Google Exec Shares Story Of How Health Care Helped Son Before His Heartbreaking Death

A Silicon Valley executive wrote a series of tweets Monday about the devastating loss of his son, as well as his gratitude for the vital health care and the insurance that paid for it that gave him 11 special years with his boy.

He shared his experiences now because he fears that without the help his family and his son Riley had, other children and parents would face similar ordeals under the health care bill Senate Republicans aim to vote on this week. The Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday that 22 million people could lose insurance in the next decade because of the bill, including millions on Medicaid.

I havent tweeted much about health care because its a painful subject for me. But its important. So let me tell you my story, wrote Ken Norton, an executive at Google Ventures who lives in the San Francisco Bay area. But its important. So let me tell you my story.

This is a photo Norton shared of Riley when he was a little boy:

Ken Norton
Riley Norton has a blast on his bike.

And here:

Riley was born with a critical heart defect in 2003.

Fortunately, we had excellent health care through my job, Norton tweeted. For the next 11 years, nothing was more important to me than having coverage. Rileys surgeries and hospitalizations cost more than $3 million, all covered by Nortons insurance, he said. The insurance company couldnt deny coverage due to Rileys pre-existing condition, nor was there a lifetime maximum cap on costs.

The current Senate health care bill would allow insurance companies to apply for coverage waivers that critics fear could end payments for care for people with pre-existing conditions. The waivers could also eliminate caps on personal out-of-pocket expenditures, meaning patients could be forced to pay enormous bills.

We got 11 years with Riley because the very best doctors in the world did everything they could for him, without regard for cost, Norton tweeted.

Norton said he and his family focused on giving Riley a happy life. They didnt have to raise money on Go Fund Me, the crowdsourcing site many families facing high medical costs use to raise money, or borrow money to keep their son alive. Norton clung to his job and its critically important health insurance. It terrified him to think that he could lose health coverage and Rileys link to his lifeline, he said.

Now Norton has shared his experience on Twitter to let people know that there can be no divisions among the American people when it comes to helping sick people and saving lives.

There are no healthy and sickpeople. Healthy people can turn into sick people really fucking suddenly, wrote Norton, and sometimes having access to critical health care can just come down to good luck.

Everyone agrees the Affordable Care Act needs fixing, Norton concludes. But Im here to tell you that there is no us and them, no responsible taxpayers and irresponsible moochers, we are them and they are us. I want everyone to have what we had. Because we are all humans.

Norton did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment.

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Mom shares the crushing cost of her son’s medical care before the Senate votes on healthcare bill

Before the Senate votes on its bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, many people are sharing stories of how the bill would affect them.

One story struck a chord with thousands of Twitter users this weekend. The mom of 3-year-old Ethan Vikash shared a photo of a medical bill for her son’s open heart surgery. The 24-line item bill came to $231,115 for 10 hours in surgery, one week in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit, and one week on the hospital’s cardiac floor.

With insurance, Ethan’s family only had to pay $500 out-of-pocket. But if Congress passes a healthcare bill that imposes lifetime caps on what insurance companies will cover, families that deal with childhood illnesses or heart conditions like Ethan’s would be well beyond priced out of life-saving care.

The thread covering the cost of Ethan’s healthcare got turned into a Twitter moment.

The story resonated with thousands of Twitter users who are scared about what will happen if Congress and President Donald Trump gut the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on lifetime caps.

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Trump Reaches Out To Lawmakers On Healthcare As Another Says ‘No’

By Jeff Mason and Yasmeen Abutaleb | WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump made calls to fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Friday to mobilize support for their partys healthcare overhaul while acknowledging the legislation is on a very, very narrow path to passage.

Five Republican senators have announced they will not support the bill, which is designed to repeal and replace Obamacare, in its current form.

White House officials said on Friday that Trump has been in touch with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and made calls on Thursday and Friday to other lawmakers.

Trumps role is expected to become more pronounced in coming days as the vote nears. Senate Republican leaders may rely on the deal-making former businessman to lean on conservative senators who are balking at the bill.

Were pleasantly surprised with a lot of the support thats already come out and I think well continue to work through (it,) in particular the four individuals who have expressed some ideas and concerns, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters at a White House briefing.

After Spicer spoke, Republican Senator Dean Heller became the fifth Republican opponent on Friday, saying he would not support the bill in its current form. Stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average pared gains after his announcement.

This bill thats currently in front of the United States Senate is not the answer, Heller said at a news conference.

