Saturday, November 9, 2013

New Kidney, New Life

"A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else." —George Savile

Last summer, I met a man who has more patience than I could ever hope to have in my life. Although the past 8 years of his life have been a waiting game, his faith is unshaken and his support system is stronger than ever. I had the opportunity to share his story about his wait for a kidney transplant and the community of Moberly stepping up to help on KOMU 8 News. Just a few weeks ago, I got word that he successfully went through a kidney transplant in Chicago and now is recovering at home. I sat down with DeWayne and his wife Angel to hear what this new kidney means for their family.

New Kidney, New Life from Nicole Krasavage on Vimeo.

Here is my full article from this past summer before the transplant:

Moberly Man's Struggle Unites the Community

MOBERLY - After eight years of waiting for a kidney transplant, one Moberly family finally got the call saying to pack up bags and be ready to leave at a moment's notice--but also learned of an extra hardship that goes along with the transplant.
DeWayne and Angel Long live in Moberly with their three children. When DeWayne turned 30, he was diagnosed with double kidney failure, specifically known as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Both of his kidney's together function at a 15 percent level. Doctors told the family the average wait for a kidney would be around 18 months. That turned out to be much longer.
"We went through the ups and downs of being on the list and being off the list," Angel said. "Then we just started to function as though it may or may not happen. I don't want to say we forgot about it, but we kind of just went on."
DeWayne undergoes four hours of dialysis three times a week. He said the dialysis wears on his body.
"It puts quite a strain and a demand on life that you wouldn't normally have if you were a healthy person," DeWayne said. "I pray a lot. I want to be around for my children. I want to be around for my daughters to get married so I can walk them down the aisle."
DeWayne got put on the Northwestern Memorial Hospital transplant list in Chicago. This past April, family members found out that, during the kidney transplant and recovery process, they will have to live in Chicago for a month and a half, paying for a hotel and meals there.
"We didn't know that before, we thought we could just travel back and forth," Angel said. "They said they wouldn't do it unless we have the funding to stay."
Churches in the community have stepped up to help raise money to support the family. The Moberly First Assembly of God Church, along with the FaithWalk Church in Paris, have already raised almost $5,000 for the family.
"There are great people out there," DeWayne said. "I'm overwhelmed. My family's overwhelmed. I will probably never be able to repay them, but I'm willing to offer whatever services I can to them in the future."
The youth pastor of First Assembly of God, Kevin Gustafson, said he has really seen more than just two churches coming together to help out the family.
"They have a lot of friends and family behind them," Gustafson said. "It's cool to see how God can work together and bless their family."
The family could need up to $10,000 to cover the total costs, so on Friday, the First Assembly of God in Moberly will hold a benefit dinner at 6 p.m. There will be music, a meal and a silent auction. DeWayne will give his testimony and share his love of music on the piano. Gustafson said the church is excited to host the event for a family loved and supported by the community.
"It's a really good testimony to see," Gustafson said. "It's got to be a difficult time, but I don't see it affecting them in a negative way. It's actually bringing together their family and their church family, too."
The support the family receives from the community is also mirrored within the home. DeWayne's father, Harold G. Long, is the bishop at FaithWalk. He said DeWayne's positivity has helped his health.
"Even when he would be going through dialysis he would be weak and tired, and I always tried to work with him on a positive mindset," Bishop Long said.
That positivity carries over into the Long's home.
"We rally together," Angel said. "We support each other. We're each other's best friends."
The call last week to have their bags packed and ready to go at a moment's notice, left the Long's with a feeling of excitement that leaves them closer to their goal than ever before.
"Your expectations become more of a reality when you actually get that word," Bishop Long said. "That was really exciting to hear."
After years of playing a waiting game and the end potentially so close in sight, the thought of the phone not ringing and waiting longer still crosses Angel and DeWayne's mind.
"What if it doesn't happen..." Angel said. "We look at our life and we still count it blessed. If we have to go and keep the same routine, we'll go and keep the same routine."
DeWayne and his family said they are overwhelmed with the community support. They are standing by their phones hoping for the next call so they can head to Chicago and move forward with the transplant.
"We're not out there alone." DeWayne said. "It's been a blessing."
To donate money you can call 660-263-4361 or send it to Moberly First Assembly of God at 120 West Outer Road, Moberly, MO 65270.
Original video that aired on

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Goodbye, CNN!

