November 2, 2010

Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner enters a new race – to find the millions of people at risk for COPD

Posted: 11:23 AM ET

Bruce Jenner broke Olympic records and earned America a gold medal for decathlon in 1976. Here, he shares his family’s personal battle with a debilitating disease that affects millions across the country.

As an athlete, my health has always been important to me. My wife Kris and I enjoy keeping an active lifestyle, so it’s hard to imagine what it would be like if breathing problems kept me from participating in the activities I love to do. But that’s exactly what happens to many people who develop COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. Over time, it makes it harder and harder to breathe because less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs. Unfortunately, many people mistake its symptoms for normal signs of aging, so they wait to see their doctor. But because COPD is a progressive disease, it becomes worse over time, causing more damage to the lungs.

You might be surprised to learn that COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in America, killing more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined. An estimated 24 million Americans have impaired lung function, but half of them don’t know it.

In fact, I didn’t know much about it either until I learned that Kris’s grandparents both had the disease. COPD took a huge toll on their lives, and it was difficult for us as well. It’s scary not being able to get enough oxygen to breathe easily. Even when we talked with them on the phone, we could hear them gasping for air.

The worst part was learning that if they had been diagnosed earlier, they may have been able to work with their doctor to better manage the disease and get more out of life. I don’t want other people to have to go through what my family did. That’s why I’m raising awareness about this disease through the DRIVE4COPD campaign.

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Filed under: Bruce Jenner • LKL Web Exclusive

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October 19, 2010

Web Exclusive: An Oppositional Society

Posted: 05:52 PM ET

By Rebecca D. Costa
Author of The Watchman’s Rattle

It must be obvious that we live in oppositional times.

No matter what candidate, ballot measure, idea or program we put on the table, those who will oppose it always far outnumber those who are willing to advocate.  It isn’t even a close call.

If you doubt me, just listen to any radio talk show that encourages its listeners to phone in, or read the Sunday letters to the editor.  By an overwhelming majority, we oppose. In fact, so much so that it’s easy to see why we have become gridlocked in the nation’s capital.  If we oppose every solution, then how can we progress – the last time I checked, pervasive opposition was the same as gridlock.

For example, take increasing our troops in Afghanistan, illegal immigration, healthcare, social security, epidemics of autism and depression, climate change and offshore drilling regulation.  Opposition everywhere.  It doesn’t matter which side we take, we don’t like what has been proposed, though we don’t really have any solutions either.

What causes a society to mistake opposition for advocacy?  What makes us passionate about what we are against?  Become our greatest obstacles toward progress?

The answer lies in a pattern of human behavior that is as old as the organism itself.

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October 18, 2010

Web Exclusive: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives

Posted: 10:35 AM ET
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October 7, 2010

LKL Web Exclusives: Exonerated from crimes they didn't commit

Posted: 11:48 AM ET

This is an LKL Web Exclusive by Richard Miles, Keith Turner and Billy James Smith, three men wrongly convicted of crimes, and authors Peyton Budd and Rev. Dorothy Budd. The men's stories are chronicled in the new book "Tested: How Twelve Wrongfully Convicted Men Held onto Hope"!

By Richard Miles

My name is Richard Ray Miles and first and foremost I appreciate the opportunity to appear on the Larry King Show. It has always been a dream to have my 15 minutes of fame and what better way to embrace fame than with Mr. Larry King.

I was asked to write a small essay on the reality of false imprisonment and the things that I overcame while incarcerated. It is no secret now to the entire nation that people are Falsely Imprisoned. That is now a resounding truth, so there is no need to write on that topic. What I will do, is let you, the reader, know why the book Tested is important and a tool that any and everyone should get.

Prison is not just a physical location. Every day we witness someone in prison, whether it is a mental issue, emotional state of mind, financial insecurity or spiritual weakness. THOSE ARE ALL PRISONS. So there is a direct relation between our struggles and your everyday struggles. You never know the strength you have until you have been placed under the pressure that requires more than you feel you have. I had to realize who I was and I had to accept who God made me to be. Once I accomplished that, I began to see my strengths, use them, acknowledge my weaknesses and work on them, but all in the same instance, thank God for the trail I had to go through.

I can’t say that my situation was worse than the next person, nor can I say it was better, but what I will say is the determining factor in all our struggles is WHAT IS THE POSITION OF YOUR HEAD, meaning what are you looking for and at. That is what being truly TESTED is about.

by Peyton Budd

I’m sitting on the plane, flying to LAX, with my mother and six of the men from the book. We are all friends. We’re excited and nervous; we make jokes and fool around. But every now and then I am struck by an overwhelming sadness. For the majority of their adult lives, these men were locked in 8X9 foot cells, counting down the days of a sentence that was not really theirs. Years of knowing that the real perpetrator walked the streets, knowing that family members were growing up and changing, and wondering if anybody really believed the truth.

Flying scares me. During this three hour flight, I am counting down the minutes with a strange, internal mixture of boredom and terror. Three hours seems like forever, but what about three years, thirteen years, more.