That could add Hellers name to Trumps call list. A White House official said the Trump has pushed his team to stay involved and plans to flex his negotiating muscle, the official said.

The Senates 142-page proposal, worked out in secret by a group led by McConnell, aims to deliver on a central Trump campaign promise to undo former President Barack Obamas signature healthcare law, which has provided coverage to 20 million Americans since it was passed in 2010.

Republicans view the law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, as a costly government intrusion and say individual insurance markets created by it are collapsing.

On Thursday, four of the Senates most conservative members said the new plan failed to rein in the federal governments role.

Rand Paul, who has rejected the plan along with fellow Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson, said fundamental problems remained that would leave taxpayers subsidizing health insurance companies.

Trump, in an interview with Fox News that aired on Friday morning, called the group of conservative lawmakers four very good people.

Its not that theyre opposed, he said. Theyd like to get certain changes. And well see if we can take care of that.

Trump said getting approval would require traveling a very, very narrow path but that But I think were going to get there.

Trump took an active role as the House of Representatives worked on its own healthcare bill, holding regular meetings with representatives at the White House as it made its way through numerous committees. He celebrated its narrow passage last month in a Rose Garden event with House Republican leaders.

Trump later criticized the House bill privately as mean and this week called for a health plan with heart. He indicated the Senate plan met that request.

McConnell said in an interview with Reuters last month that he told Trump early on in the process that he did not need his help but that there may be a role for him later.

The Senate bill maintains much of the structure of the Houses but differs in key ways. It would phase out Obamacares expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor more gradually, waiting until after the 2020 presidential election, but would enact deeper cuts starting in 2025. It also would provide more generous tax subsidies than the House bill to help low-income people buy private insurance.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Caroline Humer, Lewis Krauskopf and Susan Heavey; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Bill Trott)

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San Francisco’s Transit Agency Promises No Immigration Raids

Bay Area Rapid Transit, which operates mass transit in the San Francisco area, reassured riders Thursday that it wont conduct immigration raids on board its vehicles or target people seeking a job with the agency.

The transit agencys board passed a resolutionthat prohibits the use of its funds or resources to enforce federal immigration law. The measure, called the Safe Transit Policy, bans employees from seeking riders immigration status, limits the cooperation of employees with federal authorities in conducting immigration checks and arrests, and prevents BART from asking job applicants about their immigration status.

BART joins transit agencies in Chicago and in Portland, Oregon, in reassuring riders that employees wont enforce immigration laws or lead raids.

The BART resolution was floated in March by board member Lateefah Simon, who campaigned for the position in November on a platform that safe access to transportation is an issue of social and economic justice.

Encountering Immigrations Customs Enforcement can take a physical and emotional toll on peoples health, Alameda Public Defender Raha Jorjani argued in support of the resolution during a hearing Thursday at BARTs Oakland headquarters.

Were talking about the health, well-being and civility of families, Jorjani said. In the Bay Area, specifically, our office has noticed a distinct rise in the presence and enforcement of ICE operations. There are few spaces left that are safe, and a space that is as important as BART simply must be one of them.

Those concerns arent completely unfounded. In February, rumors spread online that ICE had set up checkpoints throughout the East Bay, including one outside a BART station, though authorities later said those claims were false.

Similar online rumors swirled in Chicago and the greater Portland, Oregon, area earlier this year, and authorities reacted by reassuring riders that transit employees would not enforce immigration laws.

We do not participate in or support this type of activity, the Chicago Transit Authority said in a statement in February. Its important to us that everyone, no matter who they are, how they identify, or where theyre from feel comfortable and confident riding transit in Chicago: You are welcome here.

Oregons TriMet transit agency announced a no-raid policy the same month.

We do not support targeting any of our riders or any members of our community. Period, TriMet said in a statement. We deeply regret that these fast-spreading rumors have caused concerns about TriMet and the safety of our riders.

BARTs resolution reaffirms the regions leadership on progressive immigration policies in the face of President Donald Trumps vows to boost deportations and enact hard-line immigration policies.

In April, a federal court in San Francisco ruled that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities local jurisdictions, including San Francisco,that limit cooperation with federal authorities in immigration law enforcement.

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Trump Blames Democrats For Obstructing Health Care Bill They Haven’t Seen Yet

President Donald Trump again blamed Senate Democrats for blocking the passage of a health care bill that no one outside of a handful of GOP lawmakers has actually seen yet.

