World Hemophilia Day 2016

Today is Sunday, April 17, 2016. A day like any other… Or, is it? Today is actually a day for remembrance. A day for advocacy. And, a day to raise awareness. Actually, today is a day like no other… Today is World Hemophilia Day.

World Hemophilia Day is an international observance held annually on April 17th by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH); which is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. The WFH was established back in 1963 by Frank Schnabel. World Hemophilia Day was started in 1989, and April 17th was chosen in honor of Frank Schnabel’s birthday. WFH has member organizations in 113 countries and also has official recognition from the World Health Organization.

Perhaps I’m putting the cart before the horse… For those of you who don’t know what hemophilia is… Hemophilia, Von Willebrand disease, and other bleeding disorders are inherited or mutated problems that affect our ability to coagulate. In other words, if we (I keep saying ‘we’ because I am a hemophiliac) get an internal injury (bruise, muscle injury, joint damage, or other form of trauma), it is impossible (or nearly so) to stop the bleeding. Essentially there is a missing protein in our blood that prevents it from clotting.

Prior to 1967, when plasma replacement products were introduced, we bled until we died or suffered irreparable injuries. Therefore our life expectancy was incredibly low. Once blood products were available to stop the bleeding we were living longer lives. But… Along with this miraculous cure came blood-borne pathogens and viruses like Hepatitis and HIV. These cursed side-effects nearly killed off all hemophiliacs during the 80s and 90s. However, we overcame this plague era and thrived to carry on for future generations.

It is estimated that 1 in every 10,000 people born in the United States have hemophilia. That said, it is also estimated that 1 in 1,000 people in the world have some form of bleeding disorder.

There are two primary types of hemophilia:

  • Hemophilia A is more common and refers to low levels of clotting factor VIII (eight).
  • Hemophilia B is more rare and refers to low levels of clotting factor IX (nine).
  •  

    There are other clotting factor proteins and other issues that can cause excessive bleeding, but Type A and B make up the disorder we call hemophilia. In addition to the types, scientists and doctors have further broken each type into levels of severity (mild, moderate, and severe).

    Along with injuries, many people with bleeding disorders can experience spontaneous bleeding. Spontaneous bleeds occur as the name implies, without a known reason and randomly.

    The most popular treatment for hemophilia involves injecting the missing clotting factor into the bloodstream via needle and syringe. Hemophiliacs and others living with bleeding disorders in the United States have access to powerful medicines that often eliminate the majority of issues that have long plagued bleeders. Unfortunately, there are many countries in the world that have poor (or no) treatment. Many people around the world are left untreated and suffer horrible bleeding episodes.

    The goal of World Hemophilia Day is to raise awareness, increase the availability of treatments, and eventually (hopefully) lead to a cure. On this day, I ask that you remember people with bleeding disorders. This is a special day designated to raise awareness and help people around the world who suffer from bleeding disorders.

    Along with many of my blood brothers and sisters, I work hard to raise awareness by sharing information and links via social media. All day long I will use the HASHTAG “#WorldHemoDay” as I spread awareness. Please join me and help people suffering with bleeding disorders!!! If you do decide to participate in our social media inundation, please include these awesome organizations: @WFHemophilia, @HemophiliaFed, and @NHF_Hemophilia; which are all national and world organizations help advocate for everyone who lives with a bleeding disorder.

    Here is a sample tweet that you can adjust accordingly:

    Today is #WorldHemoDay PLS remember all easy bleeders and visit these orgs: @wfhemophilia @hemophiliafed @NHF_Hemophilia PLS RT

     

    No matter what you do to spread awareness, consider taking a few peaceful minutes to remember our fallen brothers and sisters. They died so that the rest of us can have better service and treatment. They died so that we have better and safer blood products and medicine available. They died for US.

    Thank you for your love and support!

    Your easy bleeding brother,
    Vaughn

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    Memorial Day 2014

    More than 1,280,000 Americans have died in war since the American Revolutionary War. Memorial Day is a time to remember not only these soldiers, sailors, pilots, and marines, but also ALL American military personnel who have died while in service of their country.

