Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"F" is for Forgetting Children in Vehicles?

I heard a story on the news recently about a family from Toronto, Ontario visiting relatives in Houston, Texas.  I was really angry at first and could barely hold myself back from blogging about the subject.  Now I am conflicted about how I feel.  I'm sure you have heard the facts, but bare with me as I repeat them and let me know where you stand.

There were seven people in an SUV, all relatives going home from the grocery store after picking up supplies.  When they arrived back in the driveway, the Canadian couples eldest son, who is autistic, had a seizure prompting the parents to give him aid.  All of the bags of groceries were removed from the vehicle, yet the couples other child, a sweet two year-old boy, in the commotion of the moment, was left in the SUV for two hours to perish in the heat. He managed to get out of his car-seat, but due to the child-proof locks he couldn't save himself.  The temperature in the car was twice as hot as outside of it.  His body temp. was over 120 degrees, sixteen degrees hotter than when the bodies organs begin to fail.  No one is being charged.  Apparently in Houston, Texas alone, there have been thirty-six cases of children dying in super heated vehicles this summer, which is up from last year.

Now this is the tricky part..... Should the parents or other care-givers of these children be held accountable and be punished? or is losing their child (which seems to be the way it goes) be punishment enough?   I don't have kids, I don't understand all the fuss and commotion in a busy parents life and don't know how hard it can be.  But I also don't understand how anyone can forget a child in a car by accident.

There is not much debate about this, in the news all that is being said is how sad the event was.  I'm sure I'm not the only one that doesn't seem to get it.  I have heard people in the Health profession advising parents to leave something important in the backseat that they will need when they exit the vehicle, like their briefcase or purse.  Then as they grab that important object, they will see their child, remember he or she is there and take them out of the car as well.  Important object? Isn't their child an important object? Isn't the fact that your kid is in the car enough of an incentive to be responsible for them?  Don't most parents watch their children in the rear-view mirror while they are driving or interact with them?

I just don't understand.  People become outraged when a dog is left in a car in the summer in the sweltering heat, they call the police, smash through the windows, and make sure the owners are charged with cruelty to animals.  In England the other day a woman picked up a cat and put her in a garbage can, and the world is going crazy with her having to have police protection in case someone decides to throw her out.  The Police and Animal Protective Services are involved in this case about a cat, and people are up in arms.  But when children are dying in the alarming numbers that they are, nothing is done.  Why aren't these parents charged with child endangerment, accidental homicide or manslaughter?

As I have stated I'm conflicted about this topic, losing a child is obviously so much worse than anything I could possibly imagine, but doesn't that mean that you would be more careful with your kid's welfare.  Maybe if someone was punished and brought to justice, the number of these incidences would lessen instead of rise.  I feel for the family, but this was a preventable death.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"E" is for Elephants

I can't remember when my fascination with Elephants began, it was that long ago.  I have always loved them, but I remember the first time I saw one up close and was lucky enough to ride one.

When I was in grade five at John McRae School in Guelph, Ontario, where I grew up, I was a Safety Patrol, or Crossing Guard  (I remember feeling so grown up then, lol).   All of us kids in the Daminato household were involved in the Patrols, and have won awards.  My older sister was a Captain, and I was a Lieutenant.  I had won a couple of  "Gold Belts".  There were some Guelph Police Officers that worked closely with us patrols back then.  They chose a group of gold belt winners every year and took them on a trip to our Nation's Capital, Ottawa.   On that trip we went to a Circus and that is where my first Elephant ride took place.  I couldn't believe the size and majesty of them, and was touched when I looked one right in the eye.  I was so happy.

As I grew up I started collecting anything with Elephants on them and went to see them whenever and wherever I could.  I watched programs and read books and magazine articles about them.  For my birthday, whenever I was hospitalized and for Christmas my friends and family always gave me Elephant stuff.  My user name for most on-line sites is Phanti because of my love for them.

