We all know the value of a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle is trying to make sure every young person in our area who needs or wants one will get one. One way you can help this wonderful cause is by turning out for a new and fun event June 9th. BBBST is holding the inaugural "Bikes, Burgers and Bowling" event at North Hills in Raleigh. It's simple. You bike from Sparians to Tyler's, have a burger, then bike back to Sparians and go bowling. In addition to supporting the event financially, you can help by donating a gently used bike. They'll be checked over and given to kids in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. You can drop off bike donations June 3rd through the 8th at Sparians (from 4-7pm). ABC11 is a proud sponsor of this event and Eyewitness News Anchor Steve Daniels will be there to emcee the event. If you're free on June 9th, check it out. You'll be helping a wonderful non-profit help kids in our community.
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Statistics tell us 26 million Americans are living with Diabetes. Women with Diabetes face unique challenges due to hormonal changes, pregnancy and other life changes. Thanks to a local woman named Brandy Barnes, women with diabetes have an incredible support network online and in person. Several years ago, Brandy created a non-profit called "DiabetesSisters". Since then, the network has grown to include tens of thousands of women across the U.S. and Canada. Some meet in their communities periodically to share experiences and better educate themselves about the disease. Others find the support they need virtually, through DiabetesSisters.org. Brandy also runs a "Weekend for Women" Conference twice a year on the East and West coasts. The East Coast conference is May 4th & 5th in Raleigh. The conference is designed for women but it's expanded to include spouses and partners. Brandy's husband, Chris, is even leading sessions about how husbands and partners can help care for the women in their life with diabetes, without being overbearing or insensitive. One more great aspect of the conference is that it kicks off with the 3rd annual "orange:will" Diabetes Awareness Walk. ABC11 is a proud sponsor of this walk and 4pm Anchor Anna Laurel will serve as emcee. It starts at 8am at the Raleigh Convention Center. It's a great way to get a little exercise on a Saturday morning, but more importantly, to support the millions of people in our country living with diabetes. Through awareness and education, we can help keep this disease from taking lives. Thanks Brandy for all your efforts. Learn more from this Heart of Carolina Perspectives Show and from this ABC11 Eyewitness News Health Story by ABC11 Health & Fitness Anchor Tisha Powell
Every time I hear the song "Angels Among Us", I tear up. I'm sure I'm not alone. It's a beautiful and emotional song that's designed to make us appreciate those we love. But over the past few years, this song has taken on special meaning. That's because it is the theme of an inspiring event in Durham every April. The Angels Among Us 5K & Family Fun Walk began two decades ago to raise money for the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. On April 20, 2013, the event will mark a major milestone - its 20th anniversary. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 23,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumors each year in the U.S. 14,000 die each year. But at Duke, "there is hope", as the saying goes. Patients come to Duke from around the world to be treated. It has earned such a great reputation, in part, because of the research doctors and scientists do there. A lot of the funding for that research was raised at the Angels Among Us Run and Walk. In 2012 alone, nearly $2 million in donations came in. This year, organizers are hoping to raise that much again -- or even more. The event is not limited to people who've been affected by a brain tumor. It's a great way for anyone to get some exercise, enjoy a beautiful spring day, entertain little ones at kid-friendly events. Most importantly though, it's a great way to raise money to help an amazing medical facility, right in our backyard, continue to fight a terrible disease by finding new treatments. It's a way to keep giving patients and their families hope. A special thank you to Mary Woodall, the mother of Christopher, a brain tumor patient who passed away nearly 20 years ago, not long after the first Angels Among Us. Despite her loss, Mary has given back to Duke and given hope to others by helping to organize this event since it began. She is an "Angel Among Us". Well Done Mary. You can learn more about Mary, the event and the research being done at Duke by watching a recent Heart of Carolina Perspectives. Eyewitness News Anchor Amber Rupinta will serve as emcee of the event on April 20th. I hope you'll consider stopping by.
