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Friday, October 31, 2008

A Plea from a Gold Star Father

As a native of Connecticut, and someone who was lucky enough to avoid the often severe consequences of Lyme Disease, this is a plea close to my heart. When I was bitten by a tick years ago, the classic "target mark" was clearly visible on my knee, and I was fortunate enough to have treatment during the first few days following the bite. I have few lasting effects, and those I do have are mild.

My stepfather was not so lucky, and has had a number of issues related to Lyme Disease. Pets can be victims, too - one of my best friends' dogs has Lyme Disease, and fortunately is responding well to treatment.

Each spring around here, we are reminded around this area of the dangers posed by the little critters we may not even see.

Robert Stokely is a Gold Star father familiar to many in the milblog community, and near and dear to our hearts. Please take a moment to assist this family and others like them - the Stokelys have already given so much for all of us.

The Stokelys need your help as do many many others around the country to get Congress to act - please see the links below to versions of the U.S. House and Senate bills for Lyme Disease Research below:

Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)[H.R.741.IH]

Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2007 (Introduced in Senate)[S.1708.IS]

Abbey Stokely was bitten by a tick about 20 months ago. We have been to doctors - the best we can find and she is very sick to this day and I fear she may even die. Yesterday, as a home health nurse came to treat her under the orders of an infectious disease doctor, she suddenly collapsed, stopped breathing and then responded again. I buried a son, SGT Mike Stokley KIA 16 AUG Yusufiyah Iraq and that nearly did it for me. I don't think I can bury a daughter, much less I know my wife Retta can't, for like Mike and I were best friends, Retta and Abbey are the closet mother / daughter I have ever known, and on top of that, they have the closet friendship I have ever seen in my life.

The other day, Abbey became so ill and fatigued at school that a friend had to bring her home from school. We, like many other families, are desparate. We nearly lost Abbey in a car wreck five months after Mike died when she and I were struck in her door, sheering it away, by another car running a stop sign. We rolled and then flipped end over end for 180 feet. We spent 18 months gettng Abbey well from that wreck.

It was during that recovery time that Abbey was bitten by the tick. Since then she has had to endure something no emerging teenager wants - to have your life taken away and unable to be with your friends. Going to church is a struggle, yet her faith and committment to God leads her to save up her strength to go to church for an hour. She went to school half days, not even going other days. Amazingly, she maintained the high straight A average she has had everyday of her entire school career, and moved from 15th in her class to 4th (and she is in a very competetive 2010 class).

We understood and accepted what we were in for when Mike went to Iraq. Yet, his death continues to be a heart break to us every day. While other thirteen year old girls might have attended their first funeral to bury a grandparent, Abbey attended her first to bury a treasured and loved brother in a most public setting, TV cameras and Reporters in her face at the State Capitol prayer service, and then again as over a thousand attended Mike's funeral. Instead of a simple graveside service and prayer to get through for a grandparent, Abbey said goodbye to her brother to the report of a 21 gun salute, watching the flag draping his casket be folded, and then the playing of taps.

There are a lot of unknowns about Lyme Disease and a lot of "blowing off" of patients like Abbey and our family by the medical community. Some doctors have even had their license taken away or suspended because traditional medical community views tend to discount Lyme even exists in many states or that the regimen of treatment is two weeks of an anitbiotic and the patient is cured, and if not, they are depressed and need a psychiatrist.

If what I describe above is not enough for Abbey to go through from age 13 - to 16, she has had to endure going through every known medical test and being told we don't know what you have, but it is not Lyme Disease because Lyme does not exist in GA and you are just depressed because of what has happened in your life. Such is how it goes for many others like Abbey Stokely - they are blamed for not getting better and told there is nothing wrong with them.

Abbey Stokely wants to get better, she wants to live a full life, and she wants to be happy. Yet, in the face of the the physical setback of Lyme Disease and only able to go to school half days, some days not at all, she carried a full advanced placement high school load, elected to be the President of her Student Government, doing homework on weekends when her friends are out having fun so she can maintain her lifelong high straight A average. She is in a very competetive academic class of 2010 at her high school and has managed to achieve being ranked 4th in her class. She continues a strong faith in God even given what has befallen her, continuing to read and study her bible and carry on a committed prayer life. She is respectful and considerate of the needs of others even to the point the other day when she was rear-ended by another driver, and hurt again, she was more worried about how they were than her own self, and now worries if the other driver will get in much trouble with their parents and insurance company. She is chaste and would not dare consider a drink or illegal drug. She saves her allowance for college and dreams of being a doctor or doing something to contribute to the betterment of life for others. She was trying to walk several miles a day and build up strength to walk in the three day breast cancer walk and had raised considerable money to donate to the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation by making crafts to sell and holding late night dinners for the staff at her mom's hospital. Does that sound like someone who is depressed and needs a psychiatrist?

