Wildcats help 2 of their own

November 25, 2008

Wildcats help 2 of their own

November 25, 2008 12:35 am

Mountain View High School student Donevian Snipes sells ‘Olivia’s Angels’ T-shirts for $10 each to help teachers Doug and Katie Werner with medical expenses for their daughter.


From the football team to the National Honor Society, students and staff at Mountain View High School are rallying to help two fellow Wildcats.

Doug and Katie Werner are teachers and coaches at the Stafford County school. They’re also the parents of Olivia, a 10-month old with a happy smile and her father’s big blue eyes.

Olivia recently was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome, known as SCID. Because of a defect in her immune system, she wasn’t able to fight off bacteria and infections.

She needed a bone-marrow transplant, and her mother was a match. The two moved temporarily to Durham, N.C., so Olivia could be treated by doctors at Duke University Medical Center.

She had the transplant last week and will have to stay in an apartment–away from others and their germs–for several months, until her body accepts the new bone marrow.

Her mother took a leave of absence and has lost a month’s pay, so far. Her father maintains his job and their home during the week, then drives three hours to North Carolina every weekend and on school breaks.

The situation would be tough for any young family, but the Werners, it seems, have the whole school behind them.

“We call ourselves the Wildcats, and this just goes to show that we’re all part of the Wildcat team,” said Cassie Dye, the school’s attendance officer and one of many who have organized events.

Mountain View clubs and teams already have raised several thousands dollars through donations and special events.

Doug Werner is a football coach and biology teacher. Katie Werner teaches English and coaches cheerleading.

“The Werners have touched everybody in the school, basically,” said Caitlin McClelland.

She’s involved with the Learn and Serve program, a service-oriented group led by Katie Werner.

Caitlin and fellow senior Kaitlyn Herrmann recently organized a bone marrow drive to help other children like Olivia find matches.

They’ve explained the Werners’ plight to fellow students and local business owners, and to friends, parents and strangers.

“Most people’s reaction,” Caitlin McClelland said, “is they want to help.”

“Any way possible,” chimed in Kaitlyn Herrmann.

Yesterday, students and staff members wore shirts designed in Olivia’s honor. During each lunch shift, two teenagers went to every table in the cafeteria and asked for donations.

Some students made jokes and tried to reach into the bucket for the dollars and dimes. Others patted their shirt and pants pockets and apologized for not having any money.

Still others reached into plaid backpacks and flowered purses for donations.

“I think they [the Werners] have a lot of support from the school,” said Lauren Davis, a junior.

So does Doug Werner.

He’s a defensive coordinator who works with linebackers, but he got tears in his eyes when he talked about how others have helped his little girl.

“It shows that people care,” he said. “The Wildcat family has been very generous, and we’re very, very grateful.”


Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com

MOUNTAIN VIEW HIGH SCHOOL GROUPS HAVE PLANNED VARIOUS EVENTS TO ASSIST THE FAMILY. OLIVIA T-SHIRTS were designed by Steve Schwartz, husband of teacher Helen Schwartz. The white shirts have a burgundy heart on the front and the words, “Olivia’s Angels.” On the back is a little cheerleader wearing Mountain View colors with the name “Olivia” under it.

The Schwartzes donated 100 shirts. The Spanish Honor Society sold 200 more, for $10 each.
“OLIVIA DAY” was yesterday. Students and staff wore their shirts, and some had dinner at Foster’s Grille on U.S. 17, where 20 percent of proceeds went to the family. EACH FRIDAY, teacher George Hartman, who owns a coffee store, brings in 5 gallons of speciality brew for teachers, who donate per cup. HOLIDAY DINNERS and presents for Olivia will be provided by the National Honor Society. ABOUT 100 PEOPLE, including staff from North Stafford High School where the Werners previously taught, signed up as bone marrow donors during a drive at Mountain View. ABOUT 60 PINTS of blood were collected during a drive. Olivia may need transfusions, and the blood donations will offset the amount she’s charged. AN ACCOUNT has been set up in Olivia’s name, in care of Doug Werner, at BB&T, 760 Warrenton Road, Fredericksburg, Va. 22406.

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The SCID Initiative has a new partner!

November 18, 2008
Cayley The Musical Fairy DVD

Cayley The Musical Fairy DVD

The SCID Initiative has a new partner, Cayley The Musical Fairy. http://www.cayleythemusicalfairy.com. Cayley is the main character in a musical DVD fairytale that teaches children about the power of their thoughts. It’s a 15 minute DVD story with original music and illustrations, designed for children ages 3 and up. Cayley’s daily life is full of music and happiness until she encounters a mean stranger. Find out how Cayley learns that positive thinking creates positive emotions.

For each DVD sold, Cayley and her creator will donate $2.00 to the SCID Initiative. Be sure to select The SCID Initiative during check-out! This DVD makes a wonderful gift for a child and a wonderful gift to The SCID Initiative.

Thanks to Cayley and her creator Tracy!

Businesses reach out to help infant in need

November 13, 2008

Businesses reach out to help infant in need

Girl, 8 months, has been hospitalized most of her life

OLD BRIDGE — Christine and Larry Ciccone were dishing out love along with their famous Italian specialties this weekend at their Italian deli in the Ticetown Square shopping center.

The two decided to sponsor a fundraiser for a special little girl. Ava Loren Barbarino was born in March and diagnosed with three very rare illnesses, CHARGE Syndrome, microgastria and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).

Though she is 8 months old, she weighs just 11 pounds. She spent the first five months of her life in the hospital and has had multiple surgeries, the most recent of which was a bone marrow transplant. More surgeries are expected.

Her conditions have caused her to have trouble with hearing and vision. Also, her immune system is compromised and her stomach is very small.

