Tag Archive | childrens hospital

Weathering The Storm

SOOOO earlier this month at work, we were on air, LIVE, as a tornado dropped out of the sky and touched down near Nehawka, Nebraska.

YEAH.  THAT HAPPENED.  CLICK HERE TO SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Bill Randby has been a meteorologist at KETV for 24 years.  I asked him after we ended our coverage.. he’s NEVER had that happen on live TV before.  Pretty astounding, considering the sheer number of storms Bill, and all Nebraska meteorologists and journalists will inevitably cover over the course of our careers.

SUMMER 2004.  HALLAM, NEBRASKA

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Photo courtesy HarkPhoto.com

This photo is so powerful.. yet doesn’t even scratch the surface of the devastation an EF-4 tornado caused this community. KETV photojournalist Bob Gillum and I drove towards the town and all we saw was a line of piles.. piles of wood pieces where a row of houses stood just one day before.  We drove as close to the town as first responders would allow, and someone had spray painted ‘Built Hallam Tough’ on a Ford truck, flipped onto its roof by the twister.  In the nearby town of Clatonia, Nebraska, Bob and I came upon another pile.. someone’s home.. where a couple and their loved ones were going through the pieces to salvage what they could.  When we asked them if we could talk to them on camera, they stood side by side, the husband draping his arm around his wife’s shoulders, to answer our questions.  After a few moments, we heard a whimpering coming from their destroyed home.. and suddenly they both bolted.

“Percy!”

Their dog was still alive, buried under the wreckage of the home.  As the man frantically pulled back boards, his friends and loved ones ran over to help.  Within moments, he scooped up a bloody and battered dog in his arms, and rushed him up a hill to someone’s car.

My guess is that Percy heard his owners’ voices, talking to us just a few feet away from where he had been buried.  I found out later the dog died just days after.  I still remember his name, and still see that row of piles in my mind when I think of Hallam, Nebraska.

The night the twister hit, Hallam native Stacy Pospisil was on stage at a dance recital.  She and her family stayed in a hotel in Crete, unable to get to their home through the flooding that followed the storm.

“It was super scary because my Dad was going to go there that night to have dinner with friends, but ended up deciding to go to my recital instead!”

This was just one of several storms Stacy and her father have faced together, inspiring this young woman to pursue a goal many only dream of.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“The most important thing to me is the relationships I have with my family and friends and I truly do want to help people achieve their own personal goals,” said Stacy, crowned Miss Kearney 2016 last fall.  “With [the Miss Nebraska Pageant], I have learned so much about myself through this journey already.”

When I contacted Stacy this Spring, she told me becoming Miss Nebraska was something she decided to pursue upon graduating from Doane College last May.  Before she even became a local titleholder, she knew what her message would be.

“I am very passionate about my platform, ‘Kiss Cancer Goodbye with Education and Research Funding’, and it is very personal to me because I know how cancer can affect one person so greatly and the ripple effect it can have on the community,” said Stacy.  “My own father had half of his kidney removed due to a cancer scare when I was 14.  Ever since that major surgery, he hasn’t been the same.”

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“I’ve seen how that surgery led to a long road of recovery that also resulted in additional health problems, endless medical bills, and without being able to work has put my family in a financial crisis,” said Stacy.  “I have also seen his self esteem and emotional health also come to near depletion.  This was so hard for me to see because my father has always been my number one fan and most positive and supportive person I [have] ever known.”

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Photo courtesy Russtana Photography

Stacy has shared her campaign and message across social media, with her Doane family, and with her friends.  She tells everyone who will listen about her dad and how badly she wants to kiss-off cancer for good.

“To think that his life might be cut short terrifies me, and that is why I want to spread awareness about how to eliminate cancer by donating to research centers and teach prevention tips to everyone I can in order to lead them to healthy and long lives,” said Stacy.  “I know we can kiss cancer goodbye in every shade of lipstick!”

Sharing her platform, and doing research to make it stronger, has also helped Stacy prepare for her next challenge.. competing to become Miss Nebraska.

