‘Keeping the kids together’: Nonprofit holds Halloween party for children with Autism

PEMBROKE – Alexa Roderick, 6-years-old, of Marshfield, was giggling  as she  came down the slide.

“She really enjoys the slide,” said Hannah Roderick, her mother. “We can’t get her out of the slide.”

More than 170 families  brought their children to the City Arena in Pembroke to enjoy the Autism Inclusion Halloween Party.

“We want to get the kids together and have fun,” said Candice Hartford, founder of Raising Harts. “Our mission is to grow a warm, supportive, and empowering community for families with neurodiverse children in which they can enrich their lives and grow together.”

The first hour of the event was quiet for  those who are sensitive to noises and lights, and the rest of it featured music and lights.

The party  offered many activities for children, such as bouncy houses, face painting, balloon artists, immersive coloring and art centers, a calm-down area and more.

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Tim Shaw’s Courage, Strength and Determination on Full Display in “A Titans Story”

NASHVILLE – Eight years ago, Tim Shaw let the entire world know he’d been diagnosed with ALS.

His body already weakened, and his speech slurred by early signs of the disease, the former Titans linebacker bravely stood in front of teammates, coaches and reporters who watched him fearlessly do his job on football fields, and he made a promise to fight every day.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to hear,” Shaw said of his diagnosis back in 2014, his voice cracking. “Every thought runs through your mind, but as a man you have a choice. What are you going to do? Are you going to stand up and fight for your life? Or are you going to accept what someone else tells you is reality and just fade away?

“As staggering as that news was, and as shocking as it was to hear and to say, I made that choice to stand up and live life to the fullest like I believe I always have.”

Shaw has kept his promise, and he’s inspired those who know him personally, as well as those who’ve grown to admire him from afar.

On Friday, the Tennessee Titans are sharing Shaw’s inspirational story in a video piece called “A Titans Story: Tim Shaw, presented by Permobil” which documents Shaw’s life journey from his days as a little boy to his high school days when he was known as “Touchdown Tim” to his days at Penn State to his six-year career in the NFL, which led him to Tennessee, and the Titans.

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This Indigenous Scientist Helped Save Lives as COVID Devastated the Navajo Nation

“How do you tell a community in the United States that has no running water or electricity to wash their hands?”

Crystal Lee drives hours through dust on Route 66 past the border town of Gallup, N.M., on her way through the parched road to the Navajo Nation in Arizona. She is going to see family who have made it through the pandemic.

“Every single day, I knew of someone who had passed from COVID,” Lee says, staring straight ahead.

Even before the pandemic hit, Lee, a Navajo scientist and assistant professor at the University of New Mexico College of Population Health, had tried to sound the alarm. In 2017 she spoke at the United Nations, warning anyone who would listen that the Navajo Nation did not have the infrastructure or resources to survive a deadly pandemic.

But few did, and when the coronavirus pandemic raged through the Navajo Nation in 2020, it led to the highest death rate per capita in the U.S.—including members of Lee’s family.

In a new documentary short film, Lee brings us into her fight for health equity on the Navajo Nation.

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Landis Sims has no hands or feet but can hit a curveball. His journey is now a movie.

Eric Cochran was looking for an inspirational story eight years ago when he visited a softball team camp for limb-deficient kids in Mission Viejo, Calif., put on by the Wounded Warrior Project.

Cochran, a veteran cinematographer, planted himself in the bleachers. He was there for all of about 90 seconds when he fixed his eyes on an 8-year-old who was working with Matias Ferreira, a former Marine who lost both legs below his knees while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.

“Picture this little, kind of roly poly kid on prosthetic legs and he’s got the bat tucked against his body,” Cochran said. “And he’s just rifling shot after shot and talking smack. I’m like, ‘Who the hell is this kid?’”

Cochran sat and observed Landis Sims for a day, then worked up the courage to ask his mother, Amanda Sims, to talk to him the following day. Cochran was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. Landis, a New York Yankees fan, immediately let him have it.

“He started giving me crap,” Cochran said. “That’s just kind of how the relationship started.”

Cochran pitched the idea to Amanda of visiting the Sims family at their home in Elizabeth, a rural community near the Ohio River in Harrison County in southern Indiana. “I had no idea the journey it would turn into,” Cochran said.

The result, after eight years, is the inspiring true story of Landis Sims, now 16 years old. The 95-minute documentary — “Landis: Just Watch Me” — chronicles Sims, who was born without hands and feet, as he overcomes obstacles on his journey as he strives to make his high school baseball team at South Central High School.

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Young Woman Who Came From Adversity Now Helps Others

Just about everyone is drawn to a story in which a victim of the most horrific abuse and deprivation overcomes those atrocities to not only become successful but also to help others who had suffered similar abuses. That’s why Geri-Lynn Utter’s life story is so uplifting.

Utter, 40, grew up in Kensington as an only child of drug and alcohol-addicted parents who abused her physically, mentally and emotionally. However, through hard work, intelligence and rock-strong character, Geri-Lynn wound up earning a BA in English/Communications at Cabrini College in Radnor in 2002 and both Master’s and Doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College. (She also worked in radio sales for 10 years while pursuing her graduate degrees.) Today Utter works for the Montgomery County judicial system, interviewing and evaluating the mental health of prison inmates to determine their suitability for possible release. She also works for a pharmaceutical company that has developed a drug that is said to minimize the deleterious consequences of opioid addiction. Continue reading this article here, or watch a video report on Geri Lynn below:

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