“She’s a beautiful little girl and a real fighter,” Christine Ciccone said. “We are not sure how deaf and blind she is. Her stomach is so tiny she can’t eat too much.”

The Ciccones are big fans of Ava and her parents, Paul and Jessica Barbarino. Paul has a full-time job in New York, but has worked part time at the deli for four years. His wife Jessica taught school in Staten Island, but was not able to return to work since Ava was born. The couple has two other children, Justin, 4, and Gianna, 2.

“They are doing the best they can. He would go from New York right to Philly to be with the baby,” Christine said, noting the high price of gas he faced most of that time.

Not all of Ava’s medical expenses are covered by insurance, and the bills have been piling up.

The Ciccones’ efforts at fundraising started out small and quickly spread.

“First we put out a cup with her photo,” Christine said. Then, Joe Naritato, who owns the adjacent La Dolce Bakery, decided to do the same. So did the nearby Vogue Hair and Nail Salon, owned by Stephanie and Rob Hollenfer. Together they raised $1,900.

But Christine wanted to raise more, and began planning a fundraiser right outside her store. She was thrilled with the generosity of the companies she contacted. Party Perfect volunteered cotton candy and popcorn machines; Boar’s Head donated hot dogs; and Mikey’s Ice Cream individually wrapped ice cream treats.

La Dolce and Vogue also pitched in. The bakery set out tables with their special desserts and the staff of Vogue made cookies. Christine’s mother dressed as a clown and did face painting, and a friend of one of her employees dressed as Elmo and Winnie the Pooh.

“Everything was free, we just asked for donations,” Christine said.

The event was a big success. When she told the Hollenfers they had raised $4,934, they quickly handed over $66 more to make it an even $5,000.

“It was really a community effort,” Christine said.

Ava has a long, tough road ahead of her, so a trust has been set up to help with her medical expenses. Donations can be sent directly to the trust at Ava Loren Barbarino Trust, 48 Rolling Green Hill, Staten Island, NY 10312.

Also, a Web site has been established at http://www.avasangels.org that includes information about her condition and fundraising activity. The Ciccones will also continue to take donations at their deli.

linkback url: http://suburban.gmnews.com/news/2008/1113/front_page/030.html

Innovations in Pediatric Medicine International Conference brings together pediatrics experts

November 9, 2008
Nov 7 2008, 2:12 PM EST

Innovations in Pediatric Medicine International Conference brings together pediatrics experts


Contact: Belinda Mager
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Discoveries in genetics, stem cell therapies and new treatments for childhood diseases explored by world community of pediatricians

NEW YORK (Nov. 6, 2008) — On Nov. 8 and 9, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center will host an “Innovations in Pediatric Medicine” conference at the Grand Hyatt New York, which will feature lectures by international leading authorities in pediatric biomedical research, genetic findings and stem cell therapy breakthroughs.

Key topics include discoveries about congenital and primary immunodeficiencies; gene therapy in children; and the genetic basis for common childhood infections. In addition, there will be a unique presentation on pediatric emergency care during disasters and the lessons learned from Hurricane Marilyn on St. Thomas; the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York; the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran; and Hurricane Katrina.

“Medical breakthroughs have greatly increased the range of treatment options for pediatric diseases, making it vital to bring together medical professionals who are on the frontline of pediatric care for this opportunity to learn the latest progress and to share best practices,” says the conference’s course director, Dr. Mitchell Cairo, director of pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian and professor of pediatrics, medicine and pathology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Listed below are some key presentations by leaders in their field:

  • Dr. Alain Fischer of Descartes University Hospital NeckerEnfants Malades, Paris, France, will discuss gene therapy for inherited disorders based on research on the treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency. Introducing genes into bone marrow stem cells led to sustained correction of the disease for almost 10 years, providing evidence that the approach can be effective and could be used to treat other genetic diseases of blood cells. One challenge is the viral vector used to introduce the gene has been linked to cancer. In response, new vectors are being designed.
  • Dr. Gary Fleisher of the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School will present a framework for planning for disaster management, highlighting unique pediatric aspects. He will discuss the conditions likely to be encountered by providers arriving in the first 24 to 72 hours and the skills necessary for success. In terms of response teams, Dr. Fleisher will describe the structure of PST-1 (Pediatric Specialty Team-1), the first team developed by the NDMS (National Disaster Medical System) dedicated to treating children in disasters. He will share lessons learned from Hurricane Marilyn on St. Thomas; the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York; the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran; and Hurricane Katrina.
  • Dr. Margaret K. Hostetter of YaleNew Haven Children’s Hospital will present on advances in the genetic origins of common childhood infections, focusing on newly discovered genes that are linked to early onset staphylococcal infection, recurrent pneumococcal infections, and rarer disorders such as Bruton’s agammaglobulinemia, hyper IgE syndrome, chronic granulomatous disease and severe combined immunodeficiency.
  • Dr. Jennifer M. Puck of the University of California, San Francisco, will present evidence that early diagnosis of primary immunodeficiencies is critical for optimal treatment. The challenge is that these disorders are rare and hard detect until serious complications have developed; a life-threatening situation usually has to occur before a correct diagnosis was made. As a solution, Dr. Puck suggests that all newborns be screened for severe combined immunodeficiencies, with the goal of improving timely diagnosis and outcomes. Her laboratory has developed a screening test that can be done on the dried blood spots routinely used for screening for other serious conditions.


Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics — including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties — in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation’s premier children’s hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is Manhattan’s only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children’s health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.

Note: Media are invited to attend free of charge and may RSVP with press contacts noted above, or register at www.childrensnyp.org/mschony/pro/continuing-education/innovations-cme.html.

Office of Public Affairs
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
627 West 165th Street
New York, NY 10032
tel: 212.305.5587
fax: 212.305.8023

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