Baltimore Area College Senior with Cerebral Palsy Plays Soccer Competitively

Kyle Kauffman does not let his cerebral palsy get in the way of his life.  He boasts a high school diploma and now, a dorm room at Stevenson University in Maryland. However, despite his optimistic attitude, there are still some things he has not been able to do until now – including playing soccer for his college team.

That recently changed.  Describing the game as “the most beautiful sport there is,” 21-year-old Kauffman represented his college when they honored the manager of their team – the Division III Mustangs.  According to Bradley Davis, team defender, Kauffman truly earned this right since he has been working hard for the team in other capacities and is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject of soccer. The fact that he wore No. 1 on his shirt when he went out onto the field was also perfectly fitting as Davis said “he’s No. 1 in my heart.”  Kauffman has been doing a ton of work for the team for the last four years, including laundry, ball inflating, and more; jobs he never complains about.  Naturally, Kauffman was very excited to go onto the field through the Mustangs’ tunnel’s swirling smoke and booming music.  He didn’t care if he scored or not; he just wanted to play, to be out there, be one of the guys. And the fact that everyone supported him attaining his dream, meant a lot to him.

According to Coach John Plevyak, Kauffman worked incredibly hard to get ready for this one game.  No-one sees him as “disabled.” As he explained, “I was born this way for some reason. I don’t know what it is yet, but you’ve got to take what you’re given and run with it.  Am I angry that I’m stuck with (cerebral palsy)? No. But when I see kids who waste the soccer talent they have, I do get mad at them. I won’t say so, but I’ll think it.”

At the end of the game, Kyle was “walking around on cloud nine,” which wasn’t surprising since the Division III Mustangs won 3-1.  But it wasn’t just about winning – for him it was about being there, partaking in his dream sport.  Kauffman is a true inspiration to others – whether disabled or not – to enjoy life as much as possible.  The players said they won’t forget him.  But senior midfielder Ryan Pierce said, “his parents told us they were glad that we had taken him in, but really, it was Kyle who took us in.”

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

The 11th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk was on Sunday in Baltimore. It started at 33rd Street in Ednor Gardens-Lakeside and was a four mile walk. 7000 people participated and they raised over $400,000 for breast cancer research.

The American Cancer Society was on hand at the walk, looking for recruits for its long-lasting prevention study. They are looking for health and lifestyle information from 300,000 Americans to help them to find clues about cancer and ways to battle it. The Society is half-way to its enrollment goals.

Many of the walking participants were wearing pink, the color for remembering breast cancer. They were walking in groups and showing support for those in need. Gloria Crockett, the state vice president of the ACS said that the annual walk in Baltimore usually brings in about 400 cancer survivors as part of the walk.  As Crockett said, “It’s about celebrating survivorship. And also, it’s about awareness.”

The next sign up location for the long-term study will be Harford County in November.

Baltimore Home to Endless Charities

Baltimore, Maryland, is a community rich in charitable organizations, ranging from Jewish efforts to a local Ronald McDonald House.

The latter, which provides a source of love, hope and respite for to critically ill children and their families, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this coming week. To acknowledge their dedication to the cause, the event will honor the Paterakis Family and McDonald’s with a Spirit of Children Award.

Marna Dahan, a mother who coped with a critically ill 12-year-old daughter, wrote:

“I wanted to just let you know how much Briele and I appreciate this ‘home’ and your staff as well as the volunteers and other family. This stay at the RMH makes it possible for us and other families to get through some difficult times with some smiles and laughs along the way. I am sure you know this, but your entire staff is wonderful here and very dedicated to what they do…”

Many other organizations work to improve on the community as well. The Chesed Fund, a Jewish organization founded by Frank Storch, aims to provide better emergency care and crisis response in the area. When the massive thunderstorms broke over Baltimore earlier this year, the organization’s volunteers provided heat, water, flashlights and even emergency generators to support medical needs. They also provided transportation and road-clearing services, so that ambulances and other urgently-needed vehicles could travel unhindered.

Other major charities in the city include Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Combined Charity Campaign, Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund and many others.

DuClaw Brewing Co. Moving to Baltimore County

DuClaw Brewing Co. has just announced that it will be leasing a 62,000 square foot space in Baltimore County as its new headquarters and brewery. They will move more than 20 employees from their Abingdon location to the industrial building at 8901 Yellow Brick Road in Rosedale, as CEO David Benfield reported.

Adding to the economy in Baltimore County, they are hoping to hire up to 35 more people for their production, distribution, sales and marketing jobs and to invest $3.8 million in the relocation.  They have been looking for a new spot for a year, during which their sales nearly doubled.

As Benfield said, “Our world’s changed from trying to convince people to try some of the crazy beers we make to having people push for us to make more kinds.”  They are projecting that they will sell 7000 barrels of beer this year, which is an increase from the 3700 they sold in 2011.

Certainly, Dan Gunderson, director of Baltimore County’s Department of Economic Development, is hoping that the move for DuClaw will signal more financial development for the country’s eastern side.

Luxury Apartments in Baltimore On the Rise

Though real estate has taken several hits over the past few years, the industry may be on the mend as people slowly increase their spending and the economy begins to recover as a whole.

South Baltimore is one neighborhood that is about to undergo some real estate changes. A high-end luxury apartment complex is being built at 1901 S. Charles St., and applications will be accepted starting next month.

The project, costing $32 million, is the first in the area. With 200 apartments and rent reaching $1,365, the flashy complex is reminiscent of those in Mount Vernon and Harbor East, according to Josh E. Fidler, CEO of the developer Chesapeake Realty Partners.

“We are introducing the best of modern apartment living to a vibrant, authentic, yet underserved Baltimore neighborhood,” Fidler explained.

Chesapeake Realty Partners aren’t the only firm to take particular interest in luxury apartments in the area; Storch Realty’s focus (founded in 1923 by Frank Storch) is “specializing in luxury apartment living in Maryland,” while investment firm Pangea Ventures recently announced it will be buying real estate in Baltimore because it is “so close to Washington, D.C.,” and “really is on the upswing in terms of what they’ve done politically and on the business side.” Pangea plans to invest between $50 to $100 million in apartment units in the city.

Baltimore Aquarium Teams Up with SUDS

The Baltimore Aquarium is responsible for more than just entertaining sweaty, electricity-less families this week; working with the SUDS diving program, it provides an outlet for amputee servicemen and women while working to strengthen their mobility.

SUDS is an organization that works to improve the quality of life of veterans who lost limbs while serving our country. The program sends the injured warriors to scuba dive at the Baltimore Aquarium, connecting them with the institute’s animals, including the giant sea turtle that is missing a flipper.

The program’s website explains their mission:

“Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, is designed to improve the lives of injured service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. By training the warriors in a challenging and rewarding activity it can help facilitate the rehabilitation process and promote mobility. Offering this venue provides the service member with a sport they can enjoy throughout their life.”