April 7, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

HEROIN & HEALTH CARE

After 9 heroin overdoses in New York City yesterday alone, Republican Congressman Dan Donovan of Staten Island is fighting to get drugs off the street and his party over Obamacare.

GLORIA BUCKS TRADITION

As Passover approaches, Gloria Steinem will tell us about her feminist Seders and how they helped shape her life.

“SESAME STREET” & AUTISM

As Autism Awareness Month marches on, our friends on “Sesame Street” introduce us to a new Muppet character who will help to demystify this disorder.

A “PURPLE” PROSPECT!

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park will be overflowing in purple this weekend to fight against pancreatic cancer. We’ll tell you how you can help join the fight.

 

TRANSCRIPT

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKES GOOD ON HIS PROMISE TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE SYRIAN REGIME FOR ITS CHEMICAL ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS.

WE'RE WATCHING THE FALL OUT FROM LAST NIGHT'S MISSILE ATTACK.

> YESTERDAY NINE PEOPLE OVERDOSED ON HAIR WIN RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

ONE IN MACY'S BATHROOM.

THE REGION'S EXPLODING OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

CONGRESSMAN DAN DONOVAN ON STATEN ISLAND KNOWS TOO WELL THE DANGERS OF THE SCOURGE.

HIS DISTRICT HAS BEEN HIT HARD BY THE OPIOID CRISIS.

BUT HE NOW HAS A PLAN TO HELP FIGHT IT.

HE'LL JOIN US TO DISCUSS THAT AND THE LATEST ON THE REPUBLICAN PUSH TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE.

> AS PASS OVER APPROACHES, GLORIA STEIN UM BUCKS IT AND REDISCOVERING THE WOMEN WHO ARE AT THE HEART OF THE HOLIDAY FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

> AS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH MARCHES ON, FRIENDS ON 'SESAME STREET' INTRODUCE US TO A NEW NEIGHBOR WHO WILL HELP DEMYSTIFY THE DISORDER FOR ALL.

> PROSPECT PARK WILL BE AWASH IN PURPLE TO HELP COMBAT PANCREATIC CANCER.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪ ♪ JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE & G SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

PRESIDENT TRUMP FOLLOWED THROUGH ON HIS PROMISE TO THE CHEMICAL ATTACK ON ITS OWN PEOPLE EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT BRUTALLY KILLED DOZENS OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND INJURED HUNDREDS OF OTHERS.

IT WAS A SLOW AND BRUTAL DEATH FOR SO MANY.

EVEN BEAUTIFUL BABIES WERE -- IN THIS VERY BARBARIC ATTACK.

NO CHILD OF GOD SHOULD EVER SUFFER SUCH HORROR.

IT IS IN THIS VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES TO PREVENT AND DETER THE SPREAD AND USE OF DEADLY CHEMICAL WEAPONS.

THE ASSAD GOVERNMENT AND ITS RUSSIAN ALLY HAVE CONDEMNED PRESIDENT U.S. STRIKES AND DECLARED THEM AN ACT OF AGGRESSION ON A SOVEREIGN NATION.

WE'LL CONTINUE TO WATCH THIS TENSE SITUATION.

> HERE AT HOME A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRAGEDY WAS TAKING PLACE YESTERDAY.

NINE PEOPLE OVERDOSED IN A 24-HOUR PERIOD INCLUDING ONE IN A MACY'S BATHROOM ON HAROLD SQUARE.

ALL VICTIMS OF NEW YORK CITY'S EXPLODING OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

CONGRESSMAN DAN DONOVAN FROM THE 11th DISTRICT REPRESENTS STATEN ISLAND, A PART OF THE CITY THAT HAS SEEN A HUGE SPIKE IN OPIOID RELATED DEATHS.

HE HAS NOW INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO COMBAT OPIOID USE LOCALLY AND ACROSS THE NATION.

I HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH THE CONGRESSMAN, THE ONLY REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE IN NEW YORK CITY.

I BEGAN OUR CONVERSATION BY ASKING HIM WHY HE HAD OPPOSED THE REPUBLICAN BILL TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE, A PLAN THAT BOTH HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN AND PRESIDENT TRUMP STRONGLY SUPPORTED.

I AM NOT A PROPONENT OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HURT MANY HARD WORKING TAX PAYING AMERICANS.

IT CAUSED PREMIUMS TO SKYROCKET.

