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Nine-year-old boy lived a short but meaningful life

first_imgRESEDA – Because of Gabriel, an otherwise wilted garden now grows green. A woman changed her career and became a nurse to care for children. A family bought its first home. Because of 9-year-old Gabriel and his easy smile, other lives also got better. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson“He gave everybody a purpose, a new outlook,” Crystal Flowers said of her nephew, Gabriel Antonio Herrera Jr., who died earlier this month. Children die every day from disease or accidents, violence or carelessness, and Gabriel was born with congenital heart disease. But for his grandmother and aunt – who adopted and raised him – the boy’s death seemed painfully abrupt because he had defied the odds for so long. And always with a smile. Congenital heart disease affects more than 30,000 American children each year, and surgery can usually repair the deformities – but not for Gabriel, whose tiny heart was in his body backward. He also was developmentally disabled and was missing his right eye socket. Still, when he smiled, he looked like he was winking – as if to say, “Everything will be OK.” “His heart was so deformed,” said his grandmother, Jaye Flowers. “We got many calls from the hospital. They would say, `You’ve got to come down here now.”‘ He underwent his first surgery when he was 5 days old. He won’t make it, doctors said after giving Gabriel a tracheotomy to help him breathe easier. But Gabriel defied their predictions. Another operation followed when he was 5 years old. He won’t see his sixth birthday, doctors said after they installed a cardiac pacemaker. But Gabriel again defied their predictions. And the family even threw a birthday party for him. He won’t walk. He won’t talk. He won’t ride a bicycle or go to school, some doctors said. But Gabriel also defied all of those predictions. And he even did much more. At the Sven Lokrantz Special Education Center School in Reseda, he became the cafeteria and attendance monitor. He watered an otherwise wilted school garden religiously, until it grew green. “Everybody was amazed,” his grandmother said. “He learned to ride a bike. He learned some sign language and how to get his point across. He couldn’t stand to see people crying or sad. He would squeeze my hand as if to say, ‘Do something.”‘ Gabriel was born at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1998. His mother was 16; his father, 18. The teen parents loved the child but were overwhelmed by his needs. So Jaye Flowers, his grandmother, adopted him – with help from her daughter. “My daughter, his aunt, worked nights, and I worked days,” Jaye Flowers said. “We rearranged our schedules. It just became part of life.” Nurses helped care for the boy always, and one of them, Dawn Day, said everyone who met Gabriel was touched in some way. “They called him a miracle child,” said Day, who helped care for the boy for six years. In time, in caring for Gabriel and watching him grow, his family grew right along with him. His Aunt Crystal changed her career path – from teacher to nurse. She earned her license and now works at Childrens Hospital to care for other children like Gabriel. “It’s what Gabriel would have wanted,” the 30-year-old woman said. “It was my true calling.” And his grandmother became stronger. “I had a very sick husband at the time,” she said. “My husband was disabled, but Gabriel kept me going. When my husband died, I overcame it because Gabriel needed me. “He was a motivating force for me. He was my life.” And then Gabriel’s grandmother and aunt decided that maybe they could buy a house – a more stable environment than they had found in rentals. They hoped for a house they saw in Reseda, where Gabriel could have his own room, large enough for his hospital bed. But the price was too high, and they thought they couldn’t afford it. However, the owners not only lowered the price, but also installed central air-conditioning and heating, after they met Gabriel, who chatted with them in his way, with a smile and a wink. As soon as the buyers moved in, photographs of Gabriel began lining shelves and glass cases. He’s in the snow. Riding a bike. In class photos. Wearing a Santa Claus hat. And always – always – smiling. “No matter what he was going through, he never cried,” Jaye Flowers said. Earlier this month, Gabriel underwent heart surgery for the third time. This time, his doctors said he had a 95 percent chance of survival. But they were wrong again. A leak in his heart valve could not be repaired. His body gave up, and he could not be resuscitated. Gabriel died peacefully, his grandmother said. His room, complete with photographs of animals and a box of toys, is as he left it. His friends and teachers at the Lokrantz School – who had sent him a giant get-well card, hoping he would come back – took up a collection to help fund his funeral, which the family is struggling to pay for. Gabriel was buried at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall just before Christmas. Pallbearers ranged in age from 21 to 67: men from all walks of life who came to know Gabriel. Mourners included doctors and nurses, social workers and teachers, neighbors and others. “Gabriel just had that kind of effect on people,” Jaye Flowers said. “He taught us all that you take what is given and do the best with it.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

