Tag Archives: In Memory

RIP Avery

2 May

I recently read an article about a baby in Texas, Avery, born with SMA, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I had never heard of this disease either, but it is disease of the spinal cord and brain stem that kills more babies than any other genetic disease.

from Avery's Bucket List

Shortly after her birth Avery was only given a few months to live, so her parents decided to create Avery’s Bucket List for her, to accomplish some big moments in a person’s life before she lost hers. They fed her hard foods like cupcakes and lollipops, got her a drivers license,  even got her a first kiss, on the cheek by a little boy also with SMA.

Just about a week after first hearing about Avery I have learned that she’s passed away after going into cardiac arrest unexpectedly on April 30. Born on 11-11-11, she was only 5 and a half months old.

from Avery's Bucket List

There aren’t really words to describe how special the Canahuati family is. In the face of such pain they put their grief aside to provide everything they could for their little girl. I honestly don’t know if, when faced with such a painful situation, I wouldn’t just spend all day in bed crying. Her parents are two very, very strong people that pushed everything to the side when their daughter needed them. They were destined to be a family, because Avery needed two people as remarkable as her two parents to keep smiling.

I decided to donate to her organization, mainly because I was really touched by the family and their dedication to their adorable little girl, but also because every dollar donated will be matched to meet a $1,000,000 goal to launch an SMA Gene Therapy program.

I was amazed that a disease so deadly and so popular was foreign to me, and I’m lucky to have had the chance to read Avery’s story, even if for a short time, and learn more about this disease. What I am really grateful of, however, is the chance to have read about Avery and her family. They really set an example for me, and I admire them for that.

Click here to donate if you have the means, and no matter what, take today and try and live it a little bit more, for people like Avery who lived theirs to the fullest.

Half-Staff for Whitney?

16 Feb

My state’s mayor, Chris Christie, can be kind of a nut job. He doesn’t put up with crap from anyone, which can kind of be awesome in the world of politics, but it can also be frustrating when he won’t budge on really serious and irrational issues- gay rights, for example. The guys priorities can be totally out-of-wack… which brings me to my issue.

As we all know, Whitney Houston passed away this weekend. Of course I’m sad about the death of one of my favorite musicians, but I still find it a little bit unreasonable that Gov. Christie has decided to keep the flag at half-staff on the day of Whitney Houston’s funeral. That’s right, Chris Christie announced today that in honor of Whitney Houston, the U.S. flag will fly at half-staff in New Jersey on Saturday.

While the flag in New Jersey can legally be lowered at half-staff in honor of a respected state official or citizen, and while Whitney Houston is a New Jersey native, I don’t know if this situation is fitting for the honor. Growing up I was taught that a flag at half-staff was to honor Presidents, Senators, war heroes. People that have helped shape our country, keep us safe, and protect our freedoms. I just don’t see how Whitney Houston fits into the mix of that idea.

Listen, I’m a Whitney girl through-and-through, but I think a half-staff flag should be a sign of honor that is taken very seriously and used rarely. If every celebrity that passed away got the flag at half-staff it would lose it’s meaning and it’s value, and most importantly it’s honor.

What do you think?

RIP Whitney Houston

11 Feb

I just found out that Whitney Houston passed away today. I’m super shocked. It’s hard to believe that one of the biggest legends in music is gone at such a young age.

Any of my friends would tell you how much I loved Whitney. How can you not? Whitney Houston was the performer I grew up watching and listening to. There was never a song I didn’t like. As a child my friends and I would sit around in the summer listening to her tapes on someone’s radio. When I first got my license some of my favorite memories was driving and screaming “I Want to Dance With Somebody” with my friends on the way to the shore. Why just a few weeks ago I was jamming out to her music during karaoke.

This is the second of my music icons that have gone too soon to addiction in the seven months. It’s pretty heartbreaking to know another voice is silenced, especially one as legendary and breathtaking as Whitney Houston.

RIP Whitney. You’ll always be my diva, girl.

RIP Joe Paterno

23 Jan

I didn’t really get into college football until 3 years ago when I started dating Alex, who is a huge sports fan. Even before that I knew that Joe Paterno was the best of the best. A sports legend, and someone who has changed the face of the NCAA.

Growing up relatively close to Pennsylvania helped define the legacy that is Penn State. As kids, it was one of those dream schools little boys would dream of when they all wanted to be football players and sports stars. In college hoards of us would apply to the school, sitting and waiting to see if we could make it into University Park or if we would be stuck at a different , dreaded campus. It’s still a school I respect, and regret not attending at times. Joe Paterno’s name goes hand-in-hand with that legacy, so of course it is a tragedy to have lost him.

Part of the tragedy is the bad timing of his loss, with his name having been tainted at the very end. It’s something I hate to bring up, because it is still a really sensitive thing for me to talk about as it hurt what I stood for within my career so much.

The original release of the news and reaction of the Sandusky arrest was the biggest moment of doubt I’ve ever had in my time as a journalist. It really killed me to see the witch hunt that formed from a couple of angry bloggers without enough information. To be honest, we still don’t have any real information about the situation, and to bring up such a dark and questionable time at a moment when we should all be celebrating a legend is really classless. I guess that’s the price you pay for being active in social media, but I can still be upset about it.

I hope that we can now put Joe Paterno’s name to rest with respect and with the dignity and honor that he has earned. It’s definitely a heartbreaking day.

