Ken reviews Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” and Atul Gawande’s “Checklist Manifesto.” Understanding the nature of habit and learning how we can harness its power—both to maintain good habits and change bad habits—allows us to greatly improve our abilities as trial lawyers.
Despite the clouds, it was a great weekend in Chicago.
On Saturday, the Levinson and Stefani team hit the pavement for the St. Jude Give. Thanks. 5K at Soldier Field, supporting cancer care and research at St. Jude Children’s Hospital; and on Sunday, the Bears squeaked out a 21-13 win at home over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adding a double dose of awesome to our already stellar weekend.
— St. Jude (@StJude) November 22, 2014
Despite a gloomy morning, nearly 2,000 people strapped up their laces for the 7th annual fundraiser. We’re proud to say that our team completed the 5K just shy two hours, going the distance for what we hope to make an annual tradition. We hear the organizers are looking to move next year’s walk to September, which hopefully means warmer weather and a great fall backdrop to make the day even more memorable.
We want to extend a big thank you to all those who donated to our team goal of $1,500, which we proudly exceeded. It’s great to know that our small, but important, contribution will benefit those in need. If you’ve been following the blog lately, you know that St. Jude’s is committed to helping families both financially and medically. Events like the St. Jude Give. Thanks. Walk ensure that patients of St. Jude never receive a medical bill for treatment or care, lifting a tremendous financial burden off their shoulders. Donations also go toward the St. Jude cancer research center, one of the leading research institutions in the country.
You can learn more about St. Jude Children’s Hospital by clicking here. We hope you’ll take some time to learn more about this great organization and all it’s doing in the fight against cancer.
Thanks again, friends, and we’ll see you at the next run!
These days artificial turf is practically synonymous with the word “sport.” You can find it almost anywhere — from nearby elementary schools to the biggest and most prestigious college athletic programs in the country. Local municipalities use it for recreation centers and playgrounds. High schools opt for its cost-saving benefits, as it’s durable and generally requires less maintenance over time. But a harrowing report from NBC News has shed new light on the potential dangers of turf and the synthetic properties from which it’s made. It’s forcing many to reconsider whether the surface is safe for play.
Turf generally contains two distinct properties: polyethylene plastic grass and tens of thousands of tiny rubber beads made from recycled tires, known as “crumb rubber.” As detailed by NBC, the crumb rubber has been the primary cause for concern. The network spoke with University of Washington soccer coach Amy Griffin, who shared the stories of two former UW players who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Both players happened to be goalkeepers, and both were coming in close contact with the turf on a daily basis.
At first Griffin dismissed the diagnoses as an eerie coincidence. But digging deeper, she discovered an all-too common pattern that sent her on quest for answers. Since those first two cases, she has slowly but doggedly collected the names of more than 38 American soccer players — 34 of which are goalies — who were later diagnosed with a form of cancer. In each situation, blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia proved to be the predominant types. NBC noted that Griffin’s list is not based on fact or scientific analysis; it’s simply based on a pattern that Griffin could no longer ignore.
Regardless of its scientific merits, Griffin’s list, informed by testimonials of former players and coaches, is once again questioning the safety of artificial turf fields, most especially for children. Following the NBC News report, two schools in New Jersey and Washington postponed plans to install new turf, citing the need for more studies and testing.
Health advocates and organizations like Environment and Human Health, Inc. have produced some studies that shed some light on turf’s distinct qualities.
“From the available information,” says one study from the EHH, “it was found that tire crumbs contained volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) with carcinogenic potential, which could be extracted from the crumbs in the laboratory.”
The study continues: “The relationship between exposures affecting the rubber workers and those experienced by people using athletic fields, or children in playgrounds covered with ground-up rubber tire material is not known, but we do know that many of the same chemicals that rubber workers are exposed to are being released from the ground-up rubber tire crumbs.”
Turf fields have been the source of controversy since their introduction some 50 years ago. Moms Team, “The Trusted Source for Sports Parents,” noted that 900 new synthetic turf fields were installed nation-wide in 2008, now up to 5,000 in 2014. Moms Team provided a list of pros and cons for parents to be aware of. The pros ranged from the elimination of grass pesticides to the cons of toxic run-off caused by wet fields and stormy weather.
