WBEZ | StoryCorps http://www.wbez.org/tags/storycorps Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Breaking the silence about being bipolar http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141024 Andrea Tim_bh (1)_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Andrea Lee was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 20 years ago, she wanted to talk about it all the time.</p><p>&ldquo;Everywhere I went, I would introduce myself and I would try to work in - maybe in the second or third sentence of that conversation &ndash; &lsquo;By the way, I have Bipolar Disorder.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Eventually, though, she realized that people treated her differently.</p><p>&ldquo;So I stopped talking about it,&rdquo; Lee says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>Now Lee wants to talk about it again.</p><p>She came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center earlier this month with her husband, Tim Fister.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember in high school sitting at the lunch table with my friends,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo;and there was all this commotion around me and I couldn&rsquo;t hear any of it&hellip;And I remember just putting my head down and feeling so&hellip;empty.&rdquo;</p><p>Later that day, she drove to her family&rsquo;s home and parked in the garage. &ldquo;I was crying and crying. I left the car on and I remember thinking: I could just close the door and I wouldn&rsquo;t have to feel this pain anymore.&rdquo;</p><p>She sat in the car, contemplating suicide. She imagined how her mother would feel when she got home and saw her body slumped in the driver&rsquo;s seat of the car.</p><p>Lee&rsquo;s parents are from Korea and Lee says, &ldquo;There&rsquo;s such a culture of shame in Korea that people would rather suffer in silence then let the world know that they&rsquo;re in pain and that they need help.&rdquo;</p><p>Lee turned the car off and went inside the house.</p><p>Soon after she saw a psychiatrist who prescribed anti-depressants to her. Within a few weeks, the drugs helped lift her spirits. The sky was bluer and the sun was brighter. But what she didn&rsquo;t realize was that she was quickly spiraling into mania.</p><p>A short time later, Lee experienced her first manic episode, and the police brought her to a mental health facility.</p><p>&ldquo;So through all of this stuff that was going on, I&rsquo;m just curious: Did you have anyone to talk to frankly?&rdquo; her husband, Tim Fister, asks. &ldquo;&rsquo;Cause it sounds like your parents were out of the picture.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, I don&rsquo;t think that in that state of mind I was really able to connect with anyone,&rdquo; Lee says. &ldquo;What was it like for you when you met me and I started telling you about my own mental illness?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t really that big of a deal. It was maybe a little bit of a relief &lsquo;cause on both sides of my family there&rsquo;s a fair amount of various levels of mental illness. So it didn&rsquo;t bother me&hellip;that much. You know it&rsquo;s something you think about in terms of the logistics. I still think about that even today, especially now that Juniper&rsquo;s born. What are we going to do if such a thing were to happen? But you know when it&rsquo;s coming. You know the signs. And you know what to do.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So we&rsquo;ve been married for nine&mdash;no, we&rsquo;ve been married for four years, but we&rsquo;ve been together for nine years, but you&rsquo;ve never seen me in a manic state. How do you feel about that?&rdquo; Lee asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very possible you might never have another manic episode again,&rdquo; Fister says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re lucky that you found the right combination of meds&hellip; And you have a good support system. You have a good doctor now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You know for a long time I didn&rsquo;t want to have a child because I didn&rsquo;t want that child to go through that,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo; but then also selfishly if that child committed suicide I didn&rsquo;t know how I would live. I didn&rsquo;t know how I could live with that knowledge: That I knew what that experience was but still decided to get pregnant and to bring a life into the world where that could happen.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So what turned it around?&rdquo; Fister asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that I&rsquo;ve experienced things in our relationship together that made me feel like that chance was worth it,&rdquo; Lee says.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 Young couple prepares for the birth of their first child http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141017 Meg and Bobby Hart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Megan and Bobby Hart met after college, while preparing to do the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso.</p><p>Three years ago, they got married. And now they&rsquo;re on the cusp of yet another adventure.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna have a baby,&rdquo; Bobby says, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;Very soon,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;Tomorrow I will be 37-weeks pregnant, so that is considered full-term. The baby could come any time now.