A WORLD champion indoor rower with Northumberland roots has received vital support from a Morpeth community organisation.
Caroline MacDonald, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, has made big waves in adaptive rowing in the Arms and Shoulders category.
She is the current world record-holder and champion over one kilometre and she is a European and British outdoor champion.
Unfortunately, last year she broke her specially-adapted rowing seat used for indoor training and competitions.
Caroline started fund-raising with the help of her family, but it was taking months to raise the total needed and she was losing valuable training time.
However, Margaret Trewick of Morpeth Lions came to hear of her efforts through her parents in Ashington and put forward a case for funding help from her local club.
Read More: Morpeth Herald
To look at 16-year-old Meredith Butenhoff, one would think that she’s the picture of health. The pretty blonde high school student from Greenville has a ready smile and speaks with a soft melodic voice that belies the fact she suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDH), a condition that causes chronic fatigue, dizziness, and joint pain.
Meredith was diagnosed with EDH at the age of 11 and she, along with her family, have been courageously battling the syndrome and endeavoring to lead as normal a life as possible ever since. About three years ago, a ray of hope came into their lives in the shape of a dog.
While the family was attending a medical conference, they learned about Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services or PAALS, a South Carolina based organization that trains and places assistant service dogs with individuals such as Meredith who need help with daily tasks that the average person takes for granted.
“Most people don’t think twice about things like turning on a light switch or opening a door, but these are things that are a real challenge to our clients,” said Jennifer Rogers, PAALS executive director. “We train our dogs to do up to 70 behaviors that can assist people with a variety of disabilities so they can live more independent and enriched lives.”
Read More: The Columbia Star
Peter Brunner makes a visually arresting black-and-white debut with this experimental study of a man suffering from Marfan syndrome.
Experimental narrative “My Blind Heart” follows a man suffering from the effects of Marfan syndrome — a genetic connective tissue disorder that can affect numerous body parts and functions — as he lives a semi-feral life in Vienna after the death of his mother. Visually arresting in high-contrast black-and-white, Peter Brunner’s debut feature is hardly a hot commercial prospect, but will appeal to fest and cinematheque programmers looking for challenging, accomplished new work.
Read More: Variety