Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day


Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be severe for several days and can look scary to parents. But then most children return to normal activities. Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle.

My daughter had Kawasaki Disease. Here’s her story.

I remember being a little first grader who just wanted to go to dance class, even though I wasn’t feeling the greatest. The next day, I woke up barely able to open my eyes and with a crazy fever. I remember sitting in the “extremely sick” waiting area at the doctors office, holding a cold cloth on my eyes to make the swelling and redness go away. My mom and I were called in and the doctor told us I was just having an allergic reaction to a virus and to “let it run its course.” Two days later, my mom took me back to the doctors because I wasn’t any better, if anything, my symptoms got worse. Thankfully, we saw a different doctor who acted fast and efficiently to get all types of blood tests done for me, she knew what was going on. I remember being waken up in the middle of the night by my dad saying we needed to go to the hospital right away, my mom was on the phone with the doctor who said that the ER was expecting us. I had Kawasaki Disease at the age of 7. If it goes undiagnosed, can result in acquired heart disease as an adult, heart aneurysms and even death. Once I received the IVIG, I felt much better. I was getting blood tests from the “friendly vampire” daily, as well as EKG’s and ECHO’s. Within a few weeks I was back home and recovering. The amount of orange flavored baby aspirin I had to take a day was sickening, ( I remember my mom mashing them and putting them in my peanut butter sandwiches and my 7-up) I also had to see a cardiologist weekly, then monthly, then yearly. I actually just received my final “in the clear” ECHO when I turned 18. When I left the hospital, I was told I couldn’t return to my first grade class because I was too weak to be around other kids, I wasn’t allowed to “jump, run, skip, move around a lot, or DANCE.” That spring I would take a break from dance until I was cleared in the fall. I remember sitting outside coloring on the nicer days. As I got older, I didn’t talk about it much. Only in my recent years have I realized how lucky I am to be healthy today, and being able to do what I love. If you think something is wrong, don’t hesitate to get other opinions, those opinions can save lives. I am forever thankful that my mom didn’t settle with the “allergic to a virus” scenario. The picture is from my dance recital a year after I was diagnosed. Now, I’m 20 years old, teaching dance and studying to be an EKG tech. It’s national Kawasaki Awareness day, that was a little piece of my story.

Due Process for the Virgil’s

I am all to familiar with local elected officials dragging their feet when they don’t want to address an issue. After it was discovered that our water was contaminated with hazardous chemicals it took over two years to get a safe water supply. A small group of committed neighbors would attend meetings of various local government boards. Many times giving spirited public comment and many times we sat quietly, not saying a word. The experience is what prompted me to run for office.

When Nicole Virgil reached out to me early last year I knew I had to do my best to help.

The Chicago Tribune reports the following:

Nearly two dozen people came to an Elmhurst Development Committee meeting Monday to support the Virgil family in their long-running quest for city permission to again erect what’s called a hoop house in their backyard.

The issue has its roots in 2015 when Dan and Nicole Virgil built the 30-foot long, plastic covered structure in their backyard to extend the season for growing vegetables. The hoop house name comes from the curved plastic pipes that arch across the structure like ribs to support the translucent plastic covering.

City officials have said the temporary structure is specifically prohibited by city rules. Beyond that, at least one neighbor has complained about disturbing noise from the flapping of the plastic covering, a complaint the Virgils have said is unfounded.

More than a dozen people, all wearing green “Hooplah” buttons, lined up for public forum, calling on committee members Michael Honquest and Noel Talluto to at least put the subject on the agenda for full discussion.

Nicole Virgil, the last to speak, questioned why after several referrals the subject has still not made it to the committee’s agenda. City officials have in the past said they wouldn’t take up the issue until a court action by the Virgils concluded.

“The judicial case is over,” Virgil said. “The judge refused to hear our case. It is reasonable to expect that a discussion at the minimum would be allowed. If we can’t get on the agenda after 18 months of trying, what can we do?”

DuPage County Board member Liz Chaplin, who represents District 2, told committee members she understood the referral had been made to their committee nine months ago. “I don’t understand why it hasn’t been put on an agenda for discussion so people on both sides can weigh in and you can make an informed decision,” Chaplin said.

Several speakers noted that the hoop house fit well with the city’s emphasis on sustainability and could enhance its reputation as a progressive and diverse community.

You can read the full story here

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this day we celebrate a man who brought hope to America. He brought hope to America by example of his courage, character and compassion. A peaceful man. A man who believed in justice for all, fairness for all and opportunity for all. A good and decent man who spoke about the power love rather than hate. Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech August 28 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”