EDITORIAL: Much to celebrate this past week

The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·2 min read

Mar. 20—Saturday is reserved for looking back at the week's good news, and the best news of all may have been the announcement that Freeman Health System decommissioned its medical COVID-19 unit as virus numbers continued to drop across the region.

The unit was empty earlier this week — the first time that has happened since its inception on July 16, 2020 — eight months earlier.

"It's been a crazy ride for sure," said Jeanee Kennedy, chief nursing officer with Freeman, "but we're happy to see the numbers moving in the right direction and glad to see our community needs shifting away from COVID."

Can we get an "Amen"?

Not that we're done, mind you. ... Freeman's other COVID-19 unit — an intensive care unit dubbed C-Zone — remains open. And Mercy Hospital Joplin said in a statement that it doesn't have plans to make any changes just yet.

New tier

More good news happened Monday, when Missouri opened up a new tier for vaccinations, including teachers and many others, and judging by the number of people who signed up for shots locally, a sore arm was a small price to pay.

Like we said, we're not through this by any means, but we took two positive steps forward.

Autism fundraising

And speaking of positive steps, how about taking a few over to the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, 2802 S. Picher Ave., today?

That's where Team Jaxon is holding a bake sale to raise money for scholarships for families to attend the Leffen Center. The bake sale begins at 10 a.m.

The bake sale is in honor of Stormy Anderson's 6-year-old son, Jaxon, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. The family enrolled Jaxon at the Leffen Center on a scholarship when he was 41/2 and saw dramatic improvement.

"Since then, he has come such a long way," Anderson said. "He's more vocal, he's making lots of sounds and he says about 15 words. He has little to no behavior (problems), and he loves learning."

The Andersons also are gearing up for the 14th annual Walk for Autism Awareness, which has joined with the Freeman Family 5K this year to raise funds to support program development and scholarship assistance at the Leffen Center. The 1-mile walk and 5K run will take place on April 24. Register at freemanhealth.com/walkforautism.