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March 28, 2017 • Headline News
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Dreams do come true, just ask Afena

Wanda English Burnett

Two years ago when Afena Walker, Greensburg, was diagnosed with lung cancer she never dreamed it would lead to something positive. Thanks to the Dream Foundation and help from Margaret Mary Health, her dream came true last week as she toured in the city of New Orleans. She was able to go from March 15 through Sunday, March 19.

Pictured left, cancer patient, Afena shows her gratitude to Dream Foundation representative, Emily King.

“It was just awesome,” she told the Osgood Journal, saying, “it is just hard to explain.” All the colors, smells, and feel of the Big Easy was something Afena had always wanted to experience and she says there’s nothing like it.

For a woman who has spent much of her life as a school aide, gardening, enjoying raising flowers and the outdoors in southeastern Indiana, the city was a stretch, but a big leap she had always wanted to experience. “During one of Afena’s chemotherapy treatments, she told me she had always dreamed of going to New Orleans but was concerned about the expense,” said Kari Ann Rennekamp, patient support coordinator at Margaret Mary’s Cancer Center. “That’s when I suggested we submit her wish to the Dream Foundation.” And, when she found out her application had been accepted, Afena said, “I was really just ecstatic!” Afena said she is thankful to be able to take her treatments, both radiation and chemotherapy at the cancer center in Batesville. “The people there are really great,” she noted.

Afena got to experience her birthday in New Orleans and St. Patrick’s Day, two pluses to the original trip. She said her daughter Heather went with her, so that made it extra special too. “Oh, my!” You just see everything,” she laughed. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be one she’ll always remember with vivid color, sparkles and pizazz, and music varied from corner to street corner. “You heard blues, rock, jazz, everything within a five block radius,” she noted. She said the food was wonderful too. Staying in the French Quarter is something Afena had always wanted to do. “I have always wanted to visit New Orleans because I have always been interested in the culture and people in the area. I also like warm climates, and I’d love to share this with my daughter, because she’s been there for me every step of the way during my cancer treatments,” she had written in an application before she was awarded the trip. Thanks to a group of generous people including Southwest Airlines and Genentech, her dream was complete with rooms booked at the luxurious Dauphine Orleans of the New Orleans Hotel Collection.

The Dream Foundation fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. They have given these opportunities to more than 25,000 over the past 20 years and have never turned down a qualified applicant. Dani Cordaro, PR consultant for Dream Foundation, which is based out of Santa Barbara, Ca., said she was pleased Afena was able to have this experience. About everyone who has helped in making the New Orleans journey possible, Afena says, “they are really like my second and third family.”

A ‘factor’ to consider
Not to be negative but…

By Jill Pertler

Most of us like to think of ourselves as glass-half-full types of people. Positive and optimistic and all that. I try to be positive. Except in one key area where I have no choice or voice. I blame my parents for my negativity. They both contributed equally to a situation I couldn’t change if I tried. To be fair, neither could thRh Negativeey. You might say it’s in my blood. Literally. I am one of the 10 to 15 percent of the population whose blood is negative (versus positive).

This negativity is due to the absence of a certain marker in the blood called the Rh factor, which is a recessive and inherited trait. The Rh factor was first discovered in the blood of Rhesus monkeys in 1940 (hence the name) and later in humans. Most humans have the factor. I do not. For the most part, it’s no big deal. I’d never given it much thought. But, then I went online and dangerously hit the Google and found a firestorm of theories – conspiracy and otherwise – as to how the difference between Rh-positive and Rh-negative came to be.

Some of the more outlandish ideas involve an ancestry of extraterrestrials, angels or even lizards. Here’s an actual quote from one website: “Do the Rh-negatives amount to an underground army of human hybrids being carefully and secretly nurtured for reasons that might be nothing less than downright sinister and deadly?” Human hybrids and ancient aliens who are downright sinister and deadly? How about the possibility that Rh-negative blood might simply be a genetic mutation? I think I like the angel theory the best. I don’t often brood about my blood type. Most people don’t. The few I asked couldn’t tell me theirs. They thought it was a strange question, which I found to be a strange answer.

Being negative never impacted me in a negative way – until I got pregnant with my first child. Then I had to confront the gruesome reality that if given the chance, my body would turn on the unborn baby and attempt to kill it. That’s because negative blood and positive blood are like oil and water. They don’t mix. They don’t even like each other; so, things can get tricky and downright dangerous when an Rh-negative mama-to-be is carrying an Rh-positive baby, which I did – four times. If the blood from the fetus mixes with the blood from the mother, wham! Attack mode. The mother’s body sees the baby as a foreign entity – or alien – and tries to get rid of it. Luckily for us negative types a drug was invented in the late 1960s to prevent a mom’s body from destroying the baby. I got poked with a needle a couple extra times during each pregnancy so I – and my babies – were safe.

Certain traits are rumored to correlate with Rh-negativity – some more interesting than others. People without the factor are thought to have an increased capacity for empathy and even psychic abilities. I wouldn’t have predicted that. Their body temperature is lower than their positive peers. They cannot be cloned; so, you might see my doppelganger, but never my cloned twin. According to highly scientific Internet wisdom, people abducted by aliens are more likely to be Rh-negative. I better start locking my bedroom door at night.

There are a few positives related to being negative. Folks without the factor have a natural resistance (but not immunity) to HIV, smallpox and the bubonic plague. I guess I can finally quit worrying about succumbing to black death. Whew! Scientists are interested in how Rh-negative came to be and why. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to being Rh-negative? If you asked me I’d say it’s a little of both. Disadvantage during pregnancy; advantage toward plagues. Add to that a probable propensity for leadership.

Since the Rh factor was identified mid-last century, the website reports U.S. Presidents with Rh-negative blood include Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama. British royals Queen Elizabeth, Princes Charles, and William and Harry are also part of the club; as was Princess Diana. That’s quite a group. I guess I’m in pretty good company then. Perhaps my glass is half full after all.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook: *Bloodline of the Gods

Two-car collision sends man to hospital

On March 23, at approximately 8:50 a.m., a two-car collision occurred on SR 229 just south of County Road 1400 North near Batesville. Samuel Bedel, 17, Batesville, was driving north on 229 when his vehicle, a 2006 Kia Optima, apparently left the roadway for a short distance. Bedel’s vehicle then came back across the northbound lane and entered the southbound lane sideways.

Crash on 229 near BatesvilleSUBMITTED PHOTO

Clint Bohman, 37, also of Batesville was operating his 2008 Toyota pick-up truck, driving south on 229. He was taking several young children to daycare when he saw Bedel’s vehicle approaching through a curve. Bohman told police he saw the Kia leave the east side of 229, go out of control and cross into his path. Bohman stated that he could not avoid the collision.

Bedel was transported to University of Cincinnati Hospital via Stat Flight with apparent head injuries. His condition is unknown at the time of this release. No one in Bohman’s vehicle was injured. The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crash, and they were assisted by Batesville Police, Batesville Fire Dept. and EMS Truck 53.

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