Cheers and Jeers

Cheers — To Kelly Sullivan, who has turned personal misfortune into inspiration for others and potentially financial help for people who suffer from the same medical condition she has battled for nearly seven years.

Sullivan, 26, has Neurofibromatosis Type 1, which has caused more than 1,000 tumors to grow throughout her body. After a group of friends helped raise money for surgery for her, she decided to start a blog, "Tumor Hater," channeling her love of writing into a positive force. She sells merchandise on the bog as well, including T-shirts and bracelets. She hopes eventually to earn enough to help others with the condition pay their medical bills.

Cheers — to the response of Rogue Valley residents to the plight of a Grants Pass man who faced the loss of his eyesight and his livelihood without surgery he could not afford. After a story about Marc Botello appeared in the Mail Tribune in December, donations came in, and local eye surgeons donated operating space and staff. Today, Botello enjoys 20-30 vision and is once again able to care for his aging mother and his dog.

Jeers — to a bill before the Oregon Legislature that would penalize sick people because some lawmakers want to crack down on perceived abuses of the state's medical marijuana law. Senate Bill 777 would eliminate cancer and many of its symptoms as conditions eligible for treatment with marijuana. Nausea would be a qualifying condition only if it resulted from chemotherapy. Cachexia — the wasting, weight loss and lack of appetite associated with AIDS and other conditions — would not longer qualify.

We've said before that the medical marijuana system in Oregon needs work. But letting legislators play doctor is not the answer. Leave the prescribing to those qualified to do so and address the weaknesses in the distribution system.

Cheers — to the family of a veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II for looking up a Marine Corps buddy who saved their father's life. Unfortunately, Norman McMahan of Medford had passed away by the time Brent Verwers tracked him down. McMahan was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in saving Verwers' father, Cornie Verwers, on March 6, 1945.

A letter from Brent Verwers reached McMahan's widow, Dorothy, in time for Christmas.

Cheers — to ex-Southern Oregon University student Jennifer Harlow, who pursued her passion for drawing to the California Institute of the Arts — working for months to hone her skills after the school initially rejected her application — and now helps create big-screen animated movies as one of the youngest cartoonists at DreamWorks Animation studio.

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