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Moments of joy beyond cancer’s shadow

first_imgBECKET, Mass. — No parent would want to send a child to Camp Kesem. But kids who go look forward to attending all year long.“It’s really special to have a connection to these other kids who have parents who have cancer,” said an 11-year-old boy nicknamed Tic Tac. “When I see the other kids, they just understand me because they’ve dealt with some of the things I’ve gone through.”Harvard’s first year as a chapter of Camp Kesem — “magic” in Hebrew, it’s pronounced keh-sem — unfolded last month in the green hills of Western Massachusetts, with a volunteer team of 19 undergrads serving as counselors for 24 children whose parents have battled cancer.Evette Ronner, founding co-director of Camp Kesem at Harvard, said she wanted to give the children, ages 6 to 13, “an experience I never had.”A camper nicknamed Speedo struts the runway in her trash-bag gown. Video still image by Kai-Jae Wang“I know what it’s like to grow up with a sick parent or without a parent because they passed away from cancer,” said the 21-year-old Harvard senior, whose father died of brain cancer when she was 6. “When a parent is sick, it’s life-altering. You go to school and you feel different —like you have a secret you’re supposed to hide. Hopefully with camp, this will relieve that burden a little bit.”Kids kept a back-to-back-to-back schedule of daily activities mixed with special events such as rope-swinging and smashing pies in counselors’ faces. Campers rotated through drama, sports, and art in the morning. In the afternoon came a new slate of activities, followed by free swim. Two nurses and a mental health counselor staffed the medical cabin, and an “empowerment ceremony,” held on the second-to-last night of camp, gave campers who were feeling particularly brave the chance to share stories and feelings.Frankie Hall, a junior concentrating in government, models trash bag designs with young campers. Photo by Jill Radsken“My dad just finished [treatment],” a girl nicknamed D.J. told a visitor later, as she made paper leis for a luau the final night of camp. “We rang the bell at the hospital.”A sense of community kicked in the moment campers and counselors arrived. Everyone got a nickname, a simple act that created an immediate bond, Ronner said, and for the kids helped make “their time at Camp Kesem very separate and special from their everyday life.”Eight-year-old Antidisestablishmentarianism, who had never been to overnight camp, ticked off everything he loved about the experience: “Swimming, dodgeball, gaga ball, just spending time with the people in my cabin.” Not to mention his first taste of campfire s’mores.The counselors “care about the kids and really follow along with the stuff we do and they do it with us and play with us and include us,” he said. “That makes me happy because some places I don’t fit in, but you can feel like, ‘I’m not alone here.’” Counselor Anna “Gibby” Gibbs recognized those feelings of loneliness and isolation. The 19-year-old junior lost her mom to breast cancer when she was 13. She recalled never knowing a time when her mother wasn’t sick, and wishing she’d had a place like Camp Kesem.“I went to grief camps,” she said. “The thought of the camps often made me anxious, which may have come from not knowing other kids in my situation or else the pressure of ‘properly’ processing my mom’s death.“I’ve learned that not only does life go on, but that it also continues to be full of fun and joy. Camp Kesem is evidence of that. It’s helpful seeing that it can get better and it can get worse, and it’s OK.”Campers model their trash bag designs after a fashion show for their fellow campers. Video still image by Kai-Jae WangGrassroots fundraising — coffee drives and singing camp songs at the Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles — provided Camp Kesem at Harvard the $30,000 it needed to pay for the first-year group. Students completed 40 hours of training to prepare for the campers, who hailed from New England and Texas.Lily Wilkinson, a senior concentrating in human developmental and regenerative biology who first heard about the camp from family in her home state of Nebraska, said the week was “all I wanted and more to see this family develop.” She shared an anecdote from a camper nicknamed Jimmy Butler.“He asked when he could sign up for the next camp,” she said. When counselor Alexander Munoz answered, “Your parents will get an email; they should be able to sign up sometime after you get back home,” Butler replied, “No, I need to sign up right now.”Frankie “Beaker” Hill ’19 could relate to that sense of urgency. Said the 20-year-old from New Era, Mich., who served as unofficial campfire song leader: “When I look in the eyes of these campers, it’s a lot of faces I’ve seen before. When you come to a camp like this where you meet people who instantly know, that’s really valuable.” What I did on my Summer Explorations Ed Portal cross between camp and summer school lets kids learn by having fun Relatedlast_img read more

