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HISPANIC (B)

Nuestra Comunidad: Local Hispanic women crochet for a cause

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Ladies of Crochet is a group of Hispanic women in Atlanta who gather every Tuesday in January to make and donate hats for babies who are born with heart problems in the month of February. The project is headed by Marcy Ramos, a Mexican entrepreneur who also offers sewing and crocheting classes to groups of women throughout the rest of the year.

“There are 10 of us in the group. Last September we began knitting for babies who suffer from shaken baby syndrome, and thank God we made 365 hats,” said Ramos.

Her work with this project led to an interest in collaborating with the American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation. Every year, both organizations seek out individuals who can knit red hats for babies born in February. The hats help to send a message to parents, to empower them to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same, according to AHA.

Ramos has participated for almost a year with the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” project, which is offered throughout the country. Her desire to help extends to her group of students.

“Today we’re making hats for babies with heart conditions, and we meet every Tuesday in this bakery for three hours. They send me an address, and the whole group starts working, then we send it to the hospital,” said Ramos. “Other times we have sent them to Ohio. We take care of the shipping costs ourselves.”

Some of the women even knit at home, in their spare time, added Ramos, who insists that the project is a group effort of women who hail from all over Latin America.

“Colombians, Salvadorans, Mexicans … we have learned from each other how to come together and help one another,” assured Ramos.

The women also collaborate on other projects.

“About three years ago I got the idea to make hats for women with cancer. I went to a cancer prevention walk, and I realized there weren’t very many Latinas. So, with my little group of friends and students, I started reaching out to more women to come together. From there we made sashes and we handed them out at the walk,” said Ramos.

The group also works with programs which serve the elderly and children with financial needs.

“We just donated 50 hats to low-income children, and it was very exciting, because we donated toys, but they were more interested in the hats, to stay warm. It’s very rewarding, because when I tell my knitting group that we are going to make hats for a cause, they go to work and are enthusiastic,” explained Ramos.

Ramos’s husband even helps with the initiative. “He keeps a bag of hats in his car, and he gives them to people who might be cold and need one,” she said.

Ramos, who resigned from her regular job eight years ago to start a business and dedicate herself full time to knitting, said that the time she spends knitting with her group is therapeutic and helps her to develop meaningful relationships.

“It helped me to relax, to focus on something, more than anything else. It was like therapy for me,” said Esther Moreno, a Mexican woman who has known Ramos for two decades. .

For Claudia López, also from Mexico, the feeling is mutual.

“I was drawn to knitting. I’m not that great at it, but I love doing it, because it’s a ‘destresser.’ I can relax and learn. I come to spend time with Marcy and my friends. I love it,” she said.

Each Saturday look for a feature story from our media partners at Mundo Hispanico that highlights an aspect of the Hispanic community. For a closer look at its content, go to www.mundohispanico.com or contact editors and reporters directly at 404-881-0441.



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INDIAN (H)

Delhi state government takes a step forward for rare diseases

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Delhi state government takes a step forward for rare diseases

New Delhi: As an important step towards expediting the process of providing treatment to rare disease patients, the Delhi state government, in the High Court, has proposed the setting up of a Technical cum Administrative Committee for rare diseases.

It will also set up a state corpus for the treatment of rare disorders. The government of India has allocated Rs. 100 crore corpus for these disorders under the national policy for rare diseases and would contribute funds towards the states in the ratio of 60:40.

One of the significant mandates of the committee include identification and accreditation of institutions which will carry out the diagnosis and treatment of rare conditions. Moreover, there will also be a Rare Disease Board and will review the patient applications and handle other technical details.

The same would then be forwarded to the state technical committee which will accordingly decide upon the funding of a particular patient. The applications which the state board will review would be submitted at a website which is being created by the central government as a part of the national policy.

Commenting on the development, Social Jurist Advocate Ashok Agarwal said, “This is a very encouraging step by the state government for ensuring that the patients receive timely treatment. What would now be done is that patients’ applications would now be processed by the state level technical committee and would then be sent to the central technical committee. This way, the process would be streamlined and will result in providing the patients treatment without further loss of time.”

The committee would include senior doctors from renowned institutions like AIIMS and MAMC and will be chaired by Principal Secretary (Health). With respect to the amount required for the initial corpus, the representatives from AIIMS and MAMC would provide an estimate on the basis of the current load of rare disease patients at the respective institutions.

The High Court has directed that the committee and rare disease board meet once every three months.



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