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“Wearing a swimsuit (which, by the way, has terrified me for a very long time), has now become my favorite part of the competition,” said Stacy.  “I have learend so much about how to take care of the body that was a gift from God in not only the way I stayed active but also how to give my body the right nutrients it needs with healthy and substantial, nutritious foods.  I have always been passionate about staying active because I have grown up dancing, which is what my talent is, but I never truly understood how much staying active was a part of who I am.”

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Stacy on Facebook: ‘California dreaming… if I ever go missing, follow the sound of the ocean and that’s where I will be dancing my life away…’

“There are so many ways to stay active and there are so many reasons emotionally, mentally and physically to why staying active can benefit everyone,” said Stacy.  “I truly do think I can help people find ways to stay active, appreciate their bodies, and learn to love themselves.  By doing this, it would lead to ways in which we can prevent cancer and I would absolutely love to help people feel more confident in this way.”

Stacy makes appearances every month as Miss Kearney, taking part in the Team Jack Foundation Gala to fight pediatric brain cancer, raising money for Special Olympics, and meeting her fellow titleholders to help the American Heart Association.  Through these events and more, Stacy has confirmed she was destined to be a teacher, but perhaps not in the way this Early Childhood Education major thought.

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“By doing research for my platform I discovered my passion for truly helping people with their health and fitness goals,” said Stacy.  “I have recently started a new job this year at Physicians Weight Loss Center in Lincoln, a position where I can help my dad and also passionately help other people to achieve their goals in order to live their lives in a more happy and healthy way.”

That is the same success Stacy wants to inspire across the state, taking her message of wellness to as many people as possible as Miss Nebraska.

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“I’m here to wake this country up to what is really important,” said Stacy.  “I want to create a ripple effect of helping one another and the first step is to get everyone feeling less helpless in how they view themselves and to build confidence by leading a healthy life again.”

Hallam, Nebraska is back.  Nine years later, homes and businesses have been rebuilt.  They ARE ‘built Hallam tough’.  The same holds true for Stacy and her dad.  With his daughter’s guidance, he’s lost 30 pounds.. and counting.. taking back the health and happiness cancer tried to steal from him.  His biggest cheerleader will take the Miss Nebraska stage in a few short weeks, hoping to help countless others weather their own storms, whatever they may be.

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“People everywhere are looking for answers and something to believe in when diagnosed with major illnesses,” said Stacy.  I want to bring them hope and light in the darknesses that they may be facing. This is what I know I was put in this world to do and it has already been stamped on my heart.”

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Click each link to follow Miss Kearney 2016 Stacy Pospisil

on Facebook and on Instagram

For more information about the Miss Kearney/Miss Tri-Citites Outstanding Teen Pageant, visit THEIR WEBSITEFACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER.  For information on becoming a contestant, contact Directors Megan Goeke or Jenna Lukasiewitz at hello@beautifulbridal.com.

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The 2016 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant takes place June 8-11 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Dawes County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Aubree Noble!

NEXT.. Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Cherokee Purviance!

To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!

Good Enough

Anyone else watch Goonies this weekend?  What a classic..

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And afterwards, I had Cyndi Lauper’s Good Enough stuck in my head for hours.  AWESOME song 🙂

Quick question… are you good enough?  It’s something I ask myself ALL. THE. TIME.  Then guilt.. thinking I could be doing more as a mom, as a coworker, as a friend.

One thing I am trying to do that I truly think makes a difference, even a small one, is to highlight the positive things happening around me.  One of my favorite educators, Papillion-La Vista Schools legend Chuck Johnston, gave me the idea for an A-Z compliment mission… go through your address book and tell 26 friends, A to Z, something great about them.  Remind them of how important they are to you and how awesome they are.

I’d like to take it one step further on this blog and highlight great people doing great things in our community.  Do you know someone?  Maybe it’s a woman like Lucy O’Hanlon, a newly retired NICU nurse who cared for THOUSANDS of babies at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center over the course of 40+ years.  When we shared Lucy’s story, we were inundated with posts and messages about experiences with Lucy.  Parents shared how Lucy sat with them and just let them cry.  Nurses who watched Lucy spend every moment of her shift rocking or cooing sick, tiny babies.  I imagine the NICU can be a lonely, scary place if you are a parent or a sweet newborn.. Lucy helped make it warm, welcoming, and safe.  Imagine what the world would be like if we had more ‘Lucy’s?