Speaking Wednesday at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump lamented criticism that his administration hasnt accomplished much yet and pointed a finger at Democratic lawmakers for slowing the passage of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world, we would not get one Democrat vote, because theyre obstructionists, Trump claimed. If we came to you and said, Heres your plan, youre going to have the greatest plan in history, and youre going to pay nothing, theyd vote against it, folks.

Trump tweeted similar complaintsearlier Wednesday.

If we had even a little Democrat support, just a little, like a couple of votes, youd have everything. And you could give us a lot of votes and wed even be willing to change it and move it around and try and make it even better, he continued at the Iowa rally. But again,They just want to stop, they just want to obstruct. A few votes from the Democrats, seriously, a few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy, so beautiful, and youd have cooperation.

What Trump failed to mention is that Senate Democrats havent actually had the opportunity to even read the bill, which Republican senators have written almost entirely behind closed doors. The unprecedented lack of transparencyhas drawn outrage from Democrats, the media and the public, while Republicans have falsely claimed that Democrats engaged in similar secrecy while writing the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010.(Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he plans to release the text of the bill Thursday.)

Trump, who described the House version of the bill as mean, said Wednesday that he hopes Republicans will surprise the public with a plan with heart.

Reports, however, indicate that the Senate bill will be substantially similar to the one passed in the House last month. An estimated 23 million fewer people would have health care coverage under that bill, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of it.

And as HuffPosts Jeffrey Young points out, the bills intent, regardless of what the Senate version looks like, is already clear. The purpose of this bill is to dramatically scale back the safety netso wealthy people and health care companies can get a massive tax cut, Young wrote this week.

The president also mocked Democrats for failing to pick up seats in special elections in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday, singling out Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who narrowly lost in Georgias 6th Congressional District.

They thought they were going to win last night in Atlanta, he said. And theyve been unbelievably nasty, really nasty. They spent close to $30 million on this kid, who forgot to live in the community he was in.

Trump then acknowledged that his criticism may not be doing Senate Republicans any favors in winning over their Democratic colleagues.

I am making it a little bit hard to get their support, but who cares? he said.

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In Georgia, close isn’t nearly good enough for Democrats

(CNN)Winning isn’t everything in politics. It’s the only thing.

CNN called the race for Republican Karen Handel shortly after 10 p.m. ET, with her holding a lead of more than 10,000 votes over Democrat Jon Ossoff.
The race, which was to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in a seat Donald Trump carried by just a single point in 2016, was the most expensive in history — as both candidates, national parties and their associated super PACs dumped tens of millions into a seat widely seen as a barometer of the national mood. The final price tag on the race soared to north of $55 million.
    Both candidates’ messages were entirely nationalized as well. Ossoff sought to cast Handel, who had served as secretary of state in Georgia and run unsuccessfully for governor and Senate in recent years, as a tool of Trump. Handel similarly sought to link Ossoff to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
    Although Ossoff was heavily funded by liberal donors outside the state, he never cast himself as a progressive warrior — instead putting himself in the mold of a centrist problem solver.
    That was enough to get him 48% in the state’s “jungle primary” in May in which all of the candidates from both parties ran on a single ballot. But it was not enough to push him over the top in a one-on-one race with a largely inoffensive Republican in Handel.
    While the race will be heavily analyzed for national repercussions and lessons — and it should be, given how much money and message-testing both national parties did — this was also, in part, a local race. Handel was a known — if not beloved or maybe just be-liked — figure in the district thanks to her time in statewide office and her repeated unsuccessful runs for other offices.
    Ossoff was a newcomer who didn’t live in the district he was hoping to represent — a fact Handel and national Republicans made much of. (Nota bene: You don’t have to live in the congressional district you represent; you only have to live in the same state.) Neither was a very good candidate; Ossoff was stiff and robotic on the trail while Handel struggled to win over voters that, ideologically, should have been hers from the start.
    The national implications, however, will dominate the story coming out of this race.
    Special elections — given their usually odd timing — are almost always a battle of base intensity between the two parties. The people who turn out to vote in a June 20 special election runoff — two months(!) after the initial vote — are hardcore partisans. The game in special elections, then, is not persuading voters who aren’t sure about their views. It’s ensuring that the base is fired up and turns out.
    Everyone knew the Democratic base was ginned up beyond belief at the chance to send Trump a message about his performance in the first 150 days of his administration. The big question mark was whether the GOP base — perhaps worn down by Trump’s seemingly never-ending series of self-inflicted wounds — would be equally as intense.
    It turns out that they were motivated — as has been the case since at least 2010 — by the idea of Ossoff as nothing more than a Pesloi henchman. Republican strategists successfully convinced GOP voters that a vote for Ossoff was a vote for values anathema to their own.
    National Democrats will tell you that the race should have never been this close — and that Ossoff even threatening Handel suggests big trouble for Republicans on the ballot next November.
    But deep down they know they needed — and still need — a win in a high-profile race in which the fight was between Trump/Republicans and Pelosi/Democrats. Along with Archie Parnell’s loss Tuesday night in a South Carolina special House election, Democrats have now lost four straight specials this year where at least some within the party saw the chance for an upset. (Kansas’ 4th District and Montana’s at-large seat are the other two.)
    There are no moral victories in politics. No matter what the losing side says — and they always say this — the only thing that really matters when it comes to special elections is the “W” and the “L.”
    Had Ossoff won, he would have become an immediate national sensation for Democrats — proof positive that the Trump agenda was being rejected even in Republican-leaning seats in the south. Donations to the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees would have soared. Democratic candidates on the fence about whether or not to run in 2018 would have taken the Ossoff victory as a sign that the national environment was beginning to tilt heavily in their side’s favor.
    Now none of that will happen. Sure, it is still possible for Democrats to retake the House in 2018. As the May 2010 special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th District proved, a single race is not necessarily all that predictive. Democrats won that hotly-contested special only to go on and lose 63 seats — and the majority — less than six months later.
    But as important as what Democrats won’t get is what Republicans avoid: The full-scale panic that would have been triggered by a Handel loss. Had she come up short, any Republican incumbent in an even marginally competitive House seat would have immediately been on the phone to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Steve Stivers of Ohio fretting over how Trump was going to cost them their jobs.
    Those worries will disappear — at least for the moment — with Handel’s victory.
    So yes, this is one race. And history suggests there’s just as good a chance that it means nothing as there is that it tells us everything we need to know about Trump and the 2018 election.
    But Democrats are depressed and Republicans are rejoicing. And that tells you exactly why Georgia matters.

