Sending a message

Local students helped share an important message recently, both physically and verbally.

As part of the Great American Smokeout, to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, 16 students from St. Peter’s Lutheran School worked with Healthy Communities on Nov. 16 to clean up discarded cigarette butts along Fourth Street in downtown Columbus. That environmental act of kindness made the area cleaner. The same day, about 60 North and East students spoke with fifth-graders at local elementary schools to discuss the dangers of tobacco, opioids and prescription drugs.

Awareness about the dangers of smoking is vital, and instilling the message at a young age makes a lasting impression. The students did just that.

Good opportunity

Local residents can gain additional insight on the local opioid abuse problem by attending a session with multiple speakers at 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Columbus Learning Center, 4555 Central Ave. Speakers will include those work at the scene of drug overdoses: a fire department emergency services coordinator/battalion chief, a hospital emergency room director, a police officer/deputy coroner, and a patient care coordinator/emergency room nurse.

The session, organized by IUPUC students, is worth attending considering how the opioid problem has grown over the past several years, and the number of local overdoses and overdose deaths in Bartholomew County this year. Plus, it ties in well with previous public information sessions about the scope of the problem and local initiatives to combat it.

Local residents would be wise to consider attending. The more people who take an active role in this community problem, the more likely it is to be overcome.

Providing hope

A story of hope and courage will be shared this holiday season, and a Rockcreek Elementary School first-grader will be delivering it. Harry Grammer, 6, and his family are sharing his experience battling neuroblastomas to raise awareness about childhood cancer.

Harry, the son of Tom and Ashley Grammer of Columbus, is the face of this year’s “Gift of Hope Happens Here” campaign for the Riley Children’s Foundation, which raises money for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Harry’s cancer journey started Nov. 18, 2016, and has included two stem cell transplants, chemotherapy and radiation. The good news is that his final scheduled in-patient day will be in early January, and doctors give him a 60 percent chance of long-term survival.

We commend the Grammers for sharing their difficult, personal story in an effort to inspire other families of children dealing with cancer.