Bill Conway, Clackamas County Fire Department Chief of Emergency Medical Services, is always on the job.
This past Saturday, Conway went grocery shopping with his wife. As he strolled the aisles of Grocery Outlet, he heard another shopper collapse to the floor. The individual had lost consciousness and stopped breathing, according to a Clackamas Fire Department press release.
Conway didn’t wait for on-duty medical personnel to arrive. Rather, he immediately began chest compressions on the victim, and continued until paramedics could transport the person to a hospital. Conway’s instincts and job training likely saved the shopper’s life: paramedics restored the individual’s pulse after two defibrillation procedures.
Conway is passionate about equipping others with medical emergency response skills: he has taught CPR to over 40,000 people, and has funded purchases of defibrillators (AEDs) for law enforcement vehicles and businesses. In the process, he is helping to train the next generation of everyday heroes.
After three months in the hospital, Bobby Asa, a seventeen-year-old Sam Barlow High School student, finally returned home.
On June 27th, Bobby was driving home after visiting a friend, when another driver rear-ended his car. Bobby lost consciousness after the impact of the collision fractured his skull and damaged his spinal cord. He didn’t wake until six months later.
Doctors told Bobby’s family he would likely never walk again. But, after being released from Randall Children’s Hospital last Friday, he is already proving them wrong: “Walking is good. I’m getting to relearn it and learning how to be in a wheelchair, so relearning, kind of, life again,” Bobby told KOIN reporters.
Bobby hasn’t allowed his struggles to embitter him. In fact, his recovery has taught him important lessons: He values life more than ever before, because he now realizes “it can be taken away just like that. That’s what I think mostly, and not taking stuff for granted is what I want to do now.”
Last weekend, Bobby’s family celebrated his return home with an open house to thank friends and neighbors for their support. Nearly 200 people attended the event. “I just want to say, like, thank you to everyone who helped,” Bobby said.
Bobby explained that he looked to his family and community for encouragement during his long recovery. However, he ultimately credits his astounding progress to something else. “Well, I think it is a miracle because, like, right now, I shouldn’t even be doing what I’m doing,” he stated. “I should be in bed right now, but I’m not. So that’s great.”
Two bills passed unanimously during Oregon’s 2017 legislative session that will help significantly to raise awareness for and accommodate disabled citizens. Both were sponsored by State Representative Cedric Hayden.
The first bill, House Bill 2591, moved to designate May as the awareness month for Williams Syndrome, which is a rare genetic condition present at birth that is characterized by numerous medical problems, particularly cardiovascular issues, learning disabilities, and developmental delays.
Representative Hayden, who is currently raising his six-year-old daughter with Williams Syndrome, was motivated to introduce the bill because of his personal experience with the disability. He stated that he hoped appointing May as Williams Syndrome Awareness Month would promote medical and fundraiser awareness for the genetic disorder. The other benefit to the bill he noted is that it could help parents identify the disorder in their children earlier and take the appropriate steps for helping their children deal with this disorder.
The other bill, House Bill 3029, allows for parents or legal guardians to postpone for one year the enrollment of their child in public school if the child’s sixth birthday occurs on or before September 1st. Hayden’s daughter, who is delayed around 24-36 months physically and cognitively like many other disabled children, was forced to go to public school at the age of six. The school held her back in kindergarten another year as a result, which Hayden says naturally caused emotional stress for her and the family.
Many parents with children who have cognitive disabilities (Autism, Down Syndrome, etc) have run into similar problems as Hayden. House Bill 3029 addresses exactly that issue by allowing the parents to delay a child’s education to better accommodate his or her cognitive ability. The decision is purely up to the parents without interference from the school board.
Last Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets of Portland to show support for breast cancer victims in the city’s Race for the Cure.
One participant, Adrienne San Nicolas, joined the race to celebrate her own recovery from the disease: “It’s a celebration for me that another year has gone and we’re still here,” she explained.
San Nicolas received her diagnosis in 2015, at age 34. At the time, she told KOIN reporters, she struggled to accept the news about her disease: “It’s really difficult to talk about the emotions that you feel when you are told that you have cancer.”
However, San Nicolas has been free from breast cancer for two years, and now feels optimistic about finding a cure for other victims. The support she received from her doctor, friends and family during Sunday’s race is “a sign of hope that together, one day we are going to be able to get rid of this ugly disease and eliminate it from ruining people’s lives.”
To learn more about Race for the Cure, click here.