16 June 2010

Death Valley Jack runs for Cerebral Palsy Care

The marathon runs have helped Jack to support local charities and he has raised over £100,000 since his running career began. In 2010 he will be supporting Kent organisation Cerebral Palsy Care of Cliffe Woods.

“The work Cerebral Palsy Care of Cliffe Woods do is amazing in enriching the lives of children affected by Cerebral Palsy. The staff are so dedicated to the kids and it’s an honour to do what I can to help them in their work. Seeing how the money raised benefits the children is motivation enough for me when I’m running.”

Jack will be supported in Death Valley by a crew of six including his loyal wife Megs. The crew van will travel alongside Jack to keep him motivated and hydrated.

Supporters can follow Jack’s progress through video and photo updates on facebook by becoming a fan of his official page ‘Death Valley Jack’ and helping Jack get more fans than Usain Bolt. Seven Seas will be incentivising supporters to encourage their friends to join by donating money each week to Cerebal Palsy of Cliffe Woods if the Facebook group reaches set fan number targets.

Jack and his support crew will also tweet on his race progress via @deathvalleyjack from July 11th.

For more information on Cerebral Palsy Care of Cliffe Woods visit www.cpckent.org. To make a donation visit Jack’s Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/jack4cerebralpalsycare.

13 June 2010

Area man trying to raise funds for surgery to restore ability to walk

By JILL WHALEN (Staff Writer)

Published: June 12, 2010

Brian Lang wants to walk again.

Lang lost the use of his legs to multiple sclerosis a few years ago, and is hoping stem cell treatment will help him to his feet again.

The Hazle Township man has been researching the procedure and said it has shown "fantastic success" for others with multiple sclerosis. The treatment uses stem cells to replace or repair a patient's damaged cells or tissues.

"It basically turns back the body to what it was like when you were born," he said. The problem is the procedure is not offered in the United States, and it's not covered by insurance, putting it out of reach for Lang. He wants to somehow raise money for the operation - and is hoping some will hear his story and want to help.

Lang has been in a wheelchair since 2005, a few years after his multiple sclerosis was diagnosed. He also tested positive for Lyme disease, which is spread through deer tick bites.

Until that time, he was active. Growing up on a farm outside Shickshinny, he has always loved the outdoors and the activities it has to offer. When he wasn't working, he hunted, went snow-tubing and hiked.

He now relies on health aids to help him with everyday tasks like getting out of bed. And while his motorized wheelchair gets him around, it doesn't compare to the freedom of being able to walk unassisted.

"It was tough," he said of losing his independence and mobility.

Lang goes to physical therapy several times each week, and is able to stand with some assistance.

"My doctor told me, 'With your determination, you probably will walk again,'" Lang said.

Lang knows he will, too.

"I know it's possible," he said. "I won't stop trying until I walk again. When there's a will, there's a way."

Lang said he's willing to travel to Europe or China for the procedure, because it could be years until stem cell treatment is approved in the United States.

According to Dr. David Owens and Dr. Naomi Kleitman, program directors at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, research on stem cell therapy is ongoing.

"In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires evidence that a medical approach is both safe and effective before it approves its use," Owens said. "Safety and efficacy are demonstrated by data acquired through clinical trials. Recently in the United States, a clinical trial has been proceeding that is evaluating the safety of transplanted neural stem cells in patients with a type of motor neuron disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis."

"The promise of both embryonic and adult stem cells for use in future therapies is exciting, but significant technical hurdles remain that will only be overcome through years of intensive research," Kleitman added, noting the national institute supports a diverse array of stem cell research.

Although it's not yet approved in the United States, Lang said it has been done successfully overseas. He said the procedure, like every medical procedure, carries some risk.

Anyone wishing to help Lang can contact him at artic11@verizon.net or Brian Lang, 1000 W. 28th St., Hazlewood Apartments, Apt. 103, Hazle Township, PA 18202.


12 June 2010

Equipment helps children walk independently

New equipment donated to Adventist Paulson Pediatric Rehabilitation Center is helping children with physical limitations improve their quality of life. The universal exercise unit, a device used to help children learn to walk independently, is expected to benefit countless children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Four-year-old Owen Chaidez, the first patient to use the technology, already has made remarkable progress improving his limited range of motion; the Downers Grove boy cannot walk due to arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a disorder characterized by reduced mobility of multiple joints. Owen's arms and legs have limited range of motion and he has undergone therapy at Adventist Paulson Pediatric Rehab since he was two weeks old.

"Physically, he's gained so much range of motion in just a few weeks," said Maggie Chaidez, Owen's mom. "But the emotional gains have been just as incredible. Instead of rolling on the floor to get where he needs, now he wants to walk all the time. He's becoming more independent. Between visits to Paulson, he constantly asks when we're going back there."

