Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I am lucky to be doing what I do - watch this commerical

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spotlight on our host for YES2College this year : Renae Leveille

Renae is a very bright young lady who graduated from Del Oro High at Loomis, CA and now a top notch nursing student at University of Portland, Oregon. She has type 1 diabetes and wears a pump. What is special about this young lady is that diabetes has never stopped her from doing whatever she has wanted to do with her life. As her doctor, she brings so much joy just to see her name in the list of children I have to see on any particular day. She takes great care of herself, studies really well, has participated in multiple research activities in diabetes, and always happy!. Renae is an expert on insulin pump and diabetes self-management. She has been involved with Yes2College as an attendee, speaker, co-host with Darshana and this year as THE HOST!
All the parents who are reading this - bringing your children to Yes2college, is an experience. In the 6 years, I have seen the program grow, I watch with awe what all these youngsters are capable of doing. It gives me confidence that our next generation will lead our country in the right path.
Setting aside May 31st to attend this program, will be one of the best things your can do for your children, even if it not for the lecture, just to meet and chat with Renae! I honestly think, that your children getting to meet and know RENAE LEVEILLE is worth more than anything you can ever teach your kids.
RESERVE your spots now - BE THERE -http://yes2college6.eventbrite.com/

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Love for our Country - Learning from Curtis

I met this phenomenally patriotic man today. Curtis is still working hard, in his 60s, driving a limo to support his family just like lot of family-men do.
He is also a navy veteran. He flies the American flag at his home, every single day, with a lot of pride and joy. Not only does he do that, after the flag has lived its life, he does not just get rid of it. He does what every one of us should do, and gives it a dignified exit! He personally takes it to the nearest army unit and hands it over to retire it properly, with all the respect the flag deserves.
In addition, he always carries Starbucks gift cards with him. Whenever he meets somebody in a military uniform, he goes up to them, thanks them and if they have time, he gets them a cup of coffee as a mark of respect for their service to the nation.
I learned a lot from him today. When you learn to respect your country, you learn to respect yourself. By learning this, you are able to teach your children and grandchildren how they should live their life. Moreover, I was reminded that living in a free society is a gift a vast majority of the world does not have. We are lucky to be part of this great country. Let us join together to make it even better!

I love this country, thank you for accepting me here!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Story of 8 year old KALKIDAN from Ethiopia

”It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” whispered the heart - Anonymous
This Christmas Season, God gave me the opportunity to meet this  7 1/2 year old young lady from Ethiopia. Through the efforts of many good people and the blessing of God, I was fortunate enough to be one of the health care professionals to meet and take care of her during her stay at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
Due to the Generosity of many people and the administration  doctors, nurses and other important role players at Sutter Memorial hospital she had surgery for a rare brain tumor called Craniophranygioma which has left her without eye sight. Even after her surgery, she needs a lot of endocrine and neurological medical care for years to come, even after she returns back to her country.
While I can tell a lot about all the fabulous things we did for her, what impressed me was her attitude. On Christmas day, I went for my hospital rounds and she was sitting on the lab of Dr. Sarah Jones, (whom I met for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed meeting this very humble yet very determined physician who coordinated this multidisciplinary care for Kalkidan) and then moved over to sit on my lap for this picture and said THANK YOU - with a bright smile in her face.
The real story is what she had shared with her care givers. She is in a foreign country all by herself, (her parents and 2 younger siblings could not come with her), she does not speak English and she cannot see what is around her, she going through a major surgical procedure and a prolonged stay in the USA. Yet her thoughts are about helping her family. She says that her parents will be missing her. She needs to be back home to help her mom to fetch water and take care of her younger siblings (Remember, she is only 7 1/2 years old)
My question to myself was did I make a difference in her life, or did she make a bigger impact in my life by being the little angel she is. I shared her story with my family. I truly learnt a lot from this amazing young lady.
I am thankful to being part of all the amazing people at Sutter who made it possible for me to meet this beautiful girl.
So, for 2013 my message to all of us is:

Being happy doesn't mean you're perfect. It just means you've decided to look beyond the imperfections

Be Happy, Healthy and Helpful
Happy 2013

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gus... A man who makes you RUN to WIN!

THIS IS A EMAIL WHICH CAME FROM A VERY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE - GUS TORRES. Gus is a man I admire a lot, he worked his way to become the West Regional Director  for a very big pharma company. In spite of all his successes, he is a very down-to-earth person. He gives back a lot to his community. 
If anyone is interested in contacting him to learn more, write to me, he will be glad to help you. He is even willing to come over here to talk to all our children with diabetes

What a feeling I had this past weekend. As many of you know, I have been coaching HS runners for a while now. Many of my seniors I have coached since they were in the 8th grade. It really has been an escape and blessing in my life! I have never charged a dime, yet I have increase in wealth!

