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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
June 3rd, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Janet Murnaghan feels her daughter has been 'left to die' after an 18 month wait on the child transplant list for a lung.

Janet Murnaghan is on 'Starting Point' with John Berman and Christine Romans talking about her frustration over getting her daughter a lung transplant. Her 10-year-old daughter Sarah has been waiting on the child transplant list for 18 months.

Her mother says that there are not nearly as many child lungs donated per year, as there are adult lungs. She says she's learned 'the odds are really stacked against young children like Sarah' in regards to receiving a successful organ donation.

According to federal guidelines Sarah is too young to receive an adult lung transplant-the cut off age for an adult transplant is 12-years-old. At the time the guidelines were created adult to child transplants were seen as more difficult procedures without as successful results. Now the surgery is still challenging, but according to Murnaghan surgeons assure her that 'their outcomes are just as good' for children who receive partial adult lungs versus pediatric lungs.

Murnaghan has appealed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to try to get Sarah priority on the adult donor list, but so far has failed. Sebelius says she will order a transplant review, but any changes could take years to achieve, and Sarah is running out of time.

Murnaghan is asking for all children to be treated 'fairly.' She feels that Sarah's 'civil rights are being violated,' and the guidelines for children in need of transplants are 'unjust.'

Filed under: Children • Medical • Medical Condition • Petition
June 3rd, 2013
11:04 AM ET

Ten-year old Sarah in desperate needs for lung transplant: CNN's Jason Carrol reports

Ten-year-old Sarah has cystic fibrosis, and has been waiting on the child donor list for a new lung 18 months. Sarah has cystic fibrosis, and has been waiting on the child donor list for a new lung 18 months. CNN's Jason Carrol reports on her family's desperate plea to the government for help.

There is a shortage of child lung donations. According to federal guidelines Sarah is not old enough to receive an adult lung. She is 10-years-old the cut off for an adult lung is 12-years-old.

Her family has appealed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to try to get Sarah priority on the adult donor list, but so far has failed. Sebelius says she will order a transplant review, but any changes could take years to achieve, and Sarah is running out of time.

READ MORE: Parents of girl waiting for transplant ask Sebelius to intervene

Filed under: Children • Disease • Medical • Medical advancements • Medical Condition
March 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Food bloggers Vani Hari & Lisa Leake take on Kraft to remove yellow color dye from its Mac and Cheese

A health story of growing interest this week has moms on alert for a staple food in the diets of thousands of children. Two women are taking on Kraft, asking them to change their Macaroni and Cheese. Vani Hari and Lisa Leake are food bloggers leading a campaign and petition on to get Kraft to remove two color dye ingredients from their beloved Macaroni and Cheese.

Their online petition states: "We recently discovered that several American products are using harmful additives that are not used—and in some cases banned—in other countries. [...] Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the US contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary—yet potentially harmful—dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry."

Lisa Leake, a mom and blogger, and Vani Hari, an aunt and blogger, both share the reasons for their campaign on “Starting Point” this morning.

The bloggers say their aim was not to target Kraft alone. “These are American companies using ingredients in our food that are not used, and in some cases banned elsewhere. And we decided we needed to do something about it,” Lisa Leake says. “We strategically picked Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, an iconic food product, trying to get our message across.” That message is that these unnecessary artificial food dyes are being used for cosmetic reasons only and pose health risks. “And we'd like to get them to get them out of our food.”

Hari says they picked Kraft to send that message more effectively. "We didn't just pick Kraft for no reason. They are the largest food company headquartered in the United States," Hari explains. "They have the largest footprint to actually be the leader here."

March 12th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

Community reeling after loss of six teens in car crash – Warren, OH school superintendent on how the town is coping

The town of Warren, Ohio is reeling from a tragic car crash that claimed the lives six teenagers Sunday. CNN has new details on the collision this morning.