DDTV WORLD EXCLUSIVE: SANTA SPOTTED IN COUNTY DONEGAL

first_imgDDTV WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Santa Claus has been spotted in Co Donegal, donegaldaily.com can reveal.Footage exclusively obtained by us clearly shows the bearded old man from the North Pole being driven on the back of a carriage.We understand the footage also includes Dominic Coyle, from Ashtree Stables at Coole, outside Milford.Sources say Mr Coyle was taking Santa to see children at the Green Acres centre near Convoy where excited members of the Riding for the Disabled Association of Ireland. “Yep, that was him all right,” said one source close to Mr Coyle.“He’s been taking Santa to see the kids there for years, but this is the first time video footage has emerged to prove it.”We understand Santa is set to make a return to Donegal this Saturday night.* Have you seen Santa? Send your pix or videos to info@donegaldaily.com. DDTV WORLD EXCLUSIVE: SANTA SPOTTED IN COUNTY DONEGAL was last modified: December 22nd, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ASHTREE STABLESconvoyMilfordSANTAlast_img read more

ABI recognises South Africa’s young recyclers

first_imgMiss Earth Fire  Milanie Cilliers Congratualates Sibongiseni Buwa and Lindiwe Khumalo from Ekuthuleni Primary School School. (Images: ABI Schools Recycling Programme)The Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI) Schools Recycling Programme has rewarded primary school pupils for collecting recyclable waste. Their efforts have helped to cut the effects of pollution countrywide.Aimed at changing the mindsets of children, who are to inherit South Africa, the recycling programme awarded learners from Ekuthuleni Primary School in Ntuzuma in KwaZulu-Natal for their ongoing dedication to cleaning up their communities and collecting recyclable waste.More than 640 tons of recyclable material – PET bottles, cans and paper – were collected this year by participating schools. This has saved about 4 340 cubic metres of landfill space and more than 1 250 tons of carbon from being emitted into the air.RECOGNISING DEDICATIONHaving collected a total of 27 604 kilograms of recyclable waste over the course of 2015, Ekuthuleni Primary School ranked first among participating schools around the country and walked away with the R50 000 cash prize.This money will go towards improving the school’s infrastructure to further enrich the pupils’ learning experiences and increase their productivity.After putting in a good shift throughout the year, Motjibosane Primary School from Temba in Hammanskraal came second. Pupils at this school collected 22 561 kilograms of waste. They were followed by the team from Siphosethu Primary School from Ntuzuma in KwaZulu-Natal, who amassed just under 15 000 kilograms of recyclables.This year the programme introduced its Directors Award to recognise exceptional commitment and dedication to the Schools Recycling Programme. The first recipients of this award as well as the R50 000 cash prize were teacher Regina Rathethe and the Boikgantsho Primary School team.ABI’s sustainable development manager, Gaopaleloe Mothoagae, said the company valued innovation and developing sustainable solutions.ABI Schools Recycling Awards – Winning School Ekuthuleni Primary from KwaZulu-Natal receiving their accolades.SCHOOLS RECYCLING PROGRAMMEFor the past five years the programme has looked to involve children as active participants in waste management and open their eyes to the importance of recycling by introducing the concept to them in a school environment.By informing children at an early age about the impact that waste has on the environment, putting an emphasis on plastics in particular, the programme hopes to encourage awareness of proper waste management among youth.“So we gave a lot of thought to how best we could recycle PET bottles in particular to obtain a lasting environmental impact. We realised that meant engaging with schoolchildren, thus getting tomorrow’s citizens on board now, and linking the entire recycling initiative to empowerment.”At first the programme involved 40 schools from across the country; since then, more than 400 000 children have become involved from 404 schools around South Africa, most of which are located in townships and rural areas.Each school taking part is asked to collect a minimum of 1 000 kilograms each month and those that go beyond this target then enter in the running to win monthly prizes and ultimately the grand awarded, which was won by Ekuthuleni Primary School this year.The programme’s widespread influence is a result of its approach of combining education about waste management with a range of fun activities in the schools’ specially developed recycling curriculum to teach life and natural sciences.“We are changing the mindset of an entire generation in order to change the way our society manages waste,” explained Mothoagae.COMBATING UNEMPLOYMENTVarious aspects of the programme were created in a way that would ensure it was self-sustaining and could provide jobs to some of the country’s many unemployed.This year the programme appointed 24 recycling representatives from areas near schools to liaise with participating schools and ensure the smooth running of the recycling initiative.Explaining the position that ABI has taken to making a positive impact on the areas in which their programme is involved, Mothoagae said the company was “determined to make a lasting impact by combining responsibility for the environment with a social good.“That’s the only way we will save our planet.”last_img read more

