H

TUESDAY
DECEMBER 31, 2013
1D
Teaching
giving
One man has formed a link between
200 African schoolchildren and giving
souls in south Louisiana.
Ikanga Tchomba rose fromanimpov-
erished village in the Democratic Re-
public of the Congo to earn his doctor-
ate and become an assistant professor
at Baton Rouge Community College.
His story, told in The Advocate last
September, and his desire to help his
remote, war-torn village in the eastern
Congo, encouraged many to give mon-
ey and time to help children there earn
an education.
High school students began collect-
ing school supplies and building desks
for the children of Kipombo, and one
BatonRouge nonprofit donated13 com-
puters.
“He’s passionate about helping his
people,” said Jacob Fereday, 13, one of
several boys who have spent Saturdays
building desks.
As a child, Tchomba’s father encour-
aged him to seek education above all.
Tchomba oftentells howupset his fam-
ily became when he lost his pencil on
the way to class one day. His father
had splurged, giving him a whole pen-
cil whenothers at school sharedpieces.
His village’s school ended after two
years, so he walked about 7 miles each
day to the next village. To reach col-
lege, Tchomba walked for two days.
BY KYLE PEVETO
kpeveto@theadvocate.com
eatplaylive
eatplaylive eatplaylive
THEADVOCATE.COM
Could 2014 be the year that Face-
book gets a new button? After all,
there are some things on Facebook
you just don’t want to “like.”
A bad day at work. Sick kids. The
dogdied. Where’s the “dislike” button
when you need it?
Nowhere to be found.
But Facebook recently revealed
that its engineers have been toying
with the idea of a “sympathize” but-
ton.
Is that something to “like”? Maybe.
According to Facebook engineer
Dan Muriello, the “sympathize” but-
ton would only be an option if a Face-
book user picked a sad, frustrated or
otherwise negative emoticon while
writing a status update. The “like”
would then become the “sympathize”
buttonandusers couldwatchthe con-
dolences roll in.
It makes sense to Universityof Min-
nesota student Marcheta Fornoff, 21,
who recalled some awkwardness
when friends “liked” a Facebook post
reflecting on the death of another
friend. But she’s not sure a “sympa-
thize” button is necessary.
“I knew they weren’t ‘liking’ that I
had gone through this loss or that this
person had passed away,” she said.
“It was understood that their ‘likes’
implied they had seen it and they felt
sympathetic.”
Still, the lack of more nuanced op-
tions than “like” has been an ongoing
gripe among Facebook users.
A quick survey of Twitter yielded
all kinds of suggestions, from “TMI”
to “facepalm” and “agree” to “arrgh.”
But it could be a slippery slope.
“Dislike” or “sympathize” could open
the door to “LOL” or “OMG” or who-
knows-what.
We may never know. Even “sympa-
thize” is a way off.
“We made a decision that it was not
exactly the right time to launch that
product —yet,” Muriello said.
BY KATIE HUMPHREY
Star Tribune (MCT)
Facebook looking at
‘sympathize’ button
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS
Baton Rouge Magnet High French Club students Rachel Broussard, 16, left, and Victory Adikema, 15, help French
teacher Michele Braud, right, deliver classroomsupplies that were collected by BRMHS students and will be shipped
to a school in the Congo. Braud is talking with Ikanga Tchomba, who is organizing the drive to collect and ship the
supplies to the Congo.
Ovarian cancer patient Wan-
da Waite never knew Kelli
Richmond, but her life has been
touched by the young woman
who lost her very public battle
with the disease more than a
year ago. Waite was the first
recipient of “Birthday Wishes”
grantedbytheKelli LeighRich-
mond Ovarian Cancer Founda-
tion, which was started in May
by her parents, Patsy and Ron
Richmond.
“Four months ago, I was tak-
ing my morning walk,” said Ron
Richmond. “That’s when I talk
to Kelli. I asked her what to do.
She had three birthdays when
she was sick, and she cherished
eachandeveryoneof them. So, I
got tothinkingwecoulddosome-
thing like the Make a Wish for
ovarian cancer patients …most
don’t live past two years.”
“When you’re in treatment
is when you need uplifting the
most,” added Patsy Richmond.
The Richmonds came upwith
Birthday Wishes, which pro-
vides a $1,000 grant to an ovar-
ian cancer patient each month.