This past weekend, I had 3 of the 10 kids I coach win their respective Cross Country Races. All of them were in the top 10! Additionally, the newest girl that I have been training was recognized as Athlete of the Week in Orange County! Amanda is only a freshman! She set the meet record for freshman girls at 17:48 for a hilly 3 mile course.http://www.ocvarsity.com/articles/gehrich-33140-amanda-freshman.html

Amanda is now the third girl that I have coached in the last 5 years to be recognized as Athlete of the Week in the County. She is also the third girl that has either set a school, meet, or county record. In the last 5 years, I have had several boys and girls win All-League and All-County honors. I also have a former athlete now running Division 1 at Arizona. I do have 6 runners graduating this year. They will all continue their careers in college. Hopefully some will go Division 1.

I am sending you this message not just because I am proud of the kids (and myself really!), but because there is a lesson here for all of us. It is about the “relationship” between a coach and their athlete. Similar to our relationship with our own teams here at Novo.

FACT is important. I document all our practice and time trial times when I coach. How do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been? “FACTs” are important. They document progress and encourage the achievers to perform. However, there is much more to coaching than the “documentation!” Here’s what I have learned in over 5 years training elite youth runners:

1.    Talent is still key! You can’t coach a “jogger” to be an elite runner. They just don’t have the genetics! Time spent on a jogger will be time away from an elite….you can’t afford that!
2.    Practice, Practice, Practice! If you don’t perform in practice, you don’t perform in races. I have never had a kid that skips practice or runs slow in practice ever win a race! There’s always a talented lazy runner….but they are not consistent winners. Hard workouts lead to faster times. How do you run fast if you never train fast? Running fast builds up the left ventricle….that allows you to pump more blood! You can’t fake that. Blood pumping capacity can only increase with hard runs! Every practice has a purpose. It’s never just “junk miles.” There are runs to increase VO2 max, Improve Anaerobic Threshold, and Aerobic Threshold capacities. There must be a training plan. Training is not an event, it’s a “process.”
3.    Build a Culture of Trust….why do my runners train so hard and do all that I ask? It’s simple….they trust me! They trust that I know what I am doing. They trust that what I am asking them to do may hurt, but it will make them stronger. They trust that I want them to succeed. They trust that I keep up on the latest training techniques so that they will never fall behind their rivals. When it comes to running, they trust me more than they trust their parents! It’s not about YOU….It’s about them. The accolades are not yours….it is theirs. Only in that environment can YOU succeed.
4.    Expectation of Excellence! My runners hold each other accountable. In Cross Country, the top 5 runners “score.” Their finish places determine the team score. Lowest score wins! Practice is competitive, but races are a team effort until the very end….then someone has to win! They also know that they train harder than other runners and they expect to do well. There is nothing wrong with WINNING and getting in the newspaper! “Participation Medals” suck! None of my runners want them!
5.    Find your “Lieutenant.” Someone on the team has to lead the workouts. Yelling is not my style. Leadership development is. I “teach.” I don’t “tell.” There’s a difference! Once they understand, they will follow willingly. There are always kids that want to learn the “why” behind how we train. I seek them out and take the time to teach them the training regimen and physiology behind what we do. I travel all the time. I am rarely there to give hands on directives. Many times they can adjust their workouts to optimum efforts to adapt to weather, terrain, and levels of fatigue without my direction. The old adage “Teach them to fish” is key! These leaders keep the discipline and culture of the team intact when you are not around! They hold the “come to Jesus” meetings when you are not around!
6.    Be accessible. All my runners know they can text me wherever I am and get a response. They can call with their school issues, injury questions, etc. I am always there. If not, my Lieutenants are around!
7.    Document progress….write down all the “FACTs” and communicate them regularly. I correlate practice performance times to race times. I can predict race times based on weekly practice times. The kids KNOW how they are going to perform. Occasionally, you can have a bad race due to sickness or other factors. However, a bad week of training guarantees a bad race! One thing that I have learned though is that IMMEDIATE verbal coaching is still the most effective. Encouragement, empathy, and that “pat on the back” is difficult to put into writing!
8.    Last but not least….RECOVERY! If you work hard all the time, your muscles and glycogen levels can never recover. You will actually get slower! My kids are so driven, I have had to talk to parents to actually prevent kids from doing “extra” when I am not around! Training has a purpose. The hard “loads” lead to muscle breakdown. Recovery allows for the muscles to rebuild and come back stronger!

I hope this helps you build your winning team and next star player!