Turfgrass Producers International acknowledges that new generation turf potentially poses health-related issues, providing a list of common concerns that many people have when considering the installation of a turf surface and openly promoting a “think-twice” mentality: “As experience has proven time and again, ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,’ is an adage worthy of contemplation when consideration is being given to constructing an artificial turf area.”
The Bears may be down but the atmosphere at Soldier Field is about to get a lot better.
On November 22, Chicagoans will gather in the shadow of the great lakefront stadium for the St. Jude Give. Thanks. walk and run, an annual family-friendly event in support of the life-saving mission of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Since it began, the nation-wide fundraiser has raised upwards of $17 million for the hospital. Along with Chicago, an additional 65 communities from across the country are set to join in.
For more than 50 years St. Jude has relied on the generosity of every day folks to help children fighting cancer and other diseases. Through donations, patients never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food, with a portion of the funds going toward the St. Jude research center, a pioneer in the field of cancer research. On average, St. Jude has more than 67,000 patient visits each year, maximizing on a daily operating budget of $2 million. The operating budget is primarily covered by individual contributions.
Levinson and Stefani is proud to be one of the many supporters of St. Jude and we’re excited to announce that we’ll be taking part in our first walk. Our wonderful team is prepared to brave the elements with a little help from our friends. In the coming days, the Levinson and Stefani team will be setting up personal pages associated with St. Jude, which will give friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances an opportunity to make a small donation toward our team goal. We’re looking to raise $1,500 in nine days, though we wouldn’t say no to more. Rest assured that every dime and penny we receive will benefit St. Jude Hospital.
It’s worth noting that St. Jude is offering incentives to top individual fundraisers, like 25,000 AAdvantage miles from American Airlines. We say this not because we’re out to win, but in the hopes that a little enticement will encourage our friends to register and raise money as well. Registration is free, and should you choose, you can donate from the comfort of your own home and still participate as a virtual walker. We hear that Soldier Field will be decked to the rafters with a number of pre and post-event activities for adults and kids, including a surprise cameo from Santa and live music.
Check out our team page and then click on any team member’s name to donate. Don’t forget to check back on our progress! We hope you’ll join us, and thousands of others, to help improve the lives of those in need.
Over the course of a lifetime, you’re bound to run into someone who’s been diagnosed and/or lives with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that almost 30 million men, women, and children in the U.S. have some form of the disease; more than 86 million Americans have prediabetes; and the total cost of diagnosis tops out at a whopping $245 billion.
The ADA recognizes American Diabetes Month each November to raise awareness about the benefits of healthy living and lifestyle. This year’s theme: America Gets Cooking to Stop Diabetes. Among the offerings, the ADA aims to encourage people to follow a weekly regimen of diet and exercise, which includes a range of different methods, including Get Moving Monday and Tasty Tip Tuesday. You can check out the ADA website for more info, but in the meantime, here’s where and how you can take advantage of awareness month in an around Chicago.
Diabetes: Management and Self-Care | Nov. 3, 2014
The American Association of Diabetes Educators and the National Museum of Health + Medicine Chicago opens a diabetes-centric educational exhibition with facts, tips and advice for preventing diabetes. Learn several self-care practices including active monitoring, taking medication, reducing risks, and healthy coping as it relates to diabetes.
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center Fundraiser | Nov. 5, 2014
UChicago’s Kovler Diabetes Center hosts its second annual fundraiser on Nov. 5, in partnership with Chipotle restaurants around the city. Order any menu item on Wednesday between 11am – 10pm, tell the cashier you’d like to support the Kovler Diabetes Center, and 50% of the proceeds will go towards diabetes research. You can also post a photo of your meal on social media, using hashtag #BurritoCause and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Chipotle party for 20.
World Diabetes Awareness Day Free Glucose Screenings | Nov. 14, 2014 | Various Locations
As part of World Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14, the Swedish Convent Hospital partners with the office of Senator Heath Stearns to provide free glucose screenings at the Edgewater Library in Chicago. The hospital encourages this free screening for people who have not been diagnosed with diabetes. To take part, the hospital also recommends waiting to eat on Friday morning for the most accurate results.
