Monday, February 17, 2014

A Poem for Will

I had a dream that was so real,
Will it was you I could almost feel.
I thought you were really here,
Then I woke to see you disappear.

Tears started running down my face,
And my heart began to race.
Will, I felt you all so near,
Your voice is the one I hear.

You tell me to stay strong,
But everything feel so wrong.
Deep inside I feel so bad,
I constantly feel cold and sad.

You whisper in my ear "All shall be okay",
Because tomorrow will be better than today.
I wish so much you wouldn't leave,
Because I don't want to continue to grieve.

All those days spent at the beach in the sun,
Now are precious memories, we had such fun.
No you're an Eagle who is free to fly,
All day long high in the sky.

At night you are a bright shinning star,
But you being far away has left a scar.
Deep in my heart forever it will stay,
It's been there since you went away.

Will, we all miss you lots,
In my throat I have a huge knot.
You are forever in my heart,
Even though we are far apart.

Love ya man. Xxxx

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jessica Dubroff: A seven year old who lived by her own rules.



A few days ago I was looking into getting started for my pilot licence, something I’ve wanted since I was 18, when I stumbled across and article about a seven year old little girl called Jessica Dubroff. To be perfectly honest I had never heard of her before, but I became hooked on her story. She lived her own dreams not caring what people said about her and I’d like to share her story with you guys:

She was born in Massachusetts on the 5th of May 1988, to Lisa Blair Hathaway and Lloyd Dubroff and moved to California when she was four with her older brother Joshua and her younger sister Jasmine. She began taking flight lessons from flight instructor Joe Reid on her sixth birthday, and became enthusiastic about flying. Her father, who was separated from her mother by this time, suggested the idea of a coast-to-coast flight, which Jessica readily accepted, and Reid agreed to provide flight instruction and his four seated single engine aircraft for the endeavour. They decided to name their flight "Sea to Shining Sea".

Jessica would sit in the front left seat, Reid in the front right, and Lloyd in the back. It was agreed that Reid would be paid for his services at normal flight instruction rates, plus compensation for the layover time. Reid reportedly told his wife that he considered the flight a "non-event for aviation," simply "flying cross country with a 7-year-old sitting next to you and the parents paying for it.”

Nevertheless, Jessica became an instant media celebrity, having already logged 33 hours of flight time in such a short time. ABC News gave Lloyd a video camera and blank cassettes to tape the flight; once the journey began, it was vigorously followed by supporters, media outlets, and others who monitored its progress, reporting each time Dubroff landed or took off- Jessica had to be assisted by Reid in one of the landings due to high winds.

Dubroff, her father, and her flight instructor arrived in Cheyenne and after some media interviews they got a ride to their hotel in the car of a local radio station program director, who recalled them discussing the forecast weather conditions for the next day. Composite radar image  was showing precipitation intensity around Cheyenne airport at time of departure.

The weather in the morning of the flight, the north and west of Cheyenne was hit by torrential rain but weather conditions were much better to the east, where the flight was headed. Since it began to rain at the airport and the weather seemed to be deteriorating, the program director invited her to stay in Cheyenne, but Dubroff's father declined, explaining that they wanted to "beat the storm" which was approaching.

 Reid decided to take off despite the worsening conditions at the airport, and to try to escape the poor weather by turning immediately eastward. Just before take off Jessica called her mum from the plane phone “Can you hear the rain? Can you hear the rain” The last words Jessica spoke before they were cut off.

As the aircraft began taxiing to the departure runway, it was raining and visibility at the airport fell below the three mile minimum required for VFR flight. Cheyenne's control tower advised the Cessna about the reduced visibility and that the "field is IFR." Reid then requested and received from the control tower a special VFR clearance to allow him to exit the airport's control zone visually, despite the reduced visibility.

At 8:24 AM MST, Dubroff's aircraft began its take off roll from Cheyenne's runway 30 to the northwest, in rain, strong gusty crosswinds and turbulence. According to witnesses, the plane lifted off and climbed slowly, with its nose high and its wings wobbling. It began a gradual right turn, and after reaching an altitude of a few hundred feet, the plane rolled out of its turn, then descended rapidly, crashing at a near-vertical angle into a street in a residential neighbourhood.

The 7-year-old student pilot, Her father, Lloyd Dubroff, 57, and her flight instructor, Joe Reid, died when the plane nose-dived into the driveway of a single-story brick home in a residential area about one mile north of the airport. At the airport now lays a sign : "A little girl and her big dream died here Thursday morning."
Jessica Dubroff (1988-1996)

“Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?”

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela; A Hero, An Inspiration.

I remember February 2000, I was six year old, sitting in the classroom staring at a tall man from South Africa, he had come in to talk to us about Nelson Mandela, it had been ten year since he's release form prison.

