Do you see yourself skydiving, bungee jumping, or hiking 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro when you are 90 years old? That’s exactly what Shirley Radecki has done.
Radecki, who lives in Eugene, most recently traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There she participated in the 90-94 age group as a swimmer in the 2019 National Senior Games. She won a gold medal in the women’s 50-yard backstroke and a silver medal in the women’s 100-yard backstroke.
“It was pretty nice,” Radecki said, as reported by The Register-Guard. “Pretty impressive.”
Her only competition in her age group was Sara Sievert from Texas. Because of this, they took turns taking the win. Sievert won the gold in the 100-yard backstroke and silver in the 50-yard backstroke.
“We were just a few seconds apart really,” Radecki said. “She was pretty good competition.”
The event was Radecki’s second time competing, and her first time receiving a medal, save the state qualifiers in 2018.
She competed in the 100-yard breaststroke as well. However, she was disqualified because she did not touch both hands on the wall or use proper leg form.
It all started for Radecki at the 2018 Oregon Senior Games in Bend. It was there that she qualified for the national games. In the beginning, Radecki was uncertain if she wanted to compete. But her daughter, Shaundele Leatherberry, convinced her that it would be a good thing to do.
Last year, Radecki spent her time training and preparing for the competition. She trained at the River Road Park and Recreation pool with the help of her coach. She ate peanut butter and banana toast, and practiced swims and water aerobics two times every week.
Her daughter said it was important for her mother to be around more people her age that could keep up with her.
“She’s around a lot of people her age that don’t do anything,” Leatherberry said. “I wanted her to be around more active seniors and really have something to work toward.”
Even though she has tight competition in the pool, Radecki said she’s not a competitive person, she just keeps an extremely active lifestyle.
“I guess I do my best,” said Radecki, who also has two sons. “But I’m not gung-ho or anything like that.”
Leatherberry said her mother tends to downplay her abilities. Participating in the games showed her that even at 90 years old she could still be an athlete.
“There were signs that said, ‘welcome athletes,’” Leatherberry said. “I think people at that age have an image of themselves and things like this help them work toward something, and better themselves.”
Radecki acknowledged that credit goes to her daughter for getting her involved in the games. She said that most of her adventures have happened because her daughter did them first. In the last five years, Radecki went skydiving at 85 and climbed 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro at 87. To top it all off, she’s also been bungee jumping in New Zealand.
She already got the gold, but Radecki has no plans for slowing down. Her goal is to skydive again when she turns 95. Currently, she swims often and golfs twice a week.
“I mean, what else am I going to do?” Radecki said. She has been married two times, widowed once and reconnected in her late 70s with a childhood sweetheart who later passed away. “I don’t want to go out to lunches, that’s too boring. It’s just good to have things to do.”
When it comes to living a long and happy life, Radecki said she’s been lucky to have her health and a supportive family.
“You know it’s important to eat healthy, stay active and do what you do best,” Radecki said. “But having a good relationship with my family has been really special.”
Leatherberry said that while she is her mother’s biggest cheerleader, she wants people to know what a great person she is.
“She’s always lived a really healthy lifestyle and has really taken care of herself,” Leatherberry said. “She really deserves her day in the sun.”
The 2021 National Senior Games are projected to take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Radecki said she’s not sure if she’ll compete again. She plans to focus on things one day at a time at this point.
“I don’t want to make predictions, so we’ll have to see,” Radecki said. “But if my daughter is at it and wants to, then I’d do it, too.”
Read The Register-Guard’s story here.
Over 800 teenagers have been participating in a work camp and have been working on 104 different projects throughout northern and central Virginia this summer. The Diocese of Arlington is sponsoring this camp.
“I didn’t even think we had people like this in the world anymore,” said Kevin Curtis. Curtis, 59, has been the beneficiary of the teenagers’ hard work. They’ve built him a deck extension and a ramp so he can get out of the house. Due to his disability, he has been unable to leave without being carried by two strong men for the past 15 years.
“It’s so wonderful to have somebody come to you and help you. I’ve never reached out for any kind of help in my life,” Curtis said. He has multiple health issues stemming from a car accident he suffered in 2003. “I crushed every bone in my body, in my chest. Both collarbones were broken. All my ribs were broken. My back was broken. My leg was broken in several places.”
Contractors oversee all the teens’ projects but the teenagers do the majority of the work.
