One recent morning at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park, US Senator Richard Blumenthal joined Connecticut State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter, MD, MPH, advocates and patients in calling for additional federal funding for Lyme research to develop better tools for diagnosis and reporting of the disease. At the event, experts shared the latest statistics on Lyme prevalence in Connecticut. Advocates and experts also share simple steps people can take to protect against Lyme, including the BLAST prevention program that Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert has been touting for several years. BLAST stands for Bathe, Look for ticks, Apply repellant, Spray your yard, and Treat your pets. Ms Culbert and her staff at the Health District know that tick-borne disease is a problem for Newtown residents.
Niagara Bottling has recalled 14 brands of bottled spring water produced at two Pennsylvania manufacturing plants after the operator of one of its contracted springs failed to reveal evidence of E. coli bacteria at the spring source. The water is labeled under brands including Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature's Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaws, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue and Wegman's. Niagara Bottling has not received any complaints of injury or illness.
Seated on mother Julie Barbeau’s lap, 3½ year old Ryan Costa is as wriggly as any toddler. He eagerly nibbles on cheese crackers, a smile stretching from one chubby cheek to the other. His mother knows, though, that beneath Ryan’s seemingly healthy appearance,cancer cells course through the little boy’s bloodstream. His daily life, and that of his parents, Ms Barbeau and Gary Costa, is a regimen of chemotherapy, quarterly spinal taps, and steroids. Pediatric cancer can change a family’s life overnight, said Ms Barbeau. Less than a year ago, Ryan was an active, on-the-go child. He enjoyed the days he spent at Little Explorers Childcare in Sandy Hook, and play dates with his friends. Other than a speech issue, for which he was receiving therapy through the Birth-to-Three State of Connecticut program, his parents had no real concerns about Ryan, the fifth child in the family. On July 10, 2014, however, when Ms Barbeau picked him up from Little Explorers, the teachers mentioned that Ryan’s speech therapist had noticed Ryan seemed unwell.
When organizers including founder and retired New York Port Authority cop Bill Keegan joined together to form HEART 9/11 — or Healing Emergency Aid Response Team, a peer-to-peer support network for the hundreds of surviving responders to the 9/11 attacks — he had no Idea how far his team might go to help counsel shocked, troubled and traumatized colleagues in police, EMS and fire services. Their primary mission is to help communities and the emergency workers serving them recover from some of the worst tragedies and disasters, from Oklahoma towns devastated by tornados, and Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, to Port Au Prince, Haiti, and to the relatively quieter headquarters of the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Newtown Police Department.
Newtown High School’s Peer Leadership Club has scheduled its annual Marrow Donor Registry Drive, for ages 18 to 44, for Tuesday, June 2, from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm. The event will take place in the school’s auditorium, 12 Berkshire Road.
The drive will be offered through the Be The Match Donor Registry. Be The Match is the largest registry in the world providing a means for thousands of patients with life-threatening diseases or leukemia to find a match.
Participants in the drive will fill out a registry form and will have their cheeks swabbed.
The annual fundraising and volunteer thank you breakfast hosted by the Newtown Chapter of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut will take place Wednesday, June 17, at The Waterview, 215 Roosevelt Drive, just over the Newtown line in Monroe. Co-chairpersons Marg Studley and Marie Sturdevant are looking forward to the 26th year of the event to support the hospice organization devoted to the comfort and care of terminally ill patients and their families.
May is Mental Health Month, with May 7 designated National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. But for two members of Newtown’s Resiliency and Recovery Team (RRT), every day since their arrival brings them greater awareness of local youths’ mental health concerns post 12/14. They told The Newtown Bee this week that many local young people continue to experience, or are just beginning to develop stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues as the community continues to cope with after effects of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The upside for local children, teens, and their families: Catherine Galda, LCSW, and Eileen Rondeau, RN, bring unique insights about addressing and supporting youth and family concerns.
Visiting Angels and St Rose Parish have decided to bring Dr Susan Varano back to Newtown to continue a discussion on what to expect with a normal aging process. When the group brought Dr Varano to town for a program in March, more than 100 people attended. When she returns for another free presentation on Tuesday, May 12, Dr Varano will again educate seniors about the physical and cognitive aspects of aging and the signs of early dementia. In “The Normal Biology of Aging versus Dementia,” Dr Varano will share how to identify the differences and manage realistic expectations of the aging process.
From corporate car washes to flocking pink flamingos, supporters of this year’s abbreviated Relay For Life are working to support and promote the June 13 event, and to attract more teams to Blue & Gold Stadium for this annual community cancer awareness and fundraising event. According to Alyssa Amaturo, American Cancer Society’s community manager for Newtown’s Relay, the goal of a monthlong May sign-up challenge is to get even more community members on board to make the 2015 event as exciting as ever, given the fact that the local event is packing virtually all of the traditional Relay activities into a shorter time frame than in years past.
The Newtown Lions Club will sponsor the May 11 American Red Cross Blood Drive taking place at Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street. The May 11 drive will be conducted from 8:30 am to 6:15 pm. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are encouraged.