Mom creates magnetic buttons after seeing family member with disability struggling

Gina Adams is pictured far right in this undated photo. (Wareologie)(NEW YORK) -- Gina Adams, a mother of two in Michigan, saw firsthand the toll that Parkinson's disease took on her stepfather, especially when he was unable to do everyday things like button his own shirt.

"He was a brilliant engineer and a guitar player, and when he could no longer button his own shirt, it was devastating for him," Adams told ABC News' Good Morning America. "I saw my stepdad with this whole closet of clothes he couldn't wear."

A few years later, when her children entered their teens, Adams went back to school to get her MBA. It was while she was there that she came up with a solution to the problem that her stepfather had been facing along with millions of other people who have dexterity issues that prevent them from getting dressed on their own.

Adams is the founder and CEO of Wareologie, a company that designs products for people with disabilities. The startup’s first product is Buttons 2 Button, magnetic adapters that can be attached to button-down shirts.

"My background is in the apparel industry, and I believe our clothes express ourselves and our identity," Adams said. "And it is so important for people to lead their lives with a sense of normalcy."

The adapters can be used on any traditional button-down shirt. One part goes over the shirt button and the other part on the buttonhole to turn shirts into magnetic closures.

Adams said she envisions people using the adapters to help with everything from multiple sclerosis and arthritis to recovery from hand surgery and Parkinson's, the disease that struck her stepfather.

One in four U.S. adults has a disability that impacts major life activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fashion industry has become more inclusive in recent years with adaptive clothing designed specifically for people with disabilities, but Adams wanted to make sure her product was affordable too.

The adapters are sold in sets of 10 for $30.

"Life doesn’t have to be that hard, so if this is one thing we can do to help people, it keeps us going," said Adams, who has spent more than two years researching and raising capital.

Adams also went through a divorce while starting her business and has made her new venture a family affair with her kids. They helped her research hundreds of shirts and buttons as she figured out challenges like how to make the buttons machine washable and transferable, both of which they are.

"I am very fortunate to have found my life’s purpose," Adams said. "Despite the trials and tribulations of an entrepreneur, this company feels right. Helping people regain confidence, time and dignity is important."

Cheryl Angelelli, of Clinton Township, Michigan, has been in a wheelchair since a diving accident left her paralyzed at the age of 14. She said she was always "limited" when she would shop for shirts because she could not wear button-down shirts.

Angelelli, now an ambassador for Buttons 2 Button, said the product is as much a "psychological" boost as it is a fashionable one.

"When you have a disabling accident like I did, you lose so much of your confidence and self-esteem and independence, so you want anything you can do that gives it back," Angelelli said. "Aside from fashion, it gives a psychological benefit too."

"I can button my shirt faster now than when I had full use of my hands," she added.

Wareologie is currently taking pre-orders on the Buttons 2 Button adapters. Adams and her business partner, James Murtha, who has a spinal cord injury, are also working to expand the line of products to include things like jeans and clothes for kids.

Down the line, Adams said she has plans for a concierge service where people will be able to send their clothes to be retrofitted, adding, "We are on a mission to restore independence with fashionable and stylish products."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Sisters sell fruit-flavored drinks to help raise money for sickle cell anemia

Desiree Hamilton(SUMMERVILLE, S.C.) -- "Stay in the mix with a fruity fix" is a phrase these young entrepreneurs live by.

Armani, 13, and Amaya Jefferson, 12, founders of Mani & Maya's Fruity Treats, started their own business in Summerville, South Carolina, to raise money to help find a cure for sickle cell anemia, which affects their 1-year-old sister, Taylor.

Taylor was born with sickle beta thalassemia, a blood disorder that affects the production of hemoglobin.

"Seeing our sister getting hospitalized a lot, we wanted to help raise money for other people that have sickle, like Taylor, and help find a cure through sickle cell research," Armani told ABC News' Good Morning America.

To do so, the Jefferson sisters sell pink and strawberry lemonade with fresh fruit inside. These drinks come in 16-ounce, half-gallon and gallon-sized portions. They also offer a fruit boat -- an assortment of fruit such as strawberries, kiwis, pineapples, blueberries, blackberries and sometimes lemon, mixed with yogurt inside a pineapple -- and nutritious fruit smoothies with similar ingredients.