I listened as he spoke, inspired, hanging on to every word, I was hooked and finally I had found something I had been searching for: A Hero.

From that day every library session we had, while my friends hunted down E.B. White and A.A. Mill, I searched for books about Mandela. The more I read, the more I liked him, his achievements were inspiring. First black president of South Africa was something special, I had only ever heard of white presidents until then.



But what struck me the most was his imprisonment, how can someone be put in jail for encouraging his own people to fight for their rights, it sounded barbaric to me at six years old. I was obsessed with Robben Island, Mandela remained there for 20 years, locked in a cell of 2.4 x 2.1 meters with nothing but a straw mat to sleep on; by day he broke rocks into gravel and at night he worked on his LLB degree.

After Robben Island he was moved to Pollsmoor Prison, which allowed him to have communication, through letters, with the outside world and also permitted him to read voraciously. It was here he would be appointed Patron of the Multi-Racial United Democracy Front. There he remained until his 70th Birthday in 1988.

Recovering from Tuberculosis he was moved to Victor Verster prison, housed in comfortable conditions which allowed him to complete his LLB degree.

He was released on February 11th 1990, standing with his wife at his side he gave his first public speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority. The speech worked, in 1994 he became president of South Africa, a big step forward for the country and in 1996 he was appointed Chairman of the Southern African Development  Community and installed negotiations to put an end to the first Congo war. In 1997 he stepped down as ANS president and gave his final farewell speech on the 29th of March 1999 after which he retired.

But that wasn't the last of Mandela, still hugely important to his country he made several public appearances. In 2001 he was treated for prostate cancer and in 2008 he celebrated his 90th birthday along side his third wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I had a heavy heart after his death, I lost a hero, an inspiration and South Africa lost their father, their voice.

He was a fighter, he had been all his life, he spread a message of never giving up and fighting for what you believe. He was a voice for people who didn't have one. He taught us that education was important to change the world, that we must use our time wisely and it's never too late to do things right. He fought for the freedom of his people which left him fighting for his own freedom, but South Africa stood by him, he was the voice they needed.

RIP Nelson Mandela.
18th July 1918 - 5th of December 2013
Spread your wings, fly high and free. Lost but never forgotten, a hero that will truly be missed.


"Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."- Nelson Mandela






Monday, October 14, 2013

Susie Wolff, Next Female Formula One Driver?


As a female Formula One fan I am sick of hearing comments, usually from men,  about female racing drivers, that they are not strong enough, that they shouldn’t be allowed to race, that female drivers cause too many accidents on track, but the comment that annoys me the most has to be: “No woman will ever drive in modern F1” WHAT??? WHY NOT?? We can driver just as well as the men!

Susie Wolff is a Scottish racing driver. She has progressed through the ranks of motorsport, starting off in karting, then moving up to Formula Renault and Formula Three before moving to the DTM to compete for Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, she was signed by the Williams Formula One team to work as a development driver.

1996 she was named British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the year. In 1997, she competed in a number of different karting categories and came out on top in a number of them.

In 2001 Wolff made the step up from kart racing to single-seater racing. Her first experience was in the 2001 Formula Renault Winter Series, in which she raced for the Motaworld Racing team. In 2004 she competed in her third season in the Formula Renault UK Championship, this time racing for the Comtec Racing team and she finished 5th overall in the championship with 3 podium finishes during the year.

For 2005, Wolff made the step up to the British Formula Three Championship to race for the Alan Docking Racing team in the Championship Class, but her season was disrupted by an ankle injury sustained during the winter. She also made a one-off appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch in June.

In 2006 Wolff made the big step up to compete in the DTM, the German Touring Car series, one of the biggest Touring Car championships in the world. In her debut season she achieved a best finish of 9th overall in the final round of the season at the Hockenheimring. She remained in DTM until 2012.

After leaving DTM Susie became a development driver for the Williams Formula One team. And last summer Wolff got to drive in the Young Drivers test. She later stated:  “A lot of people were waiting for me to fail when I did the Young Driver Test at Silverstone last summer. They suspected I wouldn’t be strong enough to drive more than 10 laps or that I would be three seconds off the pace of my team-mate.” But Susie tested for 89 laps and was only nine-tenths of a second slower than team mate Pastor Maldonado, who had won the Barcelona Gran Prix.

So why can’t Susie Wolff drive in Formula One in the future? She’s already proven that she’s a great driver; she’s fast, determined and a real racer.  Has the world really gone back to the medieval frame of mind that women should be in the kitchen?

 These female racers are an inspiration for young girl who dream of racing.  Yes, females will always get stick for racing, but people need to realise that that won’t make them give up, they will continue following their dream just like any other human being! And why shouldn’t they?