“We do have an application,”
explainedRonRichmond, who’s
working with Cancer Services
of Greater Baton Rouge and
Woman’s Hospital to locate eli-
gible patients. “The only crite-
ria is you have to currently be
under treatment for ovarian
cancer, and you have to contact
us before your your birthday.
“You’dbe surprisedhowhard
it can be to give away money,”
he added, with a chuckle.
That first giveaway was fair-
ly easy though. Waite manages
RonRichmond’s dentist’s office
and her birthday was in Octo-
ber, which worked out perfect-
lysince that’s whenthings were
finally set up to make Birthday
Wishes a reality. Theymade the
presentation on Waite’s birth-
day, Oct. 7.
November’s recipient was
young like Kelli, 28-year-old
Sarah Sibley, who is now in re-
mission. For December, the
Richmonds are making a dona-
tion to Woman’s Hospital, where
Kelli hadher surgeries andmost
ofhercareafterbeingdiagnosed
with stage 3 ovarian cancer in
October 2009, a fewmonths shy
of her 28th birthday.
“Sarah’s inremissionbecause
her doctor was able to catchher
cancer early,” said Ron Rich-
mond. “Early detection … this
is what Kelli preachedabout all
the time.”
BY PAM BORDELON
pbordelon@theadvocate.com
‘Birthday Wishes’
Kelli Richmond Ovarian Cancer Foundation names Sarah Sibley its November recipient
Photo provided by RON RICHMOND
Sarah Sibley, center, receives the Kelli Leigh Richmond Ovar-
ian Cancer Foundation’s November Birthday Wishes grant
from Ron and Patsy Richmond.
JUST
SAY
AWW
äSee FOUNDATION, page 2D
Advocate staff photo by
RICHARD ALAN HANNON
Baton Rouge Community College
Professor Ikanga Tchomba grew up
in a tiny village in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and is working to
help youngsters there get educated.
Area students donate goods
to school effort in the Congo
äSee GIVING, page 2D
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2D n Tuesday, December 31, 2013 n theadvocate.com n The Advocate
Discouraging word at funeral stuns woman
Dear Annie: Three months ago,
I attended the funeral of a
friend and former co-worker,
“Renee.” I went in, signed the
book, gave my condolences to
her husband and was speaking
to some friends.
At that point, another co-
worker came up to me and
said I should sit in the back of
the mortuary because Renee
wouldn’t want me there. I was
stunned.
Shortly after, Renee’s daugh-
ter-in-law approached me and
said, “Thank you for coming
and being a friend to Renee.”
Of course, by then I was crying
and decided to leave.
When I spoke with another
friend later, she told me she
thought Renee was jealous of
me. I cannot understand why.
Renee had a lovely family, a
wonderful husband and a new
home.
I knowthat many times when
I enter a room, most people
don’t really welcome me. I am
tolerated by those with whom
I have worked, and even my
friends are like this. I have
learned to accept it.
But this funeral still upsets
me. Should they have called
me the day before and told me
not to come? By the way, I still
have not received a thank you
for the memorial I gave to the
family. —Stunned in Nebraska
Dear Stunned: We’re not sure
what happened at the funeral.
One person made you feel un-
welcome, but the daughter-in-
law thanked you for coming.
While we can understand your
discomfort, you seem to value
one person’s opinion over the
rest.
However, there is another is-
sue here. You claim that most
people merely tolerate your
presence. Why would you think
that?
Are you behaving in a way
that attracts negative atten-
tion? Is it possible youare over-
sensitive and misread others’
reactions?
Please talk to those friends
you trust and ask for their hon-
est opinion about you. No one
should go through life believ-
ing they are not worth liking.
Figure it out and then work on
changing it. If you need to seek
therapy to accomplish this,
please do so.
Dear Annie: I ama breast cancer
survivor and want to donate
my hair. My hairdresser told
me that while dyed hair is OK,
totally bleached-out hair is not.
Also, my hair is more than 5
percent gray, so Locks of Love
won’t use it. Do youknowof any
organization that will? —Anita
Dear Anita: We have good news.
Accordingto Pantene Beautiful
Lengths(pantene.com/beautiful
lengths), it takes at least eight
to 15 ponytails to make a wig.
For a realistic-looking wig with
consistent color, all of these po-
nytails must be dyed the same
shade, but gray hair, as well
as some chemically treated or
permanently colored hair, does
not absorb dye at the same rate
as other types. However, some
gray hair is usable.
Try the World of Wigs
Corinne Fund at worldofwigs.
com. Also, Locks of Love (locks
oflove.org) now accepts gray
hair donations, as does Wigs
for Kids (wigsforkids.org), both
of which use the hair to offset
costs.
