Soldier who lost 4 limbs opening retreat to help others

Soldier who lost 4 limbs opening retreat to help others

by The Associated Press

ROME, Maine — Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills awoke in a hospital on his 25th birthday to learn that an explosion in Afghanistan had robbed him of all four limbs. He later told his wife to take their daughter and their belongings, and just go. He didn’t want her saddled with his burden.

“She assured me that’s not how this works,” Mills said, “and she stayed by my side.”

Family support aided his recovery, Mills said, and now a foundation he created is bringing others with war injuries and their families to Maine to continue their healing while surrounded by others who understand what they’ve gone through.

The retreat at the lakeside estate of the late cosmetics magnate Elizabeth Arden will be dedicated this weekend after an overhaul that included accessibility upgrades.

Mills uses his personal story to offer encouragement: “I don’t look at myself and pity myself. I tell people to never give up, never quit, and to always keep pushing forward.”

The soldier’s life changed abruptly on April 10, 2012, when a bomb that evaded detection detonated when Mills unwittingly dropped his backpack on it.

The blast disintegrated his right arm and leg, shredded his wrist and blew several fingers off. His left leg dangled.

As life drained from him, Mills used what was left of his remaining hand to make a radio call for help for the others.

“My medic came up to me and I tried to fight him off, saying, ‘Doc, you’re not going to save me. There’s really no reason to keep trying. It’s OK. I accept what happened. Just tell my family I love them, and don’t waste your time,”‘ he told The Associated Press.

At the field hospital, his remaining leg came off with his pants as he was undressed for surgery. Two days later, his left arm was removed.

When it came to recovery, Mills said, the support of his family was just as important as top-notch medical care. His wife remained with him. Their 6-month-old daughter lifted his spirits. His father-in-law lived with him at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and oversaw construction of a home adapted for his disabilities.

“Without my wife and daughter, I can’t tell you that I’d be sitting here today doing as well as I’m doing,” he said. “That’s why we do what we do. Because we believe there is more healing with the family and other people in the same situation.”

His wife, Kelsey, pregnant with their second child, said her husband has been competitive since his days as high school football captain in Vassar, Michigan. He was always the “life of the party,” she said, which helps to explain his charisma, enthusiasm and constant jokes.

“He’s always had a strong drive, and getting injured was like a challenge to him to overcome it,” she said.

These days, he travels 165 days a year, delivering motivational speeches, and it seems there’s little he can’t do thanks to grit and advanced prosthetics. He’s gone skydiving, participated in adaptive skiing and mountain biking, and paddled on lakes. He’s written a book, “Tough As They Come.”

The retreat is an extension of Mills’ work at Walter Reed, where he lifted others’ spirits while recovering from his wounds over a 19-month period.

This summer, 56 families will be served free of charge.

They’ll kayak, go tubing and fish, allowing injured soldiers and Marines to see that they don’t have to sit on the sidelines during family activities, Mills said.

Nearly $3 million in cash and in-kind contributions have gone into the camp, building on a pilot program. Mills hopes to raise enough money to create a permanent endowment.

Craig Buck said his son-in-law knows that not all injured military personnel have received the same family support. “This is his way of paying it forward,” Buck said. “That’s the reason we built the retreat.”

The Associated Press | June 22, 2017 at 1:41 am | Tags: AP | Categories: PMN NewsPMN World | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-595lU

No it is never the time for murder

National Post | News

Canadians must begin to debate whether we are prepared to embrace “therapeutic homicide,” says an editorial in the nation’s leading medical journal.

A recent report from an all-party committee of the Quebec national assembly recommending medical assistance to die is moving the debate over euthanasia “from theory toward practice,” says the just-published editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Which way will legislation go? Will the rest of Canada follow? Those who care about the answers to these questions must speak up now, and with conviction.”

[np-related]

The editorial comes days after a B.C court stuck down Canada’s ban on doctor-assisted suicide, ruling it unconstitutional, and granting a B.C. woman dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease the right to a medically hastened death.

In March, Quebec’s Dying with Dignity commission recommended that rules be established to shelter from prosecution doctors who offer terminally-ill patients “medical assistance to die.”

The Criminal Code…

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CRITICALLY IMPORTANT

The Chart

Judging by the ruckus that followed TIME magazine’s cover story of a woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old (while standing up), one might think that mothers are nursing young boys and girls all the time.  But the statistics show the opposite is true.  

According to the latest CDC statistics 75% of new moms start out breastfeeding their new babies,  but by 6 months, only 44% still are and only 15% are exclusively breastfeeding. By the time a child is a year and a half old, only 8%  are still being nursed.  Now a new study sheds some light on why many moms are not meeting their goals for exclusive breastfeeding.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, finds that many women plan to exclusively breastfeed their babies, but once the baby is born, they can’t do it as long as they had hoped.  Researchers asked 1,457 women who were in their third trimester if they intended to exclusively breastfeed…

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National Post | Full Comment

Politicians jumping aboard the anti-bullying bandwagon tend to ignore some of the obvious potential unintended consequences of legislation, such as the bills currently being considered at the Ontario legislature. One is that by defining bullying incredibly broadly — for the sake of the children, of course — and demanding a crackdown, they are effectively inviting schools to punish or expel children in circumstances that, subject to dispassionate individual analysis, might seem extreme. It’s a perennial cycle: bad things happen; politicians demand “zero tolerance” solutions; different bad things happen; politicians demand an end to “zero tolerance” solutions.

But you don’t often see as spectacular a case of unintended consequences from anti-bullying efforts as the Ottawa Citizen reported today. In an activity designed — one can only assume — to bolster empathy among students, “almost 60 girls in Grades 4 to 6 … were asked … to write a secret on a…

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The Chart

Editor’s note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. This week Krystal Greco, 16, shares her story about pursuing her passion despite a life-changing injury.

Ever since the age of four, I’ve been a horseback rider.  It never occurred to me that a day might come when I wouldn’t be able to ride. But March 7, 2010, was that day.

It was a normal Sunday afternoon. As usual, I had woken up late. I was showering and started feeling some cramping in my lower back, which wasn’t uncommon because I was being treated for a stress fracture in my lumbar spine. I was out of the shower and partially dressed when it happened — the explosion of pain.

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