Happy Birthday, Benjamin Franklin!

17 Jan

That’s right everyone. It is Benny Frank’s b-day! Let’s go crazy!

I love Benjamin Franklin, he’s my dude. Seriously though, I’m his number one fan. So much so that I had his poster up in my dorm room until (several) room mates told me it was weird and I took it down. My pet turtle (may he rest in piece) was named Benjamin Franklin, and I like to think he was smarter because of it. And now, settled into my office like the working girl that I am, ol’ Ben sits behind me, looking great as always.

If you have the time or the enthusiasm, hop onto Amazon’s Kindle site. They have free classic e-books available, a really good spread that also includes Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. It’s fascinating, and free, so give it a go!

Happy birthday, Ben. You’re the man.

RIP Steve Jobs

5 Oct

Photo courtesy: Apple.com

There is so much I could say about Steve Jobs and his company. After all, I grew up as Apple products grew. Sitting in my first computer  classes with the big, colorful, plastic Macs, staring in jealousy at kids on the bus while they played with their brand new iPods, setting up my MacBook Pro before I left for college. I’m even writing on my Mac right now as I remember the memories that Steve Jobs has provided in my life.

Right now it doesn’t even seem real that Steve Jobs is gone. What could take such a powerful and innovative man down? How is that possible?

Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t discriminate, and there is still no piece of technology advanced enough to cure it every time. We may have lost Steve Jobs, but I hope that his memory will inspire more people to fight for a cure and for an answer to this horrible disease.

Rest in Peace, and thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Remembering 9/11/01

11 Sep

When I was very young my family and I would visit my great aunt, we called her Dimples, in Staten Island. She had this really neat apartment in a high rise that we would go to, and every time we visited she would take us up to the roof. From that roof we had the most clear view of the New York City skyline. My best memory was when Dimples would show us the World Trade Centers, the “Twin Towers”. I am a twin, and she would always make it a point to show us the towers so that we could laugh about how they were named after my brother and me.

I was twelve years old on September 11, 2001. I was in seventh grade, which pretty much proves that I was at my peak of terrible-ness (have you ever met a pre-teen that isn’t generally awful in every sense of the word? Me neither).

To be 100 percent honest, I had absolutely no grasp on the severity of September 11th. None whatsoever. My middle school didn’t actually tell us what was going on that day, and even now I wonder how my classmates and I didn’t have any hint of anything. I faintly remember my Social Studies teacher, Mr. Pont, looking like he was crying, but we had just lost one of our English teachers in a car accident the previous week, and I thought nothing of it.

When I got home from school, oddly enough nobody else besides my brother and I were home, and I remember turning on MTV (back when TRL was still around and cool) to find it was shut down on stand-by, as was most of the other channels a 12-year-old would tune to. My twin and I jumped around the house laughing about whatever was going on that would warrant all of our shows to be shut off. We eventually got to a news station to see what was going on, and I still really couldn’t process how horrible this day was. I guess I assumed that if something serious had happened then our school, the culmination of a kid’s day, would have at least have said something, anything to us.

This was the day before cell phones were given to every infant while leaving the womb, and I called my friends from our landline to see how I should be reacting. Some of them were crying and some were panicked while others were just as confused as I was. Mind you, I live relatively close to New York City, and to a lot of people in my area this day was much more significant and heartbreaking. If I remember correctly my dad was away on business in Oklahoma, and when my mom came home she looked pretty broken and empty. I was used to seeing her excited, angry, shocked, pretty much any emotion besides blank.

To be honest I think that a lot of my emotions were a reaction to other’s emotions. I really couldn’t understand how horrible this day was. The televisions played over the crash so often that it wasn’t really shocking anymore, and I learned how to deal with that terror very quickly at a very young age. This was around the time in my life that I began seeing dead bodies in the media for the first time and reacting to them with very little compassion. It couldn’t be helped, really, because it was everywhere.

This desensitized view of life prepared me for the aftermath of 9/11: the wars, the constant fear of attack, the death. The next year I sat in history class and watched Shock and Awe, followed by a war that is still going on today, followed by a crippling recession that seemed to just kick our country when it was down. I grew up hearing about parents going off to the Middle East, and now I watch my own friends leave behind their families to fight.

Now that I am ten years older I have a real understanding of what happened. Ten years later I can’t look at videos or pictures of that day without getting upset. I can understand how the broken families feel and I can see the pain that is still hidden in the hearts of my friends and families from what that day did to our country. It makes me upset and angry, because I now realize how much harder September 11th made it for kids like me to grow up. There was so many more issues that we were taught to deal with, on top of all of the hard things that come with being a teenager and young adult.

It’s not fair that we had to go through this, but I still feel lucky. I feel lucky because through those hard times I was surrounded by a support group of people that taught me the right way to see terror and how to cope with all of what I was feeling.

I wish there was more that I could say than just “thank you” to the heroes of September 11th. The cops, firefighters, civilians and passengers that all helped save so many lives deserve everything they could ever want in life, and there will never be enough thank you’s for them. But now that I look back on my life, I have my own personal heroes that I feel deserve thanks as well. I want to thank the teachers, family members, friends and parents of friends that taught me how to cope with what happened to our country throughout the last ten years. I don’t know if I would be able to make sense of life now if I didn’t have the strength of the people that guided me through this last decade. We are all stronger because of the heroes and because of the memories of those we lost that day.