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Central Jersey Heart Walk Follow Up

In just under a month, I was able to raise $360 for the Central Jersey Heart Walk and I want to take a moment to thank everyone that generously donated towards this great cause.

It’s been such a humbling experience. Everyone knows someone effected by heart disease, and it doesn’t have to be as directly effected as we were as a family.

I’m glad I decided to participate, and I urge you to join in and take part in a similar one in your own community. It doesn’t have to be a heart related charity that you get involved in, there are so many great causes out there! Choose one that is close to your heart (no pun intended). One that you are passionate about. You’ll be glad you did.

Let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying then giving back to the community. Individually, we may not be able to bring about much change… but collectively, it’s a whole another story.

While the $360 I raised may not seem all that grand to some in the scheme of things (I am proud of it actually), the Central Jersey Heart Walk was able to fundraise over $95,000 collectively. That can and will change lives. More importantly, it will save lives.

The actual walk was today, but with a sudden trip to Canada, I had to unfortunately miss the walk portion of it. Next year, I’ll be there for sure.

Central Jersey Heart Walk 2012

I just registered for the Central Jersey Heart Walk on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at Johnson Park  in Piscataway, NJ, will you help fight the cause?

Seven years ago, back on July 16, 2005, my dad had a heart attack. That day is forever engraved in my mind and was the scariest day of my life.

Sure he changed his lifestyle and eating habits afterwards, but wouldn’t it be nice to have prevented it from happening in the first place?

I’m walking for my dad, but more importantly I am walking with the hope that others won’t have to go through what my dad [and our family] went through!

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of all Americans? And that heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined? I would have never thought that heart disease would top [breast] cancer in women!

How many of us even know the symptoms of a heart attack? Or how much they differ in women [compared to the symptoms men feel]?

Click here to read a little more about the American Heart Association which is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation’s No.1 and No.4 killers, claim more than 813,804 American lives a year.

I just registered, will you help fight the cause with me by donating?

Annual Screening

With Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation in the news so much recently, and the topic weighing heavily on my heart, I figured now would be the perfect time to talk about this.

Cancer. Probably one of the most despised six letter words in the English dictionary.

I can’t explain to you the number of times I’ve started a blog post on the ugly and scary word that is Cancer. Just in the past few months we’ve had so many stories hit close to home, unfortunately, with deaths because of  women-dominant cancers, like breast cancer.

If you know me personally, and talk to me regularly, you are probably well aware that lately this has been my thing — to convince my loved ones to get their annual visit in for screening.

A few family friends have lost their lives to breast cancer just recently. The mother of one of my brother’s friends (and college roommate) passed away just a few short months after diagnosis a few months ago of a woman-dominant cancer. My cousins’ friend (a teenager) passed away early January 2011 from cancer just a few weeks away after her father passed away of a different cancer.

Time and again, we are reminded how fragile life is.

Everyone knows someone effected by cancer. I’d be surprised to hear from someone isn’t.

I urge you to get regular screening. Early detection is the best chance for a treatment and/or a cure! I can’t stress it enough. If you are an adult female, go get your annual mammogram and get your annual GYN visit in. Take your (female)  loved ones too. You could, in all seriousness, be saving a life. So many things of this nature can be treated and cured IF they are caught early enough!

The momentary discomfort, in hindsight, will be worth it, won’t it? YOU are worth it!
If not for yourself, go for your loved ones. You could be saving them the heartache too.

While it would be nice to not have to worry about such things, the reality is we do. Who knows, maybe in our lifetime, research will go far enough to make this horrendous disease that is cancer something of the past. That would be something, wouldn’t it?

Universal

There are just some things that I think should be universal because they are a right, not a privilege.

Two of these things are healthcare and education.

The poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich deserve the same, so why is it that money (or lack their of) dictates instead?

I don’t care that rich people can afford a house with three times the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms they need. I don’t care that rich people can afford to have multiple cars each and choose which car they feel like driving that day. I don’t care that rich people can waste thousands of dollars on a meal.

