Lafayette College Biology Professor Khadijah Mitchell is involving the Easton area community in her research, seeking to explain why African-Americans have higher incidences of lung cancer than European-Americans. Mitchell and student researchers are investigating how genes are turned on or off in different groups of people with lung cancer, and how tumors differ at the molecular level along racial lines. The goal is to contribute to personalized therapy for people with lung cancer. Last fall Mitchell's student team conducted a social media campaign designed to educate teens and young adults about the risks of smoking, including e-cigarettes. They're also studying the radon and lung cancer levels in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties, to help educate people about radon control.
The Slate Belt Veterans Association will use proceeds from a $2.4 million endowment to build a home for a disabled combat veteran. The endowment is a gift from Brian Perin, a co-owner of Grand Central Sanitation who died in 2017. The group raised a flag on Veterans Day on the property in Upper Mount Bethel Township where a American Disabilities Act-compliant home will be constructed. The home will include ramps, an elevator and other amenities. It will be offered for sale at a discount to a multiple amputee or otherwise disabled combat veteran, according to association member Michael Kovalevich Jr.
In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Wilson Borough firefighters embarked on a project help a local woman. The members of Local 1914 sold Pink and Proud T-shirts for $15 in October, raising more than $1,000 to support Elizabeth Marich in her quest to regain her health. "It was our privilege and pleasure to visit her home and give her a gift which we hope will take some of the burden off of her and her family," the firefighters said in a release. They hope to make the fundraiser an annual event that grows with time, allowing for more beneficiaries.
The story tugged at the heartstrings of thousands: A New Jersey couple, Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico, started a GoFundMe page for Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless veteran who used his last $20 to buy gas for McClure's car when she was stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Thousands of donors responded, contributing more than $400,000 to help the veteran. This week Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said the feel-good story was concocted by the trio for their own profit. The scheme began to unravel last August when Bobbit complained to a reporter that the couple was spending money meant for him. McClure and D'Amico went on NBC News's Megyn Kelly TODAY to explain the situation, saying they withheld money from Bobbitt because he squandered $25,000 on drugs in two weeks. The prosecutor said the couple used a large share of the money on gifts and vacations for themselves. All three were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy. GoFundMe said the donors will receive refunds.