Tag: news

Overcoming All Odds: Young Special Olympics Athlete with Rare Disease Takes Home The Gold

(BPT) – At this year’s Greater Fort Worth Area Special Olympics games in Texas, Steven Striegel overcame all odds when he took home a gold medal in the bowling competition. For the 20-year-old from Little Elm, Texas, the achievement meant so much more than simply hanging another medal on the wall.


This summer, as Steven was gearing up for a local Special Olympics softball competition, he experienced a seizure that caused him to fall onto a concrete sidewalk and fracture his jaw in two places. Doctors said he wouldn’t be able to play sports for the next eight weeks while he recovered – a devastating blow for Steven, who had been training for months.

The seizure was a result of Steven having tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, a rare genetic condition that affects between 25,000 and 40,000 people in the US. Steven was diagnosed with TSC at three months old after his parents, Mandy and Scott Striegel, took him to a neurologist when he started having seizures called infantile spasms.

“When Steven was first diagnosed we were relieved to finally have an answer about what was causing the infantile spasms. But at the same time, it was scary because no one had ever heard of TSC,” said Mandy.

TSC can affect multiple parts of the body, including the brain, kidney, skin, heart and lungs. TSC affects people to varying degrees, from very mild, where patients have only a few symptoms and live normal lives, to severe. However, the disease is unpredictable, and manifestations can occur throughout a patient’s lifespan, so regular monitoring by a multidisciplinary healthcare team is important for every person affected by the disease. Steven has kidney and brain tumors as well as lesions on his face and is monitored by a team of physicians specializing in TSC to ensure his tumors are not growing and becoming dangerous to his health. In addition, he often experiences seizures like the one in late July that can affect his ability to perform everyday activities, but his parents say the Special Olympics helps their son cope with his condition.

“It’s important for Steven to compete for many reasons – it keeps him active, gives him a tangible goal and reinforces the importance of sportsmanship and being a team player,” Scott said. “Steven’s positive spirit and determination to continue competing despite a severe injury is a true inspiration to his family and friends.”

Now the Striegels are helping to raise awareness of TSC by teaming up with Novartis, in partnership with the TS Alliance and the Special Olympics, by sharing Steven’s inspiring story. Visit tscathletes.tumblr.com to learn more about TSC and Steven’s journey.

Hitting The Slopes for Less This Winter: Stretching Your Ski Vacation Dollar

(BPT) – With the Olympics right around the corner, skiing is on a lot of people’s minds. While ski trips can get pricey quickly, there are ways to give your budget a lift. This article provides seven simple tips and tricks that can stretch your dollar and get you slopeside for a fraction of the price.


“It’s not unusual for ’ski vacation’ to be synonymous with ‘expensive getaway,’” says Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for the travel booking website Orbitz.com. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. These seven simple tips and tricks can stretch your dollar and get you slopeside for a fraction of the price.”

 * Borrow your ski equipment. One of the big expenses of a ski vacation – especially for new skiers – can be gearing up. Tap friends and family to borrow ski gear for your trip – from coats and ski pants to ski boots and snowboards.

* Travel’s new rule: Pack light. Most airlines let you travel with a ski bag as one of your checked bags. Just be conscious of the weight allowance and take as much as you can in a carry-on bag to avoid extra fees.

* Choose an easily reachable resort. Flying into to smaller airports can mean heftier prices and inconvenient connections. Look for ski resorts that are within close proximity of major airports where there is more airline competition. Ski destinations like Keystone and Breckenridge are both family-friendly and an easy drive or shuttle ride from Denver International Airport.

* Location, location, location. While slopeside hotels let you walk out your door and hop on the lift, opting for lodging a little farther from the mountain can save you cash. And most ski resorts offer free shuttle services with stops throughout town, so getting to the lifts is not a hassle.

* Discount lift tickets. If you’re a student or a senior, be sure to bring identification to take advantage of any discounts available. And for those who enjoy sleeping in, you can opt for half-day or evening lift tickets that are discounted compared to full-day passes.

* Timing is everything. Many travelers end up paying too much for a ski vacation simply because they choose to vacation when everyone else does. In general, lift tickets and lodging will be most expensive over Christmas and New Year’s, MLK weekend, the President’s Day holiday and spring break during the month of March. Prices are relatively low in the early season, which occurs November through mid-December. They will often drop again in April, after spring break. The month of January is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets to skiing on a budget. After the December holidays, you’ll find plenty of snow without the crowds, typically resulting in lower lodging rates.