Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Sister's devotion to her twin inspires readers

The dining room table is covered with beads. Boxes of beads. Bags of beads. Beads on wire. Beads on string. There are loose beads and glass beads and red beads and green beads. Silver flower charms and starfish trinkets. Jewels shaped like hearts and turtles and ice cream cones.

They are gifts from someone who used to be a stranger — hundreds of tiny treasures that 7-year-old Hailey Scheinman hopes to string into bracelets to benefit her twin sister Olivia, who was born with epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

When Jeff Cousin, president of the Largo wholesale jewelry supplier Cousin Corp., read about Hailey and Olivia in the July 15 edition of the Tampa Bay Times, he devised a way to help them, becoming one of many readers so moved by the girls' story that they extended offers of help and gestures of appreciation to the girls and their parents.

Hailey, a young artist who sells her artwork and handmade jewelry to benefit her sister's physical therapy, was honored in February by the Pinellas County School Board for helping her sister and increasing awareness among her peers about children with disabilities.

But perhaps the most remarkable part of the girls' tale is how steadfastly Hailey has held onto her sister as life has tried to force the two of them apart. Hailey is determined not to let new best friends and soccer teams and sleepovers interfere with the time she spends with Olivia.

"Boy, it would be nice to be able to help those people," Cousin thought after putting the Sunday paper down. The next day, he shared the article with his staff and then invited the twins to his shop.

When the family arrived, Cousin retrieved a cardboard box and told Hailey to fill it with all the jewelry supplies she wanted — and to return any time she needed more.

Hailey's eyes widened as she viewed their showroom with its walls and walls of bangles and beads.

"It would be like going to Legoland for three days," she explained later as she sorted through the materials, laying out the design for a turquoise glass and silver bracelet and demonstrating how to use her new crimping tools.

The Scheinman family has received numerous letters and emails from strangers and friends encouraged and touched by their story.

Heritage United Methodist Church, which Hailey's best friend Ainsley Walling attends, used the story as a focal point for a daylong Vacation Bible School lesson on compassion and invited Ainsley to talk about her friendship with Hailey and Olivia.

The family's website, www.livyshope.com, drew about 1,100 hits from 44 states and 20 countries the week the story ran. Livy received about $2,000 in donations.

Hailey kept busy helping to fill orders of bracelets and note card sets featuring pictures of her auctioned paintings. Hailey has sold 16 bracelets and 19 sets of note cards since the story ran.

"I wished that I could meet you and here you are in the flesh!" Hailey remembers a woman at Dunkin' Donuts saying to her shortly after the story ran.

Notes came in from other families with children of disabilities who said they related to the story. Several asked where the family got the therapeutic swing in which the girls were pictured taking turns.

One woman ordered a bracelet and emailed the family about her 31-year-old brother-in-law, who also has epilepsy. "He always has a smile for us," she wrote. "Your girls are just as inspiring."

Two Olive Garden employees in Palm Harbor read the story, pinned the girls' newspaper photos around the kitchen, then held bake sales for their co-workers. They surprised the family with $300 to help with the girls' school supplies. "I want them to know how special they are," said Vickie Bryant, a cashier at the restaurant.

A recreational woodworker from Pinellas Park hand-carved two 5-inch teddy bears with the names "Hailey" and "Olivia" painted on them, and attached a poem about sisters.

Fundraising for a Cause, based in Tampa, offered the family $500 worth of products for the family to sell to benefit Olivia's therapies.

A woman from New York who used to live in the Tampa Bay area found the girls' story online and sent a package of goodies to the sisters that included Muppet stickers, a yellow bendy man, pencils, erasers and bracelets. "Dear Hailey," Kelly Targett, 40, wrote, "I have to tell you this: Your story is amazing!"

Allison and husband Jon Scheinman said they were floored by the response and are thankful to be able to share their daughters' story and inspire people along the way. They are working on creating an organization to help other children with disabilities.

"We are overwhelmed with gratitude," Allison said. "This was really a life-changing event for all of us. It only gives us more strength and determination to continue on sharing and educating."

Comments
Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

LARGO — An Illinois teacher used confrontation. A campus safety monitor in Seattle attacked with pepper spray and physical force. An assistant football coach in Indiana shouted as he chased him into the woods.All were civilians who took down an activ...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Florida lawmaker’s aide fired after saying outspoken Parkland students are actors

Florida lawmaker’s aide fired after saying outspoken Parkland students are actors

It bubbled up from the darkest online corners then began to take off: conspiracy theories about Parkland students who’ve spent the past week on TV demanding action on the gun violence that killed 17 and reawakened a national debate.By late Tuesday af...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board members are not happy about the prospect of having to hand over academic control at three struggling schools to a private company, and paying the firm up to $2 million on top of it. But that’s the course they must...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Q: My manager has recently started eating nuts at her desk, which is located right next to mine. Unfortunately, I have a serious nut allergy, so any contact with them could produce a life-threatening reaction. Even foods which contain tiny pieces of ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

The parents of Andrew Coffey, the Florida State University student who died from alcohol poisoning after an apparent hazing episode last year, have sued the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and nine of its members for their son’s death.Coffey, who wa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cracking the peanut allergy; Clooneys inspire $2M celebrity donations to March For Our Lives; lawyer admits lying to Mueller team; more in U.S. news

Cracking the peanut allergy; Clooneys inspire $2M celebrity donations to March For Our Lives; lawyer admits lying to Mueller team; more in U.S. news

NationCracking the allergyThe first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. California’s Aimmune Therapeutics said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut powder helped children build tolerance in a major ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition canceled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under former P...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fingerprint on Gatorade bottle leads to arrest of man, 23, in sexual assault of 71-year-old woman

Fingerprint on Gatorade bottle leads to arrest of man, 23, in sexual assault of 71-year-old woman

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 23-year-old man wanted in connection with sexually assaulting a 71-year-old woman on Monday left behind the clue that deputies said led them right to him: A fingerprint on a Gatorade bottle.Deputies said that and other evidence ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pasco County loans $500,000 for neighborhood rebuild

Pasco County loans $500,000 for neighborhood rebuild

NEW PORT RICHEY – West Pasco Habitat for Humanity’s new partner opened its checkbook Tuesday to help redevelop the Van Doren Avenue and Leisure Lane neighborhood west of U.S. 19.Pasco commissioners agreed to lend $500,000 from a reserve account to th...
Updated: 5 hours ago