LARGO - At a gym in Largo, a group of seniors train three times a week for the fight of their lives. Only the adversary is far more formidable than any fighter. It doesn’t bleed when you hit it, and you can’t knock it out with a single punch. The opponent is Parkinson’s disease, and the participants are fighting to regain control of their lives.
They are doing it through the Rock Steady Boxing program at Bodyssey gym on Walsingham Road. That’s right, boxing. The same culprit that has robbed Muhammad Ali of his signature verve and so many other boxers of their quality of life.
Floridians living in standardized public housing may be breathing easier soon, as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has introduced a smoke-free policy in HUD-affiliated public housing authorities nationwide.
The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida, the state's comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation program, has been working to educate public and private housing managers about the benefits of smoke-free policies for more than three years and is encouraged by this development. according to a media release from the Florida Department of Health.
"Smoke-free public housing is another step in the right direction to improve the health of children, adults and families who are disproportionately affected by tobacco," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "We also know that implementing smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing produces benefits for the properties including reduced maintenance and turnover costs and fewer resident disputes related to smoking neighbors."
PALM HARBOR - For 6-year-old Oliver Bellant, it’s not a matter of if he’ll break a bone, but when. Oliver has a rare bone disease called osteogensis imperfecta, which means his bones don’t have enough collagen. The lack of collagen makes his bones, even the bigger ones, break easily.
Oliver had his first leg fracture at 7 months old. Over the course of his short life, he’s broken his legs a total of 40 times. He’s had six major surgeries, including ones to help strengthen his tibia and femurs with expandable rods.
Rotary celebrated its third annual World Polio Day Oct. 23. Polio eradication is Rotary’s ultimate philanthropic objective and its members raise awareness and advocacy in addition to funds and volunteer hours in supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
It all started with Rotary’s successful pilot project providing immunization for children in the Philippines back in 1979. Thirty years ago, Rotary founded its PolioPlus program to take on the crippling disease of polio, which at that time affected over 350,000 children a year in 125 countries.
LARGO - The birds of prey program at George C. McGough Nature Park specializes in caring for wounded raptors. Birds that had little hope of surviving their injuries and living a quality life. Now, not only are they surviving, but those wounded raptors are coming to the aid of wounded warriors.
And that is thanks to Patrick Bradley, raptor program director, who has spearheaded a new therapy program called the Avian Veteran Alliance.
“About two years ago, my son got out of the service. He’d been in for 17 years and he was a basket case,” said Bradley, a Vietnam veteran who also suffered from PTSD when he left the Army in 1968. “So while I had him, I said, ‘Look, just grab a bird, go for a walk, try to relax, try to get over it.’ Then another gentleman who found me at the Saturday market knew we were accepting volunteers, and he happened to be an outpatient at a PTSD study at Bay Pines. My son also was a patient there. So I told him, ‘Just grab a bird and go for a walk.’”
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - The ALS Association Florida Chapter will kick off its annual Ride. Run. Roll. to Defeat ALS, a one-day endurance event for cyclists and runners to raise funds to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at The Holiday Inn Harbourside Hotel, 401 Second St.
Registration will open at 6 a.m. The run begins at 7 a.m., followed by the ride at 8 a.m.
More than 300 cyclists and runners are expected to participate, raising funds to support research and programs and services for people living with ALS in Florida.
CLEARWATER - Orthopedic Specialists will sponsor the annual Wheelchairs 4 Kids fundraiser “Wheely Good Time” on Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 to 10 p.m., in the Margaret Heye Great Room at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road.
The young nonprofit organization will be auctioning off two Artist Selection tickets and a meet-and-greet with Billy Joel as well as other celebrity experiences and unique items. Wheelchairs 4 Kids provides wheelchairs, home and vehicle modifications and other equipment to children with physical disabilities.
Emmy Award winning news anchor Brendan McLaughlin will host the evening. The highlight of the evening will be seeing a little girl get a brand new chair.