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    Aspect Ventures is raising its second fund

    Aspect Ventures, the San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm founded in 2014 by longtime VCs Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw, has begun raising its second fund, and the outfit is looking to raise up to $175 million, shows an SEC filing.

    The firm hasnt responded to questions about its fundraising plans, but wed guess that investors will line up quickly to fund the firm. In addition to the backgrounds of Fonstad and Gouw, who worked previously at DFJ and Accel Partners for 17 and 15 years, respectively, the team has assembled a promising portfolio, with bets that include millennial recruitment site The Muse, the on-trend fashion jewelry company BaubleBar, and the babysitting service UrbanSitter(which has proven a lifesaver for this editor).

    Aspect, which closed its debut fund with $150 million in 2015 and broadly focuses on Series A-stage millennial, health, and security startups, has also invested inVida Health, an app that pairs patients with health coaches; Exabeam, a data security analytics company; and Forescout, a cybersecurity unicorn.

    Many of the companies in its portfolio are too young to judge, though at least one, Birchbox, a subscription service, has reportedlystruggled to turn profitable in recent years.

    Aspect is also an investor in the hotel booking app HotelTonight, which was reportedly looking into an IPO as of last summer after trimming costs, including laying off some employees.

    Since founding the firm, Fonstad and Gouw (a six-time Midas Lister) have added several members to their investment team. These include principal Lauren Kolodny, who previously worked in product marketing at Google;Vishal Lugani, whod previously spent three-and-a-half years with Greycroft Partners; andAsad Khaliq, who previously worked as a management consultant at PwC.

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    Fathers Raising Children In The Worlds Largest Refugee Camp

    Earlier this year, UNICEF and photographer Jiro Ose visited Bidi Bidi and Kyaka II, two refugee camps in Uganda. While there, Ose photographed fathers and their young children who are striving to make a home no matter how difficult their current circumstance.