    Let’s start by clearly defining what Memorial Day is. I’ve heard many versions of what it is… I’ve even heard it confused with Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is an American holiday used to remember the men and women who died while serving, while Veteran’s Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday during the month of May. Originating after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers (both sides!) who died during the Civil War, it was originally called Decoration Day. Traditionally folks put flowers and other decorations on soldiers’ graves. This was the start of Decoration Day.

    Over time, the name changed from Decoration to Memorial. Then in 1967 it was officially changed to Memorial Day and also extended to recognize and honor all military men and women who died while serving (instead of just the Civil War). The holiday was celebrated on May 30th, but in 1968 Congress passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” and Memorial Day was one of the holidays moved from its traditional date to a specified Monday. This was done to make convenient three-day weekends.

    Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. That said, the absolute definition seems to include anyone who dies during military service.

    Because Memorial Day is the beginning of Summer, and most of the flag related holidays come after it, my family replaces our flag on the night before Memorial Day. Each year, we pull down and properly retire/dispose of our old flag and replace it with a brand new one. This way we will have a pretty flag for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day…

    Proper care of a U.S. flag is of utmost importance. For those of you who fly a flag, maybe you already know this part… Some of you may not be aware that there is actually a formal way to properly retire and dispose of an old and worn flag. I will discuss what the Ripley family does for this procedure. There are several options, including bringing your old flag to a local Boy Scout Troop, American Legion, or VFW office. However, we choose to burn the flag in our back yard. Any of these ways are valid. The one thing you MUST NEVER do is simply throw an old flag in the garbage!

    We start by buying a high quality flag which will last for a year before it really starts to show signs of being worn and ready for disposal. On the evening before Memorial Day we dispose of last year’s flag. I picked this date, because it’s a great time to explain the importance of the flag to the children, and we can do so while going through our family ceremony.

    Here’s our personal retirement ceremony in a nutshell:

    1. While the flag is still hanging, call the group to attention, salute, place your hand over your heart, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

    The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States (originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892)

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

     

    2. The leader says, “This flag has served its nation and our family well. It is worn to a condition which is not fit to be used to represent the United States of America. We are grateful for its symbolizing our great nation and we pay honor to this flag for the service it has rendered. We will now fold and dispose of this flag.”

    3. Take the flag down and then properly fold it.

    4. Move to the prepared fire and everyone salutes the flag one last time. The group holds their salute until the leader places it on the fire and then they all finish the salute with the leader’s final salute. The group remains standing reverently until the flag is completely consumed.

    The last thought is… Remember that today is a special day and we should honor our fallen brothers and sisters. Spend at least a minute today to reflect quietly and feel sincere gratitude for all that our military has done in our name. Thank you for reading this, and thank you for listening to this patriot rant. I love you all.

    -Vaughn “the patriot” Ripley

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    World Hemophilia Day 2014

    Today is April 17, 2014. Today is a day for remembrance. Today is a day of gratitude and thanks. Today is a day like no other… Today is World Hemophilia Day.

    For those of you who don’t know… Hemophilia, Von Willebrands, and other bleeding disorders are inherited or mutated problems that affect our ability to clot. In other words, if we get an internal injury (bruise, muscle injury, joint damage, or other form), it is impossible (or nearly so) to stop the bleeding. Prior to the 1960s we bled until we died or suffered irreparable injuries. Once blood products were available to stop the bleeding we were living longer lives. But… Along with this miraculous cure came blood-borne pathogens and viruses like Hepatitis and HIV. These cursed side-effects nearly killed off all hemophiliacs during the 80s and 90s. However, we overcame this plague era and thrived to carry on for future generations.

    World Hemophilia Day was set aside to think about and remember people with bleeding disorders. This day is a special day designated to raise awareness and care for people who suffer from bleeding disorders.

