Shoutout to Sandlot: Retooling to Produce Masks

This morning I received an email from our local Managing Director of the law firm I work for. We’ve all been working from home officially since last Wednesday (I have been since the afternoon of March 16th). She shared the following information about her nephew’s company, Sandlot Goods.

In this time of uncertainty many of us are asking is there anything we can do to help those that are on the front line fighting the coronavirus. I wanted to make you aware of a local company, Sandlot Goods, that received a grant from the Kauffman Foundation to begin producing masks. Sandlot Goods is a locally owned KC company that typically produces handsewn leather goods that are really cool, but in response to the crisis is converting their production lines. Their goal is to produce 12,000 masks in week 1.

You can help in three ways:

  • Share this message and the link below on social media;
  • Donate money to help cover the costs;
  • Sign up to sew at home

Learn more via this link:

I donated enough to support creating two dozen masks towards the Million Mask May Day campaign. And I’m blogging and sharing this message today.

Join me in supporting this local Kansas City company doing it’s part to make us all safer and healthier.

A Little Help For My Friends

And by friends, I’m referring to the Friends of the Lansing Community Library (FotLCL for short), a nonprofit organization that is member supported and advocates, fundraises and provides critical support for my local library, the Lansing Community Library (LCL for short).  Their mission, which you can choose to accept as well, is to support LCL in providing free and equal access to information for all citizens through donations of time, talent and resources.

Continue reading “A Little Help For My Friends”

Jeans Day Charity: Hillcrest Transitional Housing of Kansas

hthlogoThis Friday my employer is sponsoring a fundraiser jeans day in support of Hillcrest Transitional Housing of Kansas.  I plan to participate by donating more than the requested minimum of five dollars ($5.00).

This charity provides rent free hosing on a short-term basis in the Wyandotte and Johnson County areas of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.  This housing is combined with financial education and provides a structured program design to assist homeless individuals and families in transitioning to self-sufficiency.

For more detailed information about the Hillcrest Transitional Housing organization, please follow this link.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

— Chinese Proverb

Jeans Day Friday Charity: Purple Peace Foundation

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

Today, my emplo0yer offered us the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser jeans day to benefit epilepsy awareness and fund much needed research.  And this is not the first time my employer supported epilepsy awareness.  The organization to receive our donations collected today is the Purple Peace Foundation.  The mission of the Foundation is to raise awareness about epilepsy and provide support to those living with or affected by epilepsy. Their goal is to raise funds to provide tools which may improve the quality of life for someone living with epilepsy, to support epilepsy research, and to increase awareness and education about epilepsy.


About 50,000 people die in the US each year from Epilepsy (prolonged seizures, SUDEP & seizure-related causes)

Just as a sense of scale . . .

   39,520 die from breast cancer

   15,000 die from prescription overdose

   12,000 die from skin cancer

   10,228 die in drunk driving accidents

Help spread the facts and raise epilepsy awareness!


Epilepsy is among the least understood of major chronic medical conditions.

  • Epilepsy affects over 3 million Americans of all ages.  This is more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined.
  • Almost 500 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed every day in the United States.
  • 1 in 3 adults know someone with epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorder are the same thing.
  • There are between 20 and 30 different kinds of seizures.
  • In our metropolitan area, up to 250,000 members may have recurrent seizures at some time during their lives.
  • 1 in 10 people will have a single seizure.
  • The biggest challenge for people with epilepsy is not the disorder itself but the myths, misconceptions and stigma that surround it!

 Please join me in spreading awareness about epilepsy this month.

The Odds Are Against Me

All I have to do is look up my family tree to find plenty of incentives for fighting heart disease.   None of that crossed my mind initially when I signed up at work to participate in the KC Heart Walk next month.  I just thought it would be fun to walk with some coworkers.

But the more I thought about my inherited medical hodgepodge, the more concerned I became.  I decided to take a closer look here at my previous couple of generations of blood related ancestors to get a better picture of why staying active and eating healthy is the best prescription for the rest of my life.

My father and mother, both born in 1942, are both still alive and kicking.  In fact, you can’t keep my father out of the trees.  His hobby lately is helping a neighbor cut down trees and split it into firewood and stack it for drying, storage and eventual sale.  My mother started taking blood pressure medicine last year after a couple of scary trips to the E.R.

Grandma Juanita (1915-2005) and me at my high school graduation (May 1983)

My maternal grandmother died in June 2005, of congestive heart failure, but she still managed reached the age of ninety.  Granted, she needed bypass surgery for a decade before she died.  I spoke to my aunt Saturday and she also told me her mother was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis before she died, which could have been treated with surgery (and a valve replacement) but Grandma didn’t want to have any surgery done.

I never met my maternal grandfather.  He was born in 1888 and died in the mid 50s … of a heart attack.

I did meet my maternal great-grandmother (in the late 60s or early 70s).  She was born in 1886 and died in February 1973 at the age of eighty-five.  According to my aunt, my great-grandmother passed very quickly, her body basically shutting down (not specifically heart related).

My mom was one of six children, three boys and three girls.  Her oldest sister passed away in 1987 of congestive heart failure at the age of fifty.  I’ll turn fifty in just a couple of years.

Her younger sister received bypass surgery (quintuple) in the fall of 2001 and is still doing very well eleven years later.  My Aunt Melody continues winning the battle against cardiovascular diseases, becoming a nearly daily regular at her local YMCA.

