Scott Cronick's column about people and their stories in southern New Jersey appears every Wednesday and Sunday on the cover of the Region section. Scott is interested in your story. Call him at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyli Wolfson is hoping to turn her nightmare into a positive.
Four years ago, the resident of Seaville, Upper Township, went from being an average, healthy 19-year-old to being bedridden. She was on vacation in Oklahoma when she suddenly fainted. Originally thought to be heat exhaustion, she continued to pass out all summer, was admitted to local hospitals for weeks at a time, could not even pick up a fork to eat and doctors had no idea what was wrong.
Wolfson started to do her own research on the Internet and successfully came up with her own diagnosis: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which was confirmed by a specialist in Virginia. POTS causes excessive heart rate increments and low blood pressure upon upright posture.
Since being diagnosed and treated with medication, Wolfson's condition has slowly improved.
Photography has been a "life saver" for her, and she posts her photos and blogs on MySpace and even sells her photos at Teaberry Antiques in Clermont, Dennis Township.
Now a student at Richard Stockton College, she hopes to help people with the same affliction with http://www.youtube.com/chronicallykyli">her own YouTube channel where she makes videos about others with POTS.
"Unfortunately, there are so many patients right now that are undiagnosed and terrified," she said. "At its worst, it feels like you're dying, even though you look fine on the outside. It's an invisible disease. My hope is that through my YouTube channel, I can save a lot of people from the heartbreak I went through when I was undiagnosed and being told by doctors, 'You're perfectly fine. You can go home,' when my parents had to wheel me out of the hospital and carry me into bed."
There's no such thing as retirement for some
Chuck and Grace Scull, of Ventnor, thought they were retired. Then their son Kevin Scull opened a restaurant.
Chuck, 78, had a TastyKake route for 26 years before retiring in 1988, while Grace, 79, retired from the Atlantic City Board of Education 12 years ago.
They spent their early years of retirement doing things normal retirees do: traveling and cruising to places such as the Panama Canal and Hawaii and baby-sitting their grandchildren.
Then Kevin, who lives in Mays Landing, opened Scully's Asbury Cafe in Ocean City three years ago.
"Kevin enlisted us, but we gladly said 'Yes' to his request," said Grace, who works with her husband from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. "We take the summers off because he has the college kids here. And we still travel when Kevin lets us take off."
If you go to Scully's, you'll see Grace working the register, taking phone orders and helping the wait staff add their receipts. She even makes the meatballs from her own recipe. Chuck is mostly the delivery guy, but he pitches in wherever they need him, even washing dishes.
"We love it, it gets us out," said Chuck, who has had four knee replacements. "It keeps us young."
Marie Dugan, of Ocean City, who turned 90 in August, was honored by Ocean City for a lifetime of service. The proclamation, presented by former Mayor Bud Knight and signed by current Mayor Sal Perillo, came in honor of Dugan being a charter member of the Ocean City Environmental Association as well as her work with the Ocean City Pops, the Aquatic & Fitness Center, the Red Cross and more. ... Julian Miraglia, of Stone Harbor, was recently named person of the year by the Realty Owner's Association in Stone Harbor. A council member from 2005 to 2008, the retired director of Susquehanna Bank was a major fundraiser to rehabilitate Sedge Island and helped build the coalition to fund the bird sanctuary. He remains active in the town and Cape May County. ... The Wildwoods recently won three major tourism honors, including making AOL's "Top 10 More Beach for Your Money" list, ForbesTraveler.com's "Top 10 American Boardwalks" list and Preservation New Jersey's "Best of New Jersey Heritage Tourism" list.