The book Tested tells the story of twelve men who suffered the horrors and injustice of wrongful conviction. It goes past the surface, past the news story and asks the questions: How did you survive? What really got you through this experience? In the answers to these questions we found stories that made us angry, stories that made us laugh, and stories that made us cry. Beyond the tragedy of wrongful conviction, there are amazing men full of hope and resilience who have taught me to take nothing for granted and live every moment with conviction and integrity. I think the book portrays these men and their stories in a way that can help us all cope with the many tests of our lives and come out better for it on the other side. After decades of silence, these men deserve to be heard. For more about the book

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Filed under: Justice • Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive

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October 5, 2010

LKL Web Exclusive: Chef Cat Cora on bullying

Posted: 02:06 PM ET

This is a LKL Web Exclusive by Chef Cat Cora, President and Founder of "Chefs for Humanity" (

I was born in the 60's in Mississippi. I was also born gay. Yes, that's right BORN gay. Believe me, I tried to pray "it" away at church every Sunday like a good Christian girl from the South. I tried to date "it" away, dating good guys who didn't understand why I wouldn't, no couldn't, be with them completely. I wanted so badly to be straight like my friends. But I couldn't change it anymore than I could change having brown eyes. And I knew I would never fit into what kids thought was normal.

When I finally met my first love, I was 17. I fell in love and didn't have one friend who I could tell. There was no giggles and gossip and no gushing about how beautiful, smart and wonderful she was. There were definitely no "meet the parents" dinners. I endured the love and loneliness alone. The passion was liberating but the breakup was almost unbearable.

So when a young person who is gay takes their life, my heart breaks to pieces. But, I also know their pain. I understand how fragile life is being young and gay. Being a "freak" as some people would like to call us is hell on earth. Straight kids have no idea how much it sucks. One trauma can break you and change life as you know it, and you are gone forever.

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Filed under: Cat Cora • Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive

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Gotham Chopra on man’s best friends…and best teachers

Posted: 01:36 PM ET

Deepak Chopra’s son, Gotham Chopra, spoke to LKL Blog about his new book: “Walking Wisdom: Three Generations, Two Dogs, and the Search for a Happy Life.”  It’s an observation about relationships, life and how to find inspiration from, of all places, your pets.

LKL Blog:  You talk about your influences in the book, your dad, teachers, mentors…and your dog.  A lot of people love their pets but probably don't look at their dog as inspiration.  How did you come to find that?

Gotham Chopra:  It's sort of a playful take on everything.  And in my family, certainly my father is looked to have answers for everything.  And I think I got to a stage in my life where I started to examine some of these questions myself. 

The first person I went to was my father.  But as I listened and learned certain things from him or reflected on them, Cleo, this dog we've had, has sort of lived many of those examples for many years.  So it became a fun process – myself, my father, my son and the dog – in these conversations.  It’s lighthearted and fun.  And the more I asked other people about things in their own lives and stories – you know people are very, very passionate about their pets – and so it became fun to hear what other people had to say and to hear their stories.  So I wasn't alone in feeling that there are certain qualities to be learned from our pets.

LKL Blog:  Not everyone has Deepak Chopra for a father, someone who can find inspiration in unlikely places.  Give us some examples of what people take away from their pets, maybe something they haven't paid attention to?

Gotham Chopra:  I’ve started to describe this book as a book about relationships – whether it's with siblings or parents or pets.  And so when I started to ask other people, I found everyone has stories.  For example, people who have lost loved ones or endured breakups in relationships – while we have conflicted relationships between humans to humans, there's sort of this devotion, loyalty and unconditional love we get from our pets.  That’s where you start to realize you get to "just be" with your pet, not feel judged, not feel antagonized.  Those are sort of interesting lessons. 

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October 4, 2010

LKL Web Exclusive: Joni Tada's battle with breast cancer

Posted: 12:10 PM ET

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and to bring attention to this disease, here is a LKL web exclusive by Joni Eareckson Tada on her battle with breast cancer.

When most people learn I'm battling breast cancer, they can't hide their shock. "You?" they ask, "but you're already dealing with quadriplegia and chronic pain. How can you handle cancer?" The truth is, it's hard. But I do have some help...

Over the past couple years, my pain issues had pushed me into the Bible to better understand miraculous healing - why does God heal some people and not others? Does God still perform larger-than-life miracles such as Jesus did when he walked on earth? I had wrestled with these questions decades earlier when a diving accident in 1967 left me a spinal-cord injured quadriplegic; back then, I begged God to heal me. Forty years later I’m happy, but still in my wheelchair. My joy, though, got tested when chronic pain became an issue. That’s when it forced me to take a closer look at Jesus' ministry of healing.

My study resulted in a book called A Place of Healing - I was so grateful for what I had learned and wanted to pass on the insights to others. The book is a raw, no-holds-barred inspection of the biblical view on miraculous healing, and in April, I handed in the manuscript to my publisher. By early June, A Place of Healing was at the press.