Police, people clash in Manipur during rally against Naga pact

first_imgClashes erupted late on Tuesday at Wangjing Tentha in Thoubal district between the police and people who were taking out a torchlight rally in protest against the Naga agreement. All sections of people fear that since the Centre was not disclosing the details of the agreement, there might be clauses against the interests of Manipur.S. Ibomcha, Police Superintendent of Thoubal district, told The Hindu on Wednesday that a large number of men and women took out a torchlight procession in the district. As part of the well-organised agitation under the supervision of the COCOMI formed by five civil society organisations, processionists tried to storm the house of Paonam Brojen, the MLA of the constituency. Police intercepted them to maintain law and order while the people tried to bull through the police barricade.There was a mild baton charge. The processionists retaliated by throwing burning torchlights. Besides, stones were pelted at the police. Some youths were also allegedly used sling shots to attack the police. A few policemen sustained injuries. Later, police arrested 17 processionists.There were reports of such processions at Leishangthem also in the Thoubal district on Tuesday night.Meanwhile, Congress MLAs of Manipur reached Delhi on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand protection of the interests of Manipur while signing the Naga agreement. Okram Ibobi, the CLP leader and former Chief Minister, said, “The reported assurance of the Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue is nothing new since he made similar assurances in the past. Despite assurances, the stakeholders were not consulted before giving the final shape to the Naga agreement”. However, as Modi is out of the country, it is not immediately known when and if the meeting will take place.Appeals by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren to have trust in the assurance of the Centre and call off agitations, including the proposed ban on the tourism-related international Sangai festival, had fallen on deaf ears since the COCOMI continues to quarterback the agitations. Taking umbrage at the refusal to summon a special Assembly session to take a firm resolution on the issue, the COCOMI announced that it will not hold any further talks with the State government.last_img read more

The Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup

first_imgDressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of,Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of the tournament. Unlike in 2006-when Vikash Dhorasoo, a Mauritian descended from Andhra labourers indentured in the 19th century, made his improbable way on to the roster of France-there isn’t a single player of Indian origin in any of the 32 squads on view in Brazil.Amid the legions of naturalised players representing countries other than the ones in which they (or their parents) were born, there are Congolese players playing for Belgium, Albanians for Switzerland, Jamaicans for England, Turks for Germany, Surinamese for The Netherlands, Senegalese for France, Guinea-Bissauans for Portugal, Icelanders for the United States.But there is no ethnic Indian in sight- on any team, from anywhere-even though there can scarcely be a country where Indians have not settled in numbers. And yet, India is agog, watching the World Cup through late nights and early mornings with a passion that is truly impressive, even slightly mad. At an emotional and spiritual level, this should make Indians a special people. At least with regard to football, we are not narrow nationalists. I wanted to set up a business call with a colleague in Delhi and he pleaded, “Please, no, not then, I’ll be watching Colombia.” This was a country in which the man in question had never set foot, whose music (I can reliably state) he’d never heard, whose language he does not speak, and yet…missing even a small part of the game mattered. Colombia mattered because Colombia was playing football in the World Cup, and that was that. There is a purity of devotion in the heart of the Indian football aficionado that comes from being unsullied by merely patriotic impulses. This is what makes the Indian football fan so much more noble than the Indian cricket fan, who cares only for the Indian cricket team (a victorious Indian cricket team, preferably), and who would rather die a slow death than watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka, or England play South Africa.advertisementEvery four years, when the football World Cup starts to sizzle, Indian fans are faced with a question that fans in Brazil or England, Argentina or The Netherlands, do not ever face: Who to support? Not for Indians the electric pleasure of watching their team emerge from the tunnel, hair gelled, chins astubble, chests puffed with pride as the national anthem plays out to the world. Not for Indians the delight of having strangers from other lands come up to them, mouthing (and mangling) the names of Indian players in gestures of admiration and fandom. Not for Indians the panning of the cameras to Indian sections of a World Cup crowd, alighting on the faces of lovely Indian girls, painted Indian diehard fans, troops of men beating Indian drums. India, a billion-strong, is absent from the spectacle. We had a chance to be a part of all this, in 1950, when the Indian team was invited to the last World Cup held in Brazil. But the men who ran the Indian football federation, to their eternal damnation, chose not to send a team that would likely have acquitted itself well. They deemed the damage to their precious budgets to be too high.India-and Indian football-has been paying for that shortsightedness, that cosmic niggardliness, forever after. Those were years when India was the India of global under-confidence, of an inward-looking provincialism, when competition was frowned upon by the elites who governed the country. This aversion to competition afflicted our business, our industry, our trade… our football. And now that we are ready to compete with the world, we find that we cannot, except in those areas where we have a special advantage, such as cricket, with its small field of countries against which the game might be played.We are still appalling at most truly global competitions: Our universities aren’t world-class; our scientific R&D is mediocre, as is our defence technology; our industries are uncompetitive; our military fit for battle only against paltry Pakistan (and China knows this); our diplomats can barely speak English (let alone Russian or Arabic)… and our football team is ranked 154th in the world, one place above Singapore, one place behind Malaysia.But our football fans should be ranked close to, or at, No. 1, for they are the closest one gets to the platonic ideal of a football-lover. Not wedded to a team by blood or flag, they pick their favourites independently. An Indian family might have a father who supports Brazil, a son who shouts for a Spain, a daughter who swoons for Italy, a mother who admires Argentina. Brazil has long been an Indian passion, in part because its players play the game with such rollicking panache, but also because there is a sense that Brazil, somehow, is like India: A big, unruly, Third World country with colossal income disparity and cities seething with slums. It helps, perhaps, that some Brazilians even look a bit like us. But when we look at their football crowds, and their women, we know that there are few countries in the world that are as unlike India as Brazil. We gape at their sexual frankness, their startlingly different moral codes, and we know that all comparisons, all likenesses, have limits.advertisementIn the end, what the Indian fan looks for in a World Cup team is not an echo of himself or his country, but a history of excellence and a recognisable sporting idiom that appears to transcend national boundaries. Brazil plays football in a way that invites the whole world to watch. Recent Spanish teams have played that way, too, as have some of the more successful Argentine sides of the modern era. England, by contrast, and Germany (or, to be fair, the Germany of about 10 years ago) have both been teams that tailor their appeal to their own compatriots. Flair is an important part of global appeal, efficiency and grit less so. Which is not to say that Indian fans aren’t quietly envious of people from countries that aren’t in the top tier, and yet, by sheer dint of effort, send teams to World Cups: Costa Rica. Algeria. Greece. Bosnia and Herzegovina. South Korea. United States. Honduras. Iran.For the truth is that the Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup, even as he is exhilarated by the matches between old favourites. Just as players from other lands are household names in his own country, the Indian fan yearns for the day when Indian players will command global attention, serving as better ambassadors for India than the legions of suits in embassies around the world. Watching football is a complex business when the World Cup comes around. We are uplifted by the play we see, by the rugged beauty on display. But we also feel very small as we watch, a nation cut down to size.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institutionlast_img read more