    Ose's series of photographs is part of #EarlyMomentsMatter, UNICEF's campaign seeking to illustrate the long term effects of early childhood experiences and environments.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, cradles his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru, as he sits with his one-year-old daughter Sarah Muguchi and his wife Margrat Achema, 24, in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. Born to Congolese refugees, Everest has spent his whole life in the settlement. There are only two health centres, 9 kilometres apart, and six early childhood development centres but with 26 villages in the settlement housing 24,000 refugees, 20 per cent of whom are between ages of 0 to 4, access to quality health and early education services can be limited, a situation Everest and his family are all too familiar with.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, cradles his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru, outside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. His wife Margrat Achema, 24, stands behind with their one-year-old daughter Sarah Muguchi. When my wife went into labour with Agnes, I took her to the health centre. When [Agnes] was born she was unconscious. They took the baby and my wife to the ward. After they discharged us, she wasnt like other children. Her neck was not stable. We were referred to a hospital three hours away, said Everest. Agnes suffered irreversible brain damage from being starved of oxygen at birth. In the same health centre where she was born, 100 babies are delivered every month, 16 of the deliveries are emergency cases and with the nearest theatre three hours drive away, the mothers and babies are at risk of dying on route.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, holds his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru and gentle pulls on her cheek to calm her inside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. Agnes cant talk, walk, or feed by herself. Everest carries her in his arms or lays her on the floor as he sits by her side. He feeds her with his hands, but even thats a struggle as she cant swallow well. All my children are a gift from God. I am willing and I will do it takes. I touch her face to comfort her. She likes to listen to the radio whilst shes laying down, said Everest. His advice to other parents in his situation is to be patient, they did not request this to happen to them. You must stay and work together for the sake of the child. Support each other in the home. I spend all my time with my child, I cant go to work because I have to take care of my child.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, (back right) his wife Delima Susan, 27, (left) his daughters Anit Gale, 13, (centre back) Gloria Confidence, 3, (front right) and Gift Daniella, 2 months sit together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. South Sudanese father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his wife Delima Susan, 27, were forced to flee to the settlement after violence erupted in Juba, South Sudan. The couple met when they were just 13 years old, having both spent their childhood living as refugees after their parents fled the Sudan conflict before they were born. They returned to their home country of South Sudan when the war prior to independence ended, but nearly six years later then were forced to return to Uganda. There was no food, we couldnt survive. We tried to remain in these conditions but inflation came and they worsened. We couldnt afford anything, which created another war against us. In July 2016, heavier war broke out. We couldnt tolerate it. Before we could leave we spent two days indoors without cooking or eating, said Idro.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, sit together stroking their chicken in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Despite only being open for less than a year, Ugandas Bidi Bidi refugee settlement is now the largest refugee camp in the world. Men are few and far between as women and children make up around 86 per cent of the camps residents. Idro promised his own father that he would get an education but the war forced him to leave a month before he was due to graduate from university in Juba. His wife, a former nurse, was forced to run without her papers, destroying everything theyd worked towards. We came to the reception centre in Uganda for our own safety. I couldnt get a plot of land because they were reserved for families of four and there were just four of us as my wife was pregnant with Gift Daniella. We spent a month in the reception centre, and then we were brought here to the bush. My wife harvested grass, I made bricks and we made our home. Im making a bed at the moment for my children,

