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Miracles Run in Their Family

Bernita Snell’s first miracle happened two years ago, when she underwent a heart transplant. Her second occurred last week, when she gave birth to her first child, a 3 1/2-pound boy. Gary V. Snell Jr. was born eight weeks prematurely on Oct. 14 at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond, Va., the same hospital where his mother received her new heart Aug. 17, 1986. He is only the third child known to be born to a heart transplant recipient. The other two births were in Europe and California. “During the early stages of my pregnancy, I thought it was cardiac rejection,” Snell, 41, said. Yet despite the risks posed by the strain of carrying a child and having to take anti-rejection drugs from the transplant, she decided against initial counseling to terminate the pregnancy. Snell, who was released from the hospital Tuesday, said she makes the 80-mile drive every day from her home in Hampton, Va., to the hospital with her husband, Gary Sr., 38, to see their son, who is expected to be home by Thanksgiving. “I’m so glad I did it,” she said. “I’m thankful to God for him.”

--The National Rifle Assn. thinks Chicago-area schools should add another subject to their curriculum: gun safety. It wants them to distribute an NRA-sponsored coloring book entitled “My Gun Safety Book,” featuring Dick and Jane-like characters and their friend Eddie the Eagle. But school officials and others are understandably wary. “If I wanted a program on that topic in schools, I surely wouldn’t go to the National Rifle Assn. for help,” said Brother Donald Houde, director of administrative affairs for the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education. NRA board member Jim Zangrilli said the aim of the six-page book is to stop accidental shootings. He said it does not promote the NRA or seek to win children over to its positions on gun control. But Cmdr. Sollie Vincent of the Chicago Police Department said that while the message might be important, the classroom is probably not the proper place to teach it. “It assumes that guns are going to be available to children. And if that is the case, that is adequate reason for removing guns out of society.”

--Jailed South African anti-apartheid leader Walter Sisulu, his wife, Albertina, and their seven children have been awarded the $100,000 Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize for their battle against the country’s system of racial separation. Sisulu has been in prison since 1964 when he was convicted along with Nelson R. Mandela on sabotage charges. Mandela and Sisulu are both founders of the outlawed African National Congress, and Sisulu was twice elected ANC secretary general.


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