THERE ARE FAMILIES NOW, FAMILY OF FOUR, PAYING $20,000 IN PREMIUMS.

THEY HAVE $6,000 DEDUCTIBLES.

THEY STILL HAVE HIGH COPAYS.

THEY SIMPLY DON'T USE THEIR INSURANCE ANY LONGER.

AT THE SAME TIME THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HELPED SOME PEOPLE.

IT EXPANDED MEDICAID TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ABOVE THE POVERTY LEVEL UP TO 138%. SO, SOME PEOPLE HAVE BECOME DEPENDENT ON IT.

I AM IN FAVOR OF REPEALING THE PARTS OF OBAMACARE THAT ARE HARMING PEOPLE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME NOT HARMING THE PEOPLE THAT IT HELPED.

AND THE REPUBLICAN PLAN AS I SAW IT WASN'T GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT.

AS YOU SAY, I'M THE ONLY REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN NEW YORK CITY.

THERE'S 13 MEMBERS.

THERE'S 12 DEMOCRATS AND ME.

BUT IT'S MY PARTY THAT'S IN POWER RIGHT NOW IN LEADERSHIP, BOTH AT THE WHITE HOUSE, IN THE SENATE AND IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SO, I FEEL AN OBLIGATION AND RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PEOPLE IN MY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT AS WELL AS ALL THE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY.

SO, THE PROPOSAL WAS NOT GOING TO HELP NEW YORK AT ALL.

FIRST OF ALL, IT WAS GOING TO HARM SENIORS, PEOPLE WHO AT THIS TIME IN THEIR LIVES ARE LIVING ON LIMITED INCOMES AND HAVE HIGH NEED FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE PROBABLY MORE SO THAN THEY DID IN THEIR YOUNGER YEARS.

RIGHT NOW THE LAW ONLY ALLOWS INSURANCE COMPANIES TO CHARGE SENIORS THREE TIMES AS MUCH AS IT ALLOWS THEM TO CHARGE A YOUNG HEALTHY PERSON.

THE REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL WAS GOING TO INCREASE THAT TO FIVE TIMES AS MUCH.

WE CAN'T BE HARMING SENIORS LIKE THAT.

THERE WAS AN AMENDMENT TO THE BILL THAT WAS GOING TO RELIEVE THE UPSTATE COUNTIES OF THEIR PAYMENT FOR MEDICAID AND PUT THAT BURDEN ON NEW YORK CITY, THE PEOPLE I REPRESENT WHOSE TAXES WOULD HAVE BEEN CREASED WITHOUT SEEING ANY ANY FURTHER BENEFITS.

SO THERE WERE A COUPLE THINGS IN THIS BILL THAT WERE GOING TO HARM THE PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT.

AND AS MUCH AS I LOVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, 740,000 PEOPLE BACK HOME ARE DEPENDENT ON ME TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THEM.

YOU KNOW, THE NEW PROPOSAL THAT'S BEEN FLOATED BY THE WHITE HOUSE, IT'S BEEN REPORTED WOULD ALLOW STATES TO APPLY FOR A WAVER FROM OBAMACARE ESSENTIAL HEALTH CARE BENEFITS SUCH ASTHMA TERNT CARE, MENTAL HEALTH AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

AND WOULD ALSO ALLOW STATES TO OPT OUT OF THE COMMUNITY RATINGS WHICH IN ESSENCE WOULD ALLOW INSURANCE TO CHARGE DIFFERENT RATES TO PEOPLE DEPENDING ON THEIR HEALTH AND ON THEIR AGE.

DOES THAT SOUND LIKE SOMETHING THAT YOU COULD SUPPORT?

WELL, WE COULD TAKE THE TWO ISSUES SEPARATE, RAFAEL.

WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, AND WE PROMISE THE PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS THAT WE WOULDN'T ALLOW INSURANCE COMPANIES TO DENY THEM COVERAGE.

THE DIFFICULTY WITH THE COMMUNITY RATING IS NOW, YEAH, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE COVERAGE.

IT'S GOING TO COST THEM $30,000 A YEAR OR MORE.

AND, SO, IN ESSENCE THEY'LL HAVE COVERAGE THAT THEY CAN NEVER AFFORD.

SO, THAT'S A DIFFICULT THING IN MY EYES TO THE PROMISE WE MADE TO THESE PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS THAT WE WOULD TAKE CARE OF THEM.