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, play together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. My daughter asks me when are we going home, I hold her to my side, said Idro. If I cant fulfil for my family, I am not happy. Idro is a Village Health Team worker. He offers guidance to families on how to prevent malnutrition, an issue affecting the lives and growth of many children fleeing South Sudan. He learnt more about what children need in the earliest years of life through his role, but his foundation of knowledge was already laid during his own childhood. My mother was very lovely to me. She cared for my hunger. When I was sick, she cared for me. I learnt lessons from her. I love my mother more than anything. I see my wife growing into my mother, and I love her more than anything tooand my three girls.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, play together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Idro and his family dont know when they will return home but he is determined to make the settlement as homely as possible for his children. He is building a second house so that there is more space for everyone.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Single-father-of-four and Congolese refugee (centre front) Twana Hashim, 26, his twelve-year-old daughter Jalia Hashim (centre back), eight-year-old son Hussein Hashim (right), six-year-old son Jaida Hashim (left) and three-year-old daughter Malik Hashim sit outside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda, Monday 27 March 2017. Twana fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2016 to Uganda after his wife was raped in front of him and his children. I came to Uganda with my children. My wife was raped and taken by the rebels. I dont know where she is now. They tortured me and beat me. My children were there, they cried and shouted, says Twana. I have so many challenges for my children. I cant walk anymore, but I wake up and I get them ready for school, I prepare them lunch. I wash their clothes. This takes me to early evening. I remain with them in the home, and I give them advice. At 7pm they go to sleep, says Twana. Even if today we are in bad conditions, even if you dont have everything you want. Tomorrow is another day. I want them to be respectful. They tell me what they did at school and I feel good. Malik likes jumping. She stays with me until the others get home from school. They like to chase each other.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Matthew Mwingi Mukhtar, 22, (right) plays football with his son Tambwoa Collins, 4, (left) as his daughter Joyce Nam Kendo, 3, (centre) watches them outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda, Tuesday 21 March 2017. Surrounded by violence and a shortage of food, Matthew and his wife knew that their environment was no place for young children to grow up in. We left [South Sudan] because of the hunger, and the killings. They kill innocent civilians. You cannot move. The economic crisis caused food prices to go up. You find people killed in the road. We heard gunshots and I was worried I would lose my family, says Matthew.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Matthew Mwingi Mukhtar, 22, (second left), his wife Senya Rose, 19, (second right) their son four-month-old son Emmanuel Bgue, (right), son Tambwoa Collins, 4, (left) and daughter Joyce Nam Kendo, 3, sit together in their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. I keep my stress to myself, even my wife, I dont want them to worry. I dont want to make them unhappy. I want my children to know that their father loves them. Being a good father is being faithful to one another; you must be exemplary, so they can achieve; bringing them new things, playing with them, when you play with them they know you love them, said Matthew.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    South Sudanese refugee Michael Abel, 30, plays a game using pebbles with his children Rasheed Isbon, 4 (right), and Fizer Gloria, 2, (centre) outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. Michael arrived at the settlement with his wife Mary Michael and their two children in August 2016 after fleeing violence in South Sudan. The couple also care for their nephew Boniface Hussain, who was abandoned after his father was killed and his mother remarried.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Michael Abel, 30, hugshis daughter Fizer Gloria, 2, outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. This isnt the first time the family have been uprooted. Originally from Bor, South Sudan, they were forced to flee to the capital Juba, when intense fighting broke out in the worlds youngest state. The violence spread and once again the family was forced to flee, making their way across the border into Uganda. They will slaughter you. They even kill the small persons. They rape grandmothers and then slaughter them too. My brother was killed. They burn peoples houses. By the power of God we are still here, says Michael.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Michael Abel, 30, (back left) plays a game of cards with his children Rasheed Isbon, 4 (centre), and Fizer Gloria, 2, (left) alongside his wife Mary Michael, 24, (back right) and their nephew Boniface Hussain, 4, outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. Im not dead, so I will always continue to play. Playing helps children, says Michael, who is committed to giving his children what they need to develop I grew up as an orphan. I didnt get the chance to grow.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    South Sudanese refugee and father-of-five Anyano Simon Chira, 29, plays a game with the materials he has available to him with his children Onzima, 9, Emmanuel Prichi, 5, Anyama Godwin, 4, and Anzo Fortunate, 3, in the Pagirinya refugee settlement, eastern Adjumani district, northern Uganda. In March 2017, Anyano Simon Chira and his wife Susan Kiden Simon and their children live in the Pagirinya refugee settlement in the eastern Adjumani District in northern Uganda. The refugee settlement, which opened in June 2016, is home to thousands of families. Anyano and his family, who were given a 25ft by 25ft plot of land once they were registered and transitioned, were forced to flee South Sudan due to the ongoing conflict and shortage of food due to insecurity and a dramatic increase in prices for food items. Originally from Nimule, South Sudan – near the border with Uganda – the family do not know when they will be able to return home.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Anyano Simon Chira, 29, interacts with his six-month-old daughter in their shelter at the Pagirinya refugee settlement, eastern Adjumani district, northern Uganda. Families often face emotional stress as a result of the horrors they have witnessed, leaving them at risk of being unable to provide a positive environment for their children to grow up in. In emergencies across the world, UNICEFs Early Childhood Development centres provide a safe space for young children to play and give parents access to psychosocial support to make sure they are able to give babies and young children the love, good nutrition, protection and stimulation through playing that they need for healthy development creating a lasting impact on their present and future health, happiness, and ability to learn.

    Jiro Ose/UNICEF

    Congolese refugees (from right) five-year-old David Isabel, six-year-old Esteli Kayesu, two-year-old Mugenyl Alinaitwe, father Benjamin Kisembo, 38, three-year-old Priscilla Katinisa, and eight-year-old Joshua Byamukarma sit in their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda. Father-of-six Benjamin Kisembo lives in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda with five of their children. The Kyaka II settlement opened in 1983 to accommodate an influx of Rwandan refugees and is one of the oldest settlements in the country. Everest has lived his whole life in the settlement.At 81 square kilometers, the settlement is vast and sparse. There are two health centres, 9 kilometres apart, and six early childhood development nursery schools, but with 26 villages in the settlement housing 24,000 refugees, 20 per cent of whom are between ages of 0 to 4, access to quality health and early education services can be limited. Benjamin, who arrived at the settlement in 2003 after being forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a dedicated father who understands the impact that a strong parent-child bond has on his childrens development. I am always here for to bond with them. From conception to now, I am always here. In my tribe, this is normal, I have to take full responsibility. I think that by me treating my children with care, it helps them grow. It will stay with them, and one day when they get a family, they will do the same, says Benjamin.

