminal conditions are able to give life to another through organ donation. As a registered organ donor myself, I loved the idea when it was discovered that my own little man's life would be limited. Although some medical text would deem a child born with hydranencephaly as being "brain dead" at birth, fortunately another determining factor would be used in these cases: donation after circulatory death, also known as donation after cardiac death (DCD).

However, upon further research, I was advised that this was not an option with those diagnosed with hydranencephaly, for whatever reason (oddly enough, yes with anencephaly but not with hydranencephaly??). Out of frustration, I tossed the topic to the back burner and there it has remained for well over 3 years. 

Next April, I will be ready for the opportunity in April to bring awareness to this possibility by sharing whether this is a definite option to explore to the families we serve through Global Hydranencephaly Foundation who may be interested.

In the meantime, are you and your loved ones registered to donate life to one or more of the 120,000 individuals who are awaiting organ transplants in the United States alone? If not, why?

Transplant Expert Dispels Organ Donation Misconceptions
By Robert Preidt

Misconceptions prevent many people from agreeing to donate their organs and potentially save a life, according to a transplant expert.

More than 120,000 people are on organ transplant waiting lists in the United States. But a shortage of donated organs means that an average of 18 people die each day while waiting for transplants.

For every person who donates their organs after they die, the lives of up to 50 people could be saved or improved, according to a Mayo Clinic news release.

As part of National Donate Life Month in April, Dr. Brooks Edwards outlines and dispels the myths that get in the way of organ donation. He is a transplant cardiologist and director of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Transplantation and Clinical Regeneration.

Some people mistakenly believe that if they agree to donate their organs, doctors won't work as hard to save their life. The fact is that doctors will do all they can to save your life, Edwards said in a Mayo news release.

Other people believe that organ donation is against their religion. But Edwards said that organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions, including Roman Catholicism, Islam, most Protestant faiths and most branches of Judaism. If you have doubts or concerns, speak with a member of your clergy, he advised.

There are also those who think that people who've donated organs or tissues can't have an open-casket funeral. Since a person's body is clothed for burial, there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation, Edwards explained.

Some believe they are too old or sick to donate their organs. But the decision to use your organs is based on medical criteria, not age. Also, only a few health conditions automatically disqualify people from donating organs. Sign up to be an organ donor and let doctors decide after you die whether your organs and tissues can be used for transplantation, Edwards suggested.

Another misconception is that rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ. But they don't receive preferential treatment, and fame and wealth aren't considered when deciding who gets an organ, Edwards said.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, April 15, 2014

Learn more by clicking the image above to visit the Donate Life site or the one below to visit the US Department of Health & Human Services organ donor website. 

BUZZ: Happy 5th BEE-Day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BUZZ: Fundraising Opportunity

April $5 Challenge - 1,000 New iGive Members a Day Mean Potential $5 Donations for Global Hydranencephaly Foundation... it's true!

You've likely seen our semi-regular posts since joining over a year ago:

"Help Global Hydranencephaly Foundation every time you shop: http://www.iGive.com/GlobalHydranencephalyFoundation/?p=19992&jltest=1 

But this month, there is a little something more:

"We'll also earn $5 for each new supporter who joins in April if iGive gets 1,000 new members a day. So, help us spread the word by sharing this post and by joining iGive!"

Seems to easy to be true, right?! Not only do we have the opportunity to receive $5 for each new individual who signs up with iGive AND chooses to donate to GHF; but, as always, we also receive whatever percentage of sales that each online retailer has chosen to donate to GHF. And there are 1000's to choose from... perfect for those shopping in your pjs kind of days.

There is no purchase necessary.  In other words, for free.  If you sign up with iGive and choose to support a different group, they'll donate $5 to that group. So, even if you do not want to support GHF, it is a great opportunity to support your organization of choice.

In addition, we will need you to try the free and optional iGive Button through 7/15/14. What this button does is AUTOMATICALLY let you know that the website you are visiting donates a specific percentage of your sales to your charity of choice; as well as special offers for iGive members. 

Share with your friends, please?! Why?

When they shop, they'll help Global Hydranencephaly Foundation or their own favorite cause.  Why not let them take advantage of over 1,400 stores that want to help?
The average shopper is raising over $30 - $100 a year for their cause... all for free.

No additional purchases. or even clicks of the mouse, necessary.

It's simple and automatic... really!