Dear Annie: I hope it’s not too
late to reply to “Uncomfortable
Daughter-in-Law,” whose moth-
er-in-law wants to be called
“Mom.”
The writer should explain
that she has a very special re-
lationship with her own mother
and wouldn’t want to call her
mother-in-law by the same
name. However, it is impor-
tant that she have a name just
for her, to recognize how spe-
cial she is. Perhaps it could be
“Mama Smith” or “Mama S.”
or some other term of endear-
ment that means something to
the two of them.
Because of numerous grand-
parents, my daughter-in-law
devised the name “Cookie
Grandma” to distinguish me
from the other grandmas in
her children’s lives. (A cookie
is one of my favorite desserts.)
It works, and it is a sweet and
respectful way of dealing with
this. —Arcadia, Calif.
Email your questions to an-
nies
mailbox@comcast.net, or
write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o
Creators Syndicate, 737 Third
Street, Hermosa Beach, CA
90254. © 2013 Creators.com
Dear Readers: With all the post-
holiday sales, many head out to
the stores and the mall.
Here are some hints to keep
you safe:
n Park as close to a store en-
trance or elevator as possible.
n Look around, and be aware
of your surroundings. Look for
people just sitting
in cars “watch-
ing” everyone
else, or cars just
circling.
n Park near
light poles.
n Do not return
to your car to
place items in the
trunk and then
head back into
the store. You
might think this
is safe, but there
are people who watch, then
break into your trunk!
If you do put things in the
trunk, try to move to another
parking spot so it looks like you
are leaving.
n Don’t take your whole wal-
let. Try to pare down, and take
onlya fewcredit cards that you
will need.
Pickpockets love women
with a BIGpurse stuffed full of
things. An easy target for sure.
—Heloise
Dear Heloise: We had an experi-
ence with three small charges
being made on our credit card.
These charges were made to an
online site.
The bank marked one of the
charges as fraud and contacted
us.
We were told that whoever
placed the orders had the cor-
rect numbers, including the
three-digit security code. We
didn’t have to payfor the charg-
es, and the bank canceled that
card and issued a new one. The
bank told us the person using
our card probably was making
small charges, and when they
cleared, the personwouldmake
a large charge.
I realized that my security
codehadn’t beenrequiredother
than at online sites.
I don’t understand why that
security code is imprinted on
cards. —Bobbie in Texas
Dear Bobbie: The security code
is there to help prevent fraud,
thetheorybeingthat theperson
using the card would have it in
handwhenplacinganorder and
a thief could not use just the
cardnumber, but wouldneedto
provide the security code, too.
You are right, though — you
usually are asked for it only
when shopping online or mak-
ing mail-order purchases over
the phone. —Heloise
Dear Heloise: I bought a small,
cross-body, zipper-top purse
specifically for shopping and
taking on vacation. It enables
me to keep my hands free and
keep the purse close to me and
away from thieves. —Callie T., via
email
Send a great hint to: Heloise,
P.O. Box 795000, San Anto-
nio, TX 78279-5000; fax: (210)
HELOISE; email: Heloise@
Heloise.com. © 2013 by King
Features Syndicate Inc.
Tips to get a deal
that’s not a steal
ANNIE’S MAILBOX
SUGAR AND MITCHELL
HINTS
FROM
HELOISE
Becauseovariancancer typicallystrikes
women 55 or older, Kelli Richmond, who
died at age 30 from the disease, made it
her mission after her diagnosis to spread
the word to women her age to listen to
their bodies and be assertive with doctors
if necessary.
One wayshe didthat was bysharingher
sharingher journeyinThe Advocate from
hysterectomy and chemotherapy and its
after effects to the resection of her colon
and removal of several sections of her in-
testines.
“This has been the most surreal experi-
ence ever, but it’s also the most real expe-
rience I’ve ever been through,” she said a
year into the process. “I look back at the
person I was a year ago —that girl sitting
here a year ago is almost unrecognizable.
I have an outlook on life I wouldn’t wish
on anyone else but, wow, what this world
wouldbe like if everyone hadthe perspec-
tive of a dying person. I feel like I’ve aged
70 years ina year. I wouldn’t give backthe
experience for anything. It sucked —- it
really, really sucked, but so much good
came out of it.”
And Kelli Richmond is still doing good,
thanks to the dedication of her parents.