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    New documentary carries on Leonard Nimoy’s legacy

    The late Leanard Nimoy (left) and Julie Nimoy, his daughter and writer of the new documentary.
    Image: Julie nimoy  and David knight

    The love for Leonard Nimoy lives long and prospers, but does the world really need two Nimoy documentaries, one from each of his biological children?

    Logically speaking, yes it does.

    Our films are very different, said Julie Nimoy, referring to her new documentary, Remembering Leonard Nimoy, and For the Love of Spock, the 2016 crowd-funded documentary by her brother Adam.

    The latter film focused on the sometimes-fraught relationship between Adam Nimoy and his father, Leonard, who played the iconic Star Trek vulcan Mr. Spock on TV and films for almost 50 years. It was also an examination of how Nimoy built the character of this seemingly emotionless and exasperatingly logical starship science officer.

    Our film really is a celebration of dads life Leonards life and his career and his struggle with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Julie Nimoy explained.

    Documentary co-writers and husband and wife David Knight and Julie Nimoy.

    Image: julie nimoy and david knight

    As originally envisioned, Remembering Leonard Nimoy, which premiered in April at the Newport Beach Film Festival and airs this fall on PBS, would have focused almost exclusively on COPD and the actors battle with the progressive disease. Nimoy and her husband David Knight had already made a handful of health-related films and saw an opportunity to continue Leonard Nimoys efforts to raise awareness about a disease that 11 million people, according to the American Lung Association, have been diagnosed with (though many millions more may have it and not even realize it).

    Leonard Nimoy, a two-pack a day smoker from the age of 17 until he was 55, was diagnosed with the disease in 2013. An intensely private man, he hid his condition from the public until he was spotted in a wheelchair and on oxygen at JFK airport.

    Julie Nimoy told me that, after talking to his second wife Susan, Nimoy decided to go public about his condition with Piers Morgan on CNN. That transformed him into an advocate who spent much of his last two years posting about the dangers of smoking and COPD on social media.

    Nimoy was aware of Julie and Davids plan to make a film. He gave his blessing. We thought he could narrate it, be a part of it, said Knight.

    Everything changed, though, after Leonard Nimoys death in February 2015 at 83. When Julie and David saw the outpouring of sympathy and intense interest in Nimoy, we thought, lets not just focus on COPD, lets make it a celebration of his life, said Knight.

    The Nimoy family.

    Image: julie nimoy and david knight

    Remembering Leonard Nimoy became a family film, exploring the relationships Leonard Nimoy had with his second wife, Susan, his children, Adam and Julie, his stepson, and six grandchildren. There is, naturally, a deeper look at the intense bond Julie had with her father.

    For many years, we had the same hobbies and likes, said Julie, who was 11 when Star Trek first aired in 1966 and her father became an unexpected international star.

    The documentary explores what that was like for Julie, but she also makes clear that she knew Nimoy the actor far outside the Star Trek stage.

    Leonard Nimoy loved the stage and, especially during the lean years in between the end of Star Trek the original series and the reboot of the Star Trek franchise on movie screens in 1979 spent years doing the summer stock circuit with him and her mom.

    A poster for the documentary, Remembering Leonard Nimoy.

    Image: Julie nimoy and david knight

    He was involved in theater work throughout the country. I went with him and my mom to pretty much every state, remembered Julie.

    Obviously, the film also explores Nimoys portrayal of Spock and how Julie witnessed the making of what is widely considered his most memorable Star Trek film scene.

    Trained as a Chef and caterer, Julie Nimoy worked on the set of Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn and watched as they filmed Spocks famous death scene (spoiler: he comes back in Star Trek III).

    I was there every day. [The documentary includes] my interpretations of my feelings on the set and the impact of that scene, said Julie.

    Even though the documentary will satisfy Trek nerds, it may be a deeper and sadder journey than Adam Nimoys film (Adam serves as consulting producer on the Julies documentary).

    It is an intimate look at his life and his passing. said Julie.