Monday, June 25, 2012

What to look for: The ABCDEs of melanoma

 The American Dermatologist association gives this excellent way of checking: What to look for: The ABCDEs of melanoma

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The 15 minute rule... not just for hypoglycemia

This morning I met one of our nice nurses in the pediatric ICU - Melissa Chhen. She taught me a new 15 minute rule.
If someone is DEPRESSED or SAD for whatever the reason it is - let them be so and  help them go through that. Let them know that you give them 15 minutes of private time to grieve over that. Everyday the time given to go through the grief will go down by 2-5 minutes, until there is no time left.
By helping them go through the grief they get a better handle of the situation, learn that those are normal part of a person's life and you may NEVER have to go to a stage of needing medical help.
What a great piece of wisdom!

I remember the quote:

So Dads and Moms - EMPOWER your children

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ed Clark... Story of a role model

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting this young man "Ed" - Edmund Clark- in Anchorage, Alaska last week. He is probably in his late twenties, very pleasant and very articulate. We were having a very engaging conversation about the importance of educating our children at a very early age to think about future among various other things.

During the course of conversation, he opened his laptop for something and the picture above was the wallpaper! 
Since I was curious, I asked him about the picture. This picture is of his father and Ed on his graduation ( I am assuming his high school graduation). His father, worked hard all his life, never went to college but was a very devoted father and husband. He never asked what Ed scored in the many sports he played, but  was consistent in  his message to his son about the importance of education and values in life.
Ed's father died when he was just 46. Ed has a strong history of diabetes in his family.
Ed kept his word, studied, graduated from college and is very well placed in his life at a very young age.

What did I learn?
The importance of guiding our children from a very young age and being a good role model to our future generation.

I would urge you to see the wall paper on most of the laptops and smart phones you see today - I was amazed that a single, smart looking young man having the picture of him with his father as his laptop wallpaper!
I salute his dad for raising a wonderful son.
I salute Ed for being a great role model.
I thank God for helping me to meet such wonderful people in my life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Power of education.... Whatever it takes

Rediff.com - source 
Print this article

He ran away from home to become a successful doctor

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
Surya (middle) with classmates at University of Florida

Dr Surya Bali ran away from home, did odds and ends. But he never waivered in his goal to become a doctor and ended up becoming much more than a physician.
Surya Bali is the first person in his family to complete matriculation.
Belonging to Gond tribal community, Surya went on to become the first doctor in Bairili Gaon, an obscure village at Jaunpur, UP.
Alongside teaching, he focused on full-fledged research to improve quality and reduction in the cost of health care.
Today, he serves social and economically deperived sections of society.
His thoughts were well-received by all -- he got National Memorial Award by AIIMS for best research and was chosen as 'Who is Who in World' for the year 2010.
This is his heart-wrenching story.

'I used to carry a thali (plate) around the village for food'

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
Image for representation purpose only
Festivals like Holi, Diwali exuded hope in the eyes of Surya's family to earn a bit more.
"In the midst of celebration, I used to carry a thali (plate) around the village for food," says Surya Bali, son of bonded labourers.
This slavery bothered his father, who got frustrated and fled the village.
Until he came back from exile, the family survived on the mother's meagre income for a whole decade.
She served as a maid to upper caste families -- cooked food, moped floors and drew water from well.

I realised early that only education can change the condition of my family

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
He attended the Kanarval School, a primary school in his village.
Although primary education was free, buying books was tough.
"I used to pluck berries, gooseberries, fruits, and exchange it for books from city dwellers," he shares.
What was worse was the perpetual taunts of some of his teachers like "You should do what your parents are doing," "What are you going to achieve by studying?" etc.
Surya never gave up.
"Every insult goaded me to prove them wrong," he asserts.
"I realised early that only education can change the condition of my family," he said.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

'I had just two sets of clothes'

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
Image for representation purpose only
Tired of abuses of Panditji (Priest), the owner of his primary school, he shifted to a middle school in Sarsi, faraway from his village.
"I walked 11 kilometres to school barefoot. The villagers laughed at me. For them it was insane to walk so far to study."
How did Surya manage middle school tuition fee and books?
Post school, he filled his time repairing cycle puncture.
He was an absentee during monsoons -- "I had just two sets of clothes. Heavy rains spoiled my dress."
He was on cloud nine when he achieved first rank in class 8. The first flush of success only kindled the fire in him.

A kindly warden, impressed by his hard work extended support

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
What made him turn doctor today?
He was only 7 when his younger brother died of medical negligence.
He can't erase the memory of his helpless mother longing for medical treatment.
After 10+2, he ran pillar to post to finance his education. All doors were closed!
This rebellious 17-year-old ran away from village.
After a series of misadventures, he gave a call to his brother only to find that he has put together a sum of Rs. 3000 for his admissions.

