Monthly Archives: March 2008

Cheerios to feature area veteran

Cheerios to feature area veteran

Liset Marquez, Staff Writer

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if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”; } NORCO – For three years, he lay in bed, paralyzed not only by a spinal-cord injury and a neurological disorder but by depression.

Mohan Prasad Vallabhapurapu, 52, was left immobile and paralyzed on the left side of his foot from injuries he sustained while on duty with the Navy in 2001.

The Norco resident said he had to cross many hurdles, mental and physical, to be where he is today.

“I can’t believe it. I’m blessed with a lot of things, my courage, my strength,” he said. “I’ve come a long way.”

Now, Vallabhapurapu, a combat veteran of the Gulf War and a nine-time gold medal winner of National Veterans Wheelchair Games, has been selected by General Mills to be featured on the front of Cheerios boxes. The cereal boxes will only be distributed at Southern California veterans hospitals.

On Friday, Vallabhapurapu will be at Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda signing autographs. He is also helping launch the Veterans Affairs Healthier US Veterans program, which encourages veterans and staff to get healthier through physical activity.

“Mentally, we can accomplish anything in this life. It’s just one day at a time,” he said.

Through his turmoil and hardships, Vallabhapurapu said he wants to serve as a role model and hopes to pass on words of inspiration to other veterans in his position.

“Even these disabilities are not going to stop me. There is much more for me to accomplish,” he


Annie Tuttle, public information officer at the Loma Linda veterans hospital, first met him through the National Wheelchair Games.

“He’s always helping people despite his disabilities,” she said. He does a great job in exciting other veterans. When Cheerios made the decision, we were just thrilled.”

Vallabhapurapu said he wouldn’t have come out of his depression had he not gotten involved in activities such as the National Wheelchair Games in 2004, when he walked away with two gold medals.

But the 19-year Navy veteran said the road to recovery was tough.

Vallabhapurapu was a hospital corpsman carrying heavy equipment at the Navy Regional Contracting Center in Singapore in 2001 when he fell down a flight of stairs.

The fall left him with paralysis of his left foot as well as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which he said causes severe pain.

“Basically, I’m in constant pain, and there is no cure for it,” he said.

The turning point for him, he said, came in early 2004, when he realized he could either sit in his bed and sulk in his misery or he could take action.

After years of therapy and acupuncture, he has more movement in his arms and the joint of his legs.

Today he is able to get around with the assistance of his electronic chair.

He is in a table tennis league and recently went skiing, on bi-skis, for the first time.

“One day, I’m hoping to be able to overcome these medical disabilities, even though medicine says there’s no cure,” he said.

Autograph session

Meet Mohan Prasad Vallabhapurapu from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday on the second floor outside of the canteen at Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center, 11201 Benton St., Loma Linda.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Guns and Hoses raises $2,000

Guns and Hoses raises $2,000

Firefighters drench cops 7-3 in annual charity game


Neil Judson

Whether rooting for the RCMP or spouting for the firefighters, a packed crowd filled Brennan Park Arena to raise more than $2,000 for Briana Gonzales through the eighth annual Guns and Hoses charity hockey game Friday (March 14).

Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland played referee, and guided Briana, who is suffering from a chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), to centre ice for the ceremonial puck-drop between two captains of rescue. And she might have even given her favourite team – the firefighting squad – a touch of luck despite being a bit nervous in front of the big audience. “At first I was a bit scared, but then it was cool,” she said.

As the two teams faced off for the first period, the Timbits were already getting ready for their halftime showdown. Kids like five-year-old William Rickert Junior gathered in the arena foyer, strapping on shin pads and skates with the help of dad William Rickert Sr.

Rounding up a whole spirit squad to cheer on their favourite team, Aura Mullings, 8, and Linnea Burke, 7, brought two stuffed Dalmatians and a stuffed wolf to root for the firefighters. The girls lined the animals’ noses up to the glass as they followed the game.

“We’re going for the firefighters, so we brought Dalmatians. Sparky, Sparky and Charlie,” said Linnea matter-of-factly.

The larger version of Sparky the Fire Dog was also on hand trying to match cheers from the RCMP’s Safety Bear. With all the fan support, the firefighters came out firing fast by flooding the cops’ net with five goals in the first period. It was clear they wanted to make up for last year’s 9-2 loss.