    Along with many of the bleeding disorder community, I am going to work hard to raise awareness by tweeting throughout the day. I will use the HASHTAG “#WorldHemoDay” and, along with many others, attempt to make this HASHTAG a “trend.” In order to get a HASHTAG to trend, you need thousands of related tweets within the same hour… So, I plan to HASHTAG it all day long, with an emphasis on banging out bunches of tweets during the one hour window of 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. EST. Please join me and help raise awareness!!!

    If you do decide to participate in our tweet-fest, please make sure you include the HASHTAG “#WorldHemoDay” at the very least, and consider including these awesome organizations: @WFHemophilia @HemophiliaFed @NHF_Hemophilia

    Here is a sample tweet that you can adjust accordingly:

    Today is #WorldHemoDay PLS remember all easy bleeders and visit these orgs: @wfhemophilia @hemophiliafed @NHF_Hemophilia PLS RT

     

    Also, @hemophiliafed, @NHF_Hemophilia, and @wfhemophilia are having a discussion on Twitter at 1 p.m. EST. Search for the HASHTAG #HemoChat and chime in!!!

    In addition, please help me with my bid to put a hemophiliac on the cover of Men’s Health magazine for the first time ever. We can make a statement that hemophiliacs and other people with bleeding disorders are capable of being healthy and fit too. And, we can raise a huge amount of awareness with this cover. You can vote here: www.mhguysearch.com/entry/37

    No matter what you do to spread awareness, also remember to take a few peaceful minutes to remember our fallen brothers and sisters. They died so that the rest of us can have better service and treatment. They died so that we have better and safer blood products and medicine available. They died for US.

    God bless the easy bleeders!

    Thank you for your love and support,
    Vaughn “the Easy Bleeder” Ripley

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    Veterans Day 2013

    Today’s article is about my father, George Borden… Well, actually it’s about Veterans Day and all of the people who have served in the United States armed forces also known as “veterans.” However, I’m going to dedicate it to someone that I’m very proud of and honored to call “father.”

    First off, let’s define what Veterans Day is:

    It’s a federal holiday that is observed on November 11; which also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

    Now back to the star of our story… George was in Vietnam from July 15, 1968 until July 15, 1969. His unit was “A” Battery 1st of the 30th Artillery 1st Air Cavalry. During his tour in Vietnam, George served in I, II, III, and IV Corps. His radio handle was “Hard Charger 24” and his battery received numerous commendation ribbons, medals, and citations.

    George is not really a superstitious man, but on Friday the 13th, June 13th, 1969 he walked out of his tent and it took a direct artillery hit moments later. Unfortunately these kind of things happen on a regular basis during war, and George faced these types of things repeatedly.

    On one occasion, George ran into a burning building that contained several 50-gallon drums of fuel. He did this because an injured soldier was trapped in the building. When he realized he could not get the man out, he quickly rolled the 50-gallon drums out of the fire; which allowed others to help save the man’s life. For this heroic act, George was awarded the Bronze Star (this medal is the fourth-highest individual military award) for acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

    The medal is obviously something I’m proud of, but that is not the extent of my feelings about George. War is hell and he served despite this. For that, I am not only proud, but also eternally grateful. I love my father with all of my heart and his military service is only one small piece of the things that make me proud and honored to be his son.

    I told my children that this article was about their “Granddaddy” and they both asked to say something…

    Xander, my five year old son, said, “I’m proud of my Granddaddy because he protected us in the war.”

    Trinity, my eight year old daughter, said, “Granddaddy always reads ‘Goodnight Little Mouse’ to us, and I love being with him on holidays. He’s my hero.”