Abbey Stokely is sick and could die from Lyme Disease. Now, we as a family need your help.

Congress has two bills pending - one in the House and one in the Senate - links above and for a tenth straight year will die if not passed out of Congress in December. We need to look at this disease and study it with an open mind and not take the hasty and closed minded positions as those with a conflict of interest due to ties in the research and pharmacuetical field have. A video "Under Our Skin" which is gripping and compelling to ask questions why not study and learn more rather than misdiagnois or outright ignore the problem. A legitimate question exists why the medical community, including CDC, is not responding and families like us, and people like Abbey, are being left with no answers, even being shunned and blamed with "the problem". Please help us and the many many others like us around our country.I am not one who shows fear but I am really scarred for my daughter. Please guard your family from ticks, for Lyme Disease, while recognized as a disease in some states on the eastern seaboard from Maryland north, there are many states it exists in great numbers like Georgia but is ignored by health authorities. Remember, thirty years ago no one had heard of Lyme Disease until it was discovered by a doctor who studied the unusual onset of child hood arthritis in large numbrs of children in Lyme Conneticut. While the medical community blames the patient in many cases today, or misdiagnosis the patient altogether, we are very likely to look back one day and ask ourselves as a nation who we could have ignored it for so long and let so many suffer needlessly.

Thank you my friends for any contacts you can make and please share this with your friends if you like.

Robert Stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 Aug 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
and proud but very concerned dad of Abbey Stokely, suffering from Lyme Disease

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In Today's News - Friday, October 31, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Sometimes it is entirely appropriate
to kill a fly with a sledge-hammer!"
-- Major Holdredge, USMC

News of Note
Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Al Qaeda Casts Absentee Ballot (Big surprise - they like Obama)
India suspects Islamist militants in Assam bombings (Now there's a shocker)
Guantanamo man's video moved al Qaeda to tears (Oh, BARF!)
Israel wants to renew indirect talks with Syria
Jewish settlers vow to hang tough in occupied land
Suicide bomber kills nine in NW Pakistan

Fallen Heroes
New Ship Named for Fallen Navy SEAL

Other Military News
After Iraq, Petraeus faces arguably tougher job
Iraq War Vet's McCain Endorsement Rockets to Top of YouTube
Italy Reportedly Warned Libya of 1986 U.S. Airstrikes (With friends like these...)
Intelligence chief sees growing potential for conflict
Japan general says WW2 military acts not aggression (Yeahhhhh...)
Two U.S. Army Soldiers Receive British Honors
Marine Goes From Combat to Congress

Religion of Peace??
Sign Outside a Baptist Church: God Loves, Allah Hates

Homegrown Moonbats
Man sets self aflame at Seattle college and dies

Politics / Government
Local Race to Watch: Iraq War Vet May Be First Black on City Council...
McCain, Arnold Team Up
Palin's Alaska 'Shares' Oil Wealth With Residents
Palin: Win or Lose, I'm Here to Stay - PHOTOS
Live From New York: It's McCain This Saturday Night
Obama Camp: Expectations Danger
FOX News Poll: Obama's Edge Over McCain Narrows
McCain Predicts Late-Night Victory - VIDEO
AP: Emanuel Approached by Obama for Chief of Staff Job
ELECTION NIGHT PRIMER: Guide to Congressional Races
Obama infomercial tops network prime-time ratings - Video
Obama retains seven-point lead on McCain
Palin: Obama incapable of handling security tests
Video: "Experience" vs. "change"
Obama, McCain hit economy in the push to Tuesday
McCain struggles to gain ground on Obama in Ohio
Boy shocked after man powers up campaign sign (I love it!)
Palin looks past Tuesday to her political future
McCain seeks to revive Rezko as campaign issue
Good looks help women candidates, men not so much
Palin says Obama infomercial short on specifics
Beware the final weekend - Video
History shows Dems better for stocks
Palin: Obama cannot handle tests
Win or lose, Palin seen to be a political force
Reuters Full Coverage: Election 2008
Obama Could Lose 17 Electoral Votes
Obama Plans to Use Reparations to 'Spread the Wealth'
Sign Outside a Baptist Church: God Loves, Allah Hates
Fundraiser Linked to John Edwards Scandal Dies

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Texas Executes Homeless Man for Killing Woman Who Offered Him a Place to Live
2 Adults, 3-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Involved in Attack on Police Officer
Belarus court upholds sentence on U.S. lawyer
Report on 911 call from Thomas' home released
Police official: Hudson nephew likely died in SUV

U.N. News
Developers partly to blame for CO2 offset delays: U.N.