AS FAR AS ESSENTIAL BENEFITS, YOU KNOW, I'M A PROPONENT OF ALLOWING PEOPLE TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE AND WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM AND WHAT'S NOT.

THERE'S NO REASON FOR A 75 YEAR OLD MAN TO HAVE A HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY THAT COVERS MATERNITY CARE.

IT'S NOT REALLY REASONABLE TO HAVE A 26-YEAR-OLD WOMAN HAVE COVERAGE THAT TAKES CARE OF PROSTATE EXAMS.

SO I THINK THAT SHOULD COVER BENEFITS.

PEOPLE CHOOSE WHICH BENEFIT IS BEST FOR THEIR FAMILY AND WHAT THEIR NEEDS ARE INSTEAD OF LETTING THE GOVERNMENT DECIDE WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM.

WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL OR WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES THAT SEPARATE THE CONSERVATIVE WING OF THE PARTY, THE FREEDOM CAUCUS, LET'S SAY, AND THE MORE MODERATE WING OF THE PARTY REGARDING THIS ISSUE?

AND IS THAT GAP -- CAN THAT GAP REALLY BE BREACHED?

I THINK THAT'S THE STRUGGLE THAT THE LEADERSHIP -- AND I ADMIRE PAUL RYAN.

PAUL RYAN ASK A WONDERFUL LEADER AND HE'S A GREAT SPEAKER.

HE HAS A DIFFICULT JOB.

HE HAS A DIFFICULT TASK.

AND HE AND THE PRESIDENT COULD HAVE LET THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT JUST COLLAPSE UPON ITSELF.

A FEW YEARS FROM NOW [ INAUDIBLE ]. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THAT, THOUGH, IS BARACK OBAMA WAS A GREAT POLITICIAN WHO PUT ALL THE DIFFICULT PARTS OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IN THE OUT YEARS WHEN HE WAS NO LONGER GOING TO BE PRESIDENT.

INSURANCE RATES WILL INCREASE THIS YEAR AND DONALD TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL PROBABLY GET BLAMED FOR THAT WHEN IN REALITY IT WAS JUST THE RESULT OF HOW THE A DFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS STRUCTURED.

WE MADE A PROMISE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WE HAVE A HEALTH CARE SYSTEM THAT IS BROKEN AND IT NEEDS REPAIR.

THE DIFFICULTY IS THERE'S 240 SOME ODD OF US WHO ALL REPRESENT DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, WHOSE PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS.

AND SOME OF THE FOLKS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEFICIT, WHICH I AM CONCERNED, TOO.

BUT THEN YOU COME TOGETHER AS REPUBLICANS AND IF YOU CAN, WILL YOU TRY TO MAKE DEALS WITH THE DEMOCRATS?

WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH OBAMACARE WAS -- AND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, IT WAS PASSED WITHOUT ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE.

AND IF WE CONTINUE TO DO THIS AND NOT HAVE BUY-IN FROM PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION MAY TRY TO OVERTURN THE HEALTH CARE BILL THAT WE EVENTUALLY PASS.

HEALTH CARE SHOULDN'T REALLY BE A POLITICS ISSUE.

IT'S A NATIONAL ISSUE OF THE CITIZENS OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY.

CAN YOU COME TO A DEAL, YES OR NO, BY THE END OF THIS YEAR?

I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TIME FRAME IS.

I THINK THE ORIGINAL TIME FRAME WAS AMBITIOUS.

I DON'T FAULT PEOPLE FOR BEING AMBITIOUS.

IT'S MY HOPE THAT WE DO COME TO AN AGREEMENT AND WE REPAIR THIS BROKEN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

WE PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WE WOULD DO IT.

WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO DO IT.

OKAY.

LET'S MOVE TO A BILL THAT YOU RECENTLY INTRODUCED INVOLVING ONE OF THE MAJOR HEALTH CRISIS IN OUR COUNTRY, THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT BILL AND HOW YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE RESPONDING TO IT?

YES, ABSOLUTELY.

BEFORE I CAME TO CONGRESS, I WAS THE DISTRICT -- ELECTED DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF STATEN ISLAND FOR 12 YEARS AND WE WERE THE EPICENTER OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC THAT OUR NATION WAS FACING.

WE HAD MORE YOUNG PEOPLE GETTING ADDICTED, MORE YOUNG PEOPLE DYING FROM OVERDOSES.