I just don’t care.

You know why? Because that’s a waste. It’s not necessary. It’s foolish.

I don’t bother thinking twice about that.

What frustrates me is the lack of quality education or education altogether for so many people because of where they live or because they can’t afford it.

Just think of how many people die on a regular basis because they couldn’t afford to be treated or purchase the necessary medicines… or live for years untreated when there is a treatment readily available.

It shouldn’t be this way. People deserve better.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Quote of the Day

“Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon. Armageddon. End of freedom as we know it.

So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any asteroids falling or some cracks opening up in the Earth. It turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.”

— Barack Obama 03.25.2010

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Bloggers Unite: Human Rights Day

Tomorrow — December 10, 2009 — is “Human Rights Day”.

Most people don’t realize how many people around the nation — not just around the world – are denied their basic rights. some of these are constant court battles in the U.S., so at least they are being addressed… but what about people around the world? Privileges that we take for granted on a daily basis are something that many people yearn for their whole life in other parts of the world.

To name just one of the many issues i am concerned with, don’t you think medical care should be a right that everyone has? to think of how many people in the U.S. alone are not able to receive medical care because they can’t afford it or health care insurance and then to think about those across the world who lack the technology, the science, and enough educated doctors to be able to provide medical care is beyond devastating.

Blogger’s Unite lays out the Objective of “Human Rights Day” as to “celebrate Human Rights Day and stand up with people all over the world who want to make human rights a reality for everyone”.

For a little more background information:
Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted on December 10, 1948 that set down the basic principles at the very heart of the human rights movement. The UDHR has enabled remarkable progress in human rights, inspiring international human rights standards, laws and institutions that have improved the lives of many around the world.

Click here for more information on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I came across “Guidelines to Live by” on here earlier, quite randomly, and thought i would share it since it’s the same subject matter:

You are human.
In that, you are the same as everyone else; no more and no less.
You have a right to be here. You have a right to the necessities of life, 
including food, shelter, warmth and companionship.
You have a right to stand tall. Accept your individuality. 
Be honest about it, for your individuality is who you are.
You have a right to be respected. No matter what you look like, 
what your beliefs may be, or where you come from, you have a right to 
be free from persecution.
You have a right to strive for what you value.
You have a right to be happy.
 
In your interactions with others, remember that every one has the same rights as you. 
Respect one and all. Before all else, do no harm – and let no 
harm be done due to your own inaction.
Seek not to impose your beliefs on others. People are not ignorant. 
They have their own beliefs, equally precious as yours.
Do not judge others by your own standards, for those standards will always be biased. 
Judge instead, if you really must, on whether their intentions are good.
When conflict comes – which it will, given the diversity we live in – listen. 
Seek common ground. Strive to act in ways to limit the conflict, not compound it.
 
Remember that when you are gone, 
others – many yet to be born – will inherit the things you leave behind.
They too have their rights. Therefore, seek ways to leave them peace. 
Seek ways to leave them prosperity.
Seek ways to leave them with the resources and knowledge they need
 to build their lives as they see fit.

Thoughts on NJ Governor’s Election… Two Weeks Late.

So it’s been two weeks since election day, but i didn’t get a chance to blog about it until now.
first, my personal opinion on the results:
saying i was disappointed would be quite an understatement. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: by no means am i a supporter of Corzine. However, i oppose many of the core things Christie sides with. Like i said before, healthcare and education are two of the big issues! I just can’t understand how anyone would be against mandating health insurance companies to cover mammograms when breast cancer is the number one cause of death for females in the United States. And then to the education aspect – Christie wants to cut funding for early education because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. come on, people… seriously?
and now, comparing the results and our prediction for our class assignment for Somerset County. to refresh your memory, from an earlier post:
we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:
Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%
 