To continue to fund Birthday Wishes,
“hopefullytogrant twoamonth,” thefoun-
dation’s first fundraiser is in the works.
Set for Aug. 16-18, it features a Saturday
walk, Sundaydinner andauctionandMon-
daygolf tournament. Servingas honorary
chairman of the event is Kelli Richmond’s
buddy, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri.
There’s already been a mini golf tourna-
ment, of sorts. Ron Richmond’s golfing
buddies, David Corona and René Roberts,
organized it and raised the first $800 for
the foundation.
Aside from the Birthday Wishes, Patsy
and Ron Richmond are still working on
getting Kelli’s Kloset operational. Kelli
Richmond wanted to start a clothing ex-
change for women whose weight fluctu-
ates as theyundergo treatment for cancer.
“We’re getting there,” said Ron Rich-
mond. “Patsy and I are matching all the
money donated up to $12,000, and hope-
fully we can do that every year. The big-
gest thing right nowis to get the word out
about Birthday Wishes.”
FOUNDATION
Continued from page 1D
“When you want to achieve your goal,
I don’t see something that’s going to stop
you,” he said in September.
When civil war raged near his home in
the 1990s, Tchomba moved to the United
States and earned a doctorate in Franco-
phone studies at the University of Louisi-
ana at Lafayette.
Teaching French at BRCC, he told his
story and inspired students to raise mon-
ey and school supplies
for his village school
and started a small
foundationcalledAfri-
Kid.
After the story was
published, he received
emails andphone calls
from people wanting
to help.
Two French teach-
ers at Baton Rouge
Magnet High School,
Michele Braud and Is-
abelle Shirazi, shared
the story with classes
to educate students on
French-speakingcountries like the Congo.
Because Tchomba was lucky to have a
single pencil, they asked their students to
pull out every writing utensil they had —
pens, pencils, markers, map pencils.
“All classses were hundreds and hun-
dreds of items,” said Braud. “We talked
about what is need? What is educationlike
around the world?”
Some students in the French club began
collecting spare pencils and paper, and
students were eager to give.
They dropped off four boxes with
Tchomba in November and plan to con-
tinue.
“It made us realize how much we take
advantage of small things like pencils,”
said Victory Adikema, 15, who brought
the supplies to Tchomba. “I lose about one
pencil a day.”
Tchomba said the contribution excites
him, not just because it helps his home
village, but because it educates American
students, too.
“It helps some local students know the
value of a pencil,” he said. “For me, not
only are they helping needy people, but
they are helping people here know what
they have.”
Adding to Tchomba’s collection, the
Capital Area Corporate Recycling Coun-
cil, which recycles used electronic equip-
ment for people in need, donated 13 refur-
bished laptop computers to Afri-Kid this
month.
When she learned that the 200 children
at Tchomba’s schools had no real desks,
Laura Fereday knew she could help. She
leads Fearless, a Christian ministry that
puts teens to work building wheelchair
ramps and working on houses. Fereday
and her husband developed a blueprint
for a deskthat couldseat two students and
break down flat for shipping.
“(Tchomba) believes that with all the
horrible things that are happening in the
Congo, education will help his people,”
Laura Fereday told The Church of the
Highlands. “I think our children today, so
many of them don’t want to be in school,
and it was such a treasure for him to re-
ceive an education.”
They have built four desks so far with
a goal of 70. On one workday, Tchomba
shared his story with the boys.
“No electricity, no shoes. I don’t think I
could do that,” said 17-year-old Will John-
son, a member of the Fearless team.
Afewwoodworkers have come forward
to help thembuild, and others have donat-
ed money to build the desks, which cost
about $70 each.
“This particular project is a blessing to
students in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, no question,” said Tom Fere-
day, “but it’s a blessing to these boys, too.”
GIVING
Continued from page 1D
Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON
Laura Fereday, right, speaks to the congregation at The Church of the Highlands
with her husband Tom about their desire to build desks to ship to a school in
Ikanga Tchomba’s village in Africa. Teenagers in their outreach program called
Fearless are building the desks.
Photo provided by Spaceless Photography/
KYLE LEMAIRE
Kelli Richmond died at age 30 of ovar-
ian cancer. In her honor, her parents
have established a foundation, which
is providing Birthday Wishes, a grant
program for ovarian cancer patients.
“It helps some
local students
know the value
of a pencil. For
me, not only are
they helping
needy people,
but they are
helping people
here know what
they have.”
IKANGATCHOMBA
8ack or keck pain?
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