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Our View: Thumbs up to TV reporter telling her own COVID-19 story, Sykesville mom selling pre-K education, retiring Alzheimer’s advocate | COMMENTARY

THUMBS UP: A Westminster native who has become recognizable from her television work as an on-air reporter with the Fox 45 news team, Alexa Ashwell recently shared with us a most personal story, detailing her fight against COVID-19. The 10-year TV news veteran who has spent the past three at WBFF in Baltimore noted what she called a “brain fog” while doing a story and later began experiencing symptoms of the virus she had been covering for months. She tested positive and has spent nearly two months recovering. It was, at times, a harrowing experience for the Westminster High School graduate. “It was Week 2 where I experienced symptoms that I’ve never experienced in my life,” she said, “and that was having trouble breathing.” A week later, a trip to the hospital turned into doctors telling her they thought she also had pneumonia, and they prescribed her two different inhalers. She spiked a fever in Week 4. Another visit to urgent care included blood pressure tests and a chest X-ray. Her blood pressure was high for the first time in her life, Ashwell said, and doctors prescribed antibiotics to battle the pneumonia. “The shortness of breath just never left,” she told us. Her latest COVID-19 test came back negative, she said, but she wanted to get her story out in an effort to help others. “This is a virus that is one we haven’t experienced before. Therefore, you just don’t know how your body is going to respond,” she said. “And mine had a hard time.” We wish her a continued, successful recovery and hope others benefit from her story.

THUMBS UP: Lindsey Eder, of Sykesville, might never have started her new business if not for the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, she calls it her “COVID passion project.” The former teacher and mother of three started selling “Pre-K boxes,” packages of learning activities and games for young children, at the urging of friends earlier this summer when she began creating learning activities with preschools closed and friends told her, “you gotta sell this.” Customers, from as far away as Florida and Georgia, have signed on for monthly, three-month and six-month subscriptions, Eder said. They’ll receive boxes full of games each month, with themes like bugs, pool parties and Halloween. The boxes typically include at least two math activities, at least two early literacy activities, and an arts and crafts activity, Eder said. She designs most of what goes in the boxes herself. “I realized this really was a need. I think a lot of parents, they sort of struggle,” Eder said. “They don’t have the background in early childhood, they don’t necessarily know what to expect of their young child.” We’re glad something positive has come from the overwhelming negative of the pandemic and congratulate Eder. Those interested in subscribing can do so at the My Pre-K Box website, www.myprekbox.com.

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THUMBS UP: Mount Airy resident Cass Naugle retired last week as executive director of the Greater Maryland chapter of National Alzheimer’s Association. It capped more than four decades that Naugle has been involved in Alzheimer’s disease advocacy. Under Naugle’s leadership, the association grew from a one-person agency to a chapter of the national organization with three locations in Maryland. Naugle said the Greater Maryland Chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Association was actually just a group of community members volunteering when she began. “We actually started in 1979 as just a group of local people and then in 1980 the national association was formed by several groups across the country and so then we became a part of the national association in 1986,” Naugle told us. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Naugle is now retired from her place of work, but not from her advocacy. “I certainly will keep my relationships and stay involved with the cause,” said Naugle. “I’m passionate about research and want to keep up to date on that.” We thank Naugle for her contributions to a most worthy cause and wish her well in retirement

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