&rdquo;</p><p>As if that weren&rsquo;t enough excitement, they bought their first home a month ago, and Bobby is spending all his time getting it ready.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m hoping that the child doesn&rsquo;t come for maybe another four weeks,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;to allow us to really do all the work that needs to be done on the house&hellip;I mean I love this person who&rsquo;s coming into the world but I don&rsquo;t want them to come just yet. I want a solid four more weeks if I can get it. Three would be acceptable. Please no sooner than two.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What makes you think we are ready to be parents?&rdquo; he asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if we&rsquo;re ready,&rdquo; Megan says.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we are ready enough because there&rsquo;s a lot of love in our house so I think there&rsquo;s plenty of room for a new person to come into it and be loved and supported. And I think we&rsquo;ve also traveled, we&rsquo;ve gone to school. We&rsquo;ve kind of settled down and I think we&rsquo;re ready to bring somebody else into our lives now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not woefully underprepared,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;but how do you know if you&rsquo;re really ready for this new experience that you&rsquo;ve never had? I&rsquo;ve never even really babysat. So this is really something that it&rsquo;s tough to say that I&rsquo;m absolutely prepared for.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What are you most looking forward to with this child coming into our lives?&rdquo; Meg wants to know.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, gosh! This is the person I get to hopefully teach the lessons that I think are really important. And maybe expand and move those things. I&rsquo;m excited to be able to have a relationship similar to the one that my father and mother have with me. All those sorts of cultural things you take from your parents. I&rsquo;m looking to be on the other side of that equation. And share those with a son or daughter. What about you?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking forward to that relationship,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;You know I love you very much. But the way that our parents love us, I&rsquo;m excited to experience that love for somebody that is uncontrollable and overwhelming. I already feel it a little bit but I can&rsquo;t wait to meet the person.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We hope we do a good job,&rdquo; Bobby adds.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m confident we can do it,&rdquo; Meg says.</p><p>&ldquo;I am too.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958 Vietnam veteran's combat experiences left him disillusioned with the war http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/vietnam-veterans-combat-experiences-left-him-disillusioned-war-110888 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-141001-Barry-Romo-bh.png" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;One-third of the casualties in Vietnam were because of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), because of bombs and booby traps,&rdquo; Barry Romo, 67, said while recording this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p><a href="http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/vietnam-war-history/videos/barry-romo">Romo is a Vietnam veteran</a> who lives in Chicago and is associated with the group, <a href="http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=189">Vietnam Veterans Against the War.</a> Earlier this week, Romo spoke about how his wartime experiences changed him.</p><p>&ldquo;Part of my job was to pay money to people who would bring back unexploded rounds,&rdquo; Romo said. &ldquo;The U.S. dropped more explosives on Vietnam than in the Second World War and 11 percent of those bombs were duds. And the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese would literally saw them in half, get that explosive and make mines to blow up Americans.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;One day, there was an explosion on the other side of the base, and what had happened was two or three or four Vietnamese children were bringing back a white phosphorous artillery round to get paid a buck and something happened to it just as they were reaching the base and two or three of the children literally ceased to exist. And one little girl was left, somewhere between the ages of 10 and 14. And she was bleeding, and in pain, and her clothes had been burned onto her. And I took off my poncho, wrapped her in that, and put her on the floor of the helicopter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And we flew to where there was a giant military hospital. I jumped out with the little girl in my arms. And I ran to an attendant. He was a white Caucasian male. And he took one look and said, &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t treat Vietnamese nationals here. You&rsquo;re going to have to take her to the Catholic orphanage.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And we got into the helicopter and I put the girl on the floor again. And she whimpered like a little kitten in pain. The pilot landed and there was a Caucasian woman. And I jumped out, put the little girl in her arms and we flew off&hellip;I don&rsquo;t know whether she lived or she died.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We had been told, &lsquo;You&rsquo;re going to Vietnam to fight for the future, for freedom and democracy.