“In the first three or four minutes it looked like it was going to be a total rout,” said firefighter Bob Fulton.

RCMP Constables Christy Mohr and Nick Herder didn’t let a losing score damper their pride. They cheered for their fellow officers from the bench where they stood decked out in full Mountie uniform.

With the score 5-0 going into intermission, wee Timbits chased and tumbled around the ice and fans lined up for the infamous puck toss.

The cops threatened the firefighters’ lead into the second period by scoring three unanswered goals to make the score 5-3. But the firefighters responded with two more goals to take back bragging rights 7-3.

Click Here For The Original Aricle Online.


Rare care in Mexico eases woman’s pain

Rare care in Mexico eases woman’s pain

Mon, March 17, 2008
A Mooretown woman was put in a “ketamine coma” after friends and strangers raised $20,000.

SARNIA — Strapped to a bed in a Mexican hospital, Heather Kennedy-Redmond was battling shadows from the darkest corner of her mind.

Tubes pierced her body to feed and help her breathe, while beeping monitors registered her vital signs.

After exhausting traditional medicine, the 26-year-old Mooretown woman had travelled to Mexico for experimental treatment of chronic pain.

She has a little-known condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or RSD.

The controversial treatment she underwent involved inducing a coma by flooding her body for five days with ketamine, a powerful human and veterinary anesthetic known to street users as Special K.

For the week, vivid hallucinations threatened to consume her. But a year later, the pain she endured has now eased.

Parents Linda and Paul Kennedy and husband Ken Redmond hovered over her for the week, hoping she’d emerge from the coma changed.

Looking back, Kennedy-Redmond recalls a simple gesture in that hospital room in Monterey as a revelation. “I remember holding my dad’s hand and it didn’t hurt.”

Mother Linda Kennedy describes her family as quiet.

“We’re very ordinary people. We’re not the kind of people to go through with coma treatments,” she said.

But after seven years of few answers and even fewer viable treatment options in Canada, even a radical long-shot seemed better than nothing.

“For my parents, the ketamine coma was not something they wanted to do,” Kennedy-Redmond said. “For me it was like, ‘It can’t get here fast enough. Let me do it now.’ ”

The pain of RSD first appeared following a routine injection in July 2000. She’d just had her tonsils removed and the inter-muscular shot in her right leg hurt for days.

The pain spread and grew intensified. Prescribed anti-inflammatory medication did nothing to ease it, she said.

“We went to so many doctors. They were telling me I was crazy and it was all in my head,” she said.

The changes were devastating for a woman who filled her free time at sports and preparing for 10-kilometre runs.

“Within two years it had spread across my body, from my scalp to my toes.”

In desperation the Kennedys turned to the Internet, searching for anything that matched the symptoms. In 2003 they found a doctor in Vero Beach, Fla., who treated chronic pain, and booked an appointment.

With diagnosis came shocking news: RSD has no cure.

“We just kept saying, there’s always hope,” said Linda Kennedy.

Her daughter began travelling to Hamilton every three weeks for nerve blocks and epidurals, adding 30 needles to a daily regimen of 17 pills.

The treatments threatened to do irreparable harm to Kennedy-Redmond’s body. Worse yet, the pain kept increasing.

Eventually the Kennedys’ research led to ketamine. They read a single, low-dose treatment was showing promise. Another more radical “ketamine coma” left some patients in trials pain-free.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the treatment, but a doctor in Mexico had secured the drug from German physicians.

“My parents didn’t tell me about it,” Kennedy-Redmond said. “They were good about it, because they didn’t want me to get my hopes up and be excited and then be shot down.”

Paul and Linda Kennedy talked to patients who’d had the treatment and doctors who administered it. But the wait list for a low-dose treatment was about 250 names and the first opening a decade away.

Family, friends, co-workers and strangers raised $20,000 for the $50,000 treatment cost.

“There are just so many people to thank,” Heather said.

They flew to Mexico last March. Heather returned feeling weak but different.

A year later, she’s “60 per cent” better. Though she’ll never be cured, she expects to be symptom-free soon. Not everyone responds to the treatments, she cautioned.


– Go to or

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Going to pains to meet a hero

Going to pains to meet a hero

Jen Kelly

March 14, 2008 12:00am

WHEN sports-mad Tim Welsh needed a lift while battling crippling pain, doctors turned to the teen’s sporting hero.