AND THROUGH OUR STUDIES WE FOUND THAT A LOT OF UNSUSPECTING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY'RE INGESTING HEROIN ARE INJECTING HEROIN THAT'S LACED WITH SYNTHETIC OPIOID THAT'S CALLED FENTANYL.

FENTANYL IS 50 TIMES AS POWERFUL AS HEROIN IS.

THEY THINK THEY'RE INGESTING SOMETHING THEIR BODY CAN'T TAKE AND THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SEEING SO MANY OVERDOSES.

SO, WE PROPOSED A BILL, WE DROPPED A BILL THAT WILL INCREASE THE PENALTIES FOR PEOPLE WHO SELL FENTANYL OR HEROIN LACED WITH FENTANYL.

WE DECREASED THE AMOUNT OF FENTANYL YOU HAVE TO POSSESS OR SELL IN ORDER TO FACE MINIMUM MANDATORY FEDERAL SENTENCES.

WE'VE ALSO PROPOSED IN THE BILL TO PREVENT THE SALE OF PILL PRESS.

A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE TAKE A TABLET AND THEY THINK IT'S SAFE BECAUSE THE FDA HAD APPROVED IT AND, YOU KNOW, THEY SOLD IT OVER THE COUNTER.

WHEN YOU'RE BUYING A PILL FROM SOMEONE OFF THE STREET, THAT PILL MAY HAVE BEEN MADE IN SOMEONE'S BASEMENT THROUGH A PILL PRESS SO YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN IT.

SO, THERE'S NO NEED FOR AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS NOT A PHARMACIST TO HAVE A PILL PRESSER.

SO, WE'VE ALSO MADE THE SALE OF THOSE THROUGH THE INTERNET ILLEGAL.

ALL RIGHT.

CONGRESSMAN, WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY.

THANK YOU, RAFAEL.

♪ ♪ TRADITION, TRADITION ♪

PASS OVER BEGINS NEXT WEEK.

IN HONOR OF THE HOLIDAY WE BRING YOU A VERY SPECIAL CONVERSATION AS PART OF OUR ONGOING LISTENING IN SERIES.

SHE IS SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T NORMALLY COME TO MIND AS JEWISH, BUT GLORIA STEIN EM, FEMINIST ICON AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST SHARES WITH US HOW JEWISH PERSPECTIVES AND TRADITIONS HELP TO SHAPE HER LIFE.

SHE RECENTLY SPOKE ABOUT HER FEMINIST SATTERIST AT THE BROOKLYN JEWISH DAY SCHOOL.

LET'S LISTEN IN.

THERE WAS ALWAYS A THEME, AS THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A THEME, FOR EACH FEMINIST SADER.

YES.

IT WAS A CONTEMPORARY THEME.

IT'S COMING UP AND I'M SURE IT WILL BE ABOUT THE PHARAOH.

[ LAUGHTER ]

IT WAS ALWAYS THE KIND OF POLITICAL THEME.

AND THEN WE WOULD DISCUSS IT GOING AROUND THE CIRCLE.

DO YOU REMEMBER ANY [ INAUDIBLE ] FROM '70s, '80s?

WELL, IN THE BEGINNING IT WAS KIND OF DISCOVERING OUR FOREMOTHERS, I WOULD SAY.

SO, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE HAD BEEN IN A PA TRON EMIC SITUATION AND SOMEBODY LIKE ESTHER WHO HAD BEEN FORBIDDEN TO MOURN HER FATHER BECAUSE SHE WAS A DAUGHTER.

TRADITION.

RIGHT.

SO, IT WAS REDISCOVERING, I WOULD SAY, OUR OWN FAMILY AND OUR OWN INTEGRATING OURSELVES INTO THE TRADITION.

RIGHT.

AND THEN IT BECAME MORE ACTIVIST IN THE CURRENT TIMES.

FASCINATING.

DID YOU AT THAT POINT THINK ABOUT YOUR STEINEM NAME?

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR CONSCIOUS FOR RAISING A WOMAN, EACH JEWISH WOMAN?

WHAT WE WERE DOING WAS THE OPPOSITE IN A WAY BECAUSE EACH OF US, BECAUSE OUR NAME WE'RE IN A PA TRON EMIC CULTURE.

WHAT WE DID FIRST WAS SIT THERE AND SAY, I AM GLORIA, DAUGHTER OF RUTH, DAUGHTER OF MARIE, DAUGHTER OF -- AS FAR BACK AS WE COULD GO.