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Governor Wolf Urges Congress to Vote No on Tax Reforms that Prioritize the Wealthy Over the Middle-Class

first_imgGovernor Wolf Urges Congress to Vote No on Tax Reforms that Prioritize the Wealthy Over the Middle-Class Economy,  National Issues Harrisburg, PA – In a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, Governor Tom Wolf again expressed concern over the current tax bill, citing its prioritization of the uber-wealthy over its support of the middle-class as previously promised. The governor urged Congress to vote no on the current bill, which enacts permanent tax cuts for large corporations and increases the tax burden on Pennsylvania’s homeowners and middle-class.“This bill is bad policy and a giveaway to the uber-wealthy and corporations,” Governor Wolf said. “I am urging Congress to vote no and work on real tax reform that will benefit the middle-class. Further, I am gravely concerned about how the trillion dollar deficit from this bill will be used to cut health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid.Read the full content of the letter to Congressional leaders below. You can also view the letter on Scribd and as a PDF.Dear Congressman:Several members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation were in attendance in October when President Trump visited Harrisburg to talk about tax reform. In his speech, the President said that tax reform would be a “middle-class bill” and that the benefits would go to “the middle-class and not the highest earners.” The bill you will be voting on does not do that.There are clear winners and losers under this bill. A large corporation will see a permanent 14 percent tax cut while an individual making $40,000 will see their modest tax cut disappear by 2023. More than half of the tax cuts in this bill go to the top 1% while Pennsylvanians earning less than $75,000 will pay more in taxes by 2027. In total, 713,000 of our constituents will see a tax hike by 2027.This “middle-class” bill will raise the threshold to qualify for the estate tax, which benefits only the wealthiest 140 estates in the commonwealth. These 140 estates, all worth over $22 million will see a tax cut of $4.4 million. That $4.4 million could be used to provide 1100 Pennsylvania students a Pell Grant to make college more affordable.Homeowners who utilize the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction will see their deduction capped under this bill. SALT ensures that Pennsylvania families won’t be taxed twice by the federal government on what they’ve already paid in state and local taxes. The majority of Pennsylvanians who use the deduction have an income under $100,000. These changes to the deduction will increase the tax burden on homeowners by as much as $1600 per year. The increased tax burden on homeowners may force our communities to make cuts to emergency services, infrastructure projects, and education.Pennsylvanians’ concerns with this bill are not limited to the changes to tax policy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate would increase premiums an additional 10 percent each year. Pennsylvania would see an additional 500,000 uninsured individuals. My administration has worked to bring the commonwealth’s uninsured rate to the lowest on record. Eliminating the individual mandate is a step backwardsAccording to the Joint Committee on Taxation’s score the GOP tax plan will increase the deficit by $1.45 trillion over the next ten years. Without additional Congressional action, this bill will trigger an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare next year, along with $125 billion in cuts to other programs such as farm subsidies, health prevention funds, and student loans. Earlier this month, Speaker Ryan announced that in 2018 the House of Representatives would work to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other entitlement programs that Pennsylvania families rely on. It is irresponsible to support a bill that adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit and then use concern over the deficit to make cut to vital programs that will hurt your most vulnerable constituents.This bill is bad policy. It is a giveaway to the uber-wealthy and corporations. I urge you to vote no and work on real tax reform that will benefit the middle-class.Sincerely,TOM WOLFGovernor12.19.17 Letter to Congress on Tax Reforms by Governor Tom Wolf on Scribd December 19, 2017center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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Justin Rose eyeing Race to Dubai title at DP World Tour Championship