Unfortunately, that money turned out to be inadequate. It just about paid for the coaching centre fee.
When money ran out Surya almost gave up the dream of earning a medical degree to join a BSc course from Benares Hindu University.
But angels do exist. In his case, the kindly warden, impressed by his hard work extended support.
He granted Surya free hostel facility and paid Rs. 500 for PMT form. He cracked it and got admission at Motilal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier

'Most students made fun of my few ill fitting clothes which I wore repeatedly'

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
Surya Bali flanked by his parents
His presence was again odd in the class.
"I was an absolute misfit in the class. Most students made fun of my few ill fitting clothes which I wore repeatedly", he says.
Financial back-up was getting thinner -- he couldn't call for help anymore. He was restless. So he decided to explore a long forgotten hidden talent.
He could write. He used to write poems, short stories, and he could communicate.

So to meet his expenses, he started writing poems and articles for newspapers, magazines.
He got a chance from All India Radio to present shows.
And, of course, the money earned could help him barely meet expenses. So he borrowed from friends and spent long hours in the library.
Finally, he aced MBBS.

It was an unusual feeling when he got his MD stipend, a princly sum of Rs. 15,000.
"It was the first time in my life I saw a bunch of notes ." But then life took a turn for the better.
He earned IFP fellowship to acquire Master's in Health Management (MHM) at University of Florida.

'I plan to build good health care centres in future'

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 18:25 IST
Dr Bali examinining a child in the slums
Surya has a very critical view about his dream profession.
"It should be totally service-based without any intention of minting money. But I hardly see any doctors think about the community."
He started his own NGO called Global Health Development Mission. He translated scientific writings of diseases in local languages (Bhojpuri, Awadhi), composed songs, poems on diseases like Cholera, AIDS.

He strongly feels, "If you tell public something through music -- they will not only learn but will enjoy."
Currently, he is the faculty of the same college where students mocked him badly.
He does treat the needy patients from his village at his medical college-cum-hospital.
"My village still lacks proper facilities. I plan to build good health care centres in future," he concludes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


At Age 4 ...... Success is..... Not peeing in your pants
 At Age 6 ...... Success is..... Finding your way home - From school
 At Age 12 .... Success is... Having friends
 At Age 18 .... Success is... Having a driver's license
 At Age 20 ..... Success is .. Having money
 At Age 35 ..... Success is... Having money
 At Age 45 ....Success is... Having money
 At Age 55 ...... Success is... Having money
 At Age 60 ....Success is.... Having money
 At Age 65 ..... Success is...Retaining your driver's license
 At Age 70 ....Success is... Having friends
 At Age 75 ....Success is .. Finding your way home -
From anywhere At Age 80 ....Success is... Not peeing in your pants
  This is life! 
This was posted on Facebook by one of the leading pediatricians in the Phoenix area Dr.Sudha Chandrasekhar

Friday, January 13, 2012

Story of a young lady whom I met yesterday...

I had the privilege of meeting this beautiful 70 year old foster mom from Redding, CA yesterday. She brought with her, a 16 year old young man whom I know for many years. She had recently got him from the foster agency and they both have bonded very nicely in the few weeks he has been with her. It was very nice to hear from him that he feel that he is 'at home' now.

So, I turned around to thank the lady and she first apologized to me for being late ( she had to drive 3 hours to come to my office and she has another 3 hours of drive back) She said, 'I do not have one of those GP things (she meant GPS) which shows the way and I got lost' She was very confident that next time she will be on time as she enjoyed the visit with me very much.

We started chatting and over the course of our conversation she said that over there course of last 23 years, she has taken care of more than 1200 foster children. She has adopted 5 of those children. She feels this is something she enjoys and a wants to continue as long as she can.

I was speechless...
1200 children, that is 1198 more children I have at my home - She has touched their hearts. 1200 children - she had brought a ray of hope in their lives. 1200 children - if they don't do it now - one day they will .. thank her for what she has done for them.
Whenever I feel tired, whenever I feel exhausted after a long day (as you get older these days seem to be coming more often!) I should think of the work she has put in to raise these unfortunate children.

When she left, she told me that my young man can be changed and will have a better control over his diabetes next time he comes to visit me!

I told her that I was very very fortunate to have met her as my eyes filled up.

I thanked GOD for giving me the chance of meeting this wonderful human being and told to myself that I should not complain about working hard!

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
C. S. Lewis

Dream always, Think creative, Work Hard and Succeed....