AND OF ALL THE WOMEN WHO HAD NO NAMES, YOU KNOW, VERY MOVING.

AND SINCE -- IT'S ALL THE SAME CONTENT IN A WAY, BUT IT WAS ALSO NOT MY GRANDMOTHER'S OR MY PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER'S PART OF THE FAMILY.

OH, RIGHT, YES.

BECAUSE WE WERE CONSCIOUSLY RESTORING THE TRADITION OF THE WOMEN IN OUR FAMILY.

SO, MOVE OVER, ELMO, BIG BIRD, OSCAR AND GROVER.

THERE IS A NEW CHARACTER COMING TO 'SESAME STREET,' AND HER NAME IS JULIA.

SHE'S PART OF SESAME WORKSHOP'S NEW NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE.

'SESAME STREET' AND AUTISM, SEE AMAZING IN ALL CHILDREN.

SINCE THE YEAR 2000, THE NUMBER OF KIDS WITH AUTISM IN THE UNITED STATES HAS SKYROCKETED BY ALMOST 120%. ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, TODAY ONE IN 68 CHILDREN HAS AUTISM COMPARED TO ONE IN 150 IN 2000.

THIS MAKES AUTISM THE FASTEST GROWING DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY.

SO, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACED BY AUTISTIC CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES?

AND WHAT IS 'SESAME STREET'S' NEW INITIATIVE DOING TO HELP?

JOINING ME IS THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF FAMILY COMMUNITY AND ENGAGEMENT JANETTE BETTENCOURT.

WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

'SESAME STREET' HAS TACKLED, EMBRACED SO MANY DIFFERENT ISSUES OVER ITS MORE THAN FOUR DECADES IN EXISTENCE HERE.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE THAT NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO FOCUS ON THE ISSUE OF AUTISM?

I THINK YOU MENTIONED PART OF IT AND THAT IS THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN IMPACTED IN THE U.S., ONE IN 68.

BUT MORE THAN THAT, OVER OUR HISTORY, WHICH IS NOW 'SESAME STREET' IS REALLY GOING INTO ITS 46th SEASON, WE'VE HEARD OVER AND OVER FROM THE AUTISM COMMUNITY THIS AFFINITY BETWEEN OUR MUPPETS AND CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND WE FELT IT WAS TIME TO BEGIN TO TACKLE THIS AND DO IT VERY, VERY SPECIFICALLY.

SO, LET'S TALK ABOUT JULIA, ALL RIGHT.

YES.

WHO IS JULIA?

WHERE HAS SHE COME FROM AND WHAT'S THE ROLE THAT SHE'S GOING TO PLAY?

SO, JULIA IS PART OF A SUITE OF RESOURCES THAT WE DEVELOPED, AND THAT SUITE OF RESOURCES INCLUDE VIDEOS REPRESENTING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM, THEIR PERSPECTIVE, AS WELL SIBLING PERSPECTIVES, AND AS WELL AS PARENT TIPS.

AND THEN WE KNEW AGAIN, BECAUSE WE DID THIS BASED ON QUITE A BIT OF RESEARCH, THAT IN ORDER TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE AUTISM COMMUNITY, REALLY HOW TO ENGAGE IT IN A WAY IT'S WITH THE AUTISM COMMUNITY.

SO, WE GOT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF FEEDBACK FROM ADVISORS AND DIRECTLY FROM FAMILIES WITH AUTISM WHO HAD CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AS WELL AS WHAT WE CALL THE GENERAL COMMUNITY.

AND THEY SAID, IT WOULD BE BETTER IF YOU HAVE A MUPPET REPRESENTING AUTISM AND SHE'S PART OF OUR STORY BOOK.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT GATHERING THAT INFORMATION, CREATING THAT PARTNERSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITY?

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING IT WAS FOCUS THAT WE WERE DOING THIS WITH THE AUTISM COMMUNITY.

SO, WE GATHERED A WIDE BREADTH OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS WHO MAY AT TIMES HAVE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON AUTISM ITSELF, BUT FOR THIS IN TACKLING BETTER UNDERSTANDING ABOUT AUTISM AND A GREATER AWARENESS ABOUT AUTISM, REALLY THEY CAME TOGETHER.

AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT WE CREATED PROTOTYPES OF ALL THE RESOURCES AND ACTUALLY WENT OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY AND TESTED THEM WITH FAMILIES WHO HAD CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AS WELL AS THOSE WHO HAD WHAT WE CALL TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN, TO GET FEEDBACK BECAUSE, AGAIN, THE PURPOSE OF THIS INITIATIVE IS TO BRING GREATER UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS.

YOU MENTIONED ABOUT -- APPARENTLY THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTISTIC CHILDREN AND THE MUPPET CHARACTERS.

WERE YOU SURPRISED?

NO, BECAUSE WE HAD HEARD THIS QUITE A BIT OVER TIME.

AND I THINK IT'S THE AFFINITY BECAUSE SOME OF THE PROGRAMMING ITSELF AND OUR MUPPETS AGAIN, TALK IN A SIMPLE MANNER, BUT ALSO DEAL WITH TOPICS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO ALL CHILDREN.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO STRESS HERE, THE COMMONALITIES THAT AUTISTIC CHILDREN SHARE WITH ALL CHILDREN.

SO, IF PARENTS ARE WATCHING THIS AND LISTENING TO YOU TODAY [ INAUDIBLE ] THEY SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, I SHOULD GO WATCH THIS, I SHOULD SEE THIS.

MAYBE THERE ARE A FEW PEOPLE ON THE PLANET THAT DON'T KNOW ABOUT 'SESAME STREET.'

YOU AND I WERE TALKING WE'RE GOING INTO THE NEXT GENERATION.

WE HAVE A 12 WEEK OLD GRANDSON, FIRST GRANDCHILD.

AND HIS MOM WATCHES 'SESAME STREET,' OUR DAUGHTER.

BUT IF SOMEBODY IS WATCHING THIS AND THEY'RE SAYING THIS SOUNDS INTERESTING, WHAT WILL THEY BE ABLE TO DERIVE FROM IT?

WHAT WILL THEY BE ABLE TO LEARN THAT WILL HELP THEM?

WELL, FIRST, IT'S THE ACCESS TO THE RESOURCES THEMSELVES.

THEY'RE FULLY AVAILABLE AND IT'S SEPARATE FROM OUR PROGRAMMING.

SO, THEY'RE AVAILABLE AT 'SESAME STREET'.ORG/AUTISM, AND ALSO AVAILABLE THROUGH AN APP.

WHETHER ANYTHING, WHETHER IT'S APPLE OR ANY OTHER SOURCE.

BUT IN THAT CONTEXT WHAT WE HOPE ALL FAMILIES CAN TAKE AWAY, BOTH THOSE IMPACTED BY AUTISM AND THOSE WHAT WE CALL TOUCHED BY AUTISM IS REALLY A GREATER UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE COMMONALITIES THAT ALL CHILDREN SHARE.

AND NOT TO LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCES, BUT RATHER THE WAY WE SHARE, AGAIN, EXPERIENCES.

ALL CHILDREN WANT TO PLAY.

ALL CHILDREN WANT TO BE LOVED.

AND CHILDREN WITH AUTISM MAY HAVE CERTAIN DIFFERENCES.

THEY MAY NOT LOOK YOU DIRECTLY IN THE EYE OR THEY MAY HAVE SOME SENSITIVITIES.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO BE A FRIEND AND THEY DON'T WANT TO BE INCLUDED.

WELL, IT SOUNDS LIKE IT'S GOING TO BE ANOTHER MARVELOUS CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF 'SESAME STREET.'

JANNETTE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING TO KNOW JULIA.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

BE WELL.

IF YOU ARE A PARENT OF AN AUTISTIC CHILD, YOU CAN LOG INTO OUR WEBSITE, 'METROFOCUS'.ORG FOR INFORMATION ON WEAR TO FIND HELP AND HOW YOU CAN HELP OTHERS.

IF BROOKLYN'S PROSPECT PARK SEEMGZ A BILL PURPLE THIS WEEKEND, IT'S A GOOD REASON.

THIS SATURDAY IS PURPLE STRIDE NEW YORK CITY.

RUN AND WALK SUPPORTING THE WALK AGAINST PANCREATIC CANCER.

IT IS A DISEASE THAT IS ESPECIALLY DEADLY, CLAIMING THE LIVES OF EVERYONE FROM APPLE CO-FOUNDER STEVE JOBS TO ACTOR ALAN RIP MAN.

