Letters And Commentary

May 24, 2012
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This Memorial Day, Remember Military Veterans and Men, Women in Our Armed Forces

To the Editor:

In the month of May, American citizens are reminded to think of our brave military men and women on Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. This is a time to recognize and honor those who are currently active in the military, our veterans, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

As the father of a son currently stationed in Afghanistan, I would also like to recognize the families of our military who are making a great sacrifice themselves. Every day families are missing their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We owe our servicemen, veterans and military families a debt for their contributions to our nation.

As a Monmouth County Freeholder, I want to inform veterans and their families of the many services offered by the county. Monmouth County Veterans Services Office is a full-service agency that is equipped to aid veterans in applying for benefits and provide information and assistance regarding programs and services. The office is located in Freehold and more information can be obtained by calling 732-683-8675 or on www.visitmonmouth.com. I encourage all veterans and their families to take full advantage of the services provided by the County.

I ask all Monmouth County residents to please take a moment to think about the sacrifices made to protect our freedom. All across the world our brave men and women are serving in our military and sacrificing to maintain our freedom. During your Memorial Day festivities, please think of the gallant service men and women who are defending our nation and have defended our liberty these many years.

Gary J. Rich
Monmouth County Freeholder

State Veterinary Association Advises to Protect Pets from Warm-Weather Pests

To the Editor:

The New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) warns pet owners that a mild winter and warm spring can prompt an increased risk of ticks and parasitic diseases for your pet.

The most common tick-borne illness that we see is Lyme disease. Ticks also carry Erhlichia, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Cytauxzoonosis, Babesia and several other diseases. Some species of ticks produce a toxin that can cause paralysis in dogs.

While you should exercise precaution against ticks throughout the year, preventative measures should be practiced to a greater extent in the warmer months when ticks and pets are most active outside. Pets should be kept away from heavily wooded areas or tall grass and pet owners should consult with their veterinarian about tick control products.

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There are several topical tick repellants that are available and a couple of good tick collars. They are available at your veterinarian and over the counter. It would be best to ask your veterinarian which would be the best choice for your household.  Only one of the available treatments is safe for cats.

Pets should be checked for ticks daily, particularly if they have an active outdoor lifestyle. If a tick is found, it should be carefully removed so as not to harm the pet. Despite common myths, ticks should not be burned, or removed with nail polish or any other potentially toxic substance.

I think the easiest, safest way to remove a tick is to use a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin of the dog as possible and firmly pull the tick off. It is common for people to think that they left parts of the tick in the skin, but this rarely, if ever happens.

If your pet shows signs of skin irritation, excessive scratching or has an indefinite number of ticks, it is best to visit your veterinarian.

Dr. Kathleen Buckalew,
Veterinarian and member of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association
Public Relations Committee

May is Brain Tumor Awareness

To the Editor:

As I sat reflecting on Mother’s Day, which for most is a wonderful day, it left me sad, angry, and motivated to write this letter. While I am grateful to have one beautiful healthy happy daughter, I used to have two of them. Kortney Rose Gillette was our vibrant daughter, who turned 9 years old on Nov. 27, 2005, and was the picture of health and happiness. Two weeks after her 9th birthday Kortney was diagnosed with a very rare and always fatal brainstem glioma (brain tumor). Four months later on April 27, 2006, Kortney was dead. Why am I writing this?

Since Kortney’s death I have devoted my time and energy to raising awareness and research funding for better treatments and ultimately cures for the over 120 brain tumors that exist in children, in her memory. We worked hard to pass legislation to name May Brain Tumor Awareness Month, so here is our attempt at raising more awareness:

1. Brain tumors can occur at any age, but are most common among children from 3 to 12 years of age, and adults from 40 to 70.

2. Brain tumors are the No. 1 solid tumor cause of death for children 20 and under.

3. Five-year survival rates are only 27.9 percent for males and 30.1 percent for females.

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4. Approximately 17,000 malignant tumors of the brain or spinal cord are diagnosed each year in the US with about 3,500 of those in children.

5. Only one new drug has been developed for pediatric cancer in the past 20 years compared to 50 for adult cancers.

6. The amount of research funding for the most diagnosed adult cancers is double, and in some cases triple, what is allocated for a child with cancer of any type.

7. The funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has gone down every year since 2003. As of 2008 the amount was at $26.4 million in comparison to AIDS research at $254 million.

What can you do to help? Pediatric brain tumors are an orphan disease. An orphan disease is any disorder affecting less than 200,000 people in the U.S. (less than one per 1,000 people) regarded by the pharmaceutical industry as too rare for developing commercially viable products. In other words, not enough kids get brain tumors, even though they are the leading cause of tumor death in kids, to make it profitable for pharmaceutical companies to make money on better treatments and lifesaving medicines.

This is why we need your help through donations and why small foundations like ours are imperative in this fight to fund research.

You may also help by showing your support for the Creating Hope Act that needs support in the Senate and beyond. The Creating Hope Act will encourage the creation of new drugs for under-served children who suffer from serious and rare medical conditions, including life-threatening cancers, by providing a voucher to pharmaceutical companies that develop such drugs. This voucher could be used to secure expedited FDA approval for any other drug, particularly a blockbuster drug, so that that drug could be delivered to market faster.

Not a day goes by that Kortney isn’t forefront in our minds, but we are trying to turn a terrible situation into a better one for someone else. Kortney brought her huge personality to every situation she was in, now it’s time to bring her spirit into the fight for other children.

Help us Get Brain Tumors Off Kid’s Minds. To find out more about our foundation, upcoming events and/or to make a donation online, visit www.thekortneyrosefoundation.org.

Kristen Gillette
Kortney’s mom and founder/president of The Kortney Rose Foundation

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