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June 7, 2011     Cape Gazette
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June 7, 2011

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Cape Gazette TUESDAY, JUNE 7" THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2Oll 21 Services have helped more than 25,000 needy local families Jennifer von Essen of Green- wood had seen the little Ronald McDonald House Charities col- lection boxes many times at her local McDonald's restaurant. Lit- tle did she know that the money inside would someday bring hope and life to her family. In December 1993, the family's car was hit by a drunk driver Jen- nifer was seven months pregnant at the time. When tests were per- formed to check on the status of her unborn baby, she was told that the baby was having Strokes and had a heart murmur. The doctors said that the baby had in- trauterine growth retardation and would be born with deformi- ties and mental retardation. Her son, Robert T. Kincaid W, nicknamed Jacob, was born Feb. 24, 1994, a beautiful child. When Jacob was 1 year old, an MRI was performed, The doctors told Jen- nifer that Jacob was born with- out a corpus callosum (a struc- ture that connects the two sides of the brain) and that he had cerebral palsy, was mentally re- tarded and was a spastic quadri- pleglc. Jacob walked with an abnor- mal gait and had some mild cog- nitive setbacks, but did well and progressed to regular kinder- garten classes. Jennifer had every confidence that he would one day graduate from high school and lead a successful life. Jennifer never imagined that within a few years she would see her son come to the brink Of death and back, or how quickly Ronald McDonald House of Delaware and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children would become a lifeline for her family during a raging storm. In 2000, Jennifer was a single mother and Jacob's father a third- year law student. She worked two jobs and attended college full time. Jacob attended kinder- the hospital (a two-hour drive from our home) by ambulance. We would trail behind in our car, praying the whole time, and each time the Ronald McDonald House would take us in." in most emergency situa- tions you forget certain things: toothbrush, deodorant, comb," said Jennifer. "They are impor- tant, but not as important as your child's life, so they get forgotten. Ronald McDonald House offered these necessities without ques- tion. Some nights as I would leave my son's bedside, worn out from the day of watching him fight to live, I would ponder the garten, and her oldest son, Jar- generosity of this organization rod, was in third grade. Jacob had -where someone was cooking my his first seizure in 1999. That fall, meal with his. own time and the seizures began to increase to money, where I felt loved by peo- as many as 50 episodes a day. In a ple I had never met because of an typical week, Jennifer would inviting room and a warm bed. I spend at least three nights with did not work for months, so him at their local hospital. She Ronald McDonald House dis- began to notice him losing cer- counted my room to just a few tain abilities - his eyesight began dollars a day. What a blessing to fail, and he was sometimes not during such a horrific time." able to walk. Jacob was hospital- This story has a happy ending, ized in March 2001. There was because Jacob survived his ill- no definitive diagnosis, but Jen- ness. He did not have healing im- nifer could see Jacob fading be- mediately, but day after day he fore her eyes. has gotten better. Jacob is now a The doctors at Nemours/A1- sophomore at Seaford Senior fred I. duPont Hospital for Chil- High School. He is special, and dren finally diagnosed Jacob works on a scatter cognitive skill with a progressive degenerative level of about 6 to 10 years old. disease and a type of epilepsy. His mother says, "He can talk The family's whole life changed your ear off and tell you the fun- in that year, not just because of niest things. His greatest desire Jacob's sickness, but because is to be on a baseball or basket- they found out what kindness ball team." and generosity truly meant at Last year, with that motivation both Ronald McDonald House of in mind, Jacob went through ex- Delaware and Nemours/Alfred I. tensive leg surgery to enable him duPont Hospital for Children. to walk again. Once again, Jennifer remembers, "Countless Ronald McDonald House of times, in the middle of the night, Jacob would be transported to Continued on page 22 JACOB KINCAID'S LONG MEDICAL JOURNEY the Ronald McDonald House. SUBMITTED PHOTO has been helped by aid from Q. My Aunt Lillian is a total health freak. The other day she said cinnamon is good for you. Come orL Cinnamon) Recent research indicates that cinnamon may be helpful for people with Type 2 diabetes, a chronic Condition that affects the way your body processes sugar. Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening if you don't treat it. One study found that cinna- mon taken twice a day for 90 days improved the condition of people with poorly controlled " Type 2 diabetes. One theory is that cinnamon may act like in- sulin, a hormone that controls the concentration of sugar in the blood. Insulin deficiency causes diabetes. Researchers at the University of Maryland used a roundworm that has some genetic and bio- chemical similarities to humans to examine complex herbal preparations believed to combat aging. They found that cinna- mon bark increased the worms' life span. According to some studies, cinnamon may improve choles- terol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. The results of a study from Pakistan showed lower lev- els of cholesterol in people con- suming cinnamon after 40 days. Cholesterol continued to drop for another 20 days. In other studies, cinnamon did not decrease blood sugar or cholesterol levels. It is important to stress that more research is needed to determine what health benefits - if any - can be attributed to consuming cinna- mon. Do not increase your con- sumption of cinnamon without discussing it with your physi- cian. Seniors are at risk when making dietary changes because they usually are taking one or more medications that might re- act to ingesting a lot of cinna- mon. Cinnamon dates back in Chi- nese writings to 2800 B.C., and is still known in China as kwal. Ancient Egyptians used cinna- mon for embalming. Medieval physicians included cinnambn in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness and sore throats. The spice was also valued for its ability to preserve meat. Cinnamon comes intwo vari- eties - Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinna- mon is the kind most Americans use for baking. It's also the vari- ety most researchers have used when they've studied cinnamon and diabetes. Cassia cinnamon is a plant. People use the bark and flower Cassia cinnamon has been used for gas, muscle and stomach spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite. Some peo- ple use it for erectile dysfunc- tion, hernia, bed-wetting, joint conditions, menopausal symp- toms, menstrual problems, and to cause abortions. Cassia cinna- mon is also used for chest pain, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, cramps and cancer. More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cassia cinna- mon for these uses. Fred Cicetti is a first-class geezer over 60 who writesa health column for senior citizens. Email questions to or visit