People are very quick to judge drivers, especially female drivers; “Oh, she hasn’t achieved a podium finish yet” No maybe she hasn’t but you all seem to forget to mention that she has beat however many cars it is that particular race, all driven by males, to the finish line, so no she wasn’t on the podium but she didn’t finish last.

In the near future a woman will be back in Formula One, achieving that dream shared by thousands of little girls. And my money is on Susie Wolff. You show them girl!


 



Friday, October 11, 2013

A tribute to María De Villota

María de Villota Comba (13 January 1980 – 11 October 2013) was a Spanish racing driver. She was the daughter of former Formula One driver Emilio de Villota, and sister of Emilio de Villota, Jr.

De Villota was born in Madrid. She competed in numerous racing series, including the World Touring Car Championship and ADAC Procar Series. In 2005 she also competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.

On 18 August 2011, the Lotus Renault GP team confirmed reports that de Villota had made her Formula One test debut in a Renault R29 at the Paul Ricard Circuit, and that her management was in talks to secure her a test driver seat in the future.
On 7 March 2012, it was announced that María de Villota had joined Marussia F1 Team as a test driver, with the opportunity to sample Formula One machinery later in the year.

At approximately 09:30 on 3 July 2012, de Villota was involved in a testing accident at Duxford Aerodrome whilst carrying out straight-line testing for Marussia; her first time in the car. Her car collided with a stationary truck at the end of a test run, it took paramedics over an hour to remove her from the wrecked car. The motoring world along with millions of fans held their breath waiting to hear news about María's well being. The next day we were all informed that María was stable but had lost her right eye, but she still remained upbeat, even joking with doctors about the lose of her eye; "Tell me doctor, do you need both your hand to preform an operation? Well I need both my eyes to race, so you better fix it"
After 17 days in hospital she returned to her home in Spain to help recover from her neurological damage. Over the next few months the millions of fans cheered her on, sent her messages of support and motivation. Then last October she made her first public appearance since the accident and left us all gobsmacked. She looked beautiful, she had this new vision of life, an true inspiration.

At the beginning of this Formula One season María teamed up with Spanish Aterna3 and before every race gave us a lesson on car safety not only F1 but road cars, her mission was to save as many lives as possible.

Today, the 11th of October, we were all shocked by the tragic news that Villota's body had been found in her hotel room.
The whole racing community, drivers and fans, come together to send prayer and condolences to her family.

R.I.P María de Villota, A true smile, a true racer, a true inspiration and a true zest for life. Gone but never forgotten. A little piece of blue sky by day and the brightest star at night.



Saturday, October 5, 2013

One extra Chromosome, No difference!


Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, a particular set of facial characteristics and a mild degree of intellectual disability.

Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. It  can be identified in a new-born by direct observation or in a fetus by prenatal screening. Sadly nearly 93% of pregnancies with this diagnosis are terminated. But why?

The first time I had any contact with Down syndrome was when I was 7 years old, in my first year of Junior School, I remember the whole year like it was yesterday.  On my first day I got sat next a boy called Aaron and he happened to have Downs,  but to be perfectly honest I didn’t know he was any different to me or the rest of my classmates. Yes he went to a main stream school and why shouldn’t he? Aaron was better at maths then the whole class, he could read and write just as well as the rest of us, to me he was just the same as everyone else. Over the next few weeks we became good friends. But no everyone saw him like I did, older boys would laugh at him and call him names and I didn’t understand why.  So just before Christmas break, when I came out of school and my mum asked if I had a good day I blurted out “Some boys were calling Aaron names” She told me that Aaron's mum was telling her about it while they were waiting for the bell to ring. I asked her “why? It makes me sad”  mum explained to me that Aaron was a little different from the other kids and when I asked her what she meant she replied “Don’t you think he looks a bit different from everyone else?” I stopped to think before replying “But we ALL look different, NONE of us look the same…”  Without another word mum hugged me, no words needed to be exchanged, she knew I understood. So from then on Aaron and I were inseparable, we were best friends, I stood up for him and he stood up for me. He taught me that we are all the same. He laughed, spoke, cried, joked and had moody days just like the rest of us.

Society’s attitude towards Down syndrome is starting to change, and it’s for the better, we are starting to see the world through their eyes. Society doesn’t put them down as much, we no longer have the “they are doomed” or  “ Poor kid, won’t do very well in life” attitude,  words that used to make my blood boil, It drove me mad, why did society insist on giving these children such negative labels? Why couldn’t they see that they are beautiful individuals, capable of doing like the rest of us, yes maybe with a bit more help, but if they are determined to do something they are capable of reaching their goal. These kids aren’t stupid, they are highly intelligent! But like I said that is starting to change, just the other day I was in the town and I saw a beautiful little girl with Downs walking around wearing a T-shirt that said: KEEP CALM, IT’S JUST AND EXTRA CHROMOSOME!” She was so proud of her T-shirt, I just wanted to hug her!

