Tag Archive | Cystic Fibrosis

What’s In A Name?

RIMINGTON.

What do you think of when you hear that name?

The Rimington Trophy.  The Nebraska Football legend.  All-American student AND athlete.

How about the man who has raised more than $100 million dollars to fight cystic fibrosis and find a cure?

100-MILLION DOLLARS.  Scratch that.. Nebraska Athletics journalist (and legend in his own right) Randy York puts that fundraising total closer to 105-MILLION.  Randy’s recent profile of Dave Rimington, inducted as the first football player to be part of the inaugural 2015 class of the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame, is nothing short of jaw-dropping.  It’s a reminder of how one person, any of us really, can CHANGE THE WORLD.

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#50 Dave Rimington, Center, 1979-1982 (Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics)

Rimington is a local guy, an Omaha South High graduate, who made the college football history books in his time at Nebraska.  He is the only player to win the Outland Trophy in consecutive years and in 1982, he also won the Lombardi Award.  That dedication to excellence continued in the classroom; Rimington was a two-time first team academic All-American, an NCAA Top 5 student athlete and a College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics

Yet Rimington was still humbled to be selected as the first football inductee for the Huskers’ new Athletics Hall of Fame.

“It’s awesome,” Rimington told KETV’s Andrew Ozaki.  “For all of the fantastic athletes that have been here, from the football team and every sports team, to be in the inaugural class is quite an honor.”

Click here to watch KETV’s Husker Throwback Thursday feature on #50 Dave Rimington!

When Rimington returned to Memorial Stadium to be honored for his induction, his status in Nebraska was clear.. fans surrounded him on the sidelines to shake his hand, snap a photo, and for a few moments, talk to a Husker legend.

“I remember all the players.  I remember the struggles, the good times and the bad times together,” said Rimington, who also told Ozaki about his favorite moment at Nebraska.  “I think the first time we beat Oklahoma my freshman year.  I actually wasn’t playing, but it’s still my favorite moment because it was the first time Coach Osborne beat Oklahoma.  It was a really big moment.”

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Photo courtesy huskermax.com

Rimington had his share of big moments, including seeing his own jersey be retired at Nebraska his senior year, making history winning the Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year as a lineman, and being chosen in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft.  He played in the pros for seven years before accepting a new job.

“A good friend of mine is Boomer Esiason,” said Rimington.  “He has a son with cystic fibrosis and he’s got a foundation.  I’ve been running his foundation in New York City for the last 22 years, so I’ve been pretty busy with that.”

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PRETTY BUSY?!?! Rimington told York about the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s most recent accomplishment, donating $10 million dollars to help develop a drug that was approved and appears to have provided a cystic fibrosis CURE for 4-percent of those affected by the disease.

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Allow me to sidetrack for a moment.. in April of 2013 I profiled an Omaha family, including two sisters who battle cystic fibrosis daily.  I will NEVER forget watching Alexa, then 7, and Presley, then 17-months, stopping their game of cards to strap on corded life jacket-like devices which literally SHOOK the mucus from their lungs and digestive tracts.  Alexa told me about how much she coughs.  Their parents told me about their fears, seeing the side effects of this disease take a toll on their girls, and reading stats about treatments and life expectancy.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HALL’S STORY.

It is wonderful to advocate for a cause.  It is inspiring to host events and give of your time and energy to help others.  But Dave Rimington and BEF may be on the CUSP OF A CURE for people, for CHILDREN just like Alexa and Presley Hall.  That is absolutely incredible.

Kind of makes football seem like an insignificant afterthought.. but in case you’re curious, Rimington backs his Huskers, losing season or not.

“We’ve just got to have some patience,” said Rimington.  “We’ve got a new staff in place.  We’ve just go to give them time to produce.”

To wrap up our interview, Andrew asked for advice for today’s Huskers.  When you read what Dave Rimington said, I hope you take it to heart as much as I did, football player or not.

‘Just work hard,” said Rimington.  “Every day, you’ve just got to try to get better.”

That’s what I’ll think of now when I hear RIMINGTON.  To work hard, and every day, try to be better.  Two little girls in Omaha may not know much about football or Outland Trophies, but someday to them, RIMINGTON may also mean a long, healthy life.

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Click here to read more about #50 Dave Rimington via his biography with Nebraska Athletics.

Click here to ready Randy York’s recent profile of Rimington: “Why Dave Rimington Was The Inaugural HOF Choice”

Click here to visit the Boomer Esiason Foundation website; click here to visit the BEF Facebook page.

The 2015 Rimington Trophy presentation, honoring the nation’s top collegiate center, will take place at Lincoln’s Rococo Theater on January 16th.  Click here for more information.

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PREVIOUS POST.. Class of 2003, Curt Tomasevicz!

NEXT WEEK.. Class of 2012, Rex Burkhead!

It’s Personal

As journalists, we are ALWAYS searching for stories.  Everywhere we go, we subconsciously keep our eyes and ears open.  So it may come as no surprise that once in awhile, we come across amazing stories from the people we know ourselves.

