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Fundraiser Drawing Posted April 28, 2017

The second annual Blasting Blood Cancer to Bits drawing for firearms and other outdoor equipment is now underway. All proceeds will benefit the Emily Whitehead Foundation for pediatric cancer research.

The drawing consists of four handguns, a kayak, a crossbow, stun guns, a rod and reel and other outdoor-related items. Tickets are available for a fee and may be obtained at Kinsey's Outdoors, 1658 Steel Way, Mount Joy, or by contacting Tom Garrett at 315-7228 or tgarrett@msn.com.

Last year's initial drawing helped raise more than $2,200 for the foundation. This year's goal is to raise more than $3,000.

Kinsey's Outdoors also plans to hold an Emily Whitehead Foundation Day this spring. During the event, a percentage of each sale will go to the foundation.

The Emily Whitehead Foundation was formed by the family of Emily Whitehead. The foundation's mission is to help fund innovative treatments for childhood cancer. In 2012, Emily Whitehead became the first child treated for her cancer using her own re-engineered T cells. After relapsing from a bout with leukemia, Emily entered a clinical trial at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she underwent the new therapy. She almost died and was on life support for two weeks and in a coma. But the doctors at CHOP fought to keep her alive while they addressed the side effcts of the new treatment. Emily awoke from her coma on her seventh birthday. Detailed medical tests revealed she was cancer free. Nearly five years later, doctors and researchers have built on Emily's case, and the treatment is now being used to save the lives of many children and adults. For more information, readers may visit www.emilywhiteheadfoundation.org.

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Fibromyalgia Group To Meet April 28, 2017

The Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Awareness and Education Group, in association with Lancaster General Health, will host a free presentation, "Treatment Options to Improve Your Life," from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at the Suburban Pavilion, third-floor conference room, 2100 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. Cora L. Bilger will discuss the use of meditation, cognitive behavior, acupressure, balance balls, trigger point injections, and other modalities to improve daily living.

Bilger has been a practicing physician's assistant for 29 years. She has experience in family practice, emergency medicine, and orthopedic medicine, and she also spent the past 19 years practicing pain management.

The event is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend. Readers with questions may contact Juli Heisler at 544-3227.

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Bereavement Support Groups Posted April 28, 2017

Masonic Village, 1 Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, will offer monthly bereavement support groups.

Life After Loss will meet on Thursday, May 11, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the James Buchanan Terrace conference room. On Thursday, May 18, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., a bereavement support group will be held in the large recreation room in Sycamore North, located on the first floor.

The groups are open to anyone who has lost a loved one. Refreshments will be served, and there is no cost to attend. For more information, readers may contact Heidi Young at 367-1121, ext. 33576.

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"Walk For Clean Water" Raises Funds April 28, 2017

Hershey High School held Pennsylvania's largest Walk for Clean Water on April 9. More than 500 people attended the second annual community event, which raised funds and awareness for Thirst Project, a youth water activism organization aimed at building a socially conscious generation of young people who end the global water crisis.

Participants raised more than $28,000 toward funding clean water wells in Swaziland, Africa. Thirst Project will equate the funds toward building two clean water wells, with extra funds to be contributed to another project.

The local event was founded by Hershey High School students Erica Wang and Michael Miller. Last year, 250 people attended the first-ever Walk for Clean Water, and the student club raised $12,000, enough to fund the cost of one clean water well.

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Memorial Day Parade Set For May 27 April 28, 2017

Readers are encouraged to mark their calendars now for the Mountville Memorial Day Parade, which will be held on a different date than in previous years. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27.

"Traditionally, we had it on the 30th (of May) no matter what day of the week it was," said Bob Froelich, commander of Reese-Hall Mountville VFW Post 8757, which sponsors the parade.

"May 30 (is) the official date set aside to decorate the graves of those who died in defense of our country," said Beth Hess, who has taken on the responsibility of coordinating the parade from Lori Leaman. The parade fell on Memorial Day Monday last year and had an especially good turnout, prompting the organizers to break with tradition for 2017. In this and ensuing years, the parade will be held on the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend. "After much discussion, it was decided that we could best honor our veterans by scheduling the parade at a time that allowed for greater participation from the community," Hess said.

As of late April, 40 entries have been received for the parade. These include school bands, the York Kiltie Band, a bluegrass band, a steam calliope, the Bainbridge Band, Scout troops, the Mountville Youth Athletic Association, and veterans groups. The VFW's color guard will lead the parade, and the post's auxiliary group will be featured in a float. There will be child-oriented entries, and groups will distribute candy, flying discs, and coupons for ice cream and other treats.

The parade will queue at 9:30 a.m. at the Mountville Area Community Center and Mountville Church of the Brethren, located at the intersection of Clay Street and College Avenue. It will traverse 1 mile of Main Street and conclude at Froelich Park, 350 W. Main St. Buses will shuttle participants to the Mountville Cemetery located on Orkney Road. A ceremony that Leaman described as "short but poignant" will be held at 11:30 a.m. to memorialize the servicemen and women who are buried there.