I had no idea what I was getting myself into three months ago when I walked into CNN’s
Washington DC bureau. It was my first time in the Nation’s capital and now I would be commuting on the metro back and forth everyday to work at my favorite news network. I had high expectations for myself going into my internship because I knew I would have to work hard to stand out as an intern and perform up to CNN’s standards. I walked in ready to handle any situation that was thrown at me with an open mind, still not sure what to expect. Walking in that day I could never have come close to imagining how amazing the next three months would be. 
CNN has such a positive work environment. Everyone says hi when they pass you in the hallway and there’s always someone that can help you out. I expected to be intimidated and feel self-conscious. Instead I felt welcomed and empowered. I was blessed to have an amazing boss and role model who let me prove myself to him and put a lot of trust in me for assignments. All the people I met along the way added something valuable to my experience and I learned something from each person that I took with me to my next assignment.
I started off my internship with goals for myself. Not just at CNN, but for my whole experience on my own in general. I explored the
beautiful city of DC on my own, met new friends and gained a lot of independence. Seeing my article on the homepage of was one the highlights of my internship. One of my goals when I started was to work with the online editors to improve my reporting and story telling. Walking into the Newseum in Washington D.C. and seeing my article and name on the giant interactive newsroom exhibit was completely surreal. All the feedback I received just showed me how my voice has an impact on people and what things I need to work on for next time.

This internship was not only great work experience and career planning, but it was a chance to connect with all my old friends. I was able to see all my best friends growing up, some that I haven’t seen in years. It was so great to see everyone and have things pick up right where they left off.
About halfway through my internship, my boss was assigned a month long documentary. I had the amazing opportunity to hop on a plane and live in the beautiful city of Atlanta for a month and work at CNN Headquarters. I absolutely loved working with the documentary unit and every morning walking past the giant CNN sign made me so thankful for everything this opportunity has brought me. My last week in Atlanta was the week of the Boston bombings. On Tuesday of that week, the documentary unit decided to crash an hour-long documentary for that Friday. This was such a great experience because I got to go through the whole process start to finish at a fast pace. It was long hours and hard work, but I got to step up to the plate and put everything I learned to good use. After flying back to D.C. , I was getting ready for my final few days before packing up and heading home. I walked into work on Monday for the documentary phone conference and found out there was another documentary crash for that Friday. Before I knew it, I was back on a plane to Atlanta! I love flying and not being in one place for too long, so this was so exciting for me.
Leaving Atlanta the second time was truly the end of my internship, and flying back home I just thought about everything I did for the past 3 months. I always knew I had the right major, but I was never sure exactly what I wanted to do with it, which made me hesitant. This semester has been such a relief to find out exactly what I love to do. Just the feeling of knowing no matter how late you stay working, you’re still excited to wake up early and go to work the next day. Thank you to my family, James and my best friends who supported me through out the whole experience and stayed in on Friday/Saturday nights to watch the specials I helped work on. I’m ready for senior year and excited to see what the future has in store! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning the ropes at CNN