Sunday, July 03, 2011

2nd Chance!! - I got it from a friend

Again, I have to go to office!

Ohh, this is me… I shouted having a glance on my snap in today’s news paper. But what the HELL it is doing in the death column??

Strange… One sec... Let me think, last night when I was going to bed I had a severe pain in my chest, but I don’t remember anything after that, I think I had a sound sleep..

Its morning now, ohh…... It’s already 10:00 AM, where is my coffee? I will be late for office and my boss will get a chance to irritate me.

Where is everyone…??? I screamed. “I think there is a crowd outside my room, let me check.” I said to myself.

So many people….. Not all of them are crying… But why
are some of them crying???

WHAT IS THIS??? I m laying there on the floor…

“I AM HERE” … I shouted!!! No one listened.
“LOOK I AM NOT DEAD” … I screamed once again!!! No one is interested in me. They all were looking at
me on the bed. I went back to my bed room.

“Am I dead??” I asked myself.

Where is my wife, my children, my mom-DAD, my friends?

I found them in the next room, all of them were crying… still trying to console each other.

My wife was crying… she was really looking sad. My little kid was not sure what happened, but he was crying just coz his mom was sad.

How can I go without telling my kid that I really love him, I really do care of him. ??
How can I go without telling my wife that she is really beautiful and most caring wife in this world..??
How can I go without telling my parents that I m … just because of u ??
How can I go without telling my friends that without them perhaps I have done most of the wrong things in my life… thanks for being there always when I needed them… and sorry for not being there when they really needed me..

I can see a person standing in the corner and trying to hide her tears…
Ohh… she was once my best friend, but a small misunderstanding made us part, and we both have strong enough egos to keep us disconnected .

I went there.. And offered her my hand, “Dear friend… I just want to say sorry for everything, we r still best friend, please forgive me.”

No response from other side, what the hell?? She is still preserving his ego, I am saying sorry… even then!!! I really don’t care for such people.

But one sec…. it seems she is not able to see me!!!! She did not see my extended hand. My goodness… AM I REALLY DEAD???

I just sat down near ME; I was also feeling like crying… “OHH ALMIGHTY!!!! PLEASE JUST GIVE ME FEW MORE DAYS…” I just wasn’t able to make my wife, my parents; my friends realize how much I love them.

My wife entered in the room, she looks beautiful. “YOU are BEAUTIFUL” I shouted. She didn’t hear my words, in fact she never heard these words coz I never said this to her.

“GOD!!!!” I screamed… a little more time plzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.. I cried… One more chance please… to hug my child, to make my mom smile just once, to feel my dad 's pride on me at least for a moment, to say sorry to my friends for everything I have not given them, and thanks for still being in my life….

Then I looked up and cried!!!! I shouted…. “GOD!!!! ONE MORE CHANCE PLEASE!!!!”

"You shouted in your sleep," said my wife as she gently woke me up. "Did you have a nightmare?"

I was sleeping…. Ohh that was just a dream….

My wife was there… she can hear me… This is the happiest moment of my life… I hugged her and whispered….


I can’t understand the reason of the smile on her face with some tears in her eyes, still I m happy…. :)


So, even now it’s not late..
Forget your egos & your past……, and express your love to others… Be friendly……keep smiling and be happy forever cos your time on earth can be unexpectedly short :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Naïve Doctor's Marathon of a Mistake: 17th week - I ran my first 1/2 marathon

Naïve Doctor's Marathon of a Mistake: 17th week - I ran my first 1/2 marathon: "This might be a very ordinary feat for many people, but for a person like me who has never been in any sports activity and never won a si..."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Veronica - An Amazing child with a BIG heart and a Beautiful SMILE!

I have a privilege of taking care of Veronica, who is a smart and beautiful young lady.

Unfortunately, she has a rare disease which has limited her to a wheel chair. She tries her best to take care of herself in spite of this disadvantage. However, this has not stopped her to going on with her real life with a lot of grace and she doing very well is school.

When she came for her appointment last week, I saw that she had cut her hair very short. So I asked her why did she do that as I always loved seeing her flowing shiny long hair which further beautifies her smile!

Her reply was, " My friend has been diagnosed with cancer and she is loosing hair because of her treatment. I did not want her to be feeling different from other children in the school. So I cut my hair to support her through this tough period."

My eyes filled up and all I could do was a big hug with a my eyes filled up.

Children like Veronica make this world still a very good place to live.

Veronica: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to know you :))))

Monday, July 06, 2009

She finally has a home: Harvard


Khadijah Williams stepped into chemistry class and instantly tuned out the commotion.She walked past students laughing, gossiping, napping and combing one another's hair. Past a cellphone blaring rap songs. And past a substitute teacher sitting in a near-daze.