There's a good chance you or someone you know is living with Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25 million Americans have diabetes, although about 7 million don't know it. I'm very proud that our station is supporting a local woman who's helping other women and families learn more about the disease and how to live a a full and healthy life. Her name is Brandy Barnes and two years ago, she reached out to me to tell me about the non-profit support group she had started based on our own concerns and feelings of isolation when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a teenager. It's called DiabetesSisters and focuses on women with diabetes and the specific health issues and complications they face throughout their lives (pregnancy, menopause, etc.). Brandy provided all kinds of information and resources along with on-line peer support. Now, her non-profit organizes face-to-face support groups in communities all over the world. For the third year in a row, she's organized a "Weekend for Women" Conference with speakers and education sessions and socializing for women with diabetes. This year's event also offer support for spouses and families. The conference wraps up with a Diabetes Awarness Walk. It's Sunday, May 20th at 8am in Downtown Raleigh (starts at the Raleigh Convention Center on Salisbury Street). The walk is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome along with teams who raise money to support DiabetesSisters. In fact, the walk has the support of Celebrity Chef Paula Deen, who recently announced she has diabetes. Deen has prepared special diabetes friendly recipe cards for those who register for the walk. ABC11 is a proud sponsor of this year's walk. I hope you'll check it out and look for people wearing orange shirts. Brandy wants orange to become the official color for women with diabetes. She's done so much in such a short period of time to educate and empower women about diabetes. We can all learn from her example and her passion. You can learn more about DiabetesSisters by watching Heart of Carolina Perspectives.
If you like games, there's a unique one you should try. I'll warn you, it's very challenging and it will make you do some soul-searching. It's called SPENTand it was created by McKinney, a Durham based advertising agency. McKinney partners with Urban Ministries of Durham, which helps thousands of people who are homeless or one step away from homelessness, get a hot meal, have a safe place to spend the night and get the tools they need to support themselves again. The game challenges players to pay their expenses for a month when they've lost almost everything and are down to their last $1,000. Most people I know who've played haven't made it the entire month. Talk about a wake-up call. At the end of the game, people can make a donation to Urban Ministries of Durham. Obviously, UMD is grateful for the financial support. But most of all,it's grateful for the awareness the game is raising. It's even being used as a teaching tool in some schools and universities. SPENT is educating people about homelessness and how it can happen to almost anyone. SPENT is giving people new compassion for our neighbors in need. You can learn more about SPENT by clicking the link above and by watching Heart of Carolina Perspectives.
It's a holiday tradition. First you hear the bell and then you see the red kettles set up in front of a store. Volunteers are collecting money for The Salvation Army. Do you give? For the second year in a row, I've spent a little time ringing one of those bells. My daughter has helped and loves singing Christmas Carols while we're there. She's helped me get into the holiday spirit.
Of course, what helps even more is witnessing dozens of people stop by and put a little cash into the kettle. I'm amazed by people's generosity. Often those who seem to have the least give the most. And people give anything they can. The Salvation Army is grateful. I just interviewed Major Pete Costas who leads The Salvation Army of Wake County for Heart of Carolina Perspectives (airs Sundays at 11am).He told me donations are down about 7% in Wake County compared to this time last year. Eyewitness News Reporter Gilbert Baez reported that donations are down in Cumberland County as well and I suspect it may be the same story in many counties across our region. I'm sure there are many reasons. The economy is still struggling and many people who used to give are now in need themselves. Other people are shopping online and not stopping by the red kettles. The good news is there's still time to make a donation. You can do it online (see the link above) or you can stop by one of those red kettles. You'll find them at many Wal-Marts (like the one at New Hope Church Road in Raleigh where The Rotary Club of Raleigh members volunteer to ring the bell). The campaign lasts another week. Money collected in those kettles helps to pay for toys and clothes for thousands of children (8,000 alone in Wake County) who won't get anything else for Christmas. We live in a very prosperous and a very generous community. If you can give a little more this holiday season, please do. Merry Christmas.
