Neighbors Next Door Donna O’Shaughnessy Underwater Explorer By Caroline Barrett
There is an entire world under the sea. It’s a peaceful beautiful place, one Donna O’Shaughnessy of Glenmont loves to visit and is humbled and grateful each time she’s there. Long before she became a scuba diver, though, she was a little girl who grew up poor. “We didn’t have swimming lessons, or dancing lessons. No vacations or summer camps. There was no money for anything extra,” she says, “Everything we did, we created for ourselves.” “I started working full time when I was 14. At 17, I got a job working for New York State. Thirty-seven years, later, I’m still in the same department.” The lure of a steady, comfortable income kept Donna at her job. But she always felt the urge to try something diﬀerent. To be out of the ordinary. She dreamed of being a truck driver, a state trooper; anything diﬀerent. Donna found herself in the U.S. Army Reserves. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very out-ofthe-ordinary now but thirty years ago, it was unheard of. She was among the first women to ever train alongside men in the history of the U.S. military. While in the reserves, she traveled to many foreign countries and was rewarded for her service. She earned a commendation, several ribbons and three promotions. Donna worked in Cuba with refugees and in the yearly Reforger Operation in Germany. With the rank of Staﬀ Sergeant, she was honorably discharged just before the Gulf War. There was much change and personal growth for Donna over the 37 years working for the state. She earned her bachelor’s degree taking classes in the evening. She wanted to own her own home, so she worked part time in retail, saving money until there was enough for a down payment. The house purchased was a twofamily, giving her financial stability and the satisfaction of home ownership. It wasn’t until a friend asked her what she was planning on doing after retirement, that she found her passion. 20
Until then, Donna had many things she enjoyed. There was work, friends, family and taking care of her house. But a passion? She didn’t have one. Years went by, and she never forgot the conversation. And she still hadn’t found anything worth being passionate about. Life changed for Donna when she met her husband Dennis. They married when she was 49, and he introduced her to the world of scuba diving. An established and confident diver, he opened the door to something new and completely unexpected for her. She watched his underwater videos, feeling both excitement and fear. “The images I saw were amazing and there was such beauty. I had never seen anything like it before,” she remembers. Donna was willing to try diving. She traveled with her husband to Lake Champlain, where he held her in his arms like a small child. Feeling safe with him, she used a snorkel and mask and there, in that lake, had her first taste of what lay under the sea. She was hooked ... this was what she had been looking for her whole life. “I knew I wanted to dive. But first, I needed to learn how to swim.” At the age of 50, Donna went to the Bethlehem YMCA and learned to swim. She learned how to float and tread water. She struggled during the 200-yard swim portion of her certification test. So the instructor made her a deal: wear the fins and mask, and swim 600 yards. She could take as long as she needed. “I knew I could swim the 600 yards. I smiled the entire time. I was so proud and excited to become a diver!”
Donna beams at the memory. “This training only certifies you as having the training to become a recreational diver. It hardly makes you a diver. That comes only from experience.”
"At first I wanted to run after everything and see it all. Then, I realized, I was in their house. I was humbled by that." With the diving certificate in hand, she was ready to start diving. The world she had seen in pictures and videos and heard her husband describe in detail was now hers to discover. Her passion was born. “I fell in love. Absolutely fell in love with it.” On her first dive in the ocean, she saw an octopus and a barracuda. First, there was fear. She worried about what was there, what might hurt her. She was afraid of the unknown. Then, the fear gave way to wonder. “At first I wanted to run after everything and see it all. Then, I realized, I was in their house. I was humbled by that.” Becoming more experienced, more comfortable on the dives, she settled right in. Donna learned how to be at home in this new place. She learned to be calm, to peacefully explore and observe the ocean life respectfully. She’s seen the coral spawn. And she swam next to a whale shark the size of a school bus. Donna loves the Moray eels and doesn’t feel danger near them. Under water, there is a connection to the creatures. The seals are naughty and fresh, pulling at the diver’s hats and gear. There are dolphins, sea turtles and puﬀerfish.