for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.
we based our predictions, mainly, on past statistics and the trends. While Somerset County used to be the heart of the republican party in New Jersey, the margins had been decreasing tremendously each election cycle and had become quite competitive and close between the two major parties (in all sorts of races – governor, senatorial, presidential). With the Obama factor, democrats won in the county last year and we (wrongly) thought Corzine would be able to carry on the hype from the Obama factor
in reality, what happened in Somerset County was:
Jon Corzine – 34.29%
Chris Christie – 56.21% (so obviously Christie won. BIG TIME.)
Chris Daggett – 8.71% (extremely close to our prediction!!!!)
and for the voter turnout, 102,922 (approximately 53.23% of the registered voters casted a vote in the Governor’s election from Somerset County. our predictions were pretty accurate for the voter turnout aspect.
we attributed the Christie win to several factors – a low democratic turnout (incumbency bias, free-rider problem); the anger and frustration felt by many in the state with the politicians because of the corruption and scandals in the state and people just wanting a change; the national problems we are facing that trickle down to the states and how many attribute it to the party in office currently, not the one that was the root of the problem; let’s face it – most of us know at least one person who has lost their job; negative campaigning (omnipresent in EVERY election) – it’s a double negative because not only does it work, but it also works the other way because some people are totally against them and use that against the politician; and of course the notion that many were expecting a miraculous overnight turnaround in the problems the nation is facing with the election of Barack Obama and are quite displeased that none of the “changes” have seemed to occur. things don’t just happen overnight… they take time, but most of the general public doesn’t see that of course.

I Met Two Presidents in Two Days

I don’t know how many people get to say that… or when i will ever get the chance to meet even ONE other president, but the last two days have been amazing for someone like me who LOVES politics and who is such a big fan of Barack Obama!

by the way, i’m going to throw in the past two days in one HUMONGOUS post because otherwise, one or the other would never get done… as i’ve been getting about one post done per month for the last few months. I have a post that i barely started two weeks ago still sitting in my drafts that i just haven’t had time to write out! 🙁 hopefully, soon… because i definitely want to get it done.

Anyhow, after being hesitant for a few days whether i was even going to attend the political rally where Bill Clinton was coming to rally for Corzine at my own school (Rutgers) because of a long and tiring day, i did end up going right after class… and i had a great time. The waiting line was decently long by the time we got there, and soon it had become much much longer! One thing that surprised me was there were no security checks (considering a former president was going to be present).

I know my brother Ayaz and i were discussing this, and many others feel the same way… but those rallying for Corzine seem to be doing a better job for him than Corzine is himself. and of course, Clinton is a great speaker as it is.

On a sidenote, after the event my brother and I met a reporter/fellow tweep (one uses twitter) Mike Memoli and it was so interesting to meet someone you communicate with online! We saw and talked with him at the Clinton/Corzine and the Obama/Corzine event (and met his sister and nephew there too).

Until attending the Clinton/Corzine rally, i was 100 percent sure that i was absolutely not going to be attending the Obama/Corzine rally the following day at FDU because of work, school work, and whatnot. But then, after the Clinton/Corzine rally…i realized no matter how much else was going… they could all take a back seat, because who knows when i would get such an amazing opportunity again in my life (or if i would ever!).

Luckily, i have no classes on Wednesday and was able to get someone to cover my shift at work on campus. I am SO SO SO glad i convinced myself to go!

Ayaz and I left home around 12ish (it was about 40 – 50 minute drive without traffic to get to Farleigh Dickinson University) and doors opened at 3 PM. We got there around 1:15ish i would say, and somehow, there were no real lines of any sorts and we were lucky enough to get to the front of the line!! To think that i wasn’t even going to go, and then i ended up in the front row!!! (Can you tell how great of a time i had? 🙂 )

One of the many speakers before we finally hear from Obama, was freeholder/reverend Vernon Walton (the first African-American to serve as a Bergen County Freeholder). He was a great speaker and he was amazing at getting the crowd going and was definitely a tough act to follow. he was probably my favorite speaker, aside from Obama of course, from last night.