That was the week I discovered the lump in my breast. I was stunned. A needle biopsy and mastectomy happened in quick succession - I had stage 3 cancer and my lymph nodes were involved. Next was a meeting with my medical oncologist – in one hour, I learned a port-cath would be surgically implanted in my chest, and my frail quadriplegic body would be assaulted with powerful and highly toxic chemotherapy drugs. When the oncologist got up to leave for a moment, I began sobbing – it was the first time since hearing I had cancer that I broke down. I forgot all about my book.

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Filed under: Joni Eareckson Tada • Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive

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September 29, 2010

World’s Largest Ice Cream Social

Posted: 12:15 PM ET

Cold Stone Creamery® and the Make-A-Wish Foundation are inviting the country to help make Kate’s wish come true by participating in the “World’s Largest Ice Cream Social.” Kate, an 11-year-old with a life-threatening congenital spinal-cord condition, wished to be the Cold Stone Tastemaster™ and she’s hoping ice cream lovers around the country will dig into the exclusive ice cream Creation™ that she developed.

“I learned about doing this wish in 2009 when my family and I went to Cold Stone Creamery for the World’s Largest Ice Cream Social for wish kid Jack’s Creation. I loved the idea of working with the Tastemaster™ to put my stamp on an event that helped so many other children. I chose this for my wish because I’ve always loved ice cream and I thought it would be cool to invent my own ice cream flavor.” Kate loves to cook and create in the kitchen and knew she wanted to be the one creating in the kitchen for her wish, not just watching others. The following is Kate’s journal entry describing her wish day.

Make-A-Wish day here I come! Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. the day of my Make-A-Wish day, I quickly leaped out of bed and put on my blue Make-A-Wish t-shirt and blue jeans and popped out the door of our hotel room and into the lobby of our hotel where two camera guys clipped a tiny microphone to my shirt and I jumped into the limo and then we were on our way to Cold Stone Creamery!

A few minutes later we were pointed to a building big enough to fit four football fields into, but then I realized that the building was Cold Stone! I was just minutes away from starting my ice cream adventure.

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September 27, 2010

Exclusive – Rock What You've Got

Posted: 01:20 PM ET

Editor's note: The following entry was written exclusively for the Larry King Live Blog by Katherine Schwarzenegger, author of "Rock What You've Got".

I was shocked when I read that only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful.   Shocked, but I shouldn’t have been, because young girls and women are constantly bombarded with messages telling them how things “should” look on the outside, rather than what’s actually happening on the inside.   According to Merriam-Webster, beauty is defined as a "quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern, or something else." If this is the definition of beauty, why is it that we all categorize beauty as being based only on the outer appearance, rather than the inner or overall picture?

All but 2% of females in our society may have a negative body image, but those who are particularly vulnerable today are young girls. How on earth can they develop a positive body image of themselves at a young age, when they’re surrounded with “unreal” images they are encouraged to compare themselves to?    Images in their magazines, on their computer screens and TVs, on billboards, and everywhere else they turn – images of “flawless” and “perfect” women who are anything but real.   Those women look the way they look through airbrushing and Photoshopping, let alone starvation diets and the hours-long labor of high-priced teams of stylists and makeup and hair artists.  Girls and women look at these images and beat themselves up for not looking that way when they leave the house in the morning.    Hello?   With all of the pressures that young girls face today, why can’t we  provide them with images of real women, to let them know that females come in all different shapes and sizes - not just a size 0?   Images that let them know that they, too, can walk out there with their heads help up high?

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September 13, 2010

LKL Web Exclusive: Promise Me

Posted: 12:17 PM ET

By Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker
Founder and CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Thirty years ago, I held my sister’s hand in the back of the family car and promised her that I would do everything I could to end the disease that killed her not long after.  It was the last time I would see Suzy alive and I marveled that even in her weakened state – painfully thin from the breast cancer treatments that were no longer working, wig askew – she was thinking of other women who went through what she did, and asking that it be stopped.

I promised Suzy that I would spend the rest of my life fulfilling that promise, although at the time, I really didn’t think it would take the rest of my life.  Naively, I assumed that the answers were right there, they were simple, they were easy to implement – all that science and medicine needed was a little push.  As I set out to start the organization that would bear my sister’s name – Susan G. Komen for the Cure – I thought that with a little work, a little publicity, we would have this breast cancer taken care of pretty quick.

I was wrong about that.  It’s been, for 30 years, an incredible uphill battle, but like most things that are hard, well worth it.  My new book, Promise Me, tells the story of doors slammed in our faces as we set out to do our work. It tells of editors unwilling to publish the words “breast cancer” in the paper, because “breast” was just so personal.  It tells of the extraordinary stories of how the women who came before us endured the pain of this disease in ways I can’t even contemplate.  And it tells the story of how far we’ve come with this disease in just a tiny sliver of world history – a mere 30 years – with incredible developments still to come.

My sister Suzy was the total package – smart, funny and pretty.  Homecoming queen and girl about town, she was always involved in charities and helping people in our hometown of Peoria, Illinois.  She was just 33 when she was diagnosed.  She would endure a terrible three years before she died, at 36, leaving a husband, two young children, devastated parents, and me.

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Filed under: Health • LKL Web Exclusive

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