first_imgJustin Rose rates his season worthy of a B-plus or A-minus at the moment, but believes he can earn an upgrade with victory in the DP World Tour Championship and a second Race to Dubai title. Press Association “If I played like I did this year, next year, maybe that would result in one or two major championships. For m e it’s about consistency and if I continue to put myself in that position, then the door is going to open for me. “This year I’ve been beaten a couple of times by record-breaking performances; Jason Day was 20 under at the PGA and Jordan (Spieth) 18 under at the Masters. It’s taken record-breaking performances to prevent me from winning. I felt like I did all the right things to give myself a chance to win this year, so I just need to continue to do that next year, and you sometimes can’t force the victory. It just needs to happen.” Stenson is seeking a third consecutive victory in Dubai but a first win of a season that has produced five runners-up finishes and five other top 10s. “It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year and I’m excited about the opportunity to make it three in a row,” the 39-year-old Swede said. ” It’s not going to be easy, I know that much. “I’ve got 59 other players who want to stop me dearly and I’m just going to go out and try and make the same plan and hopefully play somewhat close to what I’ve done the previous two years, and we’ll see if we can give it a shot. “I think it’s going to be difficult to win a tournament like this no matter how the (Race to Dubai) standings are, but of course it’s going to maybe even make those boys focus a bit more because it’s all-or-nothing, they have to win to have a chance for the overall title. “It might make them try a little harder, but I guess it can backfire if you’re trying too hard, as well.” But Rose is confident his recent victory in Hong Kong and his own course form in Dubai – he has finished second, 10th and second in the last three years – gives him the chance to claim a second money list title. ” I fancy my chances,” said Rose, who finished top of the Order of Merit in 2007. “Rory pipped me in 2012 when I remember being two ahead playing the last and made birdie. There are very few times you play the last two ahead and make birdie and lose. Rory was a few holes behind and birdied the last five to win. ” Obviously he has a great record. Henrik Stenson (defending champion) has a great record here. I would say me, Rory and Henrik, all of us have played incredibly well at this venue the last few years. “There’s a pretty fair chance that one of us is going to be there on Sunday and obviously we are all hoping it’s going to be the right guy from our own point of view. Whoever wins is going to still have to play their best golf. “F or me, it’s a pretty simple equation. I need to go out and pretty much win the tournament and if I do that, it could be a great week. There’s probably more pressure because I have to win, but it’s a much more simple equation. T hose guys (McIlroy and second-placed Danny Willett) are going to have to keep their eye on one another because there’s a scenario where they could finish 20th and 25th and pick up the Race to Dubai.” Rose has won once on the PGA Tour and once on the European Tour this season, but can count himself unlucky not to have claimed a second major title after brilliant performances in the Masters and US PGA Championship. Asked to give himself a mark for the season, Rose said: ” I think having won in Hong Kong, I think it goes up to certainly the B-plus, A-minus range. ” My play in the major championships I think was probably a highlight. I think I was maybe fourth all-time low score in the majors combined and that’s something to be proud of. In the Masters, Open Championship and the PGA Championship, I had a chance to win on Sunday. Rose is one of seven players in contention to end the season as European number one, although the former US Open champion needs to finish second or better in Dubai to have a chance of overhauling Rory McIlroy. Even a second European Tour title of the season at Jumeirah Golf Estates would not be enough if McIlroy, who has never finished outside the top 11 in six appearances, finished alone in second. last_img read more

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NFL free agency news: Frank Gore heads to Buffalo on 1-year deal

first_imgFrank Gore has found a new home with the Bills.The team announced the move Wednesday when the new league year began.  Ready for his 15th NFL season. RB Frank Gore has agreed to terms!Free agency tracker: https://t.co/5ltNsecVRU pic.twitter.com/IFq5dpAlu2— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) March 13, 2019Buffalo didn’t disclose the amount, but early reports have said it will be good for $2 million.Bills have agreed with Frank Gore on a 1-year, $2 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2019Gore, 35, is entering his 15th NFL season. The deal makes him the oldest running back under contract. Related News The five-time Pro Bowl player was selected by the 49ers in the third round as the 65th overall pick of the 2005 draft. He spent a decade in San Francisco before three seasons in Indianapolis.The Bills offense is getting a complete revamp as they have also added wide receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown. Now, the Bills will have the three oldest rushers ahead of the new season. Gore will join LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory — both 30 years old — in Buffalo. Gore, who just finished a one-year stint in Miami, suffered a sprained foot in Week 15 and was ruled out for the rest of the season. He finished 2018 with 722 rushing yards, and it was the first time in his career he did not record a rushing touchdown. NFL free agency news: Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley signs with Billslast_img read more

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