The parade and the ceremony will be held rain or shine.

In preparation for the solemn holiday, on Saturday, May 20, VFW members will place flags on the graves of the veterans who are interred in 11 cemeteries in the Mountville area. Froelich noted that 72 dozen flags have been ordered for that purpose.

Mountville borough is also supporting the Memorial Day events. The event has a price tag of $8,000, and donations to the post are welcome.

Both the VFW and the post auxiliary are accepting new members. The auxiliary formed last year after a hiatus of about a decade. Most posts have an auxiliary, Froelich said. Auxiliary members are individuals who are at least 16 years old and are blood relatives of veterans of foreign wars. While Post 8757 distributes more than $40,000 to a variety of community organizations and events, the auxiliary has a more narrow focus.

"We're trying to raise funds for veterans," said auxiliary president Susan Wile. She noted that around Christmas, the group collected items for veterans at the Lebanon VA hospital.

To learn about the auxiliary, readers may call Wile at 333-8195. Questions about the post may be directed to Froelich at 381-7691 or the post at 285-5035. Anyone wanting to participate in the parade may call Hess at 917-4335.

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Local Farmers Help Kansas Wildfire Victims April 20, 2017

In early March, wildfires hit Kansas farmers hard, destroying homes, farm buildings, livestock and more.

Kirkwood resident Roddy Strang was recently part of a volunteer effort that delivered hay and fencing materials to the families affected by the wildfires. Strang grew up in the Clark County area of Kansas, south of Dodge City near the Oklahoma border, and worked on many farms in the region.

Strang said he realized how bad the fires could be for people he knew personally and for entire communities in the region. "A guy I worked for while in college lost all his grazing and hay. Another who puts up alfalfa hay for a living lost 23 miles of fence. Another guy I worked for lost 300 miles of fence. There's fencing to be done out there for years," Strang said.

Farming in the affected area is primarily beef cattle and wheat and hay crops, with much larger farms than are typical in southeastern Pennsylvania. Fires fanned by winds moved rapidly in some spots, burning off the surface vegetation, while areas where the fire lingered got so hot the roots were burned and killed.

Lines of trees planted as windbreaks were burnt, and without the plant cover, exposed soil started to blow, with drifts closing in on roads until rain two weeks after the fires helped stabilize the soil.

Strang was accompanied on the trip by Charlie Fleischmann of Upper Oxford Township. Strang had already had plans to join Fleischmann on a trip to the Topeka area to pick up two bulls to bring back to Fleischmann's mother's farm in Virginia.

"That's how I got involved," Fleischmann said. "Roddy was calling around. He got all sorts of people to donate fence posts and wire."

Instead of driving west with an empty truck, they borrowed a larger truck and trailer, gathered volunteer support and trucked out nine tons of hay and 1,000 pounds of fencing materials to donate to farm families working to repair their damages. Hay grower Jamie Hicks of Unionville added to the hay effort, and two other trucks were filled and driven to Kansas as well.

Their trucks went to Ashland, Kan., where the central drop-off point was a feed store. "(The materials) were taken to central locations, and from there they either directed tractor-trailers to somebody's individual house or farm or they would unload there and organize it to get delivered to whoever needed it," Fleischmann explained.

According to the Ashland Community Foundation, which has organized a fire relief fund, it is estimated that 85 percent of Clark County burned, which includes 351,000 acres. More information about the fires and relief efforts can be found at www.ashlandcf.com.

"We drove through miles and miles of burned-out areas," Fleischmann said. "It's pure luck that you didn't have more people die."

"Tens of thousands of miles of barbed wire fencing need to be put back up. The numbers are staggering," Strang added. "What I'm trying to do is get the word out, to see if there's any crews that want to go out. There's a list of ranchers that need help."

Help has been coming into the area from all across the Midwest. "They need it; they don't ask for much," Strang said. "With all the giving everybody's doing, it gives them hope for humanity."

Strang is helping arrange future trips for fence-building volunteers, with hopes of making a trip in June. For more information or to assist in the effort, individuals may contact him at 301-509-5581.

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Stories Of Triumph April 20, 2017

Organizers for Relay For Life of Norlanco had originally scheduled the group's spring rally for March 14, but the snow that fell on New Holland that day pushed the event forward to April 11, when the group gathered at the American Legion Post 662 in New Holland. The rally is held in preparation for the Relay, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, at Garden Spot High School, 669 E. Main St., New Holland. At the recent rally, the honorary caregivers and honorary survivor for this year's Relay spoke to the gathering.

Richard and Amanda Wagner of Ephrata were named honorary caregivers for 2017. The Wagners received the honor based on the care they gave their daughter, Sophia, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 12 weeks.

