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2013 WSB Care-a-Thon - Lake B.
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2013 WSB Care-a-Thon - Lake B.

2013 WSB Care-a-Thon - Lake B.
Lake B.

2013 WSB Care-a-Thon - Lake B.

Lake B.


Lake was a healthy, active 5-year-old in kindergarten at this time last year. He was playing baseball and getting ready to celebrate his sixth birthday. Early that spring, he started getting ear infections along with random fevers that his pediatrician would treat but then would come right back. It had us all stumped because he was never sick. This went on for a couple of months. It was at the end of baseball season and he had just made the summer All-Star travel team. It was also almost the end of school, but Lake was acting very sluggish. He started coming home from school and sleeping all afternoon and through the night. He just wasn’t the same wild and funny little boy everyone knew. My mother’s instinct kicked in, and I took him back to the pediatrician the day after Mother’s Day. May 14, our whole world changed in just hours.

Our pediatrician did blood work, and after reading the result, he immediately sent us to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta where Lake was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We were in shock, devastated and so scared. These things just don’t happen to your child; you only see and hear these stories in commercials. The next day, we were given all the information and possibilities of what could and what was going to happen. Lake had his central line put in the next day and was moved to the Aflac Cancer Center at Egleston where we remained for the rest of his treatment. He started chemo the next day. In a matter of 48 hours, we learned our 5-year-old had cancer. It was a lot to take, but we just prayed and trusted that God would help us through.

It turned out Lake had some genetic factors that put him in a group for low risk for relapse and a very good outlook as far as remission. Also, he didn’t need to have a bone marrow transplant, which was great news. He started the process of four rounds of intensive chemotherapy, during which he would have to stay in the hospital for four to six weeks at a time. Needless to say, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center floor at Egleston became our second home for the next six months. Lake handled the chemotherapy great and went into remission after the first round.

He was a little Superman. He would set his chemotherapy and then be riding a tricycle in circles around the nurses’ station. He did not have many side effects from the chemotherapy, which was awesome. During treatment, his appendix ruptured, so he had to have it removed. He had one infection that caused high fevers, but other than that, we were blessed with how well he handled his treatments. In between treatments, he was able to come home for a few weeks. But he was very limited in what he could do or where he could go because his immune system was compromised.

He finished his treatment around Halloween in October 2012. He is still in remission and has gotten back into life. He returned to school where he got right back into the swing of things. He played basketball this winter, and he played baseball this spring. Except for getting the flu and strep throat he has been doing great. His hair is back, and if you didn’t know he had been sick, you would never know now. While he never wants to go back, the Aflac Cancer Center was an amazing place, and we loved everyone there. We made so many friends and lasting relationships with other families, the nurses and the doctors. We just feel so blessed to be able to share our story of hope and that happy endings do exist. We are still in a very sensitive place as far as his remission, but we have faith he will stay in remission. We hope he will be cancer free soon enough. I am so proud to be his mom. He went through something that a child should never have to endure and handled it like a champ. I only wish that all cancer stories were like ours, but they are not, and that is very hard to take. We just pray every night for Lake’s continued remission and for all those children who still battle cancer. We are truly blessed.