&rsquo; And here was a little girl whose friends had all died. And it didn&rsquo;t matter. The only thing that mattered was the color of her skin and the shape of her eyes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;But the way you deal with combat is: You get through the night and then you get through the day and then you get through the night and then you get through the day. You put those things away, not to revisit them until you get back to the United States.&rdquo;</p><p>Romo lost a nephew, with whom he was close, fighting in Vietnam as well. And the experience of bringing his body back to the United States from Vietnam shook him to the core.</p><p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t admit the war was wrong to begin with. It took me a year of doing drugs and drinking and not sleeping.&rdquo;</p><p>Romo survived and became an active member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. But for some veterans, the memories of their combat prove too much to bear.</p><p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/21/us/22-veteran-suicides-a-day/">According to the VA,</a> an average of 22 U.S. veterans kill themselves each day. <a href="http://veteranscrisisline.net/About/AboutVeteransCrisisLine.aspx">A crisis line created specifically for veterans has fielded more than a million calls </a>since it began in 2007.</p><p>Since Romo finished his military service, the VA has made an effort to address the issue, as evidenced by a <a href="http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-Data-Report-2012-final.pdf">2012 report from the Veterans Administration</a> compiling veteran suicide data.</p><p>But Romo is convinced the issue is far from over. &quot;Twenty-two vets a day are killing themselves,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Twenty two vets. And it&rsquo;s important because when the war ends, it doesn&rsquo;t really end for the people who fought it or who are victims of it.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/vietnam-veterans-combat-experiences-left-him-disillusioned-war-110888 Friends describe love's endurance after alcoholic husband's death http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/friends-describe-loves-endurance-after-alcoholic-husbands-death-110855 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140926 Lisa Sophia bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall - and George H.W. Bush&rsquo;s &ldquo;thousand points of light&rdquo; speech - two young American women became close friends while serving in the Peace Corps in Hungary. Lisa Jurkovic and Sophia Forero were assigned to the same village for their two year stints. And during their stay, Lisa met another Peace Corps volunteer named Nick. Recently, Lisa stopped by the StoryCorps booth to talk with Sophia about the impact Nick had on both of their lives.<br /><br />&ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t you meet him playing volleyball?&rdquo; Sophia asks. &ldquo;Do you remember looking at him and thinking he was kind of cute?&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Black hair, fabulous green eyes,&rdquo; Lisa says. &ldquo;He was absolutely the life of the party. He was the one who wanted to go out for pizza afterwards. He was the one who gathered everybody together. If somebody felt bad, he made that person feel better. I liked how honest he was, and open, and friendly. He always made sure that I was happy.&rdquo;<br /><br />Lisa and Nick spent every weekend together, travelling by train, to meet one another.<br /><br />&ldquo;When did you realize this person was someone who was going to be special to you?&rdquo; Sophia asks.&nbsp; &ldquo;Two months in,&rdquo; Lisa says.</p><p>&ldquo;Was there anything in Nick&rsquo;s behavior that made you think that the road with Nick might be difficult?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Nick had a very hard time enjoying anything without drinking.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;When you married him, did you ever imagine that ten years into your marriage he would become more withdrawn or as withdrawn as he became?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe that anyone sets out in a marriage predicting anything like that. I&rsquo;m 46 now. It&rsquo;s easy to look back. And at 24 the heart wants what the heart wants.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s really true, isn&rsquo;t it?&rdquo; Sophia sighs. &ldquo;For the last three years of his life, he was slowly just drinking himself to death.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It became impossible for him to be in the house,&rdquo; Lisa says. &ldquo;He refused to seek help for eight years. And he was a liability. He was wrecking cars and it couldn&rsquo;t go on.&rdquo;</p><p>Sophia says, &ldquo;And you basically made the decision in order to make sure that your children&hellip;&rdquo;<br />&ldquo;&hellip;were safe,&rdquo; Lisa finishes.</p><p>&ldquo;Do you ever really think about how much courage that took? Are you able to process that?,&rdquo; Sophia asked.</p><p>&ldquo;It had to happen,&rdquo; Lisa responded.</p><p>&ldquo;I know, but do you realize how important it was for your children? He drove me crazy like a brother, but there&rsquo;s a part of me that really loved him,&rdquo; Sophia recalled, &ldquo;And there&rsquo;s a part of me&hellip;I just wanted to shake him and say: Just do this! Why can&rsquo;t you do this?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Because his pride would not allow it,&rdquo; Lisa says.