I am asking all of you who read this blog (and again, THANK YOU for reading!) to tell me who is the ‘Lucy’ in your life?  Who always goes out of their way to make your day brighter?  Who gives of themselves selflessly to make life better for someone else?  Who deserves to be recognized for making the world a better place?

In honor of Major League Baseball’s announcement of this year’s All Star Team yesterday, I’ll kick things off with two local All Stars…

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Millard North’s Jack Wilson

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and Millard West’s Joe Charvat 

Jack and Joe are recent graduates of their respective schools and varsity baseball players.  They are also outstanding kids who extend kindness to anyone they encounter, including my little boy, Easton.  I can see in his eyes how cool it is to be friends with the ‘big boys’, and both Jack and Joe always go out of their way to yell ‘hi, Easton!!’ when they see him.

Thanks, guys, for making my kiddo feel so special.  And best of luck to you in college this fall!! (Jack, we’ll be cheering for you at UNO!!)

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The Kid Whisperer

The Kid Whisperer… wow, that sounds like an AWESOME reality show.

‘You’ve seen the Dog Whisperer.. You loved SuperNanny… now meet, THE KID WHISPERER!  SHHHHHH!!!!’

I’d DVR that.

Here’s the show’s premise: a beautiful young lady who makes miracles happen through her love of working with and being around children.  Her name?

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Miss Eastern Nebraska, Alyssa Howell

(Thanks to Deyo’s Photography for use of Alyssa’s photo!)

Children are Alyssa’s focus during her year as Miss Eastern Nebraska and they are her future; the Creighton University student plans to become a Child Life Specialist for the Children’s Miracle Network, working in facilities helping patients and families navigate the challenges of childhood illnesses and hospitalization.

“When I made my first onsite visit to a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at age 15, I knew that was where I could make the largest and most meaningful impact,” said Alyssa in a recent interview.  “Ever since, I have been working towards raising awareness, fundraising, but most importantly, interacting with patients to make their days a little brighter.”

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“My family and friends call me the Kid Whisperer!” said Alyssa.

CHARISMATIC, PASSIONATE, FUN!

Children’s Miracle Network is Miss America’s community partner, so it made perfect sense to Alyssa to tie in her passion with competing for Miss Nebraska.

“The Miss America Organization is one of the most outstanding programs for young women in the world,” said Alyssa.  “It is the place where I feel I can do the most for my community through the emphasis of service, learn and grow as a person, and most of all, have fun while meeting new people and enhancing my interview and performance skills!  Young women are valued and rewarded in this organization for excelling as leaders in education, service, the arts and living healthy lives – that’s important to me.”

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Alyssa also respects the tradition involved with the Miss America Organization, even the more controversial aspects, like Lifestyle and Fitness.  Alyssa notes the entire system started as a swimsuit competition in Atlantic City in 1921.

“The swimsuit competition is such a rich part of Miss America’s history and should be embraced,” said Alyssa.  “Aside from that, swimsuit is a great way to encourage proper nutrition, fitness and self-confidence.  Truly, the judges are looking for a healthy girl, one that has good muscle tone and body shape, not just a skinny girl.”

Alyssa goes as far to say most contestants have fun strutting their stuff!  Still, she says, Interview is her favorite aspect of the competition.

“It allows you to interact with the judges in a one-on-one environment,” said Alyssa.  “I love being able to tell my story, express why I am there and most of all, meet some pretty amazing people!”

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No doubt some of her tiniest friends may come up in Alyssa’s interview.  She’ll be advocating for them right up until her trip to North Platte, even hosting an online fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network on Friday, May 9th.  From 5-8 pm, Alyssa hopes to raise $1000.  Find out more by heading to her event website.

Alyssa’s reality TV debut may have to wait.  After all, she’s already earned the title of Kid Whisperer.

Now she’s aiming for Miss Nebraska.

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Connect with Miss Eastern Nebraska, Alyssa Howell

on her Facebook page devoted to her personal platform, ‘Making Miracles Happen’

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The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska.  For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.

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PREVIOUS POST..  Miss Metro, Kimberly Brennan

NEXT POST.. Miss Alliance, Staci Craighead!