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News

  • A Gwinnett County family is trying to make sense of the murder of their husband and father outside their home in a Buford subdivision overnight Thursday. The victim, identified as 43-year-old George Young, was shot dead right outside his own front door. He had just come home from working a security job and his keys were still in the front door when he was shot twice. “I heard two loud gunshots,” says his wife Tia. “At first, I thought it was gunshots, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I wasn’t sure if it was firecrackers.” Her brother, who was asleep on the couch, heard it too. He opened the door to find Young lying on the front porch. “I never heard a car speed off. My brother didn’t either,” says Tia. Gwinnett Police detectives told the woman it does not appear to have been a robbery. “We don’t know where the gunshots came from--whether they came from the porch or came from the street. But our ultimate motive, right now, is to figure out what other people heard,” says Cpl. Michele Pihera. She is asking anyone with information to come forward to police. Tia and her husband had been married close to 23 years and she wonders how she will continue alone raising their three sons. “I lost my dad a few years back to suicide, and I didn’t think it could any worse. But losing a spouse like this, I think it tops that,” she says.
  • His book called gay people 'vile.' Now, a federal judge says she may rule within the next month whether the city of Atlanta fired its fire chief over his religious views.  Kelvin Cochran lost his job in January of 2015, after self-publishing the book 'Who Told You That You Were Naked?' It includes passages that referred to homosexuality as 'vile, vulgar and inappropriate' and akin to 'bestiality.' When concern was raised about the book in late November 2014, Cochran was suspended for 30 days. His lawyer, Kevin Theriot, contends the chief was punished for his religious faith, but attorneys for the city argued that it was Cochran's actions during his suspension while an investigation was underway that got him ousted. City lawyer David Gevertz pointed out that Cochran had been directed to not make public comments about his suspension, but instead helped launch a PR campaign with the Georgia Baptist Convention that resulted in thousands of angry e-mails being sent to City Hall. 'We did not fire Chief Cochran because of his religious beliefs,' said Atlanta Chief Counsel Robert Godfrey. 'It was about trust. It was about his campaign to have people contact the mayor and things like that afterwards.' Theriot contends that Mayor Kasim Reed's public statements and social media posts contradict that, including one in which Reed made clear that he did not share the anti-gay views expressed in Cochran's book. The lawsuit points out that there were 'zero instances of discrimination' by Cochran against any employees, and so Theriot says the rest of what the city says is a pretext. 'There are a few isolated passages that they take out of context to try to depict Chief as being hateful, when in fact, Chief Cochran's beliefs require him to treat everybody equally--and the only evidence before the court is that what he always did,' says Theriot. Theriot acknowledged that some copies of Cochran's book were given to men on the job, but he insists they were from people who asked for it and/or shared similar beliefs as the chief. Gevertz pointed out in court that the book created a hostile work environment and could leave the city open to lawsuits from disgruntled employees or unsuccessful candidates once the views of Cochran, a member of the mayor's cabinet, were known publicly. Cochran's lawsuit seeks back pay after his suspension and termination, as well as reinstatement. He has also filed a separate complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Cochran says his childhood dream was to become a fire chief, and he says the discrimination and racial slurs experienced in his early years working in Louisiana combined to make him vow that if he were ever in a position of authority, no one would face discrimination because they were a minority under his leadership. Yet, he says, that is why the city terminated him. 'I was shocked that writing a book encouraging Christian men to be the husbands and fathers and men that God had called us to be would jeopardize my 34-year career,' said Cochran on Friday. 'It's still unthinkable to me that the very faith and patriotism that inspired my professional achievements and drove me to treat all people with love, equity, and justice, are actually what the government used to end my childhood dream-come-true career. 'In the United States of America, true tolerance should be a two-way street for all Americans,' Cochran continued. 'No one deserves to be marginalized or driven out of their profession because of their faith.' U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May grilled lawyers on both sides with questions about the cases they cited in support of their arguments, and says she will write a detailed analysis and likely issue a ruling in about three weeks. The attorneys are seeking summary judgment, meaning they are asking the judge to decide the case. If she cannot rule on every issue raised, says Judge May, the Cochran case will go to trial on the ones she cannot resolve, putting the questions in the hands of a jury. A trial would likely be held next spring. Any jury pool will likely include some people like Tonya Ditty, who tells WSB that she has been a longtime supporter of Cochran since the case began in 2014. She attended Friday's hearing and says she was also at a rally at the state Capitol for him. Ditty says she is concerned about 'the trampling of religious rights,' no matter what religion. 