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Photos: Homeless to Harvard
Quietly, the 18-year-old settled into an empty table, flipped open her physics book and focused. Nothing mattered now except homework."No wonder you're going to Harvard," a girl teased her.Around here, Khadijah is known as "Harvard girl," the "smart girl" and the girl with the contagious smile who landed at Jefferson High School only 18 months ago.What students don't know is that she is also a homeless girl.As long as she can remember, Khadijah has floated from shelters to motels to armories along the West Coast with her mother. She has attended 12 schools in 12 years; lived out of garbage bags among pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Every morning, she upheld her dignity, making sure she didn't smell or look disheveled.On the streets, she learned how to hunt for their next meal, plot the next bus route and help choose a secure place to sleep -- survival skills she applied with passion to her education.Only a few mentors and Harvard officials know her background. She never wanted other students to know her secret -- not until her plane left for the East Coast hours after her Friday evening graduation."I was so proud of being smart I never wanted people to say, 'You got the easy way out because you're homeless,' " she said. "I never saw it as an excuse."A drive to succeed"I have felt the anger at having to catch up in school . . . being bullied because they knew I was poor, different, and read too much," she wrote in her college essays. "I knew that if I wanted to become a smart, successful scholar, I should talk to other smart people."Khadijah was in third grade when she first realized the power of test scores, placing in the 99th percentile on a state exam. Her teachers marked the 9-year-old as gifted, a special category that Khadijah, even at that early age, vowed to keep."I still remember that exact number," Khadijah said. "It meant only 0.01 students tested better than I did."In the years that followed, her mother, Chantwuan Williams, pulled her out of school eight more times. When shelters closed, money ran out or her mother didn't feel safe, they packed what little they carried and boarded buses to find housing in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino and Orange County, staying for months, at most, in one place.She finished only half of fourth grade, half of fifth and skipped sixth. Seventh grade was split between Los Angeles and San Diego. Eighth grade consisted of two weeks in San Bernardino.At every stop, Khadijah pushed to keep herself in each school's gifted program. She read nutrition charts, newspapers and four to five books a month, anything to transport her mind away from the chaos and the sour smell.At school, she was the outsider. At the shelter, she was often bullied. "You ain't college-bound," the pimps barked. "You live in skid row!"In 10th grade, Khadijah realized that if she wanted to succeed, she couldn't do it alone. She began to reach out to organizations and mentors: the Upward Bound Program, Higher Edge L.A., Experience Berkeley and South Central Scholars; teachers, counselors and college alumni networks. They helped her enroll in summer community college classes, gave her access to computers and scholarship applications and taught her about networking.When she enrolled in the fall of her junior year at Jefferson High School, she was determined to stay put, regardless of where her mother moved. Graduation was not far off and she needed strong college letters of recommendation from teachers who were familiar with her work.This soon meant commuting by bus from an Orange County armory. She awoke at 4 a.m. and returned at 11 p.m., and kept her grade-point average at just below a 4.0 while participating in the Academic Decathlon, the debate team and leading the school's track and field team."That's when I was really stressed," she says, at once sighing and laughing.Khadijah graduated Friday evening with high honors, fourth in her class. She was accepted to more than 20 universities nationwide, including Brown, Columbia, Amherst and Williams. She chose a full scholarship to Harvard and aspires to become an education attorney.Early adversityShe tried her best; she never smoked or drank, never did drugs, and she never put us in abusive situations. However, that was the best she could do.There are questions about her mother Khadijah is not ready to ask, answers she is not ready to hear. How did her mother end up on the streets? How come she never found a stable home for her daughters? Why wasn't there family to turn to, no father, no grandparents? And what will become of her little sister?"I don't know. I don't know," is often her response. Ask personal questions about her mother and the fire in Khadijah's eyes turns dim. She knows when she arrives in Cambridge, Mass., she will need to seek counseling. So much of her life is a blur.She knows she was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a 14-year-old mother. She thinks Chantwuan might have been ostracized from her family. She may have tried to attend school, but the stress of a baby proved too much. When Khadijah was a toddler, they moved to California. A few years later, Jeanine was born.She has chosen not to criticize her mother. Instead Khadijah said she inspired her to learn. "She would tell me I had a gift, she would call me Oprah."When her college applications were due in December, James and Patricia London of South Central Scholars invited Khadijah to their home in Rancho Palos Verdes to help her write her essays.When they went to return her to skid row, her mother and sister were gone.Khadijah accepted the Londons' invitation to spend the rest of her school year with them.In their comfortable hilltop home, Khadijah learned a new set of lessons. The orthopedic doctor and nurse taught her table manners, money management and grooming.She won't be the first homeless student to arrive at Harvard.Julie Hilden, the Harvard interviewer who met with Khadijah to gauge whether she should be accepted, said it was clear from the start that Khadijah was a top candidate. But school officials had to make sure they could provide what she needed to make the transition successful.They plan to connect her with faculty mentors and potentially, a host family to check in with every so often. She will also attend a Harvard summer program at Cornell to take college-prep courses."I strongly recommended her," Hilden said. "I told them, 'If you don't take her, you might be missing out on the next Michelle Obama. Don't make this mistake.' "Seeking connections"I think about how I can convince my peers about the value of education. . . . I have found that after all the teasing, these peers start to respect me . . . . I decided that I could be the one to uplift my peers . . . . My work is far reaching and never finished."Khadijah expected to feel more connected after nearly two years at Jefferson, to make at least one good friend.Students flock to the smart girl for help with homework and tests and class questions. She walks through campus tenderly waving and smiling and complimenting everyone she knows.But when prom pictures arrive, they show her posing alone in a silky black and white dress. In her yearbook, hundreds of familiar faces look back, but the memories are missing."It's a nice, glossy, shiny, colorful yearbook," she said. "But it feels like they're all strangers. I'm nowhere in these pages."In the last six months, she saw her mother only a few times and on Thursday tried to find her. Khadijah headed to a South-Central storage facility where they last stored their belongings.She found Chantwuan sitting on a garbage bag full of clothes."Khadijah's here!" her sister Jeanine yells. Chantwuan's face lit up.She explained the details of her graduation, the bus route to get there and gave her mother a prom picture. She said she would leave for summer school Friday.There is no talk of coming home of for Thanksgiving or Christmas.Proudly, Khadijah modeled her hunter green graduation cap and gown and practiced switching the tassel from right to left as she would during the ceremony."Look at you," her mother says. "You're really going to Harvard, huh?""Yeah," she says, pausing. "I'm going to Harvard."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Author/physician Shigeaki Hinohara By JUDIT KAWAGUCHI