It's my favorite time of year at ABC11 - when we organize the Heart of Carolina Food Drive. This is an extra special year because it's our 25th anniversary. Our goal is bigger than ever. We want to collect 5 million pounds of food. What we collect, with your help, goes to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the Second Harvest Food bank of Southeast North Carolina. Both serve dozens of counties in our viewing area and both see an increased demand for food and basic necessities. You, our viewers, have always been so generous in the past when it comes to our food drive. Our sponsors, Kroger, CenturyLink, Leith and D. Hardison Wood Law Firm, are fantastic. So please continue the tradition and do what you can to help our neighbors in need. The final day of the Food Drive is Wednesday, Dec. 7th. That's the Drive-Through day, when you can drive up and drop off your donations at one of four locations. There are other ways to get involved too. You can "Like" us on our ABC11 Facebook page and support the station's efforts to raise $5,000 for the Food Drive. Or you can make a financial donation. Find all the details at www.abc11.com. Thank you in advance for anything you can do to help. Our community is counting on us. To learn more about the need and the work the food banks do, watch Heart of Carolina Perspectives.
This Saturday, Nov. 5th, is the 5th annual Free to Breathe 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk. It's the third year I'll be involved. It's been that long since my Dad passed away after being diagnosed with lung cancer. That is very hard for me to believe. Anyone who's lost a loved one knows that there are moments when you simply can't fathom that they're not with you anymore. I get those feelings frequently. That's one of the reasons I am involved with Free to Breathe. It supports the North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership, which formed a few years ago to raise money for lung cancer education and research. Many people don't realize that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer -- it kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined and accounts for nearly 30 percent of all cancer deaths. Yet, lung cancer gets far less funding for research that other cancers. That's in part because there's a stigma attached to lung cancer. People blame the victim. They smoked, so they brought the sickness upon themselves. That's a horrible and ignorant attitude and it needs to change. Clearly, smokers need to stop. But so many lung cancer patients did quit smoking when the research revealed that it was bad and unfortunately, even after they quit, their risk remained. Others who never smoked are at risk, from being exposed to second hand smoke. And still others get lung cancer without even that exposure. The bottom line is anyone with lungs can get lung cancer and no one deserves it. It's a cruel disease. Yet, there's promising research being done and new medications are shrinking tumors in a small population of lung cancer patients. We have to put more dollars toward research in order to achieve the results we've seen with breast and other types of cancer in which the survival rate is high. That's why I got involved with Free to Breathe. My family and I will be at North Hills in Raleigh this Saturday, Nov. 5th at 8am to register for the races and take part in the rally. We will celebrate the survivors who are sharing their stories and we will remember those, like my Dad, who fought the disease courageously. Most importantly, we will raise money for research and raise awareness about lung cancer and how lives can be saved. It's going to be a beautiful morning (Meteorologist Chris Hohmann has promised me). Consider joining us and take a few minutes to learn more about the North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership on Heart of Carolina Perspectives. Thank you.
Ovarian Cancer doesn't get the kind of publicity that other cancers, like breast cancer, do. That's in part because it doesn't strike as many women. But it still kills thousands every year, including a Raleigh woman named Gail Parkins. For the past 9 years, her daughter, Melanie Bacheler, has been determined to spread the word about ovarian cancer. Like many cancers, ovarian cancer is treatable if it's caught early. Unfortunately, it's often caught in later stages when there aren't as many treatment options. There's another important message that Dr. Andrew Berchuck, who heads up the Gynecologic Oncology Department at Duke, is trying to spread. He urges women to learn about their family medical history. If there's a history of breast and ovarian cancer, he believes they should talk with their doctor about genetic testing. That can give them information to make informed decisions about their health and to take steps prevent ovarian cancer. He says patients have to initiative these kinds of conversations. There's much more information about ovarian cancer at, www.ovarianawareness.org a wonderful website started by Bacheler. While you're there, consider signing up for the 9th Annual Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk and Run, which is named for her mother. It raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for much needed research which all stays local. While you're there, check out the educational forum that Dr. Berchuck will host. It's all happening this Saturday, Sept. 17th from 8 until about Noon at Sanderson High School in Raleigh. ABC11 is a proud sponsor. You can also learn more in this recent interview I did with Bachelor and Dr. Berchuck on Heart of Carolina Perspectives.