When you first meet Nicole Cleveland, you wouldn't think she has a rare medical condition.
"So when they see me, they think oh, you're a normal human. There's nothing wrong. And I mean, that's a blessing in a way but also it's a curse because I do have days where I don't feel great." Cleveland has Turner Syndrome, a genetic condition that only impacts females and is considered rare.
"About 70,000 women are diagnosed or girls are diagnosed every year or have in the United States," Cleveland said.
Turner Syndrome can be diagnosed as early as birth as in Cleveland's case. Others can be diagnosed into the teen and young adult years.
"I have a very mild case of it, but I still have some health complications where I have thyroid issues and hypertension," she explained. "If you don't get diagnosed with it at an early age, it could have severe health consequences."
Turner Syndrome occurs when one of the X chromosomes is missing or slightly altered and can present in a variety of different medical or developmental ways.
"I was put on what's called growth hormone and that is to help achieve somewhat of a normal adult height," Cleveland shared. "I'm five-one. If I did not have it, I would probably have been maybe four foot five, very, very short thing."
Cleveland says she's lucky because she hasn't had any major medical issues from Turner Syndrome. And she thanks her parents and medical professionals who have helped educate her and her family from the start.
"And they prepared my parents with the tools to be an advocate for me," she said. "And as I got older, my parents informed me when I was old enough to understand what was wrong. They were able to turn me into my own advocate."
She is sharing her story with the hope of making Turner Syndrome more widely known, not just in the public but in the medical community, too.
"I have to become more of an advocate for those that have Turner Syndrome because I am able to be an advocate where some who have it," she explained. "Unfortunately, they may have a more severe case where they can't be an advocate for themselves. So I became that advocate."
Iowa Representative Randy Feenstra highlighted Turner Syndrome this month on the House floor, introducing the Protecting Girls with Turner Syndrome Act to criminalize the abortion of any baby diagnosed with Turner Syndrome.
To learn more about Turner Syndrome or to donate to research, visit turnersyndrome.org.
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Police say that a man was not injured Tuesday afternoon after crashing on the bridge over the Bacon Creek channel.
Rescue crews responded to the 900 block of Cunningham Dr. for a single-vehicle accident just after 4:00 p.m., Tuesday.
Crews arrived to find the vehicle smashed up against the fence over the channel. Police say the vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction from where the vehicle ended up. He hit a curb and ended up going over the fence line. The vehicle had to be secured before the man was rescued.
Police say he will likely be cited. The investigation is ongoing.
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Tax season is here and millions of Americans are getting everything ready to file, and like most years, there are a few changes and additions coming your way this season.
CHILD TAX CREDIT and CHILD AND DEPENDENT CARE CREDIT:
This pandemic assistance was awarded to millions of parents nationwide beginning in July 2021. If you received the Child Tax Credit, you want to include that information in your tax return with the letter you receive from the IRS with the code 6419.
"You want to have that letter in front of you when you file because you want to report the correct amount of advanced Child Tax payments that you received," said Lisa Greene-Lewis with TurboTax. "You want to do that so you will get the full amount that you're eligible for."
If you are married with children, each adult would have received this letter from the IRS.
"If you don't usually file your taxes and you want to get that child tax credit, you can actually come in and we will file a tax return," said Olivia Benjamin with Center for Siouxland. "Or say you are a person who does not file tax returns because you don't have income or you just are not required to. You can actually come in and file your taxes and claim that they have or claim the child tax credit."
There is also a change for those who receive the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
"For those parents that take their kids to daycare even summer day camp, there was a change in the Child and Dependent Care Credit and it's expanded and increased quite a bit," said Greene-Lewis. "So you can get up to $8,000 in a credit if you have two or more kids."
3rd COVID-19 STIMULUS PAYMENT:
Americans received a 3rd stimulus payment in March of 2021, which needs to be claimed on your return as well. That comes in a letter from the IRS with the code 6475.
"If you did not receive that third stimulus payment, you can come in and file your taxes," said Benjamin. "Filing your taxes is a way to is actually the way to indicate that you did not receive that payment."
Keep an eye on your mail, these letters from the IRS are important for filing season.
"What we really want people to do is remember to hold on to those letters that they're receiving from the IRS," said Christopher Miller with the Internal Revenue Service. "They either received them already or will receive them in the near future throughout January because these letters will tell you how much you've been paid for the third economic impact payment the stimulus payment and the advanced child tax credit payments."
"And that information is really important because you'll need to put that on your tax return and it needs to be accurate in order for there not to be a delay in processing your tax return."
EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT:
Another change in tax filing this season is for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is something many filers aren't aware of and you could be missing out on a big chunk of change. This tax credit also changed this season.
"The IRS reports that about one out of five people forget about that credit and it could be a huge credit worth over $6,000 for a family with three kids," said Greene-Lewis.
"So for the earned income credit that actually includes 19-year-olds and people who are over the age of 65," said Benjamin, "whereas normally they had those age limits restricted and now they actually will include those individuals."
QUALIFIED SICK AND FAMILY LEAVE CREDIT:
For those who are self-employed and missed work because of illness, you can claim that lost income.
"Also, if you're self-employed and you were sick, the qualified sick and family leave credits to carry forward as well," said Greene-Lewis. "So if you were impacted by COVID and you were sick and couldn't work your self-employed job, you're able to get credit certain credits for that or if you were taking care of a family member."
HOW TO STAY UP-TO-DATE:
If this sounds like a lot, or maybe even confusing, you are not alone. Tax experts are here to help you file your taxes on time and accurately to ensure you get the return you've earned.
"And really the best way of finding out all the things that you need to be abreast of is to go to irs.gov because that's where we have taken all of the information and laid it out for taxpayers so that they know not only the tax law that changes to the tax law, what's new, but also what to be aware of as they're filing their taxes and how to make it as seamless of having a filing as possible," said Miller.
LATEST INFORMATION FROM IRS.GOV
The IRS says this tax season, the turnaround should be fairly quick.
"We do expect this year in spite of the challenges of the pandemic which we're all on course facing to be delivering refunds in less than 21 days for those tax returns better e file and where they choose direct deposit as long as there aren't any other issues with those tax returns," said Miller.
And one more important bit of information, the last day to file is different than previous years. April 15th falls on a Friday, which is a holiday in Washington D.C., which means you have until Monday, April 18th to get those taxes in.
If you'd like to take part in the Center for Siouxland VITA Tax Program or volunteer to help, visit their website here.
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