</p><p>&ldquo;You know that you loved him very much,&rdquo; Sophia says. &ldquo;You know that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I still do,&rdquo; Lisa says.</p></p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/friends-describe-loves-endurance-after-alcoholic-husbands-death-110855 HIV diagnosis leads two friends down different paths http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hiv-diagnosis-leads-two-friends-down-different-paths-110823 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-140919-Mark-Rick-bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;Drug addiction is really exhausting,&rdquo; Mark S. King says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago&rsquo;s Loop, in conjunction with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association&rsquo;s annual convention. &ldquo;I was here in this very hotel maybe eight years ago, and was in a room upstairs for five days and never left my room.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Why&rsquo;s that?&rdquo; his friend Rick Guasco asks him.</p><p>&ldquo;Because I had a crystal meth pipe in my mouth and was smoking and injecting crystal meth for five days.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s kind of surprising to hear you say that,&rdquo; Guasco says. &ldquo;So how did you fall into it?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What happened to me&hellip;It was about 1996 and we had just gone through 15 years of pure hell in the gay community, with AIDS. And I had certainly seen that. I had lived through the &lsquo;80s as an HIV-positive person in West Hollywood. And in 1996, at long last, we had these medications that came out&hellip;and for the first time almost since the crisis began the dying seemed to almost stop in its tracks.</p><p>&ldquo;And It was kind of at that nexus of new medications beginning and gay men looking for a reason to celebrate. And it wasn&rsquo;t long until crystal meth started creeping into that equation, creeping into our community.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s where drug addiction takes you: It makes your world very, very small. You keep shutting out everything else and you&rsquo;re left in a small room, in a hotel room, with you and the drugs and nothing else.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Those of us who have lived with HIV for a longtime&hellip;We came out of it one or two ways: Either we came out of it with a strong sense of empathy and sadness and wanting to do our best to help and understand. Or you come out of it with a real sense of judgment and bitterness, as if this is a new phenomenon amongst young people.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I do feel a little sad and scared for younger gay men. I&rsquo;m not judgmental. I worry for them,&rdquo; Guasco says. &ldquo;I had developed Kaposi&rsquo;s Sarcoma&hellip;the spots. And there were more of them on my legs, and I started to get nervous, worried. And I fell into the sense of denial. The first spot came in May. I didn&rsquo;t get tested until December. And a week before Christmas that year, I found out that yes, indeed, I was HIV-positive.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We have two HIV warhorses here,&rdquo; King says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re learning as we go along. And that&rsquo;s what I try to keep in mind when we are speaking to other gay men, young or old, about how best to get a handle on this epidemic.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hiv-diagnosis-leads-two-friends-down-different-paths-110823 Gay journalist battles Boy Scouts in court for 18 years http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140905 Noel Tim bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1970s, Tim Curran loved camping. When his best friend joined the Boy Scouts, Curran signed up too. He rose up through the ranks, achieving scouting&rsquo;s highest honor, Eagle Scout, during high school.</p><p>Curran, who is gay, came out when he was a teenager. His troop was supportive of him. But after his senior year, he was featured in a newspaper story with his prom date, who was also male. And the newspaper found its way into the hands of some higher-ups within the Boy Scouts, who decided to take action against Curran.</p><p>These days Curran works as a journalist with CNN, but three decades ago, he found himself in a very different position, as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Curran was in Chicago recently for a convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, when he stopped by the StoryCorps booth with his partner, Noel Parks.</p><p>Curran was a freshman at UCLA, when he got a letter at his dorm. &ldquo;I opened it up and it was from the council executive, the head guy of the local scout council, the Mt. Diablo Council. And it said, &lsquo;Your application to attend the national jamboree is rejected. And we need to have a conversation about your future participation with scouting.&rsquo;</p><p>So I called the council executive from my dorm room and I said does this have something to do with the article in the [Oakland] Tribune? Does this have something to do with the fact that I&rsquo;m gay?&rdquo;</p><p>And he sort of hemmed and hawed and said &ldquo;Well, yes, and we can talk about it at Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p>So that&rsquo;s what happened. My mother and my stepfather [and my troop leader] and I met with this council executive guy over Thanksgiving vacation and we had this lengthy conversation the gist of which was, &ldquo;Do you still espouse homosexuality?