    U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said:

    “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

     

    In 1945, World War II veteran, Raymond Weeks, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans (not just those who died in World War I). General Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of a National Veterans Day, agreed. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. Also, in 1982, President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal and named him as the driving force for the national holiday. To this day, Weeks is known as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

    I’d like to take this time to thank all of the people in my life who have served in the U.S. military. I can’t possibly remember everyone, but I am eternally grateful to all. A few key people who have directly impacted my life are, Scean Ripley, Kim Ripley, Laine Ripley, Dano Christensen, Paul Ostrowski, Solomon Roller, Ben “slow poke” Srigley, Sadiki “WTJHAND” Harriott, Dan Bennett, Jack Breazeale, Jim Zak, David Crosby, Chuck Underwood, Robert “Mike” Johnson, Alan “William” Altizer, Richard Myers, Dan “Uncle Dan” McNally, Chris “what bone should I break next?” Marra, and Carl “Chuck Norris” Wright. Thank you very much for your service

    And, I’d like to give a shout-out to all who have served… Thank you for your past, present, and future service!

    Finally, I will close with a special thank you to the man of the day, my father, George Borden. Thank you, Dad!

    Please take a moment and think of all of the people you know who have or are serving our country in the military. Close your eyes and think gratefully about all military personnel.

    Thank you for listening (reading). Hugs and peace to all…

    -Vaughn

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    I Will Always Remember

    It is now the twelfth anniversary of this heinous terrorist attack… Looking around at the world, I fear that we are already forgetting… Already putting our pain, fear, and suffering behind us. While I believe it’s important to heal mentally and physically, it is also my belief that we need to remember nine-eleven. It’s entirely possible that we will attack Syria in the next day or three and I must admit that I’m not on top of everything there. But, I have heard and read that there are ties to Al Qaeda in the Syrian rebel forces… If this is true than we are literally supporting the terrorists who killed 3,000 people on the very day (or within a few days) of the 911 anniversary. Does anyone else find this repulsive??

    Enough politics and chatter… Let’s get on with my memorial article!

    I will always remember where I was and what I was doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. For my generation it is akin to what our parents said about the Kennedy assassination. We will always remember it. ALWAYS! The funny thing is that I clearly remember a country that came together. That loved and cared for one another. A country that stood together to fight tyranny and terror. A country that no other would want to face in open battle. For a brief period, democrats hugged republicans and vice versa. Over the years our wounds have healed and we seem to be that same old complacent group of people who say thing like, “I remember” but not all of us truly do remember. I challenge you to take a moment today and sit in silence and remember. I mean really dig into your emotional depths and remember what you felt when you first heard about the 9/11/01 attacks.

    Take a moment now… Look at the photo at the beginning of this article and go back to that moment… Close your eyes, and let those emotions come back…

    911 Attacks

    I have been called a violent soul at times. I prefer to call myself a sheepdog (see my post a few weeks ago – Sheepdog In Sheep’s Clothing). I am not violent, people. I am a protector. I am a lover. I am a father. I am a husband. I m a patriot. And, I am a friend. Ally with me and I will ALWAYS have your back. If the wolves come prowling around my backdoor (or the door of my friends), they will get two warning shots fired into their chest. I stand tall and strong for my family, my friends, and my country. I sincerely believe in loving one another… But, I also believe that it is my DUTY to protect my family and friends.

    I say, “Nay” to those who would call me violent. Instead, think of me as a realist in a dangerous world. Another way to put it is, I am an American.

    Standing at 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center is America’s tallest building. It was designed by David M. Childs. Here is a neat time-lapsed photography video that shows the building as it was created:

    I have heard people say that we are merely building an idol by replacing the twin towers with the new World Trade Center… Are you kidding me? Do you know what we are doing? We are picking up our broken hearts, dusting ourselves off, and rebuilding, bitches! This is how we roll in America. You can knock us down, but you better damn well understand that we will get up again, and we will stand strong and united.

    And, for those who would try to bring fear and terror into America, I have a bit of information for you… We will not cower. We will not fear. We will sing our death song, fighting to the last! I often find myself remembering the famous words spoken by Ronald Reagan about Libya, “They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.”

    Despite your religious beliefs. In spite of your political views. Regardless of your feelings toward this post. Hopefully, we can all agree that America is our country, our land of the free, our safe haven, and our home. And today is a day to hold each other and remember.

    Where were you on the morning of 9/11/01?

    I for one will ALWAYS remember!

    Your faithful protector and sheepdog,
    Vaughn

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