Jennifer Smyth: Paralysed Eglinton gymnast vows ‘to help others’
27 December 2016
Jennifer Smyth was a promising young gymnast from Norther Ireland but a fall during training in September 2013 changed her life forever.
At the age of 17, Ms Smyth was left with a broken neck and became quadriplegic as a consequence.
The Eglinton teenager has since made significant progress with her injury and hopes one day to walk again.
She attended a rehabilitation centre in America over the summer.
Jennifer was a member of Shooting Starz gym for eight years
Using bionic leg devices and a pacer, Jennifer was able to walk a few lengths of the gym.
“Effectively she took her first steps in America,” her mother Pamela told BBC Radio Foyle.
“The last few years have seen a great focus on faith and determination and I have incredible admiration for her strength of character and her refusal to allow this injury to beat her.
“We’re very, very proud of her. I couldn’t be more proud,” she said.
Jennifer started studying 3D design at the University of Birmingham in September and she hopes it will give her the tools to help people with similar injuries in the future.
“I want to get back to normality again, do most things that other people can do,” she said.
“With my course I want to go on and design prosthetics and exoskeletons to help other people in my situation with the physical aspect of things, continue rehab and get back up on my feet, so hopefully that will happen.”
Pope Francis on Sunday offered a Christmas hope for peace in a world lacerated by war and terrorism, urging people to remember migrants, refugees and those hit by economic instability caused by “idolatry of money.”
Francis, marking the fourth Christmas season since his election in 2013, also urged Palestinians and Israelis, facing renewed tension after a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements on occupied land, to have the courage to put aside hate and revenge and “write a new page of history.”
His traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message was linked by a common thread of war, violence and suffering at a time that should be defined by harmony and peace symbolized by the infant Jesus.
“Peace to those who have lost a person dear to them as a result of brutal acts of terrorism, which have sown fear and death into the hearts of so many countries and cities,” he told some 40,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Security was heightened for the Christmas weekend in Italy and at the Vatican after Italian police killed the man believed to be responsible for the Berlin market truck attack while other European cities kept forces on high alert.
“Today this message (of peace) goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace,” he said, speaking in Italian from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
He called for peace in Syria, urging immediate assistance to the exhausted population of the city of Aleppo, which Syrian government forces recaptured last week after four years of devastating fighting with rebels.
“It is time for weapons to be still forever (in Syria), and the international community to actively seek a negotiated solution, so that civil co-existence can be restored in the country,” he said.
Francis, the first Latin American pope, also said Christmas should inspire everyone to help the less fortunate, including migrants, refugees and those swept up by social and economic upheavals.
“Peace to the peoples who suffer because of the economic ambitions of the few, because of the sheer greed and the idolatry of money, which leads to slavery,” he said.
At his Christmas eve Mass on Saturday, Francis said the feast had been “taken hostage” by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows. On Sunday, he also called for an end to “fundamentalist terrorism” in Nigeria, a reference to Boko Haram, which has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state. .
Francis further appealed for an end to tensions between the government and opposition in Venezuela, for harmony in Colombia, which recently ended a civil war with FARC guerrillas, and an end to strife on the Korean peninsula and in Myanmar.
I have always been curious about different languages. I like to know (and understand) a few important phrases in the language of what ever country I happen to be in. It is just respectful. My goal in life is to continue to learn languages and become fluent in a few.
Afrikaans – “Geseënde Kersfees en ‘n Voorspoedige Nuwe Jaar.”
Arabic – “I’d Miilad Said Oua Sana Saida”
Argentine – “Felices Pasquas Y felices ano Nuevo”
Armenian – “Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand”
Basque – Eguberri on
Bohemian – “Vesele Vanoce”
Breton – “Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat”
Bulgarian – “Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo”
Chinese – [Mandarin] – “Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan”
Chinese – [Catonese] – “Saint Dan Fai Lok”
Cornish – “Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth”
Croatian – “Sretan Bozic i Nova Godina” (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year)
Czech – “Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok”
Danish – “Glædelig Jul”
Dutch – “Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar”
Inupiaq Eskimo (Kotzebue area in NW Alaska)-
Quvianagli Anaiyyuniqpaliqsi suli Nakuuluni Ukiutqiutiqsi-
(Merry Christmas) (and) (Happy New Year)
English – “Merry Christmas”
Estonian – “Haid joule ja head uut aastat”
Farsi – “Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad”
Happy New Year in Filipino
“Manigong Bagong Taon”
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in Filipino- “Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon”
Finnish – “Hyvaa joulua”
French – “Joyeux Noël”
German – “Froehliche Weihnachten”
Greek – “Kala Christouyenna”
Hawaiian – “Mele Kalikimaka”
Hebrew – “Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova”
Hindi – “Shub Naya Baras”
Hungarian – “Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket”
Icelandic – “Gledileg Jol”
Indonesian – “Selamat Hari Natal”
Iraqi – “Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah”
Irish – “Nollaig Shona Dhuit”
Italian – “Buone Feste Natalizie”
Japanese -” Shinnen omedeto, kurisumasu omedeto.
The first part is translated “Happy New Year.
Kurisumasu omedeto means Merry Christmas.
Japanese people generally add the expression gozaimasu to indicate humility.
Korean – “Sung Tan Chuk Ha”
Latvian – “Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu”
Lithuanian – “Linksmu Kaledu”
Navajo – “Merry Keshmish”
Norwegian – “God Jul”
Pennsylvania German – “En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr”
“Z Rizdvom Khrystovym i Novym Rokom !” – both greetings together.
