When each voice matters

After watching the horror of the George Floyd footage, Melissa Walker, a management consultant at Reston-based HR and recruiting firm Helios, shared a heartfelt message to all 40 employees: “In the spirit of ally-ship and solidarity, I want …to acknowledge what has been happening in our country and in the news. Dr. Maya Angelou said it best when she said, ‘We’re more alike, my friend, than we are unalike.’ I acknowledge many of us are feeling hurt and confused as we grieve the losses of Amad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. If Helios is the sun, we are the light. Continue to let your light shine as we live by example through hope, love and understanding.”

At 71, Tom Hill Continues Serving the Public

For more than four decades, Tom Hill woke up at 5 a.m. and commuted into D.C. to his job in the federal government. Now retired, the 71-year-old from Gaithersburg still hits the road every single day of the week, donating his time, talents and good heart as a volunteer. Hill serves as a driver, a dispatcher and, recently, a board member for Meals on Wheels. “It’s very rewarding to visit my clients and take them a hot and cold meal,” says Hill. He enjoys spending time talking to them and has bee

Getting Real With Gainesville’s Nicole Naples

Nicole Naples of Gainesville has always coached people how to get strong and fit. After studying kinesiology at Penn State and training athletes there, she’s taught exercise classes and has worked as a personal trainer in the area for the past two decades. An expert navigator of Wegmans produce aisle, the staunch nutrition advocate makes healthy, balanced meals for her family. She preaches the gospel of good clean eating to clients: lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Her advice is all, well, w

Here’s how Northern Virginia is tackling the nationwide opioid crisis

Opioid overdoses have become the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia. As the state confronts the national public health crisis, local doctors are on the front lines. Dr. Karla Lacayo remembers a 21-year-old who was brought in to the emergency room by an alert friend who said she was sleepy. As the triage nurses wheeled her in, she turned blue. With the hallmark symptoms of an opioid overdose—slowing respiratory rate, arousal difficulty, constricted pupils—they immediately gave her nalo

Meet the man behind the nation’s first free, online breast cancer school

Jessica, 49, a mom and teacher in Prince William County, remembers the moment her life changed. (For health privacy, Jessica asked we not use her real name.) She’d found a lump, seen her doctor, had mammograms, an ultrasound and surgical biopsy. She awaited results anxiously, trying to focus on teaching a classroom of kids. And then she got the call. Malignant. It was invasive ductal carci

Baby Steps: Telehealth is on the rise with millennial parents. Here’s why.

You can hear the elation in new mom Kasia Krolikowska's voice when talking about her son, Liam, born in February. “He’s a joy! We enjoy him so much,” she says. But she wasn’t always beaming. Krolikowska, 31, “cried three times a day” when he wouldn’t latch. A Gaithersburg health educator, “it didn’t cross my mind it would be hard,” she says. She didn’t know where to turn. Her family—her mother and sister both had breastfed—live in Poland. A hospital lactation consultant told her she might not be able

Are abdominal injuries football's next concussion story?

At Taylor Haugen’s first game of the year, in 2008, the Niceville (Fla.) Eagles were playing their rival. The sophomore wide receiver reached up to catch a pass and was pummeled from the front and back. He tried to join the huddle on the next play, but struggling, his coach called him off the field. Her child wincing in pain, Kathy Haugen rushed to the fence behind the sideline. “When he came off the field, I knew. I just knew,” she said, describing her son as pale and gray. The team doctor bel

When painkilling becomes an addiction for young athletes

Cameron Weiss’ mom remembers the competitive streak in her blonde-haired, smiling boy who started soccer at age 5. “When all the little 5-year-olds would cluster at the ball, he’d be right in there, trying to get the ball,” she said, laughing. By the time he was playing football for La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M., he was thriving in competition, becoming a wrestler, too. But it began to unravel. He broke his collarbone at football practice sophomore year. An urgent care center prescribed him the opiate Percocet — an oxycodone painkiller, which he took immediately and again after surgery. But afte