Authorities now say the owner of the Honda Pilot involved in the crash has met with police and filed a stolen car report. Police say none of the teenagers involved in the accident are related to the owner or asked permission to use the vehicle. Five boys and a young woman, ages 14 to 19, were killed when the SUV flipped over a guard rail and landed in a small pond.

The tragedy has shaken the blue collar community of 41,000 near the Pennsylvania border. Michael Notar is the superintendent of schools for Warren City, Ohio. He has spoken to several family members and friends impacted by this and joins “Starting Point” to share how the community is coping.

Notar says the administration considered closing down the school district for Monday following the accident, but realized it was best to stay open. “We thought it was in the best interest of our students, our families, our parents, to open up our school buildings and provide our students, our teachers, and families with counseling services that were available,” he says.

Notar says it was a “very emotional day” at school yesterday. Some of the siblings of the victims decided to attend and opened up to teachers and friends. “It was good for everybody yesterday to be able to be around one another and support one another through the difficult times,” he says.

Notar says he knows Warren to come together in times of worship. The community has weathered its fair share of heartbreak, having faced a tragedy a year ago today. “We rallied together as a community, supported one another, and we'll continue to do so.”

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Filed under: Children • Tragedy
March 4th, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Seven-year-old suspended from school for alleged 'pastry gun,' dad says offense and punishment don't add up

Officials at an elementary school in Maryland are suspending seven-year-old for taking a breakfast pastry and shaping it into what looked like a gun, and allegedly saying "bang bang" with it.

Second grader Josh Welch and his father share what happened on “Starting Point” today.

“I was trying to shape it into a mountain, and it turned out to be a gun,” Josh says. “And I did not say bang bang.”

"I believe there needs to be some common sense," dad BJ Welch says. "I believe when you compare the caliber of the offense to the caliber of the punishment, they don't match up. It's a lack of common sense, in conjunction with the use of rules. Honestly. I believe there's some personal bias in the decision as well."

Park Elementary School's principal was unable to talk with CNN, but the school sent a letter home with the students saying "one of our students used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class."

Josh will be suspended for two days, but says he doesn't do anything inappropriate.

"When I'm trying to create stuff like drawing...I don't try to draw inappropriate stuff," he saysl.

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Filed under: Children • Education • Gun violence • Guns
February 5th, 2013
10:32 AM ET

Coping after surviving an abduction: 'Alicia Project' founder Alicia Kozakiewicz on the importance of returning to 'normal'

The hostage standoff in Alabama came to an end yesterday when FBI officials say negotiations broke down with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, the abductor of a five-year-old boy taken off a school bus last Tuesday. Dykes is now dead. The FBI rescued that five-year-old hostage named "Ethan" from an underground bunker in Midland City, Alabama. Ethan returns home just in time to celebrate his sixth birthday tomorrow.

Alicia Kozakiewicz is someone who has some insight into what that little boy suffered. She survived a terrifying abduction when she was 13-years-old. Now 24-years-old, she runs "The Alicia Project," an advocacy group. Alicia comes to “Starting Point” to share her experience and explain how Ethan’s parents and the community should approach him now that he has been rescued.

Alicia says she couldn’t believe she was being rescued when the FBI had come for her, but thought that they were others coming to hurt her.

“I didn't notice and I didn’t realize that I was being rescued until one of them actually turned around and I saw FBI on the back of their jackets,” Alicia says. “And I still questioned, is this real? Am I actually being rescued? Is this just a dream? And it took really until I was home with my parents to feel that.”

Alicia shares how Ethan’s family can similarly help him heal and adjust back to life. She says the key is to keep things normal.

“That’s what we have to do for this little boy. Keep certain things as normal as possible,” she says. “Things like just basic routines that he had done before..his favorite games, his favorite movies, his favorite food...just try to keep an anchor in the before. And really not equate this with this happening to him. This happened to him, it is not who he is.”

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Filed under: Abduction • Children • Crime • Survivor