“We have to dig the holes first, put the posts in, then the concrete,” said Monica Castro. It is her third summer participating in the work camp. “All three years I’ve been building decks. So I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole ‘dig the holes, mix the concrete, pour the cement and let it set.’ And then the measurements that come afterwards.”
“I’m so excited! I’ve got a doctor’s appointment…that I won’t miss because I will be able to get out of the house,” said Curtis. He recalled that after he met the kids, he bent his head. “And I prayed. I asked God to bless them all, deeply and fully.”
The deck and ramp were completed in time for Curtis’s appointment.
Oregon governor Kate Brown recently signed a new mandate into law that requires children age two and under to ride in rear-facing car seats. This requirement previously ended when children turned one. Anyone who fails to follow this mandate will be fined up to $250. Oregon is the sixth state to implement rear-facing car seats for children two and under.
In an interview, Dr. Bend Hoffman explained the dangers of young children sitting in forward-facing car seats. “What’s going to happen is they’re going to be thrown forward, the arms and legs are going to go forward, head and neck forward. What’s going to stop the child are the harness straps. All sorts of horrible things can happen from paralysis to death.” Dr. Hoffman is a professor of pediatrics at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
When the car seat is rear-facing during an accident, it absorbs the shock and the child’s spine, head and neck stay aligned.
“We know that kids rear-facing, between the age of one and two, are over five times less likely to be injured in a crash compared to kids facing forward,” said Dr. Hoffman.
Parents like Adrianna Morales are grateful for the change in the car seat laws. “I’m happy, really happy. I think it’s the best choice they made for our little ones, we need to protect them.”
Doernbecher and Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland provide free car seat installations by appointment.
Two Planned Parenthood facilities in Colorado recently announced that they would be closing this summer. The two facilities, one in Longmont and one in Parker, did not perform abortions but referred for them. Whitney Phillips, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, told local news that they are closing due to the “tough financial landscape” and because of the Affordable Care Act.
“We supported the ACA because we love the idea of more people having health insurance and increasing access to the critical services that they need, but a lot of our patients were self-pay,” she said. “They would come in…and pay out of pocket. Under the ACA, a lot of patients were given the opportunity to be on Medicaid. Again, that’s wonderful, but it meant that rather than bill them directly, we had to bill Medicaid. And Medicaid reimburses at a very low rate.”
Some of the other Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains affiliate locations will extend their hours to accommodate patients. The affiliate announced six closings recently, including these two facilities in Colorado, three facilities in New Mexico, and one in Wyoming. At least 13 Planned Parenthood facilities have closed or have announced closure this year, including four in Iowa (after that state’s lawmakers decided to defund the abortion provider), as well as two in Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland. Except in Iowa, the efforts to defund the abortion provider were not the cause of the closures, Planned Parenthood officials have said. Most closures are due to patient numbers and finances.
According to their annual reports, Planned Parenthood’s numbers and non-abortion services have declined in the past few years. Its abortion numbers have remained consistent. Planned Parenthood has yet to release its report for 2016.
Stefano Boeri, an Italian architect, recently announced his plans to help decrease pollution in Nanjing, a city in eastern China. Boeri is famous for the Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, a skyscraper layered with trees. He plans to build two similar structures in Nanjing: towers which will be home to 23 different species of trees and more than 2,500 cascading shrubs. The two buildings will house offices, a luxury hotel, a museum, and a green architecture school. They are already under construction and are scheduled to be completed next year.
China is a country known for its high levels of pollution, especially in its cities. While Boeri is delighted that his towers will help the people of Nanjing, he has an even bigger goal to help tackle the pollution problem. He wants to create “forest cities” to help clear the air in China.
“We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri said. “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.”
Boeri’s buildings are projected to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air every year and produce 60 kg of oxygen each day.
Boeri’s first “forest city” will be in Luizhou, a city of 1.5 million people in the southern province of Guangxi. He plans to build a second city around Shijiazhuang, a large industrial metropolis that consistently finds itself on China’s lists of most polluted cities. Boeri hopes to create many of these sustainable mini-cities which will help provide a greener future for the country.
Boeri says that this idea is simple but not spectacular. “What is spectacular is the nature, the idea of having a building that changes color with each season. The plants and trees are growing and they are completely changing.”
Boeri believes his project will lay the groundwork for similar developments elsewhere: “We think—and we hope—that this idea of vertical forests can be replicated everywhere. I hope that what we have done can be useful for other kinds of experiments.”