By increasing strength and range of motion, isolating the weakened muscle groups, and eliminating gravitational forces on the weak muscles, the exercise unit improves balance and coordination, promotes motor skills and enhances a child's self-confidence. The design concept is based on technology originally invented to counteract the negative effects, such as muscle atrophy and osteoporosis, experienced by astronauts due to lack of gravity. The unit counteracts the force of gravity that prevents weakened muscles from performing.

The unit is used in two different ways. First, a treatment bed or chair is used with a system of pulleys and suspensions with the primary goal of improving strength, active range of motion, and muscle flexibility. Alternatively, a suspension system used with a belt and elastic cords (dubbed the "spider cage" by the pediatric patients who use it) helps children achieve gains in balance, coordination and function. The child wears a belt hooked into bungee cords that suspend and support the child in the middle of the cage. This provides just the right amount of support needed to allow the patient to perform exercises virtually independently, which aids sitting, crawling, standing, walking, climbing and jumping.

Because children with neurological disorders often lack muscle tone, coordination, strength and balance, they often try to perform a specific movement using their upper and lower extremities simultaneously. The UEU, along with specific exercises performed in it, allows the therapist to re-train the child to isolate one extremity from the other and move it independently, helping develop a normal gait and, eventually, learn to walk on their own.

"This equipment has allowed us to do intensive therapy with Owen," said his physical therapist, Carrie Crozier-Arena. "It's a huge help to me because it supports him, freeing me to concentrate on his individual muscle movements instead of having to hold him in place and work his muscles at the same time."

The equipment was donated to the rehab center by the Burr Ridge-based The Lazzara Family Foundation, founded by Philip and Antoinette Lazzara in 1984 to support nonprofit organizations in the areas of education, health care, and human services. The foundation donated $6,150 for the equipment, accessories and employee training.

"We are pleased to support the amazing children who rely on Adventist Paulson Pediatric Rehabilitation Center and its dedicated team of therapists through our grant program," said Jack Lazzara, on behalf of The Lazzara Family Foundation. "We believe it's important to invest in our local communities to provide opportunities for improving the lives of others and we're delighted that Owen and his friends are benefiting so greatly from this new equipment."

Hinsdale Hospital Foundation is seeking another $10,000 for additional training and specialized full-body suits used in conjunction with the unit in order to expand its use to bigger children who need to wear larger size suspension suits.

"We're extremely grateful to The Lazzara Family Foundation for their generosity," said Susan King, executive director of the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation. "Our hope is that their seed grant will inspire additional donations allowing us to serve even more children in our community."

06 June 2010

Mayo Clinic Releases First Children's Book Based On Therapy Dog

Mayo Clinic released its first children's book featuring "Dr. Jack," a 9-year-old miniature pinscher who is Mayo's first facility-based service dog. Escorted by his owner, Mayo employee Marcia Fritzmeier, Jack is part of the health care team that helps patients with physical activity, rehabilitation, and speech therapy. Mayo physicians place an order in a patient's medical record when requesting a visit by Dr. Jack, who sees approximately eight to 10 patients per day.

"In looking for ways to convey the Mayo Clinic model of care, we found a truly remarkable ambassador for Mayo: a little dog named Jack, who actually is a member of the Mayo team," says the book's author Matt Dacy, of Mayo's Department of Development. "This book is the story of Mayo as told through the experience of Jack in a way that children can understand and adults and readers of all ages can appreciate."

"Why do we offer animal-assisted therapy to Mayo Clinic patients? Because it works!" says Brent Bauer, M.D., Mayo Clinic Department of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. "Of course, almost every patient 'feels' better after a visit by a dog like Jack. But scientific studies have shown this type of therapy can reduce pain in children, improve outcomes in adults hospitalized with heart failure, and reduce medication use in elderly patients."

In the book, Dr. Jack wears an identification tag with the Mayo Clinic three shields -- which stand for clinical practice, education and research. When a young boy at Mayo Clinic meets Dr. Jack, he rubs his tag and the two go on an amazing tour of Mayo Clinic, including a helicopter ride on Mayo One. The book includes a biography of Jack by Jenee Marchant and a medical essay on the "Healing Dimension of Pets" by Edward Creagan, M.D., of Mayo's Department of Oncology. Mayo Trustee and former first lady Barbara Bush wrote the book's foreword and John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO, provided the welcome. The book is illustrated by Robert Morreale, unit head of Mayo's Section of Medical Illustration and Animation.

Mayo Clinic

Golfer with cerebral palsy proves to be inspirational