On Thanksgiving Day in 2008, nine-year-old Erica Forney of Fort Collins, Colorado, died. She didn’t have a terminal illness. She wasn’t playing with matches or an unattended gun. Two days before Thanksgiving, she was riding her bike home from school, the way she did every day. Just two houses away from her own, she was hit by a two-ton SUV. She sustained a head injury which led to her death. The woman behind the wheel of the SUV was using her cell phone while driving.
Every year, thousands of children are injured during the summer months. The warmer the weather gets, the more time kids spend outside, engaging in activities that expose them to potentially dangerous situations, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injury. Many of these accidents and injuries can be avoided if parents take a few precautions.
Every day, firefighters are injured on the job, whether from smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion, or actual burns, all while trying to save people and their precious belongings from fire. Not many people will willingly enter a burning building for any reason, yet firefighters do it every day for little pay and sometimes no recognition. Because it’s not something we’re affected by every day, we tend to forget the sacrifices firefighters make. One man in Australia set out to change that.
Wildfires are common in Australia due to frequent drought and oppressive heat. Yet firefighters continue to risk their lives to fulfill their duties of keeping people and property safe. In 1998, five firefighters died in a horrible wildfire in Lindon, Australia. Afterward, the local community paid tribute to them and the sacrifices they made by wearing red ribbons in their honor. This small gesture was the beginning of what is now observed as International Firefighters’ Day.
The loss of those five men, and the ensuing tribute prompted a volunteer firefighter named JJ Edmondson of Victoria, Australia to begin an online campaign to coordinate international recognition for firefighters around the world. The positive response was overwhelming, and after some discussion, it was decided that International Firefighters’ Day would be observed on May 4 every year.
This date was chosen because it is also the day that celebrates the life of Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, among other things. He stands for selfless dedication to duty and saving lives, the very things today’s firefighters risk their lives for.
Last week, those who want to pay tribute to firefighters wore a blue and red ribbon to honor those firefighters who have been injured, who have given their lives to save others, or who simply take on that risk every single day. Whether or not you observe this international day of recognition and tribute, the bravery and dedication displayed by firefighters everywhere is undeniable.
Last December, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed into law a ban on texting while driving, joining 20 other states, the District of Columbia, and Guam in an attempt to prevent the increasing number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction. Six other states, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all forms of cell phone use while driving. Many people feel that this cell phone law is simply too difficult to enforce, will increase traffic stops, and waste law enforcement officers’ time. Others feel laws like this threaten an invasion of privacy. Now the National Safety Council (NSC) is weighing in.
Most people who live in the northern states love winter. It’s pretty much a prerequisite for living in a state that gets several feet of snow every year. Those who can’t hack it have already moved south to warmer climates. Those who remain look forward to winter for its beauty, and to take part in activities like skiing. But even people who don’t mind the cold and the snow look forward to spring when all the trees and flowers begin blooming again, and the weather warms up. Just as winter brings certain risks with it — blizzards, avalanches, and frozen power lines — so does spring. As all that snow and ice begins to melt, rivers and streams rise, sometimes to dangerous levels. Being aware means being safe.
Many of us living in Denver don’t think we’ll ever be stranded in our cars during a snowstorm. We’re in the big city, it’s not like were on some deserted country road. Even if we do get stuck we wouldn’t have far to walk for shelter, right? I’ve got my cell phone and On-Star, I won’t be stuck long.
Having lived most of my life in Colorado, I’ve hit a patch of ice and lost control of my car and slid off the road a time or two. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan helped me out and my time stuck out in the blizzard was minimal. But what if my timing isn’t so good the next time? What if I’m on my way back from the mountains and I get stuck – as we all know, cell phone coverage in the mountains can be unreliable.
Lakewood High School’s Mock Trial Team: Taylor Kelson (attorney), Connor Trafton (attorney), Aharon Fleury (witness), Anton Nguyen-Vu (witness), and Jackson Emanuel (witness)
Day 1 (Friday, November 6th): Today was the first day of competition for the Providence Cup. After a brief scare involving lost case materials, we got everyone through security and into the courthouse. We had never competed in this tournament before, so we didn’t know exactly what to expect. After a brief introduction, we were dispatched to our first round.
This weekend our neighborhoods will be overrun by ghouls, goblins and ghosts and no, it’s not the latest horror flick come to life. This year Halloween falls on a Saturday, which is great for the kids who go out for “Trick or Treat.” It also makes conditions more hazardous for “Trick or Treating”, combining a dangerous mix of large numbers of children on the streets after dark and adults driving to their kids around town for Trick or Treat or Halloween parties.
Statistically, 5 to 12 year old children are four times more likely to be injured on Halloween night due to falls and car crashes.
In 2008, a group of bereaved parents came together to ensure that the vision set forth by the original founders of A Walk to Remember would live on. We were brought together by grief and a determination to ensure that not only a Remembrance Walk would happen to remember our children, but also that bereaved parents in Colorado would have the resources needed to get through such a difficult time.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 the Bachus & Schanker clan gathered together for a good cause, Light the Night. The evening started out at partner, Darin Schanker’s house for the second annual BBQ. Even though it was a bit colder than last year there was still a great turn out.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk is the nation’s night to pay tribute and bring hope to people battling cancer. Walks take place in communities throughout the United States and Canada, typically in the fall. On these special nights, thousands of participants carry illuminated balloons and raise funds for vital, lifesaving research and patient services.
I must tell you that seeing all the lit balloons is quite amazing. To see the supporters, the survivors and the people walking in memory is breathtaking. I walk for more personal reasons, I had a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed at the age of 14 with Leukemia. I was working at Children’s Hospital at the time, and when I walked out from my office my dear friend was sitting in the surgery waiting room. She had tubes in her and just look stripped from all of her energy. She looked up at me and said “I have been diagnosed with Leukemia.” I remember a lump in my throat, and the feeling in my stomach.
I spent the next two months by her side watching the effects of chemotherapy as she fought for her life. It was a long road for a teenage girl. She suffered the loss of her hair, gaining and losing weight because of the chemotherapy. I remember the days that she couldn’t bear the pain of the sickness she felt. The doctors weren’t sure if she would overcome this illness. She was put on a special medicine, I don’t remember the name of it, but it was new.
On January 9, 2009, my wedding day, her status moved from being in remission to being cured. She was cured thanks to the supporters of the research to cure blood cancers. My wedding day, I celebrated so much more than being married, I celebrated a the miracle of life and the willingness for people to invest in something so important.
Light the Night is more then the balloons and festivities, it is a night to bring awareness of blood cancers and what we can do as a nation to help find a cure so maybe one day our friends, family and co-workers won’t be touched by this disease. I encourage each and everyone of you that are reading this blog to go to www.lightthenight.org and make a small donation and be a part of the team that is trying to find a cure. I thank you and everyone who has been touched by a blood cancer will thank you.
Courtney Clark aka Charity Chick