SUSAN, GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, AUTISM SPEAKS AND LONG TIME PATRON OF PBS.

IN FACT, THE FIVE YEAR SURVIVAL RATE OF THIS DISEASE IS JUST UNDER 10%. MAKE IT THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF CANCER DEATHS IN THE COUNTRY.

TONIGHT WE WANT YOU TO MEET ONE OF THE SURVIVORS.

FRANCO WON HIS BATTLE WITH THE DISEASE AFTER SURGERY AND MONTHS OF TREATMENT AND HAS BEEN CANCER FREE SINCE 2009.

HE IS JOINED BY JULIE FLESCHMAN WHO IS THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK WHICH IS ORGANIZING THIS WEEKEND'S EVENT.

IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE, BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

I WANT TO TALK TO YOU IN JUST A SECOND ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLE HERE.

BUT, JULIE, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT HOW AND WHY YOU GOT INVOLVED IN THIS.

SO, 18 YEARS AGO MY FATHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PANCREATIC CANCER.

HE WAS 52 YEARS OLD.

AND HE ONLY LIVED FOR FOUR MONTHS AFTER HIS DIAGNOSIS.

I WAS MAD.

I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHY WE WERE GIVEN NO OPTIONS, WHY WE WERE GIVEN NO HOPE.

AND THAT THERE WAS NOTHING BEING DONE ABOUT THIS DISEASE.

AND, SO, LUCKILY FOR ME, I JOINED THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK AS THEIR FIRST EMPLOYEE 17 YEARS AGO.

IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE WHEN YOU HEAR THAT SOMEBODY HAS PANCREATIC CANCER, YOUR REACTION IS ALMOST ALWAYS, OH, THAT'S TERRIBLE.

AND WE MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, LESS THAN 10% THE SURVIVAL RATE.

YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR OWN FATHER, JUST MONTHS AFTER DIAGNOSIS.

WHY IS THAT?

SO, PANCREATIC CANCER IS TOUGH BECAUSE OF WHERE YOUR PANCREAS IS LOCATED.

IT'S DEEP IN YOUR ABDOMINAL CAVITY SO THERE IS NO EARLY DETECTION METHOD FOR PANCREATIC CANCER.

USUALLY BY THE TIME IT'S DIAGNOSED, IT'S LATE STAGE.

IT'S ALREADY METASTASIZED OR SPREAD TO OTHER ORGANS AND IT'S DIFFICULT TO TREAT AT THAT POINT.

SO THAT'S CERTAINLY -- EARLY DETECTION WOULD BE A KEY.

AND THERE HADN'T BEEN ENOUGH RESEARCH.

THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK RAISES MONEY TO FUND MORE RESEARCH AND GET MORE SCIENTISTS FOCUSED ON THIS DISEASE.

LET ME COME TO YOU.

YOU'RE VERY ACTIVE, YOU WERE RUNNING MARATHONS.

YES.

HOW DID YOU, THEN, FIND OUT YOU WERE SUFFERING FROM PANCREATIC CANCER?

FOR ME IT WAS HALLOWEEN OF 2008.

IT WAS TWO DAYS BEFORE MY 42nd BIRTHDAY AND TWO DAYS BEFORE THE NEW YORK MARATHON.

AND I, AS YOU MENTIONED, I HAD BEEN AN AVID RUNNER, BUT I NOTICED THAT MY TRAINING WAS A LITTLE BIT OFF.

AND I KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP WHEN MY URINE WAS DARK.

AND I WAS STARTING TO GET A LITTLE JAUNDICE.

SO AFTER A SERIES OF TESTS AND IT'S NOT THIS, THANK GOD IT'S NOT THAT, THANK GOD, ON HALLOWEEN I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PANCREATIC CANCER.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN THEY FIRST TOLD YOU THAT?

ABSOLUTE DISBELIEF.

I MEAN, HERE I AM, I'M 42 YEARS OLD, I'M IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE.

I HAD TWO-YEAR OLD TWINS AT HOME AND WAS PLANNING ON -- WE WERE GOING TO GO TRICK OR TREATING FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.

AND HERE I AM DIAGNOSED WITH PANCREATIC CANCER.

LUCKILY FOR ME I WAS A CANDIDATE FOR A WHIPPLE PROCEDURE WHICH IS A SURGERY THEY ARE ABLE TO DO TO REMOVE THE TUMOR.

