Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · I am so blessed to be here....
. . . .

I am so blessed to be here. Holly Werlein

Kelsey Lauer - August 3rd, 2009
‘I Am So Blessed To Be Here’

Organ recipient Holly Werlein to
compete in Australia for World Games

By Kelsey Lauer 8/3/09

After what felt to her like a week-long nap, 24-year-old Holly Werlein
woke up with a new liver.
“Mine was definitely a different story than most transplant people. I just
happened to be in the right place at the right time,” she says of her
transplantation procedure.
While she was at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for an unrelated
appointment, her sister noticed that Werlein’s eyes were yellow. After a
test revealed elevated liver enzymes, doctors admitted Werlein to the
hospital. Three days later, her memory of events ended.
“My parents told me that I was getting so sick that… ammonia was building
up in my brain and that was why (I didn’t remember),” she says. “They
finally did a liver biopsy on me and I had 20 percent function. You have
to have 40 to live.
“They put me first in the nation for a liver on the waiting list. I got
one in eight hours, which is absolutely amazing, because people wait years
and months. I am so blessed to be here.”

Three years after her transplant, Werlein is now healthy and is taking
full advantage of her new lease on life. A dedicated athlete prior to her
transplant, she is now planning to participate in the World Transplant
Games in Australia, Aug. 22-30.
“I’m just excited. So many opportunities that I never thought came out of
this unexpected transplant, and so I’m just excited to go experience
Australia,” she says. “I am going to be doing volleyball, either indoors
or beach, and the 50 fly and relay swim.
“I’ve always been a huge athlete, and in high school -- I graduated in
2003 from Gaylord -- I was actually female athlete of the year in my
graduating year. I did swimming, volleyball and soccer. I just prayed I
would be able to do the same things after, and I can.”
Bev Cherwinski, a single lung recipient who leads the Transplant Support
Group of Northern Michigan -- of which Holly is a member -- says that all
the members of the group are very excited for Holly.
“She is so cute and so good at what she does, which is everything,”
Cherwinski says. “She’s got to get in there and do some more promoting for
us. I’m sure she’ll do great. We’re very proud of her, couldn’t be
prouder. I’m sure she’ll just add to it. We have all the confidence in

Werlein also participated in the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh,
where she received two gold medals in swimming and two silver medals in
“I met a lot of wonderful people who I still keep in touch with. It was
probably meeting everybody and the atmosphere of the games,” she says of
her favorite part of the Transplant Games. “It didn’t matter if you won. I
had no idea what to expect. I mean, winning was great, but it was more or
less like the people that came in last, not last but that finished,
because that’s a big deal. There are people there up to probably 80, you
know, and so for the person who finished last, everyone’s clapping,
everyone’s cheering really loud.”
The normality of the scene, she says, was what struck her the most.
“It made me cry, just to watch that transplant people can live a normal
life. I mean, I’m 24 years old and I live a normal life. No one would
expect that I would have had (a liver transplant). It’s just amazing what
organ donation can do, and I’m trying to promote (it).”
Now, Werlein spends most of her spare time trying to promote organ
donation; many people who can donate organs don’t realize that they are
eligible, according to her.
“I think people are unaware of organ donation. I really just want people
to sign up on the (organ donor) list,” she says. “It’s so easy; you can
even go to the web site, Gift of Life Michigan, or you can go to the
Secretary of State. It saves lives, and you can live a normal, healthy
She said that she was more than one of 340 “Buddies” at the April 8 “Buddy
Day” who spent the day promoting organ donation in Secretary of State
offices across Michigan. More than 17,672 people joined the Michigan Donor
Registry during the April “Donate Life Month,” according to a Department
of State press release.
“(Donating organs) can save eight lives and change the lives of 50
people,” she says.
“It’s just amazing what it can do. I want everyone to be aware of how
wonderful it is, and I’m promoting it the rest of my life. Please sign
She’s doing a good job of it, too, according to Cherwinski.
“One of her great dreams is to become an advocate for organ and tissue
donation,” Cherwinski says. “She’s a great speaker on the subject. I’ve
been trying to get in touch with whoever to see if we can’t get her into
the promotional part of this organ donation, make a living at it. I hope
that comes true for her.”

Werlein is currently raising funds to cover the cost of her trip to
Australia. E-mail hwerlein@hotmail.com for more information.

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