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
Yahoo, Google may walk away from search deal: report
Journalism Professor Surveys Bloggers on Internet Use During Elections

Science / Medicine and Health / Technology
Hubble Photographs Cosmic 'Perfect 10' - PHOTOS
Study: Attractive Dads Make Ugly Sons, Beautiful Daughters
Report: No Mechanical Failure in Medical Copter Crash
Two Minor Earthquakes Shake Dallas-Ft. Worth Area
Official: Death Toll From Pakistan Quake Likely Above 300
Promises, Promises: Chasing an elusive pledge
Obesity blamed for doubling rate of diabetes cases
Nasty fungus may be killing thousands of bats
Giant bat makes comeback in Tanzania
Sony recalls PC batteries
Nintendo sees overseas DSi launch by next summer
Split-screen settlement for dueling TV viewers

Mother Nature
Texas floats plan to house Ike victims aboard ship
Rare, prehistoric-age reptile found in New Zealand
Man-made climate change seen in Antarctica, Arctic
Climate change seen helping short-lived creatures
Financial crisis has lessons for climate fight:expert
Video: Students and teachers rally in Rome
Quakes give trampoline effect: Japanese study

News from My Neck of the Woods
Rare 3 Cent Stamp Sells for $1M at NYC Auction
NY sets code to axe dirty business in clean energy

Hundreds flock to toilet to see art
Tough new alcohol laws to stop Sydney violence
Happy birthday dear goose thief

Other News of Note
Searchers find large bones near Fossett crash site

Fox News
Asia Stock Markets Mixed, Nikkei Slides

Rescuers pull 23 bodies from China mine after blast
Who shrank the economy?
Crisis is big bucks for lending sites
The Verdict: Trouble ahead
Reuters Blog: Check Out Line
Reuters Full Coverage: The Economy
Detentions of China officials may curb foreign deals: sources
"Harsh storm" looms
Iceland crisis could cost 85 pct of GDP
Europe's banks show financial frailty
Taiwan joins global rate cut move
Credit crisis to spur more regulation
"Long way to go": Lazard CEO
Rate cut from Japan, capital boost for Barclays
Auto aid pleas mount; Treasury says no GM talks
U.S. banks owe billions in pay, pensions to executives: report
Rescue plan: Stymied by steep eligibility rule?
Intel chief sees growing potential for conflict
Oil sinks towards $63, set for record monthly slide
Wall Street blues
Check in anytime you like ...
Tidings of a bear market rally
Poised for a makeover?
Intel says financial crisis could hurt business
Barclays raises $12 billion from Mideast, others
Burger King profit misses view, keeps outlook
GMAC may become bank, eyes massive debt overhaul
Hong Kong investors protest over Lehman losses
Commerzbank may seek state capital : sources
GM, Chrysler merger on hold as aid hopes fade: sources - Video
Potential GM merger may hit Chrysler plants, models
Michael Jackson opts out of Jackson 5 reunion - Video
Hollywood weighs impact of election
Patrick Swayze says chemo was "hell on wheels"
"High School Musical 3" set for Halloween honors
Sarah Brightman "crazy" ahead of new album, tour
Small investors offer hope for Japan market gloom
Bangladesh struggles to control notorious traffic
Video: Lewis ready to break boundaries
Roddick goes to Shanghai, Djokovic out in Paris
Hornets sting Suns on Posey's hot hand
Sharks beat Red Wings 4-2 after second period burst
Lakers sign center Bynum to four-year extension
Brewers hire Macha as new manager

Associated Press
Refugees try to reach home in eastern Congo
Asia markets mixed; Nikkei slides despite rate cut
Whistle-blowers get little help if punished
Beaten down, American consumers burrow deeper
Bravo finds more to fashion than `Project Runway'
Paul, Hornets spoil Suns' homer opener
Delta begins long integration with Northwest
Nevada, Michigan, Florida lead 'underwater' list
Yao, Artest lead Rockets past Mavericks 112-102

Cyclone Adventure - 38th Infantry Division, Indiana National Guard
PHOTOS: BSTB Soldiers Support Mission Success
Soldiers' Angels and Patriot Guard
Iraq News
Operations in Iraq
FOB Warhorse Memorial Photos