She tells the stories of the animals she’s seen with a gleam in her eye. Every creature is unique and there is a connection to each, even the starfish. Talking about a special puﬀerfish who circled around and around her, her voice was warm and happy. Donna and Dennis love to dive in Bonaire, a Caribbean Island also known as “Diver’s Paradise.” In her retirement, though, she will travel and dive in new places. She’s here, sitting in Bethlehem telling her story. But in her heart, Donna’s under the sea. There, she swims with the fish, feeling full of love and passion. Know a Bethlehem neighbor who has a unique story? Let us know! Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Croce, RPh and Co-Owner of Four Corners Pharmacy
Laura Stachnik, PharmD Candidate 2013
What are the new requirements for Sunscreen? This month’s “Ask the Pharmacist,” will answer important questions about sun protection and share the new regulations for sunscreen. Sun exposure can be very damaging and it is important to know how to best protect yourself from the harmful eﬀects of the sun.
How is the sun harmful?
Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation better known as UV rays. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC radiation. UVA radiation: Radiation that penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for tanning and skin aging. This type of radiation can damage the cells that make up the skin and can be a cause of skin cancer. UVB radiation: Radiation that aﬀects the outer layer of the skin and is responsible for sun burns which can lead to a multitude of health problems including skin blistering, dehydration, and skin cancer. UVC radiation: Radiation that is only encountered by artificial radiation sources. This type of radiation is completely absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and therefore naturally, it is not harmful to our skin.
How does sunscreen provide protection?
Sunscreen contains organic and inorganic ingredients that filter UV radiation, which protects the skin from UVA and UVB radiation. The sunscreen will reflect or absorb the radiation to protect the skin. This can be compared to a screen door. Some UV radiation will still reach the diﬀerent layers of skin but not as much as if there was no door at all. Reflective ingredients: • Zinc Oxide • Titanium Ingredients that absorb UV radiation and what type they absorb: • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid): UVB • Cinnamates: UVB • Benzophenones: UVA • Anthranilates: UVA and UVB • Ecamsules: UVA
What are the new sunscreen regulations? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has produced and implemented new labeling guidelines for sunscreen products. The new regulations became eﬀective June 18, 2012 but this change will take full eﬀect until December 2012 in order to ensure enough sunscreen is manufactured for the summer months.
These new regulations will establish a uniform set of standards for manufacturing and labeling sunscreen products so that the consumer can better choose a product to protect themselves from damaging eﬀects of the sun. They will also better define the UV protection that is provided. All manufacturers of sunscreen products will be required to follow these new regulations. Any claims to provide additional protection
will have to be proven to the FDA before they can be advertised. The new regulations are as follows: • Sunscreens that oﬀer UVA protection in addition to UVB will carry a “broad spectrum” label. • The amount of UVA protection will increase as SPF increases up to SPF 50 (SPF 50+ will be the highest advertised SPF). • It will be made clear how long water-resistant sunscreens will provide protection after a person swims or sweats. The label must specify 40 or 80 minutes of protection. • A product that is 15 SPF or greater and contains a “broad spectrum” label will be able to claim that they protect against skin cancer and sun-related premature skin aging.
What should you look for in a sunscreen product?
When choosing a sunscreen product it is important to consider the SPF, whether it is broad spectrum or not, and how long it is water resistant for. SPF: This stands for sun protection factor which is an indicator of the strength of the sunscreen. SPF now refers to the level of protection from UVA and UVB radiation. Once SPF exceeds 15, as it increases there is increasing protection from both types of radiation up to SPF 50. The highest SPF will now read SPF 50+, as there is no concluding evidence that higher than 50 provides any additional protection. Broad-Spectrum: This is a new labeling factor on sunscreen to indicate that both UVA and UVB radiation protection is included. Until the new FDA regulations are enforced, you might have to look at the ingredients in the product to determine what you are protected from (see list above). Water-Resistant: This is an important component of sunscreen because you still want protection when you are swimming or sweating. Sunscreen loses strength when you swim and sweat so reapply often. New labeling regulations will have to state how water resistant the product is by indicating whether you receive 40 or 80 minutes of protection. Expiration Date: Sunscreen does expire, which is the date that the active ingredients are no longer as eﬀective as claimed on the label. It is important to make sure your bottle of sunscreen has not expired and to discard any outdated products.
How should you use sunscreen?
Shake your sunscreen well and apply it 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun so that your skin can absorb the protection. It is important to apply enough and to apply it thoroughly so that all exposed skin is protected. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and more frequently when you are swimming and sweating.
What are some other sun safety tips?
To protect yourself from the damaging eﬀects of the sun, some other sun safety tips to consider are: • Limit your time in the sun, especially mid day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. • Wear clothing to cover the skin exposed to the sun ( long-sleeves, hats, etc) • Reapply sunscreen often!
Where can you find more information? For more information be sure to visit reliable websites such as www.fda.gov, www.mayoclinic. com and http://healthfinder.gov.