That love has changed over the years.  In my early twenties I went to a circus and saw the way the handlers were treating them.  They were using sticks with sharp pokers on the end to have them move around and do their tricks.  I was so angered by their behaviour, and at the circus owners for condoning it, that from then on I never went to a circus unless it was to protest against the horrible treatment of the Elephants.  I began to be an activist for the humane care of these gentle giants.  I fostered an Elephant from an African Reserve that I named Ishtar from infancy to seven years old, they sent me pictures of him and footprints yearly so I could see how he was maturing and changing.  It was a wonderful experience.

Then I found out about "The Elephant Sanctuary" in Hohenwald, Tennessee.  It was founded in 1995 and they operate on 2,700 acres.  It is the "largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants".  It is a non-profit organization, and it costs $125,000 a year to take care of ONE elephant.  Their goal is to rescue 100 elephants in need.  Their website is incredible, it introduces you to every elephant in the family on the property, gives in-depth information about elephants, there is a gift shop and there is even an "ELECAM" where you can tune in and watch them any time day or night.  But the most important part of the site is how you can help them raise money to give their herd all that it needs to grow and stay healthy.  There are many different ways to do this, and if you are interested in learning more about these beautiful, gentle-eyed angels on earth, or helping them rescue more of them, take a look at their site.  You can find it at  They do great work there, and as a Phanti-lover, I ask you to make a pledge to these big, beautiful trunked beasts and help to rescue them from danger, and to bring them home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"D" is for Disturbing, and Disgusting Behavior

Alleged Cancer Faker Gets Attention of Different�Sort

When I first heard this story on the news tonight, I immediately turned on my computer and knew what my next post would be about.  I had been thinking about what I should write for the letter "D", and the word disgusted just popped into my mind.  I had just written a post about Cancer, so the topic was still fresh in my mind, what this woman did really hit home.

For someone to fake being sick to get a day off school or work is understandable, everyone has done it at one time or another.  But to pretend that you are terminally ill and close to death to scam people out of their money, that is really disgusting.  Supposedly she called her family in 2009 to tell them she had bone cancer, needed a bone marrow transplant and asked them all to be tested for a match.  Her father called the hospital that she mentioned, only to find that they knew nothing about her.

Since this story emerged, there has been much discussion about why someone would even think of doing something so dishonest and immoral.  Ashley's reason to her father was that she did it to hurt him and her mother.  She has told newspapers and others that she wanted the attention, needed the money and plans on paying back every cent.

She had so many people fooled.  She went so far as to shave her head, eye brows and twease her lashes out to look like someone going through chemotherapy treatments.  Ashley found her victims on Facebook, where she was involved in a non-profit organization called "Change for Cancer".  She is now in custody awaiting a bail hearing, which when it comes, it appears there is no one to pay it.  Her family wants nothing to do with her anymore.

I find the saddest and most disappointing thing about this, is that other people that have legitimate illnesses or needs may not be helped now, as hearts become hardened by one bad apple's deeds.  Please don't let situations like this stifle your basic human need to want to help others that are in distress.  If you do, she and others like her end up winning.

As I was looking for updates to this story, I found another article that was deeply disturbing and disgusting.  Buffalo Police pulled over a man on sunday night for running a stop sign.  They could hear a cat meowing in the trunk, so they asked him to open it.  Inside was a cat "marinating" in oils, onions and peppers.  An alive 4 year old cat named Navarro.   He was planning on cooking him and eating him!

I just thank God that those "angel officers" were there to rescue him! Navarro is now up for adoption and that evil man has been charged with Animal Cruelty.  I don't understand what some people are thinking.  Maybe that's the problem, they aren't.

UPDATE:  August 12, 2010

Ashley Kirilow was initially charged with three counts of fraud under $5000.  Yesterday while she was in court another charge was added, fraud over $5000.  This charge stems from an incident in 2009 where a Real Estate Agent raised thousands of dollars to help her with expenses due to her fake cancer.  Her family was still abscent from the courtroom, but there were a few supporters in attendance.  No one has yet to post her bail, however a Newmarket man may be interested in being her surety.  He is a blacksmith and a father that feels that something is wrong with the tough love that she is getting from her parents.  He feels that she should be under the care of doctors instead of being in jail.


Monday, August 2, 2010

"C" is for Cancer

Most of us have had Cancer touch our lives.  If you haven't, consider yourself very lucky.  It has already hit my life hard, and taken people I love away from me, and I am sure it will strike again.