AND AFTER RECOVERING FROM THAT SURGERY AND SIX MONTHS OF CHEMO AND RADIATION, I WAS -- I HAD BEEN GOOD EVER SINCE.

NO COMPLICATIONS.

NO COMPLICATIONS.

EXCELLENT HEALTH AND I RAN THE NEW YORK MARATHON THAT FOLLOWING NOVEMBER.

GOOD FOR YOU.

SO, YOU'RE ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESS STORIES.

YEAH.

AS WE KNOW, THERE ARE NOT AS MANY GREAT SUCCESS STORIES AS WE'D LIKE TO SEE HERE.

LEGALITY ME COME BACK TO YOU FOR A SECOND, JULIE.

IN TERMS OF PROGRESS, LET'S START WITH RESEARCH.

ARE WE GETTING SOMEWHERE IN TERMS OF THE RESEARCH BEING DONE EARLIER, AT LEAST DIAGNOSIS AND BETTER PROGNOSES?

THERE IS A LOT OF RESEARCH IN EARLY DETECTION.

OBVIOUSLY IN THE AREA OF TREATMENT.

WE'VE GOTTEN -- THERE'S A LOT OF INTERESTING WORK, I THINK, BEING DONE.

WE UNDERSTAND BETTER ABOUT THE BASIC BIOLOGY OF PANCREATIC CANCER THAT ALLOWS US TO THINK OF BETTER WAYS TO TREAT IT.

AND THERE ARE A LOT OF CLINICAL TRIALS GOING ON.

SO, THERE ARE LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DIAGNOSED WITH PANCREATIC CANCER.

TO GET ON A CLINICAL TRIAL, MAYBE THE BEST OPTION FOR THEM, BUT THAT WILL ALSO HELP US TO GET NEW IMPROVED TREATMENTS FOR THIS DISEASE IN THE LONG TERM.

SO, SOMEBODY COMES TO YOU AND THEY SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, I JUST GOT A DIAGNOSIS, PANCREATIC CANCER, AND IT SCARES ME TO DEATH.

BUT I UNDERSTAND YOU DID IT, YOU GOT THROUGH IT.

I SEE THE NUMBERS THAT ARE CERTAINLY DISTRESSING.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THAT PERSON?

YEAH, SO, YOU KNOW, INFORMATION IS POWER.

YOU NEED TO FIND OUT WHAT'S AVAILABLE TO YOU IN TERMS OF TREATMENT.

YOU NEED TO GET YOURSELF TO A DOCTOR OR A HOSPITAL THAT HAS EXPERIENCE WITH THE DISEASE.

THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT.

SOME DOCTORS MAY NOT COME ACROSS THIS, YOU KNOW, EVER MAYBE.

THIS IS AN AREA WHERE EXPERIENCE IS REALLY ESSENTIAL.

YEAH, IT'S RARE IN A SENSE, BUT WHEN IT STRIKES --

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, JULIA.

IS THERE CAUSE FOR HOPE?

ABSOLUTELY.

THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK THIS WEEKEND'S PURPLE STRIDE EVENT TAKING PLACE IS SUCH A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT.

OF PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A SENSE OF URGENCY.

WE NEED TO RAISE MORE FUNDING.

WE NEED TO GET PATIENTS AND FAMILIES TO THE RIGHT PLACE SO THEY CAN GET HELP.

BUT THERE IS A LOT OF ACTIVITY GOING ON.

AND THE PAN CAN COMMUNITY IS A WONDERFUL COMMUNITY TO BE A PART OF.

AND I THINK ONE FINAL THING, PATIENTS SHOULD REMEMBER THAT STATISTICS ARE JUST STATISTICS.

RIGHT.

RIGHT?

AND THAT EVERY INDIVIDUAL IS DIFFERENT.

WHY SHOULD I NOT BE THAT ONE?

ABSOLUTELY.

GREAT WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING.

SO GLAD TO SEE YOU BACK AND RUNNING AGAIN.

YEAH.

AND DOING WELL AND FOLKS WILL GET OUT THERE THIS WEEKEND.

BUT THANKS BOTH OF YOU, FRANCO, JULIE, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU.

YOU BE WELL.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

NOTE FOR YOU WATCHING AT HOME, FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S EVENT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST PANCREATIC CANCER.

HEAD OVER TO OUR WEBSITE, 'METROFOCUS'.ORG.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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