To submit a topic for this publication please email your ideas to: Pagnotta@FourCornersRx.com 49
Trish’s Pix from
Tattered Pages Used Books
“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away and in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” Roald Dahl, author Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Salutations summer readers…. Roald Dahl, author of classic children‛s literature, including “James and the Giant Peach”, “Matilda”, “The BFG”, “The Witches”, “Danny, Champion of the World” to name a few, was known for the above quote. Not very popular with many, I am sure, and probably not very reasonable, but pause and take a moment of what life might be like if the TV didn‛t come on for the summer. How hard would that be for you and your family? Would it be nearly impossible? Would it be a welcomed challenge? Dahl made this statement long before the invention of the instant entertainment that video games, DVDs, and the computer can also bring to one‛s life. I think back to the days of 4 TV channels when my children were young. We lived outside Philadelphia, a great metropolis for raising children filled with museums, Sports, zoos, and historical sites. The TV never came on during the day on Saturday and Sunday unless a Phillies came was on…or an episode of Doctor Who. The radio was often on tuned to NPR while we worked around the house and yard listening to Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, Thistle & Shamrock, What Do You Know and Mountain Stage. In the summer we headed to the town pool with our snacks, swim gear and books. Being a teacher, I always had extra books with me to share with my sons‛ friends if they didn‛t have a book with them. When it was very hot & humid, as most of the summer can be in Glenside, we made several trips to our air conditioned Library just across the street from the pool. During adult lap swim the pool was cleared of children for 10 minutes every hour. The children headed to the shade with their books, card games or action figures to play. This is how my children discovered the Box Car Children books and often sat in the shade of the big oak tree reading and switching out books when finished. Books were often traded like baseball cards or Pokemon. Many children are given preferred reading lists or reading assignments for the summer. Don‛t wait until the last weeks of August to try and get those in. When a child sees reading as an unpleasant chore…how can it be a successful experience? Children with true reading difficulties can still have pleasant reading experiences. At Tattered Pages we have hundreds of children‛s books starting at Level 54
1 thru Junior High Levels. If you look on the back of most paperback children‛s books you will find the suggested reading level RL. If your child is struggling with reading make time to sit with them and read the book aloud stopping to let them read a sentence, read a paragraph etc as you encourage and enjoy together. Not all books need to be challenging to their reading level…it is ok to read below level from time to time. However, reading graphic novels or picture books should be interspersed with sustained chapter reading. Reading partnered with writing is a logical progression. To keep your child‛s ELA experience fresh, they should have writing experiences as well during the summer. For young children, have them create pictures and a few sentences about what they read. 2nd grade and up could keep a writing journal or make little booklets about what they read. Middle school students could practice their keyboarding by keeping a journal on the computer. They can practice typing while recording reflections upon what they read. A great way to celebrate a good book is to watch the video (if there is one) adaptation after completing a book. Another is to create a “movie poster” for a book where your child draws key components of the story in a poster to hang. Make a chart of the books they read and display prominently for them to see….or make a book chain. Write the title and author on a piece of paper and make the books read into a long paper chain. Create ways to make reading an achievement to celebrate. My grandchildren & nieces and nephews have a chapter read to them every night before bedtime. Trinity‛s latest choice was a story each night from her Precious Moments Bible Story book. Connor, Skye, and Gunner (ages 5-8) love their Dad reading to the from the Lemony Snicket “Series of Unfortunate Events” books. And lastly, the best way to create a lifelong reader is to set the example. Have your children see you reading. Share your enthusiasm over what you are reading. Each year, as I head to Bethlehem Town Park Pool, I always look to see what the lifeguards and attendants at the desk are reading for the summer. I am always pleased to see them reading in their down time. As I head off to the pool I always have a book in my bag as do so many other patrons. Returning to my TV challenge, summer is a time of re-runs, so why not turn off the TV…save power… and open a book. With the money saved on electricity… why not come on in to Tattered Pages Used Books where books are being conscientiously recycled at a savings of 20-60% off the original publisher‛s price. With over 18,000 titles to choose from, I am sure there is at least one book that would be new to you! We have beach “reads” authored by Dorothea Benton Frank, Elin Hildebrand, Susan Mallery, Emilie Richards, and Sherryl Woods. Mysteries to keep you intrigued by Michael Connelly, Harlen Coben, Elizabeth George, Tami Hoag, James Patterson and Stuart Woods. Action novels by David Baldacci, Ted