Cancer can be a sneaky and insidious disease, that can just lightly brush up against you by knowing a friend of a friend that has it, or it can smash you in the face, when you, a family member or a close friend are it's victim.

One of the worst parts about Cancer is that in most cases you don't even know that it's there.  It hides in the body among your organs, and in the blood stream biding it's time, like a sharp-shooter awaiting it's target to attack, and then when you are in it's cross hairs, BANG, it rears it's ugly head.

The types of Cancers are many, and the way the disease effects someone is as different as there are people on the planet.  Both my brother and I have had cancerous moles removed (melanomas).   It was a very easy procedure, and I was sent home armed with information how to help prevent it from occurring again.  I was told to use a higher than 15 SPF sunscreen, and was taught how to check my moles myself at home for earlier detection from then on.
It's as easy as:
A) Area- If they are too big, anything bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, get them checked out by your family doctor or dermatologist
B) Border- If the border is jagged or scalloped, get them checked out by a doctor also, and
C) Colour- If they are not one shade of brown, but have spots of lighter or darker colours on them, they too need to be checked out.

My Grandmother passed away from Pancreatic Cancer.  My Grandfather, her husband, and his son my Uncle, both died from Pancreatic Cancer also, before they both were 40 years old.  My Brother always assumed that he would follow suit, but fortunately he is very healthy and gets screened often.  I have lost three Aunts, two from Bone Cancer and one from Brain Cancer that spread to her Liver, she fought hard and lived five years longer than her specialists thought and told her she would.  She took me with her to buy her wigs.  We had so much fun trying on the most outrageous wigs, like pink ones, or ones that were made to make you look like Marilyn Monroe, or other celebrities.  We had such a blast and laughed so hard we cried.  Those are some of my favorite memories.  My Step-Father and his son, my Step-Brother are both Prostate Cancer Survivors.   A dear member of my Twitter family just recently had a bone marrow transplant to treat her Bone Cancer and to give her the best chance to beat it.  With God's help and all of the prayers said for her, I know she will.  Having Crohn's Disease leaves me with a higher probability of developing Stomach, Colon, or Anal Cancers, therefore I am screened on a regular basis.

In some ways Cancer is comparable to addiction, or other diseases as it does not only effect the patient,  it is a family disease.  Everyone should be there for each other, and to help and support one another.

The causes of Cancers are still being hotly debated.  There are some things that Doctors and Specialists say each one of us can do to lower the risks of developing Cancers, but there is no guarantee that any, or all of these things will work.  Even the healthiest people can develop it, and some Cancers feed off of estrogen, a naturally occuring hormone, in their host's bodies.
But you can:
  • Have regular tests such as Colonoscopys, Pap Smears, Mammograms and self-breast exams, Prostate exams etc. so that if you have a Cancer, at least it will be caught fast and treated before it becomes deadly.
  • Stop using tobacco products, and cut back on alcohol
  • Avoid the harmful rays of the sun by using a high UV Sunscreen
  • Exercise regularly (Dr. Oz suggests that we each walk 10, 000 steps a day)
  • Change your diet to eating whole grains, less fat and more fruits and vegetables.
  • Practice safe sex and get vaccinated for HPV
  • And include all of the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your routine.

If you are asking yourself how you can help, there are many ways.  You can:
  • Give generously to The Cancer Foundation in your area, the monies received go to research not only to find cures, but to discover causes of the different kinds of Cancers
  • Take part in walks or runs, like the Terry Fox run to raise money
  • Spread Awareness by purchasing or selling merchandise and use/wear it proudly
  • Educate yourself by reading about and researching the topic
  • Take part in programs in your area like "Meals on Wheels" or others that help patients that need it, whether it be driving them to and from their appointments, doing yard work, cleaning house or watching their children after school
  • Be a true friend, be there any way you can be to a friend or family member with Cancer.  Sometimes just knowing a patient has someone there they can count on makes all the difference in the world.
Get creative, and figure out what you can do to help the cause and become part of the solution.  This post was written in loving memory of those that have been taken from us, those that are fighting the good and brave fight right now, and those survivors that give them all hope.  God Bless you all.  ♥