Royal Children’s Hospital staff lined up a surprise visit from Tim’s football hero, Essendon’s Jason Winderlich.

Tim’s face lit up when his favourite player — who has overcome several football injuries, including recent back trouble — visited him in the hospital’s cafe garden while he was eating lunch.

“It was probably the best day of my life,” said the mad Bombers fan, who is a descendant of Essendon’s first captain, George Stuckey, and is named after Essendon legend Tim Watson.

Winderlich inspired Tim, 12, with his tips on how to handle pain.

But his condition was far from his mind when the Bomber midfielder gave him the match jumper he wore for his 17 games last year, after signing it.

“It put a big smile on his face,” said Winderlich, 23. “It was worth going in just to see the look on his face.

“He’s a terrific kid, and I just hope everything goes well for him with his rehab.”

For months Tim has battled a condition called complex regional pain syndrome.

By the time the year 7 student from Warrnambool reached the RCH earlier this month, he could not walk without crutches because of pain.

Vertical strips below each of Tim’s kneecaps, about 10cm long and 5cm wide, are so sensitive that the slightest touch causes him agony.

He has to lean against the wall while showering to prevent water touching the painful areas, and has to sleep on his side, without bed coverings touching the two areas.

Tim endures 15-minute physiotherapy sessions every waking hour while at hospital, as well as twice-daily sessions with a physiotherapist.

But he is fast improving, walking 70m without crutches within a week of starting the intensive physiotherapy regimen.

Pediatric rheumatologist Dr Roger Allen initiated the visit when Tim continued to wear a No 8 (Winderlich’s number) Bombers jumper to physio sessions.

“Tim hasn’t told me, but I think he was getting a bit of strength from it (wearing the jumper) said Tim’s mum, Gaye Welsh.

Tim has been plagued with pain since last year, soon after he was elected a sports house captain.

“He’s absolutely sports-besotted, really sporty,” Mrs Welsh said.

“He would have last year represented the school in pretty much every sport the school is involved in — things like cricket, soccer, football,” she added.

Tim hopes to soon resume playing sport and should overcome the condition in time.

To donate to the appeal, phone 9292 1166, or go to

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Tumbling towards Success

Tumbling towards Success
Gymnasts vie for championships
By DIANA ROBERTSON Special to the Journal

They converged on The Woodlands this weekend each with one thing on their mind – to make it to the Texas State Championships for the United States of America Gymnastics Association in Level 7.

They call it the South State Championships because gymnasts from all over the southern part of Texas come to compete for 24 coveted spots in each age bracket. The 24 places are divided equally into the Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions.

For some it was the chance to advance on to State and to meet the 8 best finalists in each division that north Texas has to offer, and for some it heralded the end of their season. As a gymnast’s parent I have been on both ends of that spectrum with my daughter. She has walked away saying “Wait until next year” and “Oh my gosh I made it!”. It is a very emotionally charged meet.

When the chalk settled all of the local gyms in the golden triangle area are being represented. Olympic Dreams, Beaumont Gymnastics and Lumberton Gymnastics all can boast of having gymnasts headed for Denton and the Level 7 Texas State Championships on March 15th and 16th. Some of the gymnasts competing also compete for the Beaumont Independent School District through the Ozen Magnet Gymnastics program.

Jamie Casteel, Lauren Long and Callie Robertson are all BISD gymnasts and all of them made the cut to advance to State in the Senior B category. These young ladies truly had a workout having competed at Bryan High School the Friday before South State. These gymnasts had to catch a school bus at 5:45 on Friday morning, compete and return to Beaumont at 7:30pm Friday night.

They had to be in Houston Saturday morning by 8am to compete again. What is even more impressive is that high school gymnastics does not have a Level 7 so these girls compete at Level 8 complete with different skill requirements and choreographed routines for school and then competed Level 7 the very next morning. The girls barely missed receiving the 3rd place team trophy at Bryan and had two gymnasts to receive medals on floor and the all around division. Lauren and Callie both compete for Coach Jeff Dockens at Lumberton Gymnastics. Jamie competes for Coach Debbie Allport with Beaumont Gymnastics. All three girls compete for Coach CH Colvin for Ozen High School.