3rd Annual Diabetes Cook-off | Nov. 15, 2014
The Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago, a self-described “project,” has been raising awareness on the effects of diabetes and the benefits of healthy living in and around the South Side of Chicago for seven years. The organization’s now annual cook-off brings together ordinary cooks to whip up homemade, diabetes-friendly recipes as regular alternatives.
Diabetes Mellitus and Schools | Nov. 19, 2014 | 1 – 2:30pm
This 90-minute webinar from the American Association of Diabetes Educators covers the basic rights and protections for children struggling with diabetes. The online course, primarily intended for educators in a school setting, aims to inform people of the best practices and proper ways to treat students with diabetes while in school. Register online and take the course for a fee.
Jewel-Osco Diabetes Fair | Select dates and times
The supermarket chain hosts four diabetes fairs throughout November, a chance for people to get healthy eating tips and great recipes from registered dieticians. Grab some vendor samples, partake in a free blood glucose screening, and take advantage of information related to living a diabetes-friendly lifestyle provided by pharmacy staff. Multiple events throughout November.
Could Halloween be every parent’s favorite nightmare? On the one hand, nothing’s more fun than running around the neighborhood with your little ghouls and goblins, as they find the simple pleasure in dressing up for one night of the year, indulging the wildest parts of their imaginations. On the other hand, it’s a time to be extra cautious. It’s trick or treat, after all. We’ve all heard the horror stories of lost kids, tainted candies, and plenty of other convincing reasons to stay inside and wait for the trouble to pass by. But fear not: simple things can help you enjoy the night without so much as a blip, making sure Halloween remains the spectacularly delightful spooky holiday that we all know and love.
American Academy of Pediatrics keeps a running list of all the things parents should know heading into Halloween week. A great tip, and one we’re sure every parent will appreciate: keep the costumes bright and reflective. Halloween is a national holiday, but that doesn’t mean everyone takes the night off. A fluorescent sticker taped to the back of a cape or a set of pixie wings ensures two things: 1) people will see your child when they come a-runnin’, and 2) you’ll be able to identify your child should they scurry away from you. It’s also a great idea to consider using glow sticks, which will keep your child visible from a distance and help you avoid those Abracadabra moments of spontaneous disappearance.
The Center for Disease Control wants to make sure everyone has a S-A-F-E H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N. To do so, they’ve devised a clever acronym with 13 tips to help you remember some important safety measures. “S,” for example, stands for “Swords, knives and other costume accessories,” which should be “Short, Soft, and flexible.” “H” is for “Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating. Click the link to check out the rest!
Another big Halloween fright for parents: food allergies. Don’t underestimate them. If one thing’s certain, temptation is at the heart of this delightful holiday, and children might not understand the consequences of consuming an allergen, or they might not even know the ingredients in each candy. Food allergies pose a great challenges to you and your brood on Halloween night. Though you and your child may be aware of the can and cannots of certain delectable treats, there’s little else from stopping your child from sneaking a bite of something they know they shouldn’t be eating, especially when it looks like everyone might be enjoying a bite of something sweet. Fox32 recommends a few things: Keep in close contact with your kids while trick or treating, even mentioning to those doling out sweet treats that your child may be allergic to things like peanuts, etc. Should you be attending any festive parties, it’s a good idea to talk with the hosts beforehand to get a sense of what they’ll be serving, and to find out if any alternatives might be better suited for those with special food requirements. Going through your child’s collection of candy at the end of trick-or-treating, and then trading out the bad candy for safe candy is a kid-friendly way to keep your little goblin happy.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to brush up on your makeup knowledge in the coming week. The Food and Drug Administration points out that several styles of Halloween makeup contain toxins that can cause things like skin rash and eye irritation. The old adage proves true in this case – when in doubt, throw it out. Should a tube of makeup, paste, or any other novelty creamer look or smell strange, it’s a safe bet that it’s time has come to pass. Don’t be afraid to say RIP.
Stay safe and have a happy Halloween!