At the age of 97 years and 4 months, Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators. Hinohara's magic touch is legendary: Since 1941 he has been healing patients at St. Luke'sInternationalHospitalinTokyoand teaching at St. Luke'sCollegeofNursing. After World War II, he envisioned a world-class hospital and college springing from the ruins ofTokyo; thanks to his pioneering spirit and business savvy, the doctor turned these institutions into the nation's top medical facility and nursing school. Today he serves as chairman of the board of trustees at both organizations. Always willing to try new things, he has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one "Living Long, Living Good" that has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.

Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.

All people who live long regardless of nationality, race or gender share one thing in common: None are overweight. For breakfast I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps my skin healthy. Lunch is milk and a few cookies, or nothing when I am too busy to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work. Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat.

Always plan ahead.nMy schedule book is already full until 2014, with lectures and my usual hospital work. In 2016 I'll have some fun, though: I plan to attend the Tokyo Olympics!"

There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65.The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago, when the average life-expectancy inJapanwas 68 years and only 125 Japanese were over 100 years old. Today, Japanese women live to be around 86 and men 80, and we have 36,000 centenarians in our country. In 20 years we will have about 50,000 people over the age of 100.

"Share what you know.I give 150 lectures a year, some for 100 elementary-school children, others for 4,500 business people. I usually speak for 60 to 90 minutes, standing, to stay strong.

When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure.Contrary to popular belief, doctors can't cure everyone. So why cause unnecessary pain with surgery I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.

To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff.I take two stairs at a time, to get my muscles moving.

My inspiration is Robert Browning's poem "Abt Vogler."My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.

Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke's we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.

Don't be crazy about amassing material things.Remember: You don't know when your number is up, and you can't take it with you to the next place.

Hospitals must be designed and prepared for major disasters, and they must accept every patient who appears at their doors.We designed St. Luke's so we can operate anywhere: in the basement, in the corridors, in the chapel. Most people thought I was crazy to prepare for a catastrophe, but on March 20, 1995, I was unfortunately proven right when members of the Aum Shinrikyu religious cult launched a terrorist attack in theTokyosubway. We accepted 740 victims and in two hours figured out that it was sarin gas that had hit them. Sadly we lost one person, but we saved 739 lives.

Science alone can't cure or help people.Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.

Life is filled with incidents.On March 31, 1970, when I was 59 years old, I boarded the Yodogo, a flight fromTokyotoFukuoka. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and asMount Fujicame into sight, the plane was hijacked by the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction. I spent the next four days handcuffed to my seat in 40-degree heat. As a doctor, I looked at it all as an experiment and was amazed at how the body slowed down in a crisis.

Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do.My father went to theUnited Statesin 1900 to study atDukeUniversityinNorth Carolina. He was a pioneer and one of my heroes. Later I found a few more life guides, and when I am stuck, I ask myself how they would deal with the problem.

It's wonderful to live long.Until one is 60 years old, it is easy to work for one's family and to achieve one's goals. But in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society. Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer. I still put in 18 hours seven days a week and love every minute of it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ben Underwood....Boy! what a boy!!

Talking about selfconfidence and fearless approach to life, my children brought my attention to the story of a young boy named Ben Underwood, who passed away last week, just before he turned 17!

In a pillow fight, 14-year-old Ben Underwood can deliver a dead-on shot; in foosball, he's a determined competitor; when a video game is going, his fingers fly. And when he is on his skates, he's fearless. For most teenagers, it's nothing remarkable. But Ben is blind. As CBS News correspondent John Blackstone found out, Ben uses sound to find his way around. To walk down the street with Ben is to be amazed at what he can see with his "ears." Ben makes clicking sounds and while walking down a sidewalk can even determine the difference between a fire hydrant and a trash can. Ben was just 2 years old when cancer claimed his eyes. Both were surgically removed. It was a day of heartbreak for his mother, Aquanetta Gordon. "And he woke up from that surgery and Ben said, 'Mom, I can't see any more, I can't see any more,'" she recalls. "And I said 'You can't use your eyes but you've got your nose, and your ears and your mouth.'" From that day on, Ben has used his hearing, his sense of touch, his sense of smell to conquer a world of darkness. And he is good: while going for a walk with Blackstone, Ben deftly stepped around a fallen trash can on the sidewalk. Somehow, Ben has mastered echolocation. It's the same way dolphins get around, bouncing sound waves to figure out where they are. On a trip to Sea World a few weeks ago, Ben found that he and the dolphins shared an amazing talent. Out of the water, it becomes easy to forget that Ben is blind, as Blackstone found out when he was beaten 5-2 in a friendly match of foosball. Playing video games with his brother Isaiah, in the assault of noise, Ben can figure out everything that's happening just by listening. How does he manage to compete? "Because they got different voices," Ben explains. "Nobody is going to tell him that there is an impossibility for him. 'Cause there are none," says his mom. "This mom ought to be teaching a course on how do you raise a kid who can't see well," says Kaiser-Permanente ophthalmologist Dr. James Ruben. He says Aquanetta has done exactly the right thing with Ben: never being overprotective and never putting limits on him. "You know, I think the real story here is not, is not his talents, but his attitude. And attitude is what it's really about." Aquanetta agrees. "We have to give our kids confidence. We give them pride. Empower him with who he is, and be proud of who you are, no matter what!" she says. "'There's nothing you can't do..." she adds. "And that's the attitude, you know what I'm saying? That's what I want to give him." Watching him in action, it seems clear that Ben really can do anything.

May we all have a moment of silence in his rememberance... The best resolution for us to let our children do what they want in life, not let anything stop them. That is the best way we can all remember the courage of this young man.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gratitude... what I learnt

I was flying back after a seminar from Boise yesterday; I met a phenomenal lady by name Joan.
Joan is 70 years old and lives in Rocklin and has diabetes taking insulin. She has gone through unbelievable personal setbacks all her life, both socially and medically. Yet, she had a successful career as a banker, progressing from a teller and voluntarily retiring at the age of 61 as a regional manager, raising three children who are all well settled and being diligent with her finances that she is fine supporting herself now.
She was flying back from Boise visiting her daughter’s family for thanksgiving. While telling her story, she have me three pearls of her happiness….
1. She has a “Gratitude Diary” – Everyday she writes in that diary, why she is grateful for that day in her life. Even in the worst of days, she will look for a silver lining in her life and write it down.
2. She has a “God’s problem solving bag” – if she has a problem that she cannot solve, she takes it from her mind, writes it in a piece of paper and puts it in the bag and prays to God and says, “God, I know you will take care of it, because I cannot!” and goes to sleep.
3. If she is upset with someone, even if it is the other person’s fault, she does not let that exceed one hour. She forgets about that incident within 1 hour, so that the rest of the day is bright as ever.

I learnt so much from her. She checks her blood sugar up to 7 times a day and her HbA1c is 7.1%. Her doctor had mentioned about the insulin pump, but she did not know much about it. When I explained about the pump, she was so excited and said that she wanted to go for it and that is her resolution for the New Year!

I told, her that I am thankful to God to have made me come across such a ‘Fine YOUNG lady’ – young in heart and thought process than many of us can ever be!!!!