Sophia, who is the Wagners' first child, was born in April 2016. "It was a happy, exciting time in our lives," said Amanda, who noted that the family moved to a larger home following Sophia's birth. In July, Sophia was fussy, and Amanda took her to the pediatrician, suspecting an ear infection. At the doctor's office, it soon became apparent that Sophia's health problem was serious. "They began giving her oxygen, and they called an ambulance and took her to Lancaster General Hospital to run tests," said Amanda. "The pediatrician said, 'I think it's leukemia.'"

Amanda and Richard rushed home to pack clothing as their daughter was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for a blood transfusion. "We were still hoping it was mono or something else, but it was leukemia," said Amanda, who soon learned that her daughter's chance of survival could be as low as 20 percent. "She was in the (pediatric intensive care unit) for several weeks," said Amanda. Sophia's course of treatment included three phases of chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant in November. "(After) the transplant, it got tough again because she got really sick from it," explained Amanda, who noted that after Sophia was discharged, they needed to remain near the hospital for about a month.

At the rally, Amanda smiled with relief. "We are home, and (Sophia) is cancer-free," she said. "We just had a (doctor's) appointment today." The family celebrated Sophia's first birthday on April 16.

Honorary survivor Jennifer Graybill, who attended the rally with her husband, Stan, was celebrating a milestone the night of the event. "I am having my five-year anniversary," said Jennifer, who was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 after the birth of her son Landon. "I wasn't healing well," said Jennifer, who was 34 at the time and has three other children. She visited her obstetrician, who sent her to an oncologist, who diagnosed her with cervical cancer. "The oncologist said, 'I'm sorry, kid,' relayed Jennifer, who heard those words on Feb. 14, 2011.

By June of 2011, Jennifer had received both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Later that year, in November, she began to have discomfort. "In January 2012, (my oncologist) said (my cancer) was back, and he said, 'You have had all the chemo and radiation you can have.'" The doctor added that a few decades back, he would just have prescribed medication to keep Jennifer comfortable, but that he thought she might be a candidate for a type of surgery he had performed at Duke University. The surgery, called total pelvic exenteration, could be done in Philadelphia if Jennifer qualified as a candidate.

Stan drove Jennifer to Philadelphia for an assessment, and a 13-hour surgery, followed by a six-week hospital stay, was scheduled. On Feb. 23, 2012, Jennifer underwent the surgery. She has since become a mentor with the American Cancer Society. "It took all (five years) for me to start to feel like myself again," Jennifer said. "I told (my mentee) the tricks I have learned, and it felt good to be able to help somebody."

For more information, readers may search for "Relay For Life of Norlanco" on Facebook.

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Foster Parent Sessions Slated April 20, 2017

Families United Network, 412 S. Angle St., Mount Joy, will offer foster parent orientation sessions on Thursday, May 4, and Thursday, May 18, from 6 to 8 p.m.

To attend one of the sessions, readers may call 800-722-0136 or email Holly at htanner@families4kids.org.

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Alzheimer's Advocates Attend Forum April 20, 2017

A group of advocates from the Greater Pennsylvania chapter of the Alzheimer's Association were among the 1,300 Alzheimer's advocates who gathered at the National Alzheimer's Association Forum from March 25 to 27 in Washington, D.C.

The first two days of the event were spent learning about legislation, how facts and figures have changed over the past year and how to present the advocates' wants and needs to their Congressmen. Alzheimer's is the only disease of the top 10 leading causes of death that cannot be slowed, prevented or cured and is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Maria Shriver was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at a dinner on Tuesday evening.

To support the Alzheimer's Association, readers may donate at http://act.alz.org/goto/endAlzheimers.

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NAMI Support Groups To Meet April 19, 2017

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nationwide grassroots organization dedicated to the eradication of mental illness and the improvement in the quality of life of those affected by these diseases. NAMI's goals are to educate, support, and advocate for individuals who are affected by mental illness.

The NAMI Family Support Group is a monthly support group for family members, partners, and friends of individuals living with a mental illness. The group meets the first Tuesday of each month at Luther Memorial Church, 1907 Hollywood Drive, York, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

NAMI Connection weekly support groups, which are exclusively for persons with a diagnosed mental illness who are in recovery, will also be offered. Groups will meet on Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive, York, and on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the NAMI office, 140 Roosevelt Ave., second floor, York.

Information shared at any NAMI-sponsored support groups is always confidential. Attendees do not need to be a NAMI member or be receiving services from any of the sponsoring locations to attend meetings. No fee or registration is required.

For additional information, readers may call the NAMI York office at 848-3784 or visit www.namiyork.org. More details about NAMI and mental illness in general are also available at www.nami-pa.org or www.nami.org. In the case of inclement weather or holidays, readers may call the NAMI York office for cancellations.

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