The past few weeks have been full of learning moments and rich with new experiences. Walking into CNN the first day, I was beyond anxious for what the day ahead of me was going to be like. I expected myself to be so intimidated and feel out of place, but being in the building made me feel the exact opposite. My journalism classes at Mizzou have honestly prepared me so much for this experience. I always get anxious at first, but then my nerves die down once I realize I know and love everything that I’m going to be doing here. It was really nice to see that four out of the 12 interns in Washington DC are Mizzou students, which helped me feel comfortable to at least be able to recognize a few faces at first. The other interns are all so nice and qualified, and I’m really excited that I am able to a part of this small group.
The first week was a whirlwind. Long-form investigative reporting is something that’s really new to me, so that was a big adjustment at first. I’m used to the pressure of turning a story around daily or in a few days but never having weeks to months for one story, so I really think it will be good for me to see a different side to journalism.
A few of the moments that have really stuck out to me in the first two weeks are the interactions I’ve had with the people that work here. Everyone is so nice, they say hi in the hallways even if you don’t know them and are always willing to help. On the first day of the job, all of the interns were sitting listening to one of the HR representatives talk about what we can expect here at CNN when Wolf Blitzer just walks into the conference room. I never really expected myself to be star struck, but I think everyone in the room was trying to hold back their excitement. He went around and shook all our hands and sat down and we each got to ask him a question. It was so great to hear him talk about his experiences as a journalist and what things he thinks are the most valuable to become a good journalist. I think more so as the days have gone on, I’m realizing that I was just thrown into a situation where I am surround by talented, knowledgeable people everyday. I have so much I can learn from all of them, so I really need to take advantage of the time I have here. Another highlight of my first week was of course meeting Anderson Cooper and watching his Town Hall meeting on gun control. Just being able to be in the audience and watch how the show is directed and run was so exciting. I have so much respect for Anderson Cooper and how he does his job, so it was great to see him in action.
I’m sure all the Mizzou J-School kids are sick of hearing about the Missouri Method, but it’s honestly so valuable and true. There are few things about journalism that can be learned from a textbook. Most of your knowledge and improvement comes from actually getting out and experiencing different situations. I feel like in the past two weeks alone I’ve already realized so many things about myself and more about the kind of journalist I want to become, and I still have two months to go! After all the freak out moments I’ve had with Teddy (at least one a year) about whether or not journalism is really what we want to do with our lives, it is such a relief to be here and realize this is exactly what I want to do everyday. I love coming into work every morning and having everyday being something completely new.
I’m working 40 hours a week, plus a 2 hour, round-trip commute, so it’s really been an adjustment! I have finally completely mastered the metro…except the minor incident where I lost my SmartTrip metro card which had $200 on it and the run in with an old lady this morning who yelled at me to let her sit down because I’m young and can stand. I also learned parking the hard way- regardless if you don’t need to be at work until a few hours later, if you don’t leave your house by 8am you’ll have a nice $60 parking ticket waiting for you at the end of the day. Other than those little speed bumps, I’ve developed a really nice routine everyday of waking up, driving to the parking garage, grabbing a newspaper on the way to the metro and reading the news every morning on the way into the city. Once I get to work, I grab a French vanilla mocha and start my day!
I can’t wait for the weather to get a little nicer so I can do some more exploring on the weekends around DC. I have my tour scheduled for the White House and the Pentagon next week, and I can’t wait for James to visit THIS weekend so I can show him around to everything I get to see everyday now! :) 
My first major assignment that I got to help out with was the interview CNN’s new anchor, Chris Cuomo, did with Lt. Brian Murphy. I got to help with the whole process start to finish, and I learned so much!! We’re definitely proud of the final product, and it was on the front page of for a while and will hopefully be airing tonight! You can see a link to the interview here!-

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sightseeing- Party of One

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." — Alan Alda

Bundled for the 20 degree weather!
       So I've slowly come to the realization that this will be the trip of selfsies. I'm not kidding.
      This past week I've done so much sightseeing and became a lot more comfortable with the area. I would say the biggest adjustment has been doing all the sightseeing on my own. While groups of friends are walking by the Capitol taking fun pictures of each other.... there's Nicole taking a selfy with the Capitol in the background. Then I get through security and up to the visitor's entrance and the women goes, "How many passes do you need? Two?" ..... nope...just 1. And everyone from the tour group files into the the big theater for the movie at the beginning of our tour, and I look around...yup...only party of 1, here!

The Falls

      The freedom has been really nice, though. I was bored one afternoon this week, so I decided to drive to Great Falls National Park in Virginia for a few hours. It was FREEZING outside, so I bundled up in all my layers and brought my camera along. I had a great talk with the old park ranger about all the best places to visit in DC and about the history of the falls.  Since it was so freezing I didn't get to explore too far, but I can't wait to go back once it gets nicer outside. The roads on the way there would be beautiful in the Spring. So many trees and hills! Here's a few pictures from the Falls:

Along one of the hiking trails in the park


     On Wednesday of this week I rode the metro downtown and did the basic sightseeing. I explored Union Station first, which is the metro stop that I will be riding into everyday. It's GORGEOUS. All the buildings in DC are so grand and beautiful. Inside Union Stations there's basically an entire mall- Express, Victoria's Secret, Jamba Juice, and so much more. 
Union Station
   Union Station is only a few blocks away from the Capitol building, so I made my way towards the heart of DC. At first I was so taken aback by the security guards. I of course knew there would be high security all around the Capitol, but these guards stood with their HUGE guns out in their hands on every corner of the building. After going through airport-like security I was able to go in a tour the Capitol. It was awesome to go inside and walk through the places Obama was just walking through for the inauguration. After the Capitol, I made my way over the one of the buildings in the Library of Congress to look around for a bit. The insides of all the buildings were so nice. 
US Capitol
     Then, I made a quick stop in the Botanic Gardens before ending the day in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, which was AWESOME. James would be in heaven if he went there!! I got to see the Wright Brother's first plane and learn more about their background. I definitely have plans to go back there because there was so much to see. 
     My internship starts on Monday, so I'm so ready to get started and have a set schedule. This has been the longest academic break of my life, and I'm ready to get back to being productive! I found out 3 other Mizzou students are interning at CNN this semester, so at least I'll recognize a few faces! So far I know I have orientation all day on Monday, then my boss signed me up for special training courses all day Tuesday. I'll definitely post about my first week on the job :) 
Rotunda of the Capitol
Ceiling in the Rotunda
Botanic Garden in DC- "The Jungle"

They have mini replicas of the major Washington buildings at the garden
Wright Brother's first plane

 And yes, I spared you all the many selfsies I took in front of all these places. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

First Impressions of D.C.