'When our Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, they did not pick a religion,' says Ditty. 'This is fitting for everyone. I think that often is said that, 'Oh, the Christians just want protection.' This is for any religion. I don't think it's ever been stated that we are trying just to protect Christians.' Ditty, who says she is a Christian, says people of faith are being stifled. 'I either have to live out my faith in church or in my home, but dare me come out into the marketplace of ideas, and then I'm under attack,' she says.
  • A 10-year-old Indiana boy is building toys from scratch to help children in need enjoy the holiday season, WISH reported. >> Read more trending news Zander Hite of Greenwood took the advice of his grandfather, Darl Hite, who gave the boy a $20 bill last winter and told him to make a difference this holiday season. Zander bought two slabs of wood to build toy cars, WISH reported. “I played with them when I was little,” he said. “And I thought they were fun to play with.” At first he built only one toy car. “It turned out to be really fun. And now I keep on making more,” he told WISH.  Since then, Zander has been an apprentice to his grandfather, who has been woodworking for several decades. Since beginning to work with wood, Zander has created 250 cars and trucks, WISH reported. “Quite a feat for a 10-year-old,” Hite said. Zander joined the Central Indiana Woodworkers club, where his grandfather has been a member for years. The organization gave him the wooden wheels for the cars and the engine to deliver these toys to kids in need, WISH reported.  As part of the club’s annual Christmas wooden toy drive, Zander donated his toys. “It was a challenging thing to accomplish to want to keep going,” he told WISH. The toys will be distributed by the wood club to different organizations around central Indiana in the coming weeks, WISH reported.
  • A former employee at a Washington State high school was charged Thursday afternoon with allegedly raping a 15-year-old student. >> Read more trending news Kristal M. Gamble, 33, was employed as an office assistant at Kent Meridian High School when she allegedly initiated an illegal sexual relationship with a boy last spring. According to Detective Melanie Robinson, the boy’s parents allegedly found sexual photos and messages on their son’s cellphone, so they contacted the Kent Police Department in September. By that time, Gamble was no longer working for the Kent School District, according to a spokesman. Gamble was arrested Wednesday. She is being held at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center with bail set at $10,000.
  • A drone crashed at an Arizona prison in September, and officials found drugs and cellphones aboard the vehicle, The Arizona Republic reported.  >> Read more trending news The drone crashed in a yard accessible only to corrections officers. The Arizona Department of Corrections said Thursday it is still trying to determine who was behind the delivery Sept. 24 delivery. It was the first known incident involving a drone at an Arizona state prison, corrections spokesman Andrew Wilder told the Republic. The drone flew over Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, Wilder said. The contraband had been tied up in an orange sweatshirt. Inside were two cellphones and several freezer bags filled with marijuana, images show. The items were sent to the state crime lab for fingerprint and DNA analysis, but investigators have not been able to locate the origin of the drone, Wilder said.  All airspace around prisons is federally restricted, so flying any item, including drones, near the facilities is prohibited, Wilder said. Attempting to smuggle drugs and cellphones into prisons is a felony.
  • Three male otter pups made their public debut at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Friday, WKYC reported. >> Read more trending news Zoo officials said the pups were born on Sept. 24 to Bitzy and Kibble. Baby otters are born with their eyes closed and need a few weeks to learn how to swim, meaning they'll be ready to join their parents, Bitzy and Kibble, on exhibit in The RainForest in the coming weeks. The zoo now has seven otters, WKYC reported.. The pups are Asian small-clawed otters, which are indigenous to Asia. They're one of the smaller species of otters and have hand-like paws, WKYC reported. They're listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “We were aware Bitzy was pregnant based on body weight and body shape,” the zoo's animal curator Tad Schoffner told Newsweek in an email. “The otters are given their privacy and typically staff does not even know for a few days that there was a birth because the parents tend to be very protective when the pups are in their most vulnerable state.” The three pups have yet to be named, and they still weigh less than a pound, Newsweek reported. A zookeeper saw the pups playing with one another just Thursday, indicating they're developing well so far.