    Left to right: Adam Nimoy, Julie Nimoy, Leonard Nimoy and Susan Bay.

    Image: julie nimoy and david knight

    While they were never able to interview Leonard Nimoy for their documentary, the film does include footage from his last birthday on March 2014.

    I shot it with my phone, she said, I did not know it would end up in my film.

    The documentary chronicles Nimoys fast decline and his difficult decision to, when even the most aggressive therapies had failed, to decline further treatment.

    Julie recalled that, by late 2014, the actor couldnt breathe without oxygen.

    He made a decision about treatment, said Knight, Controlling his destiny.

    While Leonard Nimoy was a private person, he did enjoy his retreats, activities (photography, piloting) and time with friends, much of which COPD took from him.

    The disease may also be at the root of his break with Star Trek co-star and long-time friend William Shatner. In his own book about Nimoy, Shatner recounted how, in the last few years of Nimoys life, they lost touch. Shatner couldn’t pinpoint the root cause.

    William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (as Spock) on Star Trek VI.

    Image: Paramount/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

    I honestly dont know, said Julie when I asked her if she had any insight into the rift. Both she and David were aware that Nimoy and Shatner had drifted apart, but, said Julie, her father didnt get into detail. She also noted how supportive Shatner has been of her efforts to complete and promote her documentary.

    But then she added, It was really hard during last year and a half of [Leonards] life to be real social. He had this debilitating illness and found it very hard to breath, be active, and be around a lot of people.

    Perhaps, Nimoy just retreated a bit from his world as COPD began to curtail his activities, including spending time at his beloved Lake Tahoe home. The 6,000 ft. of the elevation made breathing on his own virtually impossible. The disease, said Julie, took away pleasure.

    Leonard Nimoy and Julie Nimoy on his boat at Lake Tahoe.

    For as difficult as some of the subject matter is, Remembering Leonard Nimoy is also a celebration of his life and will offer fresh insight into the personal side of Leonard Nimoy. Julie promises video and photographs that no one has ever seen, as well as an interview with Susan Bay, whom Nimoy married in 1989. She opens up about what it was like, marriage, health, what it impacted, said Knight.

    If nothing else, making the documentary, which airs this fall on PBS networks across the U.S. was a cathartic experience for its author, Julie Nimoy. It kept him close to me. It was good for me, she said, adding that it was also sad. There were a lot of hard moments looking back at all the old family photos and memories.

    Ultimately, Remembering Leonard Nimoy could work on multiple levels. Its a permanent record of the bond between a father and daughter and a call to action for smokers and others susceptible to COPD. My goal is to continue my dads mission to create awareness around this disease, said Julie.

    Bonus: Things you didn’t know about Star Trek

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    Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and other factors, coroner says

    Officials could not conclusively determine what caused the actors death in December

    Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors, but it was not possible to conclusively determine what caused her death, coroners officials have said.

    Among the factors that contributed to Fishers death was buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, the Los Angeles County coroners office said in a news release late on Friday. The release states that the Star Wars actor showed signs of having taken multiple drugs, but investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death in December.

    The agency did not immediately respond to a request for additional details about whether a full autopsy report and toxicology results were available.

    Fisher, 60, suffered a medical emergency on an international flight on 23 December. Her mother, longtime movie star Debbie Reynolds, died the following day.

    Fishers brother, Todd Fisher, said he was not surprised by the results. He added that his family did not want a coroners investigation of his sisters death. Were not enlightened. Theres nothing about this that is enlightening, he said.

    I would tell you, from my perspective that theres certainly no news that Carrie did drugs, Todd Fisher said. He noted that his sister wrote about her drug use frequently, and that many of the drugs she took were prescribed by doctors to try to treat her mental health conditions.

    Fisher long battled drug addiction and mental illness. She said she smoked pot at 13, used LSD by 21 and was diagnosed as bipolar at 24. She was treated with electroshock therapy and medication.

    I am not shocked that part of her health was affected by drugs, Todd Fisher said.

    He said his sisters heart condition was probably worsened by her smoking habit, as well as the medications she took. If you want to know what killed her, its all of it, he said.

    Todd Fisher said it was difficult to blame doctors who treated his sister because they were trying to help her.

    They were doing their best to cure a mental disorder. Can you really blame them? Todd Fisher said. Without her drugs, maybe she would have left long ago.

    Carrie Fisher made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit Shampoo. She also appeared in Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, Charlies Angels, Hannah and Her Sisters, Scream 3 and When Harry Met Sally …

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