Vietnamese – “Chuc Mung Giang Sinh”
Welsh – “Nadolig Llawen”
Yugoslavian – “Cestitamo Bozic”
“It’s a Small World” is the theme song of the attraction of the same name. It was written by the Sherman Brothers in 1963. A cover version is performed by Baha Men for the Around the World in 80 Days soundtrack.
“Children of the World” was the working title of the attraction Walt Disney only called “the happiest cruise that ever sailed” (and never It’s a Small World). The attraction’s tentative soundtrack design featured each national anthem, playing all at once, which resulted in a cacophonous noise. Walt demonstrated the miniature mock-up to his staff songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman. As he and the Sherman Brothers walked through Walt said, “I need one song.” A single song for the attraction which could be easily translated into many different languages and which could be played in round. The Sherman Brothers wrote “it’s a small world (after all)” in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which influenced the song’s message. They first presented “it’s a small world (after all)” to Walt by singing in counterpoint while walking through the mock-up. In the spirit of international unity, “it’s a small world (after all)” was sung and recorded in various studios around the world – by a church choir in London, TV performers in Mexico City, a school chorus in Rome, and by local children from Tokyo and California.
It is argued that this song is the single most performed and most widely translated song on earth. The song tune and lyrics are the only Disney creations never to be copyrighted, as UNICEF requested, and can be heard worldwide on musical devices ranging from keyboard demos to ice cream trucks, it remains “a gift to the children of the world.”
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears There’s so much that we share That it’s time we’re aware It’s a small world after all
There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone Though the mountains divide And the oceans are wide It’s a small world after all
Nineteen-year-old Jourdan Duncan graduated from high school last spring and took a job working the late shift at Pro-Form Laboratories in Benicia, California, while he saved money for college. Because his job was five miles away from his home and because his car had broken down and he “didn’t want to burden anyone with a ride,” Duncan walked more than two hours each way, every day. This past fall, Corporal Kirk Keffer was on a late-night patrol in an industrial-park area of Benicia when he saw Duncan walking home. It was around midnight, and seeing a teenager in the area was a surprise. He asked Duncan if he was stranded and learned that he was not — that Duncan walked to and from work nearly five hours each day. Keffer offered Duncan a ride home. During their time together, he learned a lot about the teenager, including his dream of becoming a police officer. Inspired by their meeting, Keffer told his colleagues about Duncan and his incredible work ethic. He also told them that he wanted to help Duncan. Keffer’s colleagues wanted to help, too. The police officers chipped in and purchased Duncan a $500, brand-new mountain bike. And after Keffer presented the bicycle to a stunned Duncan outside of his work one day, the two continued their friendship. More recently, the Benicia Police Officers’ Association launched a GoFundMe page for Duncan that has raised more than $35,000 to help him save money for school.
Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier. Ladies man, game slayer, and outlaw Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here. Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers. The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn’t do it, he would make sure he could.
Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli. Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background – but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.
As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor. At the age of 26 he planned to circumnavigate the world – instead, he ended up spending 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama. In 1974, he founded the Quincy Rugby Club. In his thirties, he sustained a knife wound after saving a woman from being mugged in New York City. He didn’t slow down: at age 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest. Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).
He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important – the simplicity of living a life with those you love. Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine. His acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love over any material possession was only handicapped by his territorial attachment to the remote control of his Sonos music.
Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.
Of all the people he touched, both willing and unwilling, his most proud achievement in life was marrying his wife Emily Ayer Connors who supported him in all his glory during his heyday, and lovingly supported him physically during their last days together.
Absolut vodka and Simply Orange companies are devastated by the loss of Connors. A “Celebration of Life” will be held during Happy Hour (4 p.m.) at York Harbor Inn on Monday, December 19.
In lieu of flowers, please pay open bar tab or donate to Connors’ water safety fund at http://www.thechrisconnorsfund.com.
Published in Seacoastonline.com from Dec. 13 to Dec. 16, 2016
Each of us does not exist as an island. It takes a community. Working together towards common goals.
Portsmouth is a pretty great place to live, to raise a family and to own a business in. I am a big believer in supporting local businesses year round. There are so many wonderful businesses out there.
In the past I have done a scavenger hunt with my businesses. Encouraging my employees to go out and visit local businesses. To realize that “we are all in this together”.
This year I am taking part in the SECOND ANNUAL PORTSMOUTH BUSINESS SECRET SANTA. What a great Idea! Not only is someone going to give my business a present- I get to find out about other businesses! I want to go in, look around, get to know them so that I can secretly leave meaningful gift.
HOW IT WORKS
YESTERDAY, a hat with all of the participating names was sent to the box office at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre. I went down at lunch at drew a name.
Obviously I am not going to tell you who I picked until AFTER Christmas.
Price Range for gifts – $25 – $40
I am excited to get to know more people and businesses in the community.
YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO DO THIS AROUND YOU!
Businesses who participated:
Sneak Peek Baby Boutique
Firefly Pottery LLC
South Street and Vine
The Music Hall
The Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce
Edge Streaming Radio
The River House
Community Toolbox, Inc.
Nick Gray Builders LLC
Left Bank Films
Rocket Fuel Only Screenprinting Co.
Puttin’ on the Glitz
Portsmouth Escape Room
CJ Physical Therapy and Wellness
The Clip Joint Barbers
Vanity Hair Studio
PPMtv – Portsmouth Public Media
Port City Makerspace