Of all the girls competing one young lady is painfully aware of the sacrifice and hard work that goes into gymnastics. Callie Robertson has been in gymnastics since she was six years old. In January of 2007 Callie was practicing a Sukahara vault and landed short injuring both of her ankles.

Most children heal from these types of injuries within 6-8 weeks. Callie, however, was not better in that time frame. She went to a specialist in Houston where she was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). Basically Callie’s sympathetic nervous system short circuits whenever trauma occurs, especially to the limbs. It has been an uphill battle with this disease which in its prime can be crippling. Callie was placed in a cast this past November in an effort to help stabilize her ankle. She continued to practice at Lumberton and Ozen doing double fulls on the tumble track. For girls like Callie gymnastics is in their blood.

They don’t walk, they cartwheel, they don’t hop, they jump and tumble.

Double-blind controlled trial supports cannabinoid for neuropathic pain – Medical Rehabilitation News

Rehabilitation Medicine & Science

February 9, 2008

Double-blind controlled trial supports cannabinoid for neuropathic pain

Filed under: pain, pharmaceuticals — Editor @ 12:12 pm

Sativex, an extract of Cannabis sativa that delivers 2.7 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5mg of cannabidiol (CBD) per spray into the mouth, is known to act on pain receptors throughout the peripheral and central nervous system. Researchers at the University of Liverpool and several hospitals in the UK conducted a five week study of patients suffering from neuropathic pain of at least six months’ duration not related to diabetes, any identifiable nerve lesion or complex regional pain syndrome. The study was sponsored by GW Pharma, manufacturer of Sativex.

At home, patients delivered up to 48 sprays per day, and up to 8 sprays in any 3 hour period. Testing for degree allodynia (normally nonpainful stimuli perceived as painful in neuropathic syndromes) was conducted before and after the study period, as were pain scales and questionnaires. Of the 63 Sativex patients and the 62 placebo patients, most of whom had been in pain greater than five years, dynamic allodynia on exam reduced 20% in the Sativex group and 5% in the placebo group. 26% of Sativex patients reported clinically significant (30% reduction) pain improvement versus 15% of patients on placebo. Importantly, patients were allowed to continue their current regimen of pain medications during the study, both in recognition that in practice chronic pain is managed with numerous variables in the mix, and the belief that taking chronic pain patients off other medications that have known efficacy would be unethical. In regards to side effects, no psychomotor differences were noted between the Sativex and control groups, and most Sativex group side effects were gastrointestinal, not central nervous system related.

Sativex successfully treats neuropathic pain characterised by allodynia: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Pain. Volume 133, Issues 1-3, 15 December 2007, Pages 210-220

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Despite some difficulties, student’s outlook healthy

Despite some difficulties, student’s outlook healthy
By Michael Ryan| Teen Board Member
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Greenbrier High School sophomore Shelby Dorsey may seem like a picky eater, but it’s not her fault. Shelby, along with her immediate family, was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago.

Celiac disease is a common (and even more commonly misdiagnosed) disease that affects the small intestine’s ability to digest gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Imagine not eating anything with those extremely common ingredients.

The biggest roadblock to dealing with celiac is cross contamination.

“A lot of people don’t understand that where food is stored, what oil it was cooked in, the location of its packaging and the cleanliness of cooking utensils matter when it comes to Celiac disease,” Shelby said. “Going out to eat usually means a nice chat with the waiter about ways and means of cooking our food. Some restaurants are very good about wiping down the grill, changing out oils, and even adapting their menus, but other restaurants have actually asked us to eat somewhere else. That’s just embarrassing.”

When talking with Shelby, you’ll find that she really doesn’t let her disease affect her. She prides herself on wit and sarcasm, which have helped her deal with other medical issues. Shelby was also diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the fourth grade. It hindered her ability to walk, but changing her diet decreased the severity of the symptoms dramatically, and now Shelby stays involved in her community and school.

She trained her dog, Jack, to become a therapy dog. She visits nursing homes and hospitals with him.

She also stage managed Greenbrier’s production of Rumors and was in the cast (as a deformed slave) for The Tempest this past fall.

Today, Shelby Dorsey leads a strong and successful — although gluten-free — life.

Michael Ryan is a sophomore at Greenbrier High School

From the Tuesday, January 15, 2008 edition of the Augusta Chronicle

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


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