 "Be Strong, and let your heart take courage." Psalm 31:24

       These past few days have been so overwhelming. I can't even image how my friends feel who are studying abroad or are in countries that speak a different language! I'm still in the United States, and I already have to do so much adjusting. It's so crazy that the culture can be so different in places that are only hours away from each other. Needless to say, Bethesda and Washington D.C. are much, much different than Columbia, Missouri. I don't think I'll see ANY camouflage jackets and pajama pants when I walk into the grocery store here. In fact, we went to the nice area of town where Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Jimmy Choo are all right next to each other, and you need a ticket to even get into the parking lot. Also, we went into the nicest Target I've ever seen in my entire life last night. It had it's own parking garage and was two floors with escalators for your carts to go up like IKEA in Chicago! 

Trip to D.C.

     After a long 9 hours of driving on Friday (which I drove all of), my mom and I stopped in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the night to stay with our good friends from Georgia. Pittsburgh is so hilly and has the cutest houses! It was so nice to stop and catch up with our old friends. It had been 5 years since we last were at their house, but it was like nothing changed. We told stories from when we were kids and growing up with all our best friends living next door to each other on the same block in Georgia and all the crazy things we would do for fun. It's so nice to have kept in touch with all of them still, especially since we are all so spread out now. I think that really made me so comfortable with traveling alone since I started flying alone at such a young age to keep in touch with all my best friends. I'm beyond excited to have my best friend from Georgia, Jennifer, only an hour and a half away this semester at the University of Delaware! It makes me really appreciate all the friendships I've kept over the years, regardless of the distance between us now.
Tunnel through mountains


      I'm living in a cute house with some family friends in Bethesda, MD, which is about 25 minutes north of downtown D.C. It's a great set up at the house. It's split level, so I pretty much have the bottom floor area as my space which has a family room with a couch and TV along with my own bathroom and bedroom. The couple I'm staying with, Gaylen and Tom, have lived here for years, and grew up in D.C., so they pretty much know everything there is to know and are really helpful with random information. Tom was a college basketball referee for 35 years (And had the opportunity to ref the sweet sixteen before) and knows one of the best high school softball pitchers in the country who just committed to Mizzou for next year. His words of wisdom to me were to always trust yourself because you're the one that has to live with your choices in life. Gaylen is in real estate, so she knows the area really well and loves history so knows all the random facts. Dinner the first night while my mom was here completely reminded me of the family dinners in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei and Rory sit at the dining table lit with candles and listen to everything Richard and Emily have to talk about. (Teddy and Emily will appreciate this reference) They also have a 4lb chihuahua....whose name is poop. Over the past 2 days poop has warmed up to me, so I can't wait for it to get nice out so I can take him on walks around the block. They are really sweet for letting me stay with them, and her only request is that I "write a chapter in my future memoir about the nice, old couple that took me in." (The dentist also said this to me, so I guess I should start writing.....)

The family room area right outside my bedroom 


       I've never really considered myself a city girl, but looks like I'm definitely going to have to adjust to it. The metro system here is really nice and easy to figure out. The trains leave around every 3 minutes compared to the trains that leave every hour going into Chicago so if you miss it you're screwed. 
One of the Metro stations
       I practiced driving to the metro station and taking the 25-minute ride into Union Station downtown. The only downside is there's no cell service since it's underground, so each time the train stops you have to try to hurry and resend all your message and your phone buzzes quickly with all the messages you missed. The walk to CNN is only a few minutes from Union station, and there was a police officer on almost every corner, so I felt safe. We got to walk by the Capitol building and take some pictures. Everything was all set up for inauguration, so it was really cool to see everything on TV today all filled up, since we saw it when it was completely empty. I have a week before my internship starts, so I'm going to use it to get all my sightseeing done and to check out the area. I have a tour booked of the Capitol for Wednesday, and I also want to see the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, too. It's so weird to be completely on my own. In one way it's good, because I literally have the freedom to decide what I want to do everyday and don't need to worry about any other plans, but it's also weird to see and do everything by myself. So I'm definitely excited for this week to go exploring and see all the major landmarks and hopefully become a little more accustomed to using the metro everyday. I'm glad everything is now organized and in place, I just need to adjust and embrace everything DC has to offer! 