Former NBA player Chris Herren warns of dangers of painkillers

At the beginning of a promising NBA career, point guard Chris Herren was drafted in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, and the next year, played for his hometown Boston Celtics. He was also addicted to painkillers. “I was taking 1600 milligrams a day. A year and a half later I switched to heroin and was spending 25K a month,” he told USA Today High School Sports. Clean and sober since 2008 — after a car crash left him dead for 30 seconds — he now speaks to schools about drug abuse, includi

Gehrig's speech inspires others diagnosed with ALS

Eric Von Schaumburg, 30, of Chicago loves baseball. A White Sox fan who feels the words of Lou Gehrig's famous speech. The 75th anniversary was Friday. "I remember doing school projects on Lou Gehrig and running around the house, saying, 'I consider myself (myself myself) the luckiest man (man man) on the face of this earth (earth earth).' I thought it was the coolest and most inspirational speech ever. Then, things came full circle," the former high school second baseman writes when contacted

Pro figure skaters like Olympian Michael Weiss teaching skating for hockey players

You might not expect an Olympic figure skater to use the word “explosive” when teaching young hockey players on the ice. After all, figure skating is the epitome of quiet grace and elegant power, right? But three-time U.S. national champion Michael Weiss, 38, is doing just that, teaching explosiveness to high school hockey players at an ice rink in Reston, Va.  At a freestyle session after school one day, parents watch as their girls – perhaps the next Gracie Golds — glide and spin. But in the

Chasing Ghosts In a Civil Rights Era Cop Killing

Maevella Moore, 75, is like any doting mama and grandma. She beams with pride when she talks about her grandchildren, about how the kids and grandkids have gone to college and married, and how one grandchild is in law school. She'll say how she's even a great-grandma now to a 7-year-old. And like a proud wife, she talks about her husband. She'll tell you about how O'Neal Moore worked the late shift as one of the first black deputies of the Washington Parish (La.) Sheriff's Office. She remembers

When you don't feel a lump: Catching Breast Cancer Early- Three NoVA women share their stories

Nancy Zimini of Manassas, then 49, was surprised when the radiologist at Sentara Hospital asked to capture extra images of her right breast during her yearly mammogram. Eighty-five percent chance it’s nothing, she was told. “But there was this tiny gray-and-white cluster.” Zimini agreed to a biopsy in which a needle extracts suspicious cells during a computer-aided mammogram or ult

Mom advocates for CTE awareness following son's suicide after football career

As the national spotlight is on the first acknowledgement by an NFL official of a link between football and the brain disease CTE this week, Karen Zegel of Philadelphia wants to tell her family’s story, too. She blames her son’s suicide in 2014 on CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, found in autopsies of many former football players. Patrick Risha was a coach’s son and a football star in a Western Pennsylvania town deeply engrained in the game and then went to the Ivy League at Dartmouth

Trek to the big screen: the real 1987 McFarland, USA runners share their paths

When the Disney machine rolls into your farm town to tell your high school team’s story — you know, the one where you toiled as a kid for hours with your migrant worker family, pruning trees, picking peaches, raking walnuts and hoeing weeds, then you raced home to practice a grueling 6-mile run called for by a coach building against-all-odds champions, oh that little story? — it’s thrilling and humbling. Just ask Danny, David or Damacio Diaz, who, along with their 1987 cross country teammates a

Legendary cross country coach Jim White, the man behind McFarland: 'It’s all in the attitude'

Retired McFarland High School cross country coach Jim White speaks with joy in his voice in a phone interview from Hollywood, where they had an advance screening of Disney’s McFarland, USA, a based-on-a-true-story movie about the 1987 rise of a California state cross country championship contender from fields of migrant workers. The movie opens Friday. “Have you seen the movie yet?” he asks. “It’s really good. We showed it to 300 people last night at Pepperdine, because I went to school there.

Diabetes in play: High school athletes don’t let it stop them

At a camp three years ago when he was 12, wrestler Zach McCauley’s blood sugar level dropped. He says he hadn’t passed out yet, but was dozing in a corner. The coaches hadn’t shared the information McCauley had diabetes, and one saw him “sleeping.” “One of the coaches started throwing Post-it notes at me, saying, ‘This isn’t nap time!’ But my brother was there, and he said, ‘He’s a diabetic, he’s not napping.’” They ran to get the athletic trainer, who gave him juice immediately. He felt better
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