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Donna Vickroy biography

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Donna Vickroy was born on Chicago’s South Side and spent most of her formative years in the south suburbs, sharing a small bungalow with …

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Vickroy: What teachers do on summer vacation

Here’s what some students might think their teachers did during their summer break: sit in a chaise lounge by the pool popping bonbons. But here’s what some local teachers really did during the offseason — traveled, wrote, performed on stage and conducted science experiments. Many …

Vickroy: When genius isn’t enough: No humor in mental illness

Dr. Rian Rowles was with a patient when he learned the news about Robin Williams. The chairman of psychiatry and substance abuse services at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn said: “I’d just watched ‘Good Will Hunting’ three weeks prior. I was definitely a fan …

Vickroy: Beverly mom on mission of kindness

The book sat on Kerry Lynch’s nightstand for a good two months. “I couldn’t bring myself to read it, just because I knew it was going to mirror our life,” she said. The book was “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, and the life was that of …

Vickroy: Oak Forest teen, science academy pioneer, survives stroke

When last we saw Andy Beahan, just before Labor Day 2013, he was packing up to head east. The Oak Forest teen was among a handful of American and Chinese students chosen last year to participate in the inaugural class of Princeton International School of …

‘A year with Gianna,’ Chicago Heights teen writes cook book

There are three things that help Gianna West cope with being in constant pain. Since the 16-year-old, who was born with spina bifida and a host of complications, can’t go horseback riding every day and since the Jonas Brothers are, ahem, spoken for, she spends …

Vickroy: Morris Ellis backyard concert a musical trip down memory lane

The phlox are bursting with pink, the temperature is an easy 75, and as the sun sets over Chicago, the jazzy instrumental “Europa” carries Leslie and George Jackson once again to Cloud Nine. The Jacksons, of the city’s South Shore community, met on Christmas night …

Vickroy: A century later, World War I still matters

A hundred years is a long time. Though the United States was directly involved in World War I for just a year and a half, it nevertheless felt the impact of what had been billed, “The Great War.” That impact not only lingers, it plays …

Vickroy: Doctor becomes patient, gains new insight

Of course doctors know a lot more than the rest of us when it comes to medical care — all that schooling and training. But there’s a unique insight that can’t come from any medical books: having been the patient. An obstetrician/gynecologist for the past …

Vickroy: Parents pursue their daughter’s legacy of hope

In the eight months since their daughter, Julia, succumbed to pediatric cancer, Jeff Janes and Leslie Bazzo Janes have been moving full speed ahead toward fulfilling the promise they made to their youngest child: to raise awareness and help find a cure. “Julia wanted for …

Vickroy: She’s on a mission for change

Lucia Mambure is determined to do the seemingly impossible in her home city of Harare, Zimbabwe: open a school for children with special needs. The professor and mother of three is a progressive voice in a country where attitudes about people with disabilities can be …

Christ Medical Center ER holding its own amid epidemic of violence

It’s just after 1 a.m. when the doors to Christ Medical Center’s emergency department slide open yet again. Roberts Park paramedics steer a gurney carrying a 32-year-old man, his head enveloped in bandages, into trauma bay 2. Fourteen doctors, nurses and technicians surround the bed. …

Vickroy: Lifelong friends ‘all in’ for monthly poker get-together

It’s just after 9 p.m. in the basement of Tom Cosgrove’s home in Chicago’s Beverly community when cigar-smoking Matt Moran checks his hand, raises the bet and casually kicks off his shoes. Jim Byrne hands out another round of Beck’s beer. And Chuck Kraling, dressed …

Vickroy: One man’s journey out of Englewood

Chicago’s ongoing violence problem has landed it in the national spotlight. As city officials and social policy pundits struggle to find solutions, I sat down with a survivor. This is simply the story of one man who’s been there, done that and lived to tell …

Vickroy: Doctor’s orders — read to your baby

Brian Yaro is only 2, but he already knows how to read Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Well, he thinks he’s reading it, and that’s all that matters. Reading from memory is one of the many forms of early literacy. …

Vickroy: Summer camp more than fun and games for children from violent homes

You might say the frightening, unplanned pregnancy saved her life, and that of her toddler son. When she learned she was pregnant again, she made plans to give up the baby for adoption. Determined not to bring another child into the home where she’d been …

Vickroy: Band of teachers, alumni rocks Southland

How to kick off the upcoming patriotic holiday weekend? How about rocking to a homegrown rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” or Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion”? The local rock band Staff Infection and the South Side Horns, a …

Vickroy: New Lenox twins double the joy, double the success

They have been best friends since childhood. They helped one another through school, played every kind of sport along the way and now are big soccer fans. Not only did they attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana together, living in the same dorm and …