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Posts Tagged ‘leukemia’

I don’t engage in a lot of Twitter memes. But I gladly joined the #beatcancer meme today.

As a two-time cancer survivor (colon in 1999, basal cell in 2005), I know that cancer is not a sure death sentence. But I also visited my father three weeks before his death from prostate cancer in 1978 and visited my nephew, Patrick Devlin, four days before his death from leukemia last month. The enduring memory of Dad’s death and the fresh memory of Patrick’s underscore for me that every time someone can #beatcancer, I should join the celebration. (more…)

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Some people who don’t use social media see it aPatrick Devlins self-indulgent and trivial.

They haven’t experienced the way that people have reached out through Twitter, Facebook and blogs to comfort my family after the death Wednesday of my nephew Patrick. They haven’t experienced how his father, John, shared the story of Patrick’s final months on CaringBridge with hundreds of friends, family and caring people he’d never met.

Social media are just communication tools. They aren’t inherently good or bad, frivolous or serious. When my father, Patrick’s grandfather, battled prostate cancer 31 years ago, people used the communication tools of the day – telephones, greeting cards and stationery – to express their support and encouragement during the fight and their sympathy after it ended. Generations before that used telegraph, quill pens and other tools. (more…)

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Thanks to all who have prayed and expressed concern and support for my nephew Patrick, whose battle against leukemia I wrote about in February and again in March after his bone-marrow transplant.

I wish I had an encouraging update, but tests this week confirmed that Patrick’s leukemia has relapsed. He and his parents are considering a range of treatment options. He is a brave young man (turns 16 next Thursday) whose good humor in the face of this heartbreaking news had doctors and his parents laughing. We continue to welcome prayers. (more…)

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When my wife, Mimi, and I moved to Cedar Rapids last June, we were planning to explore and enjoy the fun places of Eastern Iowa.

This photo of the Blackhawk Bridge in Lansing, Iowa, was submitted by Diana Johnson, who explains in her comment on the blog.

This photo of the Blackhawk Bridge in Lansing, Iowa, was submitted by Diana Johnson, who explains in her comment on the blog.

This is my Monday column for The Gazette:

 

 

We knew western Iowa well from years living in Shenandoah, Essex and Omaha. We knew central Iowa well from years living in Des Moines. But Eastern Iowa was mostly a place we drove through, long ago a place to visit some relatives and occasionally a place to cover news.

Beyond the well-known attractions (we had been to the Amanas and Field of Dreams and were planning to visit the National Czech and Slovak Museum), we planned on getting to know the quirky cultural attractions, the pretty lakes and the small-town diners of Eastern Iowa. (more…)

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When I started in the newspaper business, “local news” often meant who was sick and who was visiting.

My first job as a journalist was at The Evening Sentinel, a daily newspaper of about 4,000 circulation in Shenandoah, Iowa, that went out of publication in the 1990s. I was a sports writer, covering the school teams in nearby towns even smaller than “Shen.”

Chuck Offenburger, the sports editor, and I filled some space in the back of the paper with game stories and features on local athletes. The front page reported big (for Shen) news such as the city council and school board actions and an occasional crime or court case. But the heart of the newspaper was what we called the “locals,” a string of one-paragraph tidbits giving updates on someone’s illness or telling whose kids were visiting from college or from the distant big cities where lots of Shen’s kids moved off to (and if you were in Shen, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City were big cities). (more…)

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