&rdquo; And I said: &ldquo;If by that are you asking whether I&rsquo;m still gay, the answer is yes.&rdquo;</p><p>And he said, &ldquo;Scouting does not believe that you have the moral qualifications to be a leader. And so we are revoking your registration in scouting, we&rsquo;re revoking your registration in your troop.&rdquo; And he said knowing that my troop knew that I was gay and was perfectly happy to have me. So that was the end of that.</p><p>I just remember shaking with anger at the injustice of it, but also sort of impotent to do anything about it. But also knowing that you&rsquo;re talking with this guy, it&rsquo;s a civilized conversation and you just have to keep cool and act like a scout would act.</p><p>And so in April of 1981, we filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. We meaning myself and the ACLU of Southern California.<br />It was a trial with testimony, and both sides, my friends in scouting getting on the stand and me getting on the stand, and the council executive, all testifying.</p><p>And the judge at the trial ruled against us, so we appealed. And 18 years almost to the day after we filed that suit, I lost.</p><p>But I have to say that I think it&rsquo;s very much made me a better journalist.</p><p>Because unlike nearly all of the people I&rsquo;ve ever worked with in journalism, I know what it&rsquo;s like to be on the other side of the mic.<br />I volunteered for that. But it has very much informed the way that I treat others and the way that I concern myself with accuracy. Because I heard my story misreported a million times, and knew how the little details could be gotten wrong. And so I really struggled &ndash; much to the annoyance of my editors - to get those details, the nuances right, even though sometimes it takes more time to tell a story that way.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 Sept. 11 through the eyes of an NYU undergrad http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-140912-Asha-Joseph_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;You know sometimes when you&rsquo;re in your house and a big truck will drive by and kinda shake the house? That&rsquo;s what it felt like,&rdquo; Asha Veal Brisebois says to her husband, Joseph, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Asha was in her bedroom at New York University&rsquo;s South Street Seaport dormitory, a five minute walk from the Twin Towers, when she felt her whole room rattle. &ldquo;And then I felt it again, and our suitemate opened the door and she was like: &lsquo;Something&rsquo;s going on.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brisebois and her roommates gathered in the living room, turned on the TV and saw what was happening: Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. &ldquo;It was weird. The only reference point that we had was those Denzel Washington movies, or those big Hollywood movies, where it&rsquo;s like, &lsquo;The terrorists have attacked.&rsquo; And no one quite knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>One of Asha&rsquo;s childhood friends called to see if she was okay. Asha said she was, and asked her friend to call her parents. As soon as she hung up, Asha&rsquo;s cell phone went dead.</p><p>Asha and her roommates started to panic. They lived on the fourteenth floor and someone suggested moving to a lower floor for safety. One of them had friends on the third floor, so they went downstairs. Their friends didn&rsquo;t answer and so the girls knocked on the door to the apartment next door. Three strangers let them in, and together they watched news reports on TV.</p><p>&ldquo;It was fine&hellip;Then it got weird when the Towers started to fall,&rdquo; Asha said. &ldquo;We felt it before we saw it on TV &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if there was a delay - and then the windows would go dark. So it was just kind of: You feel it, you see it on TV, and then the windows go dark... And it happened twice.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;At one point the RA came and knocked on the door and was like: You have to leave. Everyone&rsquo;s afraid that all of downtown is going to fall&hellip;.Everything&rsquo;s unstable.&rdquo;</p><p>The air outside was dirty and Asha began to worry about her asthma. She asked to borrow a shirt from one of the men whose apartment they were in, so she could breathe into it. She was delayed and lost her friends in the chaos of the evacuation.</p><p>She walked for a while and eventually found herself in the school&rsquo;s gym, where she was reunited with her friends by chance. One of her roommates had Asha&rsquo;s asthma inhaler in her purse and had insisted on waiting for her outside of their dorm. Asha didn&rsquo;t see her, but the gesture was still meaningful.</p><p>&ldquo;You have your best friends from college&hellip;Those are my friends forever &ndash; people that took care of you like family on the worst of worst days&hellip;That&rsquo;s your family. Those are your friends. You stay with each other. You look out for each other.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 Hepatitis C survivors bond over advocacy work http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hepatitis-c-survivors-bond-over-advocacy-work-110754 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140822 Alan Lucinda bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In 1988 Lucinda Porter checked into a motel room and took a massive overdose of Tylenol.</p><p>Her organs began to fail and her liver was completely gone. She survived, but she needed blood transfusions. And six weeks later, she started feeling tired.