Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Raising Awareness, Supporting Each Other

Jean Ashner has worked for the past nine years with an organization known as Breath of Hope, Inc. to try and raise awareness about a birth defect that affects 1 in 2,000 live births. This birth defect is known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). For the 9th year in a row, Ashner has received proclamations making March 31st Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day from Owensville, Gasconade County and Missouri.

CDH is an opening in the diaphragm. The hole allows the abdominal organs to push into the chest cavity. CDH is a life-threatening birth defect because it limits the growth of the lungs, according to Breath of Hope website.

“On January 20, 2007 while at the doctor’s office for my 20 week ultrasound, anticipating the excitement of whether it was to be a boy or a girl, my son was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia,” Ashner wrote in her letter to Owensville Mayor John Kamler asking for the proclamation. “Until that day, I had never heard of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. This being my ninth child, I had thought I had heard of most every possible birth defect there was and was caught completely off guard. Since that day, I have been telling my story in an effort to raise awareness to the congenital diaphragmatic hernia birth defect. After finding little to no information or support, I joined forces with the organization, Breath of Hope, Inc., which is committed to supporting parents, children, family, members and friends facing the diagnosis of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia birth defect. Unfortunately, my son, Luke Matthew Ashner, lost his battle with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia on June 12, 2007 after only eighteen hours, twenty-three minutes.”

When Ashner first received the diagnosis, she took to the internet to try and find information about CDH and support for what she was going through. What she found was that the internet was full of horror stories or that simply no one knew about the defect. Now she continues to work to raise awareness as part of her son’s legacy.

“I felt as part of his legacy that I wanted people to understand and raise awareness and to know there is support out there,” Ashner said.

Ashner says what makes this birth defect so horrible is that no one knows what problem the child will have when it is born. As far as the treatment goes what helps one child may not help another. To this day approximately 50 percent of all cases result in death.

As part of the Awareness Day on March 31st, Breath of Hope and Ashner are asking people to wear Turquois. Turquois was chosen as the color for CDH awareness day because it is a symbol of strength and resilience.

“These kids are born fighters,” said Ashner. “They have to fight for everything.”

Ashner wants people to know that they can reach out to her personally and Breath of Hope, Inc. via Facebook for support and guidance with CDH diagnoses.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Renovations Move Forward for Heartland

Members of Heartland Independent Living Center’s board of directors, staff, State Representative Tom Hurst, Mayor John Kamler, President of 1st State Community Bank Doug Dunlap, Joe McGowan and Nathan Parmenter from Cochran Architectural, Kelly Sink-Blair from MRPC were in attendance at Heartland’s groundbreaking. 
After five years in the making, Heartland Independent Living Center is finally able to move forward on the planned building renovations. Slated to begin work on November 9th, C. Rallo Contracting from St. Louis has been hired as the general contractor to complete a reduced three phase renovation project.

Heartland began this journey in late 2010. In the fall of 2013, they were awarded a Community Development Block Grant for facility improvements from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. In the summer of 2014 Heartland originally bid a comprehensive three phase renovation project designed by Cochran Architecture out of Union. The bids received were drastically higher than the preliminary cost estimates. This resulted in the development of a reduced scope for the renovation work and the new plans were re-bid this summer.

Initial work will begin the week of November 9th. People driving by the building on West Highway 28 will be able to see a big part of the first phase of the project which will remove the existing front canopy and sidewalk from the building and the installation of an entire new front with a brick veneer; as well as, the installation of windows. Due to this, the public entrance to the building will be closed and visitors will be directed to a temporary entrance on the east side of the building.

The second phase of the project will include replacing most of the roof, mold removal and interior work to enlarge and improve employee work space to accommodate the staff growth that has taken place over the past six years.

The third and final phase of the project will include a heating and cooling system upgrade, correct existing plumbing and electrical problems and upgrade the bathroom facilities.

Heartland will continue to operate out of the building during the renovation work. Some staff will be temporarily relocated to work out of the organization’s Christopher Manhart office located in Union. The hope is keep the office running as efficiently as possible, to maintain our ability to help our consumers during the renovations.

The entire project is to be completed by June 30, 2016.

Heartland Independent Living Center is a nonprofit, community based organization that serves individuals with disabilities in their quest to remain independent in their own homes.  Services include in-home assistance, home modifications and ramps, adaptive equipment, transition assistance from institution to home, and dental services.  Heartland meets accountability standards and holds the Better Business Bureau Charity Seal of Approval. For additional information on their services contact Heartland at 573-437-5100, or visit their website at www.heartlandilc.org. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/heartlandilcenter.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015




Date 09-10-2015

For more information contact: Tammy McSorley

The Statewide Council for Independent Living is looking for a few good Board members.
The purpose of the Statewide Independent Living Council is to:

-Develop, sign, and submit the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL), in cooperation with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB).

-Monitor, review, and evaluate implementation of the SPIL.

-Support the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and advocate for disability rights and related issues.

This is a governor appointed position that meets quarterly.

Persons with disabilities, minorities or professionals, knowledgeable about Independent Living are encouraged to apply online at  www.mosilc.org at Missouri Boards and Commissions or call  (573) 526-7039 for more information.