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Longtime KETV producer and friend, Jennifer Shatel and her family

Jennifer Shatel was a much-respected producer at KETV when I got my first internship. From the beginning, she was kind to me, included me in newsroom conversations, and gave me chances to write scripts and learn as much as I could.  When I started reporting on-air, Jennifer was always very patient, yet always gave me constructive criticism to get better.  When breaking news happened, or when a story fell through (or came up!) at the last minute, she was a model of control and made her newscasts look phenomenal, no matter what was going on behind the scenes 🙂  She’s continued to send me emails about my stories or well wishes throughout the years, even since she’s left KETV–you never forget kindness like that, especially from someone you so respect.

I was among the many here at KETV who were stunned and saddened to hear Jennifer had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  No matter what stage, what the prognosis, you hear a friend has cancer and it SHAKES YOU.  It was actually Jennifer’s idea to do a story.. to follow along on her journey and show others the decisions that are involved and the factors that play into those decisions.   I’m IN AWE of Jennifer for allowing us to do this–to allow cameras and all of Omaha (and beyond) into such a private journey.  She did–and I was honored to share Jennifer’s story last Thursday night.

You can watch it here.

If you’re a woman who has been through the same journey, hopefully hers is something YOU can relate to.  If you were recently diagnosed, hopefully Jennifer’s fight has given you the hope or inspiration you need to keep going.  If you know of someone who’s been through cancer, this is a great perspective as to what they might be going through.  A story we get to hear, thanks to one woman’s courage to tell it.  THANK YOU, JEN!

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One week ago tonight, we shared another story that again I had a personal connection to.  April is Autism Awareness Month; autism is a disorder I have a strong passion for dating back many years.  As a teenager, I became very close to a family touched by autism.  As a college student, Autism Awareness was my volunteer platform while I competed in the Miss Nebraska system.  I met so many families and kiddos battling this horrible thing.. and all of these years later, we still know so little about this horrible disorder.  We do know the numbers continue to skyrocket.. now ONE IN 50 according to the CDC.  1 IN 50!!

Every April, I try to find a story to spread awareness of autism.  A family with twin girls; one autistic, one not on the spectrum.  An AMAZING young woman, graduating with honors, friends and dreams, showing everyone she can do anything she wants despite her diagnosis.  Omaha’s Robertson family, noted philanthropists, who have donated so much of their time and money to help families just like theirs (they have two sons with autism).

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Hagen Schaefer, 4, Soccer Superstar!

This year, a beautiful mother named Ashley Schaefer contacted me about her son, Hagen.  She wanted to get the word out about the treatment that has given them so much hope, and given Hagen a new life in his parents’ eyes.  The Schaefers have greatly decreased certain processed foods and sugars from Hagen’s diet, and are also trying chiropractic work, all part of the DAN approach, Defeat Autism Now.

Watch Hagen’s story here

Watch the Schaefer’s story and see what you think!  They’ll be the first to tell you, many people have had negative reactions about what they are doing, and as always, we present both sides in the story and let you form your own opinion.  My hope is that for any parent of an autistic child SEARCHING for answers, here is one more suggestion that seems to be working wonders for this little boy in Fremont.  A little boy who recently played in his very first soccer game.  His mom Ashley told me, ‘this is one more thing we were told he’d never be able to do!’  And just look at how happy he is out on that field 🙂

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Finally, a story I hope you tune in for tonight or watch on  ketv.com sometime this week.  A few months ago, my husband forwarded me an email from a friend of his, promoting a golf tournament to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis.  I don’t know this friend well, but I was touched by his story; he and his wife are raising not one, but two beautiful girls with cystic fibrosis.

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Presley, 17 months, Noah, 5, and Alexa, 7

If you’re a parent, you know how HARD it is to watch your child go through any illness.  You’d trade places with them in an instant so they wouldn’t have to feel any pain or discomfort.  For the Halls, treatments help and research is promising,  but there is no cure for this horrible disease affecting Alexa, 7 and Presley, just 17-months.

Alexa is an absolute SWEETHEART.  She is a very bright little girl; she let me interview her and her answers were very clear and well thought out–not always the case for a first grader!  Her sister, Presley, is A DOLL.  The epitome of CUTE CUTE CUTE!!! If she hadn’t already stolen my heart with her bright, blue eyes and plump cheeks.. she absolutely would have with her fish impressions!  It’s not fair these two perfect girls have to stop what they are doing twice a day to put on vests that literally SHAKE their little bodies, to break up all of the mucus clogging their lungs.  It’s not fair they have to take dozens of pills EVERY DAY to stay healthy.  It’s not fair Alexa gets sick every few months because a little cold to any of us, is a major sinus infection with great risks for her.

Her parents, Wendy and Steve, have so much hope for the research going on right now.. trials they say could make a HUGE difference in the lives of their girls and thousands of kids across the country.  But as with everything, it will take MONEY, DONATIONS to pay for that research.. and the Halls agreed to share their story to encourage people to help them get there.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember all of the facts and figures behind a cause, but these literally girls are IMPOSSIBLE to forget 🙂

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As journalists, we LOVE telling stories.  When it’s something inspiring, something that might help someone else, something people will remember, it just makes our jobs that much better.

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