Here's some photos I took these past few days: 
High security everywhere
Outside the Capitol

New workplace!

Everything set up for inauguration!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bags are packed!- New Beginnings

       The past few days have been full of goodbyes, shopping, packing and more packing. I honestly never want to step foot in another store again after the amount of shopping I've done this week! I think I'm finally prepared with everything I'll need this semester, and I somehow managed to fit it all into 3 suitcases- which is a miracle.
My room went from being a complete disaster to looking like I never even lived in it for the past month. (Photo evidence)
      I finally organized all my broadcast notes into one little notebook, so I can use it as a reference during my internship, and all my paper work is officially signed. (Mizzou B2ers- I have an awesome KOMU checklist sheet that will save your life!)
      I downloaded the "Embark DC" app, which is apparently really helpful for finding out times for all the public transportation.
     My mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning and driving all the way to Pittsburgh to stay with some family friends for the night, then finishing the last 4 hours to Bethesda on Saturday morning. The weather in DC looks great- definitely beats the freezing Lake Zurich weather. My mom is staying until Monday to explore and help me get settled in.
      Monday is the Inauguration, so the city will be packed. I'm excited to be in DC during such an important time, and hopefully I can do some exploring that day to get a feel for what it's like. Once I get to DC, I'll have a week before my orientation starts, so I plan on mastering the public transportation and my route to work and doing some sightseeing since I've never been to DC before! I definitely want to blog a lot about my experiences at CNN, because I know I'll be learning a lot of valuable lessons.
     I'm really excited to give this opportunity my all. It's the perfect time to explore and soak up knowledge and experiences that will help define who I am as a person. I'm so lucky to have such great friends and family and a boyfriend who always takes care of me and looks out for me, so I think this experience on my own will really be eye-opening. I've set a lot of goals for myself, and I plan to stick to them and experience everything DC has to offer. Time for a road trip!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Unexpected Adventures

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."

                                                                                       — Jawaharial Nehru

2012 was the year I completely opened my eyes to adventure. Now that we've brought in the new year, I've been able to think back and reflect on what this past year meant to me and everything I've learned. I've definitely grown up a lot, and that's started me on my journey to the person I want to become. Whether it's been flying to new places to explore them or the lessons I've learned in my journalism classes at school, I can feel myself going down the path that I want to be on.

One of my highlights of 2012 was traveling to Denver, Colorado for a weekend with my boyfriend, James. James has just as much passion for adventure as myself, and we feed off each other's creative energy when it comes to photography and filming. I viewed it much more as an adventure with my best friend rather than a vacation with my boyfriend. Before we left, we both agreed to document our trip using only our new iPhone 5s. Once we realized we both had very different visions of the final project, we decided to both make our own. It's great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other for cool shots and share your ideas with someone who has a great visual eye. The weekend was completely spontaneous. We booked the plane tickets a month or so in advanced, but that was the extent of the planning. We made a brief outline of public transportation and some things we wanted to see before we got there, but it truly was an adventure. We decided at the last minute to rent a car and head to the mountains for our last day there, and I'm so happy we did. I've said it a million times, but if you never take the time to go out and explore and experience, you'll never know what you're missing. Driving through the mountains was beyond beautiful and something I would have never seen if we hadn't made that last minute decision. There's so many different adventures to go on in life, and my biggest fear is I won't have time to see them all!

Denver, Colorado from Nicole Krasavage on Vimeo.

2013 is going to be another huge growing year for me of new experiences. In a little over two weeks, I'm moving to Washington D.C. to be the Investigative Intern for CNN for the entire semester. This internship is truly a dream come true, and I'm ready to give it my all to soak up all the knowledge I can while I'm there. It's hard to believe that after this semester, I'll just have senior year before I'm out on my first job. I'm running out of credits to take the classes I want and time to experience the adventures I want to have before I graduate Mizzou. My goal for 2013 are the make the most of every situation I am put in. I'm so excited to get out to D.C. and give this internship 110%! I'll definitely be blogging more and sharing my experiences, so make sure you check back! Happy New Year, everyone :)