Another amazing example of how much people with Down syndrome can achieve is a gorgeous little girl named Natty, she reminded me of how much someone can achieve and how life will smile back if you smile at it. Natty is main streamed and loves to write, she is also a model, has been on TV, gossip magazines and in fashion catalogues! Its amazing how this one little girl can be such an inspiration to so many!

A special thank you to Aaron and Natty for reminding me that Beauty comes in many shape and sizes and to never give up.

Also thank you to everyone reading, and guys just remember apart form that tiny extra chromosome they are exactly the same as the rest of us.

  
 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Will To Live


Today is Suicide Awareness day and the fact is Suicide isn’t a joke

1.000.000 people commit suicide every year, 750.000 more attempt suicide.  1 in 5 teenagers has thought about suicide, about 1 in 6 teenagers have made plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12 teenagers have attempted suicide in the last year. As many as 8 out of 10 teenagers who have committed suicide tried to ask for help in some way before actually committing suicide.

80% of these people suffer major depression; most of them show no sign of it. They walk the hallways wearing a mask they call a smile.

A person commits suicide every 40 seconds. Every 41 seconds a person is left to try and make sense of what happened.

 Take a minute to think of the person you love the most or even the person sitting next to you this very moment, really think..... Tomorrow you get the terrible news; He or She has just taken their own life. Your heart drops, smashing into a million pieces when it hits the floor; you are left with just one question: "WHY?"

 But you can't go back and ask, what's done is done. It leaves your heart with a scar knowing you could have saved them, you could have helped them. It leaves you wondering how could you have not seen how much they were hurting. This person you loved and thought you knew so well, gone. How could they hide their pain so well?

BUT I’m NOT here to talk about facts today Im here to talk about the Will To Live foundation.

A foundation set up by the Trautweins, after their 15 year old son and my first ever friend, Will committed suicide October 15th 2010. It’s a place where young teens can go to get help, where they can explain how difficult life can be. They get to share their personal experiences of suicide with others. These young adults become more than friends, they become “Life TeamMates”, they help each other through the day, on and off the field.

The WTL have yearly 5k runs/walks to raise money for their foundation, to keep these kids away from danger. Mr Trautwein goes into sports clubs and meetings to spread the message, to raise awareness about Teen Suicide. He teaches these teens to NEVER give up, that you can’t quit. When you have a bad day there is ALWAYS someone there, even if that day you feel like there isn’t. That as Life TeamMates we all need to listen a little better and to be more open when explaining how we feel, that we don’t have to be scared, ashamed or embarrassed to say “I NEED HELP” there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re struggling.  Their job is to help spread the WTL message to as many countries as possible!!

 

They also have a WTL Lacrosse(who finished runners up in 2012) and baseball team for kids ages 10 to 18 wearing uniforms with the WTL logo on them, proudly explaining the ‘Life TeamMates’ message and the importance of loving your team mates on and off the field. To let teens know they are not alone, there’s always someone there willing to listen and help.

The motto of the Will-To-Live Foundation: “FOR THE KIDS, THROUGH THE KIDS, BY THE KIDS,” The motto of Life TeamMates: “LOVE YA MAN!”

 



 

        MR TRAUTWEIN AND THE FOUNDATION, ENCOURAGES THESE KIDS TO REACH OUT TO EACH OTHER. HE TEACHES THEM TO RECOGNIZE THAT AS TEENAGERS, THEY HAVE ALREADY MET SOME OF THE GREATEST FRIENDS OF THEIR LIVES – THEIR LIFE TEAMMATES!  IF THEY CAN RECOGNIZE THAT FACT, THAN PERHAPS THEY’LL BE MORE READY TO REACH OUT TO THESE LIFE TEAMMATES WHEN IN NEED.  EVERYONE AGREES, IT’S ALWAYS EASIER TO TALK TO A CLOSE FRIEND – SO THE WTL FOUNDATION PROMOTES THIS CONCEPT OF TEACHING KIDS TO BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER. THE FOUNDATION ALSO WORKS HARD TO TEACH PARENTS AND ADULTS TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE TEENAGERS TODAY ARE GENERALLY LIVING IN A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT WORLD - YES MORE OPPORTUNITIES EXIST, BUT WITH THESE OPPORTUNITIES COME GREAT PRESSURES THAT THEIR PARENTS FACED AT AN OLDER AGE.  THE FOUNDATION FEELS IT'S IMPORTANT FOR KIDS TO HEAR THEIR PARENTS AGREE THAT "LIFE IS HARD" FOR KIDS TODAY - BUT TOGETHER THEY ARE STRONGER.

 

Together we CAN put a stop to Teen Suicide!!

Love Ya Man!