Asia Cup 2018: Rohit Sharma has done a great job as India captain, says Wasim Akram

first_imgFormer Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has praised Rohit Sharma’s leadership skills in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Rohit (111 not out) notched up his 19th century in ODIs as he led India to a 9-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super Four in Dubai on Sunday.Rohit was named India skipper after Virat Kohli was rested for the Asia Cup. Rohit has been impressive as captain so far winning all the matches in the tournament and guiding Team India to the final.Rohit has so far captained India in 16 limited-overs matches and has tasted success in 14 of those games. He had earlier this year led India to victory in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka.Rohit and Dhawan are one of the most successful opening pairs of all-time for India and on Sunday, they just proved why they are so effective and deadly in limited-overs cricket.Read – How Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan plotted record-breaking partnership vs PakistanThe pair complements each other very well and what works in their favour is both can change gears according to the situation of the game.On Sunday, as India took on Pakistan in their second Super 4 match, Rohit and Dhawan simply took the game away from their arch-rivals with their scintillating display at the top of the order.Also read – Dhawan, Rohit blast hundreds as India crush Pakistan againTheir record partnership of 210 runs in India’s chase of 238 was filled with extremely well timed shots, lots of running between the wickets and calculated risks.advertisementThe highlights of the partnership was how both complemented each other and played according to the situation instead of playing their natural attacking game on a pitch, that was tricky to bat on.”I think Rohit Sharma has done a great job as India skipper. He is leading from the front, he’s getting runs consistently and with ease. With him, Shikhar Dhawan is playing equally good. They are making things look so comfortable when they come out to bat. They look so calm and I think they have got every shot in their book,” Akram told India Today.Also read – Rohit Sharma celebrates 7000 ODI runs with 19th hundredCaptaincy has also got the best out of Rohit the batsman. He has so far scored 269 runs from four matches at an average of 134.50, including two fifties and a century.Harbhajan Singh was also all praise for Rohit’s captaincy in Virat Kohli absence.”Rohit has been scoring runs and leading the team from the front. He is showing the way. He has done a great job. We can say when Virat Kohli is not there, Rohit can be given the responsibility of leading the team,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.India next play Afghanistan on Tuesday at the Dubai International Stadium.last_img read more