</p><p>Eventually she was diagnosed with non-A, non-B Hepatitis. &ldquo;Hepatitis C didn&rsquo;t even have a name yet. It would be another year before it would,&rdquo; Porter says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Porter was joined in the Chicago booth by her friend and fellow Hepatitis C survivor Alan Franciscus.</p><p><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm">Hepatitis C</a> has been in the news a lot lately. An expensive new drug called Sovaldi has the potential to cure people of the disease. But the costs are extraordinary, and<a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-illinois-allocates-84-000-drug-for-hepatitis-c-1407114940?mod=rss_Health"> state Medicaid plans are still tyring to figure out how to pay for it.</a></p><p>Both Porter and Franciscus have been cured of the disease, but their experiences offer a window into the effects - both good and bad - that Hepatitis C can have on a person&rsquo;s life.</p><p>Franciscus ran a support group for people living with the disease, and in time he invited Porter to write a monthly column for the group&rsquo;s newsletter. Porter went back to school and became a nurse. And she continued to learn about the disease from Franciscus and others.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things we hear about Hepatatis C is that there are no symptoms,&rdquo; Franciscus says. &ldquo;Did you have any symptoms?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I did and I didn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Porter says. &ldquo;Like many people, you find out what the symptoms are and you find out later. And I think that was why meeting you changed everything because suddenly we were talking about it. And we compared notes and we found out that neither one of us could remember anything, we both had brain fog. &nbsp;And we were both tired&hellip;Everything changed.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can you expand on that a little,&rdquo; Franciscus asks, &ldquo;about meeting kindred spirits and people we become so close to?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I remember one time working in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco,&rdquo; Porter say. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t do much, because I was a nurse walking around in San Francisco, It wasn&rsquo;t like I had a mobile van with me. I was with other outreach workers. But I got to make a difference for that moment. I got to look in their eyes for that moment.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And here we are, we&rsquo;re both cured,&rdquo; Porter continues. &ldquo;We both went through treatment and both of us continued to do advocacy while we continued treatment.&rdquo;</p><p>Treatment for Hepatitis C can be variously depressing or agitating, depending on the drugs you&rsquo;re given. Patients often are subject to either rage or malaise. But, Porter says, &ldquo;When I&rsquo;m open, it invites you to share your suffering. And we can carry it together.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though she&rsquo;s cured, Porter says, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to forget the memory of it...and I want to help others.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hepatitis-c-survivors-bond-over-advocacy-work-110754 Wheelchair-bound couple describes budding romance http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140808 Greg Rebecca_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve actually known each other for six years,&rdquo; Rebecca Wylie says while talking to her boyfriend Greg Anger in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center. They met on Facebook when he was a freshman at the University of Missouri, her alma mater.</p><p>&ldquo;I was in the hospital and I was not sleeping, and Greg was the only one on Facebook at one in the morning, and it kind of just turned into a romance.&rdquo; &ldquo;You&rsquo;re a tough egg to crack, let me tell you,&rdquo; Anger says.</p><p>Wylie is working towards a Law Degree from Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on health care. She is also a quadriplegic, and uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t born with my disability,&rdquo; she says. &rdquo;I was seven years old when it happened. So I do know what it&rsquo;s like to ride a bike and run around.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What about you?&rdquo; she asks Anger, who is getting a Master&rsquo;s in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and who also uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t had the experience of riding a bike like everyone else.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Everything that I&rsquo;ve gotten in my life is somehow connected to me being disabled,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;Which is weird because it&rsquo;s not something that I like to use to identify myself, like, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the wheelchair basketball player,&rsquo; or &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the guy in the wheelchair.&rsquo; And I don&rsquo;t really like that per se, but then again everything I have gotten in my life is because I&rsquo;m disabled. I wouldn&rsquo;t have went to the University of Missouri to play basketball. I wouldn&rsquo;t have started talking to you.&rdquo;</p><p>And it&rsquo;s the talking to each other that has helped sustain both of them through difficult times.