Archive for April, 2012
Earlier this year, members of Epic’s San Antonio office turned out to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) by participating in the Tower Climb and Run Fundraising Event. All non-profit organizations know that enthusiastic – and in this case, athletic – volunteers are the key to success.
In thanking the many volunteers who turned out for the Tower Climb, the Lone Star Chapter of the CFF stated on their website “You are all champions and now have special bragging rights to the most unique athletic challenge in San Antonio! You all braved the 952 steps of the Tower of the Americas and WON!”
We would like to thank our Epic Champions who tirelessly made the Tower Climb and proved victorious! As you can tell from the picture on the right, climbing a circular staircase of more than 900 steps was no easy feat. But as is always the case, our San Antonio team was willing to do “whatever it took” to meet their goal. Luckily for our San Antonio team, the next CFF fundraiser was just a little bit easier: participating in Uncork For the Cure, featuring great food prepared by San Antonio’s Top Chefs, specialty beers and tequila, food tasting and live music. Cheers to our San Antonio Team!
The staff at Healthbridge Children’s Hospital in Houston and our team at Epic Health Services have a number of things in common. Our respective organizations believe that we can make a positive difference in the lives of medically fragile children and their families, we each provide nurturing, high quality, comprehensive care for children with complex medical conditions and we all love to do whatever we can to make children smile. For the past five years, Epic’s Houston team and the Healthbridge staff have gotten together to make some Easter magic for the pediatric patients at Healthbridge. This year’s ”Easter helpers” included members of our operations and clinical teams along with our Regional Therapy Director. Activities included an Easter egg hunt, children’s face painting, games, and prizes – and our very own Johnny Pham dressed up as the Easter bunny! Judging from the picture, it looks like our Epic team had just as much fun as the children did.
Spring, baseball and childhood seem to go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s watching a major league game or playing in the little league, I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t enjoy baseball. However, if a child has serious physical and/or mental disabilities, playing on the local little league team hasn’t always been feasible. And then came The Miracle League – an amazing organization whose mission is “providing opportunities for children with disabilities to play Miracle League baseball, regardless of their abilities” because every child deserves the chance to play ball. Thanks to The Miracle League, more children can now share in the joy of America’s spring sports pastime as well as other sports such as basketball and soccer.
Being part of a sports team involves much more than playing a game: it’s about building confidence, meeting new people and forming friendships. The Miracle League takes a unique approach to team building by pairing each player with an able-bodied peer (“Buddy”), making it a rewarding experience for all players that results in very strong friendships. For special needs children playing on a Miracle League sports team, the experience allows them to feel just like any other kid.
The Miracle League is a national organization and within Texas there are teams in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston. Epic’s El Paso office is excited to be coaching a baseball team for The Miracle League of El Paso and the “Epic Rangers” season has just begun. The pictures (above and right) are from their first game! Kids who would like to play on our team or those who would like to volunteer can get involved at any time.
To learn more about becoming a Miracle League Buddy, Coach, Assistant Coach or Team Mom or to learn how to get your child involved click here. Now, let’s get outside and ”play ball”!
World Autism Day, also called World Autism Awareness Day, has been celebrated on April 2nd since it was designated by the United Nations General Assembly at the end of 2007. However, this year Autism Awareness Day was particularly special because President Barack Obama issued a proclamation that included the following statement: “I do hereby proclaim April 2, 2012, as World Autism Awareness Day. I encourage all Americans to learn more about autism and what they can do to support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families”.While many people think that Autism is a disease, it is actually a broad term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders (“ASD”). ASD are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges and repetitive behaviors. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children has been identified with an ASD. Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism research and advocacy organization, indicates that these statistics represent a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years, that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
In recent years, disease awareness campaigns have often been associated with a color; for example pink is associated with breast cancer awareness. Thanks to Autism Speaks and their “Light It Up Blue” campaign (now in its 3rd year), the color blue is increasingly associated with autism awareness. Each year on April 2nd, various buildings, locally, nationally and even globally, literally and figuratively shine a (blue) light on autism. According to Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, “The celebration of World Autism Awareness Day is an important way to help the world better understand the scope of this health crisis and the need for compassion and acceptance for those living with autism”.
Several well-known buildings and sights light their entire building blue on this day and night,” said Catherine Norton Lams, mother of an autistic child. She said the Empire State Building, New York Stock Exchange, Niagra Falls, “all the way” to places in Hungary, China, Japan, and Austria will be “lighting it up blue.” From a local perspective, according to an article that appeared in the Laredo Sun, there are more than 400 cases of diagnosed Autism within the city of Laredo, Texas. Laredo’s Families for Autism Support and Awareness group held an event on April 2nd where Laredoans gathered together to ”Light It Up Blue” at the Civic Center. Laredo residents were asked to wear blue and use blue lights outside their homes to remind the community of the ongoing struggle faced by children with Autism and their families.
There is still much research to be done and much to be learned about ASD. There are many pieces of the “autism puzzle” that remain to be identified and put into place. The hope is that increased awareness of ASD, combined with continued research, support and advocacy will enable us to address the needs and of all those affected by autism.
To see international monuments shining brightly in recognition of “Light It Up Blue” click here.
For more information on Autism support available in Laredo and surrounding Webb county, click here.
To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder visit autismspeaks.org.