Pressing on

Facing a child’s illness, a family finds strength in love
By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published Saturday, July 25, 2009
TROY — The sounds in the middle of the night are the most startling.

As Anita M. Nash, 27, drags herself from the heavy fog of sleep, it takes her only a split second to recognize each noise coming from the nearby crib where her 10-month-old son, Landon, is lying.

Sometimes, it’s a piercing beep coming from the monitor attached to the baby’s big toe that measures his heart rate.

Other times, it’s a gurgling noise coming from the oxygen mask Landon wears while he sleeps that indicates a dangerous buildup of condensation in the tube.

And then there’s his hacking cough.

Most nights, Anita or her husband, Gregory J. Nash, 33, wake up to the noises every couple of hours, get up to check on Landon and adjust the machines.

Life for the young couple has changed dramatically since September 2008, when Landon was born with a rare syndrome known as CHARGE, an acronym for an unusual pattern of congenital birth defects found in 1 in every 9,000 to 10,000 newborn children, according to the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation.
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Dublin soldier’s condition is stable

Suffers head injury in Afghanistan
By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published Tuesday, July 21, 2009
DUBLIN — A Dublin soldier who suffered head injuries in Afghanistan Sunday is stable, but will remain in a military hospital in Germany for at least two more days, according to a family spokesman.
Twenty-year-old Matthew Katka’s parents, Bill and Ellen Katka, have headed for Washington, D.C., twice this week to meet their son, only to turn back after getting word from military doctors that they’ll have to wait a little longer, said Kevin E. Moody, president of the Dublin Christian Academy, the school where the Katkas work as teachers.

“They were told yesterday his vital signs were good, but (his doctors) want to keep him there a few more days before they fly him over,” Moody said.

Katka had been in a medically induced coma until late Monday afternoon, after undergoing surgery to remove skull fragments from his brain, Moody said.

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Magic, with no tricks

Miracles in Motion is more than horsemanship
By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published Thursday, July 16, 2009
Over the past four summers, a group of girls have been coming together at a horse stable in Keene for a week-long experience that allows them to leave behind their everyday lives for a moment.

They come here, to Miracles in Motion’s therapeutic horse program, for a unique Girl Scout camp that pairs young girls with a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities with high school-age girls.

They spend their days grooming and riding the horses and making crafts.

For many of this year’s eight campers, it’s a chance to step away from lives that can make them feel different from their peers. Here, seated in saddles atop their horses, girls who often come to camp withdrawn or shy are brimming with confidence, beaming and waving to each other.

For the counselors, camp is a place to step away from the rush of teenage life, filled with summer jobs, boyfriends and sports practices, and give back to others.
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