Five bucks free for GHF, just for trying us out.

Why the promotion? It almost makes it seem "too good to be true."....

The more iGive members in their community, the better the deals shoppers can get from stores.

Spread our iGive link everywhere (Facebook's a great way, but Twitter, e-mail, blogs, bulletin boards, and handouts all work).

Use our special link: 

Good Luck and happy shopping while supporting GHF or your favorite charity!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bee-ography: Loving Angelia

I recently stumbled upon this blog post by Holly, originally published nearly a year ago on April 8, 2013. Thanks goes to this mommy for sharing her precious girl with the world by means of her blog: Holly in the Home

Loving Angelia
AngeliaHave you ever wondered why any mother would voluntarily choose to get her heart broken?
I’m sure every mother knows what it’s like to check on a sleeping baby, just to make sure they’re still breathing.
I’m also pretty sure every mother knows what it’s like to have her heart skip a beat when she wonders for just an instant what life would be like if she lost that precious child.
Some mothers – far too many of them – DO know the devastating grief of burying a child. They have lived through long, anguished nights wondering “Why me?!” and “If only….” Only those mothers who have walked that path know the soul-crushing pain that leaves you breathless and drained – as if you had run a marathon uphill, in the rain, with no preparation.
So why would any mother voluntarily choose to adopt a child she knows will die? Why would she put herself through that kind of pain? Is she crazy? Is she a saint? Would you believe me if I told you the answer was neither craziness nor sainthood but simply love?
At least it was for me.
In the early summer of 2007, my husband and I had a full house – 13 kids at home, to be exact. With 4 by birth and then 19 by adoption, you could say we had our hands full. Not all 23 lived with us – 3 were stuck in Africa waiting for US visas that have never come, several were grown and gone and 2 of our daughters had passed away.
In the middle of June, I got an email forwarded from a forward, desperately seeking a family for a little girl who had just been born. This baby was missing most of her brain and would be severely disabled all of her short life – and she needed a family.
My heart leapt at that email and I knew that sweet baby was meant to be my daughter. Every child deserves to be loved and cherished and I knew we could offer this baby a lifetime of love.
As a family, we decided we wanted her to join us and when she was 9 days old, she came home from the hospital, straight into our hearts.. Because of her diagnosis of hydranencephaly – meaning she had fluid where most of her brain was supposed to be – and her prognosis of a very short life, where 50% of the kids with hydranencephaly never even see their first birthday, we made a conscious effort to treasure every moment we had with her.
We named her Angelia for the sweet angel that she was. She couldn’t sit up or roll over – or even hold her head up, but she could be held and loved and – so she was! That sweet baby was held almost every second she was awake. I typed many a blog post with her on my lap and when all the other kids were at school, the two of us would laugh and giggle and sing – and even twirl around the living room.  And pink – there was lots and lots of pink – pink ruffles, pink bows, pink fingernails, pink toes….
I knew there would be a coming day of sorrow, but I did not guard my heart or hold back in loving her. In fact, I opened my heart as wide as I could. I poured myself into her. I cherished her. I adored her – and I wanted her to know it. She was blind and could never see my face, but she felt it every day as I held her close to me. I touched her and talked to her, held her and even sang to her for hours – even though that’s not something I’m particularly talented in.
When she was 3 ½, she left us on a cold February morning. My heart broke into a million pieces, as I knew it would.
Angelia funeral
It remains one of the hardest losses I have ever experienced. The tenderness has lingered longer and the tears still come regularly – and yet I have never, ever, regretted adopting our sweet Angelia.
We all do hard things because the trade-offs are worth it.
Some people train for – and complete – marathons, trading sore muscles, blisters, fatigue, running in bad weather and hours of precious time because it’s worth it. Virtuosos trade years of their lives to become experts in their craft. Young married couples sacrifice time and money now as they work 2 jobs to pay for school so that later, their family is provided for in a comfortable manner. For me, loving Angelia was worth the trade-off in grief.
Every long, lonely night, every tear-stained pillow, every bout of empty, aching arms that long to hold her, EVERY MOMENT of sorrow is STILL worth the trade-off in the joy and love she brought to our home, the joy and love that came to me as her mama and the joy and love I believe she felt during her life with us.
I would do it all again – in a heartbeat. Not because I’m crazy or a Saint or have some special talent.
Simply because LOVE is worth it.