Archive for May 18, 2008

Jacksonville Woman Selling Lollipops to Pay for Heart Treatment

JACKSONVILLE, FL — On any given day, you can find Sarah Copeland selling heart lollipops at flea markets around Jacksonville.

The soft-spoken 21-year-old is selling the pink and red suckers to save her life.

Three years ago, Copeland was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It’s a condition where the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body’s other organs.

Instead of being put on the list for a heart transplant, she is opting to get alternative treatment in another country — adult stem cell therapy.

“There is a chance of living longer — possibly longer than a heart transplant and hopefully it will make me better,” said the Orange Park woman.

On May 31st, she’ll leave for the Dominican Republic, where she’ll get the medical work done. The trip and treatment will cost around $45,000.

Copeland is raising the money through benefit dinners and concerts. She also sells lollipops at local flea markets.

Little by little, her long days at the flea markets are paying off.

“Most people don’t really want the lollypop. They just make a donation anyway.”

So far, she has raised a little over $30,000.

If you would like to help Copeland, visit her web site at http://www.freewebs.com/sarahcopelandmedicalfund.

Source: FirstCoastNews

I hope the treatment helps her. She has decided that it is the best option for her, and I hope that it turns out to be. There are studies that indicate that this can be efficacious treatment and a lifetime on immunosuppressive drugs can lead to life-threatening side effects.

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Florida Firefighters Work to Control Fires

MIAMI — A large fire in the Everglades and other smaller fires in various parts of Florida brought smoky conditions across Florida on Sunday, even as increased humidity in some areas was helping firefighting efforts.

The Florida Divison of Forestry, which handles fires on state property, says it was fighting 90 fires around the state. Those total about 39,500 acres, up about 500 acres from Saturday. The majority of fires are in Glades County around Lake Okeechobee and on the coast in Brevard County.

In addition, in Everglades National Park, which is federal property, another 21,000 acres were on fire. That fire was 20 percent contained, according to the Florida Division of Forestry. No structures were threatened, but the Division of Forestry reported that the area is the only known habitat for the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.

Meanwhile, in the area around Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Highway Patrol was using electronic higway signs to warn people about lingering smoke, and areas along Florida’s Treasure Coast were continuing to experience haze from the fires, said Division of Forestry spokeswoman Melissa Yunas.

In Brevard County, where a number of homes burned earlier in the week, fires were 75 percent contained on Sunday, up about 5 percent from the previous day, said State Division of Forestry spokesman Todd Schroeder. In addition, firefighters were actively fighting one approximately 600 acre fire in a swampy area of Cocoa, but it was not threatening any structures and was between 50 and 60 percent contained, Schroeder said.

Parts of South Florida were under a dense smoke advisory early Sunday as winds blew smoke from the fires into parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties and areas around Lake Okeechobee. Haze was expected to linger in some parts of the state throughout the day.

Source: News4Jax

The smoke in the atmosphere must be what helped to create the beautiful hot pink colors over the entire sky at sunset tonight. I nearly hit another car because I was looking at the sky and not the road! No, I wouldn’t want to have to explain THAT to the nice police officer or the other driver.

When I reached my destination, I parked and spent some time just gazing at the exuberant colors of the sky and appreciating the beauty of our planet.

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