At twenty-one years old, Kenneth “Kenny” Duncan Jr. leads a rather ordinary life. A self-described cowboy, his wardrobe largely consists of boots and jeans. His playlist includes classics from George Strait and Kenny Chesney, which he blasts while driving on the streets of Laredo. When he’s not on campus working or studying, he can be found fishing at the lake or sharing poems at Gallery 201. This life, filled with simple pleasures and few worries, is something Duncan cherishes now more than ever. Because just over a year ago, his life was forever changed by three words: “You have cancer.” Continue reading “Lucky Thirteen: A Story of Surviving And Thriving”
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) hosted a meeting at TAMIU to discuss the treat of the Zika virus in Texas, and how it affects Laredo as a border city. Officials of the meeting discussed the actions that were being taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Aside from the efforts of the federal government, they discussed the efforts taken by state, local, and international agencies. Their discussions explored how all of these levels of governments could cooperate for the health of their citizens. Alongside the congressman were high-ranking officials from the CDC, as well as other government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the State of Texas and the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City of Laredo Health Department, Webb County, and representatives from the Laredo hospitals and hospital from Nuevo Laredo. With those officials were also representatives from universities including TAMIU, universities from Mexico, and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The Zika virus began its spread form infected mosquitos similar to the West Nile virus. Common symptoms from the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The virus is not extremely lethal, and those who catch symptoms do not feel sick enough to go to the hospital. However, the Zika virus is seen problematic for women infected during pregnancy. It has been causing birth defects for newborns that have been fatal. On the brighter side, once someone has been infected, they are likely to be protected from future infections The first confirmed infection originated in Brazil in May 2015. From there, it spread across Latin America and the Caribbean. Just recently, a Zika virus related death was confirmed in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other American island territories. There have been 358 confirmed travel-associated cases of the Zika virus in 40 American states. 27 of those cases were in Texas. However, there have been no cases or reports of the Zika virus in Webb County or the border area. The discussions brought upon by the congressman and the other officials plays in part with Cuellar’s understandings of international affairs. Cuellar takes into much consideration for the need of inter-governmental and international cooperation. The Zika virus, alongside all of Mother Nature, pays no regard to national boundaries and governments. Doing so, nations and agencies need to come together in the common goal of human health. The amount of representation from both the United States and Mexico was remarkable, and it contradicts the rhetoric coming from presidential candidates that accuse and misjudge our Mexican neighbors and the border region. “The Zika virus disease is a reminder of how we must stay vigilant against biological and physical threats at our borders,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “While the news seems alarming, no cases have been reported in South Texas. However, it is concerning because of the rapid spread of the disease and the birth defects it causes in pregnant women” concluded Cuellar.