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of hard for me to put into words,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;She has a wonderful heart and personality.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just very accepting of who I am regardless of any of my abilities or disabilities,&rdquo; Wylie said.</p><p>&ldquo;Living with a disability provides so many daily challenges,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And you have no idea what those challenges are going to be because everyday the challenge is something different. Dealing with that and pushing through it, are the hardest and most rewarding things.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s really nothing we can&rsquo;t do together,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re gonna get me to move back to the freezing cold Midwest, you can pretty much do anything because I will tell you that that was not on my plans and now there&rsquo;s nowhere I don&rsquo;t want to be as long as you&rsquo;re there too.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 Survivor of sexual abuse inspires others to speak up http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140801 Sheila Murphy Barbara Blaine_bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Barbara Blaine was in eighth grade when she was sexually abused by a priest at her Catholic grammar school in Ohio. She felt responsible, that she had caused a good, holy priest to sin.</p><p>Last week, Blaine sat down with her friend and mentor, retired Judge Sheila Murphy in the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the trauma that led her to create a network of survivors of sexual abuse by priests.</p><p>Blaine asked church leaders to ensure that the priest who abused her would be monitored, and would not come into contact with children. To her surprise, he began working at a hospital where kids sometimes went unsupervised.</p><p>Around that same time, Blaine&rsquo;s father had a stroke and wound up in the same hospital where the priest worked. When she asked the head of pastoral care to make sure the priest didn&rsquo;t come by her father&rsquo;s room, she discovered that he was not being monitored, and &ldquo;It was like a knife going in my stomach,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I felt so betrayed. I immediately started wondering: If they lied about this, what else did they lie about? I learned much later that he had actually continued to abuse many more girls over the years. And it&rsquo;s heartbreaking because I feel somewhat responsible.&rdquo;</p><p>In the years that followed, Blaine spoke up about the abuse she suffered, and encouraged others to do the same. As some people spoke up, others came forward. Each year, Blaine says, the victims&rsquo; group got stronger, despite denial and minimization on the part of church leaders. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t even have cellphones or the internet back then,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But we found each other, and we wrote letters and called.&rdquo;</p><p>Thus began<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/"> SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests</a>. The group will hold its<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/2014_conference_schedule"> annual conference in Chicago</a> this weekend (August 1-3, 2014) with special guest speakers, including Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke and historian Garry Wills. StoryCorps will be on hand to record survivors&rsquo; tales.</p><p>Over its twenty-five year history, SNAP leaders have proven adept at getting their story to the public. In 2011,<a href="http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/survivors-network-of-those-abused-priests-v.-joseph-ratzinger,-et-al"> SNAP leaders, working with the Center for Constitutional Rights</a>, asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict and other high-ranking Catholic clergy with Crimes Against Humanity for their alleged role in the cover-up of sexual abuse in the church. The International Criminal Court chose not to charge them at that time, Blaine says, but said they would take notice, should SNAP or CCR desire to bring additional evidence. The United Nations&rsquo; Committee Against Torture and Committee on the Rights of the Child both issued scathing reports, Blaine says, saying some church leaders care more about the reputation of predatory priests than the protection of children. On Pope Francis, Blaine said, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s set up a committee about sexual abuse. He&rsquo;s held a meeting. He&rsquo;s met with some victims. But we don&rsquo;t see him doing simple things like turning over all the records he has about sex crimes. Turn over those records to police.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Most survivors want to remain anonymous,&rdquo; Blaine said. &ldquo;And they have every right to their privacy. But sometimes, keeping things private makes it a little more difficult to do fundraising or hold public meetings. And the other thing is people frequently perceive us as being anti-Catholic. And to be honest, I think someday when history looks back on our movement, people will say those survivors speaking up made the Church safer.&rdquo;</p><p>Children remain at risk in many countries, she says, including the United States. But the goal of SNAP is to make sure that risk lessens with each passing year. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the hope,&rdquo; Blaine said, &ldquo;that our efforts will protect another generation of children.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590