Meetings key to success in Ramadi
Engineers keep power flowing in Baghdad
Security improvements spur resettlement, reconstruction
I-BIZ program bolsters Iraqi economy
U.S., Iraqi leaders discuss Sadr City rehab

Joint fires team, Army's BCTP team prepare corps headquarters for deployment
Joint fires team supports joint training integration event
More about JFIIT
Free Salute to Veterans 2008 tickets - Click here
USJFCOM working to prepare forces for deployment

Multi-National Force - Iraq
Security Responsibility Returns to Iraqis in Wasit Province
Deputy Prime Minister Brings Support to Mosul and Ninewa Province
Iranian-Backed Terrorism Suspects Captured
Wasit now under Provincial Iraqi Control
IA Soldiers get receive new counter IED vehicles
NPs, MND-B Soldiers seize weapons in Baghdad
Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Bureau leading the way in development of counter-terrorism strategy
291 complete Central Bank of Iraq FPS training course

Gates’ Nuclear Message Resonates With Researchers
Defense Department Readies for Transition to Next Administration
Africa Command to Remain in Stuttgart - Special
Integration Key to Homeland Defense Demands, NorthCom Commander Says
U.S., Iraqi Officials Work on Agreement


Troops Bring Life to Abandoned Carnival
Iraqis Control Security in Another Province
Vessel Crews Thwart Pirate Attacks
Coalition Forces Capture Wanted Men


Elders Work to Resolve Security Issues


U.S. Airmen Teach Aviation in Chilean Schools


USS Kearsarge Exhibits 'Soft Power' Capabilities - Special


Navy Maintenance Group Saves Money, Manpower
Marine Corps Marathon Runners Show Support
Deadline Nears to Help Fulfill Troops' Wishes


Five-Year Research Program Begins Suicide Study
Commissaries to Promote Warrior Care Month


Company Commander Exemplifies Warrior Ethos

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1793- Girondins are executed in Paris, during the Reign of Terror.
1815 - Sir Humphrey Davy of London patents the miner's safety lamp.
1864 - Nevada becomes the 36th U.S. state.
1922 - Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) becomes premier of Italy.
1940 - Deadline for Warsaw Jews to move into the Warsaw Ghetto.
1950 - Collazo and Torresola attempt to kill President Truman in Washington, DC.
1952 - The first thermonuclear bomb is detonated at the Marshall Islands.
1954 - The Algerian Revolution against the French begins.
1956 - Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek becomes the first American to land an airplane at the South Pole; Britain and France begin to bomb Egypt to reopen the Suez Canal.
1959 - In Moscow, Lee Harvey Oswald announces he will never return to the U.S.
1963 - In Indiana, leaking propane gas explodes, killing 64 at the "Holiday on Ice."
1967 - Nguyen Van Thieu takes the oath of office as the first president of South Vietnam's second Republic.
1968 - President Johnson orders a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam.
1982 - Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit Spain.
1984 - The Puerto Rican tanker San Francisco explodes, spilling two million gallons of oil as she ship catches fire.
1988 - In Yugoslavia, journalists demand greater freedom of the press.

1860 - Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scout founder
1887 - Chiang Kai-shek, president of Nationalist China
1912 - Dale Evans, cowgirl (Roy Rogers Show)
1930 - Michael Collins, Major General USAF / astronaut (Gemini 10, Apollo 11)
1931 - Dan Rather, news anchor (CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes)
1937 - Michael Landon, actor (Bonanza, Highway to Heaven)
1942 - David Ogden Stiers , actor (Winchester-M*A*S*H)

1865 - William Parson, 3rd Earl of Rosse / maker of large telescopes
1918 - Count Stephen Tisza, Hungarian PM, assassinated
1926 - Erich Weiss (Harry Houdini), magician
1964 - Theodore C. Freeman, astronaut, T-38 jet air crash
1984 - Indira Gandhi, PM of India, assassinated by bodyguards

Reported Missing in Action
Adams, Samuel, USAF (FL); DIC December, 1965

Dusing, Charles G., USAF (SC); DIC December, 1965

Moore, Thomas, USAF (LA); DIC December, 1965

Powers, Trent R., USN (MN); ejected safely, remains returned September, 1987

Fanning, Hugh M., USMC (TX); A6A shot down (pilot, w/Kott)

Kott, Stephen J., USMC (SC); A6A shot down (bombardier / navigator, w/Fanning), remains recovered July, 1984 - family does not accept ID

Swanson, Roger W., US Army (MN); disappeared after being wounded on reconnaissance patrol

Gauthier, Dennis L., US Army (MI); disappeared after his platoon was ambushed

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