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BR Parents: Thrive - Powering Through While Beating Rare Bone Cancer

Originally published in the January 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents Magazine and on its website . Although 2020 was a hard year for everyone, the White family’s experience was extra challenging.  Their eight-year-old, Hayden, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. His victory over the rare bone cancer was complete when he finished chemo on December 11, one of the first in-patients to do so at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.  “Hayden started having leg pain probably in February,” says his dad, Corey. An X-ray in March led to consultations with orthopedists and soon thereafter an orthopedic oncologist, and chemo began in April. “It happened really fast,” Corey says. Hayden’s mom, Karen, says, “From the time we saw the pediatrician to the time we started chemo, it was about three weeks.”  COVID-19 complicated everything, with only one parent being allowed with him during some of Hayden’s procedures. Karen and Corey were even told separately about their son’s diagnos

BR Parents: One Amazing Kid - Matteo Runge

Originally published in the January 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine and on its website . When so many things shut down last year, Matteo Runge was lucky to find a silver lining. The sixth grader at Baton Rouge International School became a 2020 Louisiana state chess champion and credits his success to extra practice time. “Since coronavirus happened, I improved on chess,” Matteo says. “I wouldn’t have gotten second in the state if it weren’t for coronavirus because I was online and practicing every day for that state championship.” Now 11, Matteo has played chess for several years and is a member of his school’s chess club. “I thought he was too young to learn the game of chess when he was in Kindergarten,” says Donald, Matteo’s dad. “I didn’t learn myself until I was about in seventh grade. But he kept insisting on learning how the pictures moved.” Matteo’s mom, Isabella, first taught him the basics. Virtual tournaments have allowed chess competitions to c

BR Parents: January 2021

As Education and Community sections editor, I wrote pages pages 14-21 and page 26 of the January 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine. See the web layout on the magazine's website .

BR Parents Blog: Revisiting Santa - Should We Get An Elf on the Shelf?

  First published on the Baton Rouge Parents magazine website . On December 9, my girls asked me for an Elf on the Shelf. And although I immediately guffawed, rolled my eyes and said “NO WAY,” because it’s 2020 I had second thoughts as soon as the “no” left my mouth and the request had time to settle. If they’d asked in late November or maybe even earlier in December would I have given in, added to cart and clicked “buy now”? My hesitations about introducing an Elf to our holiday tradition are varied; mainly I don’t want the extra work or to confuse my girls further about what’s real and what’s just something fun to pretend and imagine. I’m not sure about the idea of someone (something?) watching the kids and reporting to Santa on their behavior or if that’s developmentally a good thing. The surveillance aspect is a true objection to the Elf idea.  HOWEVER, from the outside, Elf on the Shelf looks like an ideal #ExtraMom activity, and I definitely identify as an extra m

BR Parents: Exceptional Lives - Happy Even on Her Hardest Days: Life with a Rare Genetic Condition

First published in the December 2020 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine and its website. Aubrey Martin is a fighter. Living with Rett syndrome and its associated global developmental delays is her everyday life. But in 2020, she faced a more urgent and critical health issue when she developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, the rare condition that impacts some kids with COVID-19. “We were confused, didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t figure out the fever,” says Brit’ne Canezaro, Aubrey’s mom. “She was faced with a new obstacle of severe inflammation. She’s finally progressing enough that she’s not sleeping all day now. She pulls through every time.”  Aubrey had to be in the hospital while recovering from MIS-C but is home again and back in therapy at Pediatric Therapy Solutions and school as a second grader at Oak Grove Primary in Prairieville. Surviving and thriving with a rare condition is something Aubrey knows how to do. Rett syndr

BR Parents: One Amazing Kid - Sophia Lurue Guyton

  First published in the December 2020 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine and its website . Sophia Lurue Guyton learned to read when she was three, and by the time she was seven, she had already published her first book, The Adventures of Mia and Jace . “God gave her a message and told her that he wanted other people to know about him,” says Tabitha Lamb, Sophia’s mom. “Her goal was to write a letter to everyone in the whole world.” Once Sophia realized the enormity of finding so many addresses, she decided to write a book instead. Available on Amazon, the 32-chapter book about life lessons on character and integrity was completed in five months, and the stories feature characters based on herself, older brother Jace, and several of her favorite toys.  A third grader at Math Science & Arts Academy West in Plaquemine, Sophia, now eight, hasn’t published anything more since the book was released. “She’ll think about it every now and again,” Tabitha says. “She actu

BR Parents: December 2020

As Education and Community sections editor, I wrote pages 16-23 and page 28 of the December 2020 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine. See the web layout on the magazine's website .