Thumbs-up: To a new heart for a local teen. Christopher Canaday, a 17-year-old senior at DeKalb High School, received a heart transplant this week at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood after a donor match was found. He had been hospitalized for more than 130 days awaiting a new heart.
Canaday was born with pulmonary atresia, a rare heart defect that prevents the pulmonary valve from working properly. An almost 12-hour heart transplant operation was completed early Thursday. It’s been a battle for Canaday since, but family members said he’s persevering. His positive attitude is one of his most memorable traits, and we like so many others wish him the best in his recovery.
Thumbs-down: To another year of enrollment decline at Northern Illinois University. This week the university announced overall enrollment had dropped 4.8 percent from last year’s total. The number of on-campus undergrads was down 660 students from last fall, to less than 12,500.
The total enrollment now is 17,169. The continued slide requires a planned, concerted effort to reverse. It bears noting that students we spoke to this week said they were pleased they had chosen to study there. That’s a message that needs to be heard by more prospective students.
Thumbs-up: To The Penguin Project’s latest production, “Mary Poppins Jr.” The local troupe, which allows people with disabilities to take center stage at DeKalb and Sycamore high schools’ auditoriums, was founded by Barb and Joe King in 2009 and put on its first show in 2010.
The Penguin Project provides modifications and mentor guidance to support its actors, and in the process allows them to truly share their talents. Most people who experience these shows come away feeling great.
“Mary Poppins Jr.” will have two more shows: 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available online at cctonstage.com/tickets.html.
Thumbs-up: To seeking out and singling out local veterans. In honor of veterans weekend, last week about 20 people formed a motorcycle motorcade and visited area senior living facilities to thank veterans there for their service.
The motorcade route ended at DeKalb American Legion Post 66, where it dedicated a new flag retirement chamber. Frank Beierlotzer, an Army veteran who organized the motorcade, said “It’s the right thing to do.” We agree. Thanks to you, too, Frank.