Oh, and a last minute addition to the rally was Caroline Kennedy. most of the crowd had no idea she was also going to be one of the notable speakers that we would witness, but my brother and i got a heads-up from the reporter Mike Memoli that we follow on twitter. While Weinburg teased the unknowing audience about the “she” that was about to speak, we already knew all thanks to technology. 🙂

Caroline Kennedy received a much deserved standing ovation. Like so many others, I’ve had a natural interest in the Kennedy family and the tragedies that have struck their family. and no matter what your political philosophies are, Caroline Kennedy comes of as “real” and comes off to be just one of us. Furthermore, what Ted Kennedy did throughout his life for healthcare was amazing, and hopefully the fight will continue.

It’s scary/sad to think of how many people are not covered by health insurance… and how many of those people are little helpless kids! Education and Healthcare issues are two of the main ones that i am especially concerned with. It’s nice to hear the politicians hear about what “they are going to do”, but it’ll be even nicer to see some action being taken.

I’m no huge fan of Corzine (i haven’t researched him enough to be one) but some of the things Christie is against, is so hard to believe! I can’t believe anyone would be against things such as having a 2 day hospital stay for new mothers, having mandated mammograms, and funding for education. If we elect Christie, that’s taking some major steps backwards. Christie wants to make it not mandatory for healthcare insurance providers to cover mammograms!!!! can you believe that?? who could be against such things! especially when breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for females!!! not only that, but Christie also wants to cut funding for early education… because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. can you hear my frustration??

Anyways, getting back to the rally, talking about Caroline Kennedy reminds me of one of the funny moment as we waited for the “real” speeches. one of the secret service agents brought out a black portfolio to the podium that i am assuming was carrying Obama’s speech and the crowd was so anxious, that the secret service agent got a huge ovation from the crowd for simply bringing the portfolio out to the podium and walk back to the back area. the agent just smiled, shook his head, and headed back out. The pretty cool DJ promoted a second wave of cheers/applause from the crowd for him too. 🙂

here’s Caroline’s speech:

Loretta Weinberg spoke before Caroline Kennedy and Jon Corzine spoke after Caroline Kennedy. Weinberg’s speech was the same as the one from the night before at Rutgers. Corzine started off by saying he’ll keep his speech short because he knew the real reason we were all here was to listen to Obama. Obama, of course, spoke last. i think one of the best techniques Corzine has been doing lately is linking Christie to Palin – that’s ingenious right there and anyone with half a brain will negate them. the latest polls (from today) show Corzine leading by a three point margin (very small)… but this is the first time he’s been leading for a while. all of the powerful speakers this week have definitely helped Corzine, undoubtedly.

by the way, did you guys know Corzine’s mom is a registered republican?? i had no idea until Corzine mentioned that yesterday!

Obama came out to a loud and cheering audience, of course… and the atmosphere was amazing. and it only got better as Obama spoke. I’ve said it many times before – Obama is a great, inspirational, and eloquent speaker… and even more so in person! Ayaz and i were so lucky to meet him from so close up, and shake hands with him! I truly believe he has the potential to make a big difference for the country.

I’ve heard the “fired up” story many times before, but i heard it again last night live as Obama ended with the story (and i was wearing my ‘fired up’ shirt too!). it’s one of those things that never get old. Obama said the moral of the “fired up” story was that “one voice can change a room…and if can change a room it can change a city… and if it can change a city, it can change a state…and if it can change a state, then it can change a country…”. Obama, intelligently, connected this with urging each of us individually to go out there and knock on some doors, call some people, get our friends/family/neighbors out to vote, etc because we could make the difference.

this next image shows just how close we got:

also, during Obama’s speech… near the center in the front row alone we had three girls “faint” in the same general section. i found that really weird, but the secret service just came in and carried each of the girls out as it happened.

here’s obama’s speech btw:

I know i would have regretted it later had i not gone to either of the events (ESPECIALLY the Obama event)! This is a pretty long post as it is, but i’ll probably add more thoughts to this as i remember more things.

These past two days have been pretty amazing… and one of those things i’ll remember forever!

UPDATE: this post is as long as a 5 page essay! to think how productive i could have been school-wise today! 🙁 🙂