My aunt's wedding photo from the early 70s. Front row (left to right) my cousins Charles and Brandi, my brother Danny, my cousin Anne and me. Middle row (left to right) Aunt Hyla (1937-87), Grandma Juanita (1916-2005), my Mom. Back row (left to right) Uncle Harry and his wife, Rene, Groom Willard, Bride Melody (my aunt).

And that wraps up the maternal side of my genetic heritage.  Moving on to my father’s family …

My paternal grandmother died two years ago in June, also of congestive heart failure, but she passed very quickly within a week or two.  Up until a month before she died (at the age of eighty-eight), she had been living on her own in an apartment in an assisted living center.  I believe arthritis proved her greatest bane for the last few years of her life, but she did also fight the usual suspects (heart disease).

Grandma Doris (1922-2010) and Grandpa Ralph (1920-1992) with my brother (the baby) and I in the last 60s

My paternal grandfather (not shown in the above photograph) passed away in March of 2003, but his death was not specifically heart related.  He remained active in his community, as a Shriner and a musician, until the day he died.

Sitting on my Great-Grandfather Hodge's (1902-1975) knee for my first birthday. My cousin Toni peaking around behind me.

My great-grandfather, a much loved pastor in the small Kansas town where I grew up, died in the Summer of 1975, from a heart attack.   According to my dad, Grandpa Hodge wouldn’t admit he was having heart trouble; he kept insisting it was the flu, because he had been an athlete and stayed active most of his life.  Strangely, he died in the same hospital where I was born a decade earlier, in Winchester, Kansas.  Grandpa Hodge loomed large in the first decade of my life.  His passing devastated his church, the community and especially his family.

His first wife, Marie, passed away in 1949 of cancer.  She immigrated (during or shortly after World War I) from the town of Stallupönen, in East Prussia.


I am encouraged that many of my female ancestors made it successfully into or through their eighth decade.  If I can stay ahead of the genetics with healthy eating and living and regular exercise, I just might be around to annoy my great-grandkids over the next two or three decades.

I joined the American Heart Association‘s Heart Walk to promote physical activity to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and to beat the odds I’ve been dealt by those who’ve gone before me.  Your support greatly appreciated.

Did you know that heart disease kills more people in America each year than any other disease? And that stroke is a leading cause of disability and the No. 4 killer?

Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity can lead to a stronger, healthier body. Take a small step toward better health by being physically active just 10 minutes 3 times per day.

Be Heart Healthy, American Heart Association

Walking to Mend Broken Hearts

You can Become a Lifesaver Today!

I am participating in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, and have set a personal goal to raise funds that are needed for critical cardiovascular disease research and education.  I joined a team sponsored by my employer and will walk with them on Saturday, May 19, 2012, starting at nine o’clock in the morning.  I just wish Apollo could join my walk in memory of Roxy.  Instead, I’ll be walking in memory of my grandmother, Doris (Hodge) Andrea, who passed away (congestive heart failure) two years ago this June, on her birthday.   She would have turned ninety this year.

With the click of a mouse you can make a secure, tax-deductible online donation. You will not only be supporting me, you will be funding the fight against the No. 1 killer of Americans. Click here to be taken to my personal donation page.

Did you know that heart disease claims the lives of more people than the next 3 leading causes of death combined? Here is how your online donation will help:

  • $25 gives 50 people educational materials that teach them how to personally reduce their risk of heart diseases and stroke
  • $50 delivers the message of healthy nutrition to elementary school students through lesson plans and activity guides
  • $100 allows one hospital to teach its patients, caregivers, and health professionals about the risks of stroke – the nation’s No. 4 killer

Chances are you or someone you know has a connection to heart disease or stroke – forward this blog post to your friends and family.

Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support American Heart Association-KS Greater Kansas City

Drink Only Water for Lent

Click to See Informative Slideshow

I don’t often get to listen to the KLOVE morning show these days.  My vanpool riders chat quite a bit, and with yesterday being a federal holiday, there was much to catch up on.  But after I dropped off the last two riders at Crown Center, I turned up the radio just in time to catch the DJs talking about giving up every kind of beverage except water for Lent and taking the money they will save on not purchasing lattes and mochas and sodas and donating it to the Forty Days of Water mission initiative.

40 days to bring clean water to Uganda! Give up that coffee, coke, juice, etc. & only drink water for 40 days. The money saved will go towards clean water wells in Uganda!

KLOVE Morning Show Facebook Status Update 2/21/12

For the details on how to participate in the Forty Days of Water, follow this link.

I haven’t decided if I will participate or not because basically I wouldn’t be giving up anything.  Probably eighty to ninety percent of what I drink every day is water.  If not water, then brewed tea or iced tea that I don’t pay for because I make it myself.  If I could convince Terry to give up Pepsi for Lent, now that would be an accomplishment.

Friday Jeans Day Charity: Epilepsy Foundation

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Epilepsy, which affects between two and three million people in the United States, is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

Today, Friday, 11/11/11, my employer is accepting donations for the Epilepsy Foundation as our ‘jeans day’ fund raiser.  This foundation works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to promote research for a cure.  The Epilepsy Foundation is funded primarily through individual donations from the general public and receives restricted grant support from the federal government, foundations and private industry.

Please join me in in supporting this charity, to help raise awareness and support those afflicted with epilepsy.