And you do not have to be in South Carolina to get these sips, as they can be shipped right to your door.

"We do next-day shipping. When we do ship, it comes in a styrofoam cooler box, and we include cold packs to keep it cold," said their mother, Desiree Hamilton.

These middle schoolers are not only excelling with their business. Both attend Gregg Middle School, where Armani's favorite subject is math and Amaya's is reading. Armani and Amaya were also selected to join the National Beta Club, an organization that supports rising leaders.

And they showcased their leadership skills in April during their first Kid Entrepreneurs Expo, giving children like themselves a chance to market their businesses. It was a sold-out event with 14 kid vendors and sponsors who were happy to help. With more than 300 attendees, guests were able to enjoy free food, face painting, a panel discussion from experts and even a live performance.

"Because of this event, we were able to donate $500 to Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital, which is where our little sister Taylor is seen for her blood disease," Armani said.

The girls sell their lemonade every weekend either in front of their home or their grandparents' home. And they've partnered with Nana's Seafood and Soul restaurant, located in downtown Charleston, which sells Mani & Maya's Fruity Treats that they deliver each week.

"We enjoy making our treats because we have a lot of sister-bonding time," Amaya told GMA.

Taylor is a strong little warrior and has not been hospitalized since February -- and was also the special guest at the Kid Entrepreneurs Expo.

"It makes me feel proud and it is good to help people in need and waking up knowing I am helping change the world," Amaya said.

Mani & Maya's Fruity Treats also celebrated its one-year anniversary this month. How did they celebrate? By continuing to serve lemonade for their little sister.

"Knowing that we are so young and knowing that we are doing something so great, it feels amazing. You do not see many kids at 12 and 13 making a difference like this," Armani added.

So far, the sisters have donated more than $800 and plan to keep working hard until a cure is found. Expanding their business by possibly starting a clothing line is also on their minds, as they plan to continue donating funds to MUSC Children's Health.

"This makes me feel really, really proud," their mother said. "They did it, and this is their business."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Recalled Ragu pasta sauce may be contaminated with plastic, company says

Mizkan America, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- Mizkan America, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall for multiple flavors of its pasta sauces that may contain fragments of plastic.

There have been no reports of consumer injuries or complaints, the company announced in a press release over the weekend.

The affected sauces were produced between June 4 and 8.

The sauces listed should be discarded and not consumed. Consumers can call customer service at 800-328-7248 to receive a coupon for a replacement.

The following sauces have been recalled:

45-ounce jars of Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion.

Cap code: JUN0620YU2

Best Use By Date: JUN0620YU2

66-ounce jars of Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion

Cap code: JUN0520YU2

Best Use by Date: JUN0520YU2

66-ounce jars of Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion

Cap code: JUN0620YU2

Best Use By Date: JUN0620YU2

66-ounce jars of Old World Style Traditional

Cap code: JUN0420YU2

Best Use By Date: JUN0420YU2

66-ounce jars of Old World Style Meat

Cap code: JUN0520YU2

Best Use By Date: JUN0520YU2

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Dads have never been so valued, or under so much pressure, experts say

Courtesy Warren Flood(DETROIT) -- For Warren Flood, having his son, Malcolm, changed the course of his life.

Prior to becoming a dad, Flood, who is 43, worked in consulting and described the business model as "trading hours for dollars."

"My friends told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. You have all the time in the world. They’re not even cool until they turn 2 or 3,’" he said.

But once Malcolm, who is now 23 months old, came into the picture, the "father genes kicked in right away," and Flood decided that he wanted to be as present as possible.

"It’s a cliché that kids change your life but they really do," said Flood, who now works as the corporate affairs manager for Microsoft in Detroit. "So, he broke my business model."

"I did not want to travel. I did not want to be away," he said. "I wanted to have that level of stability, and change our lifestyle."

The face of fatherhood has changed

There are roughly 75 million fathers in the U.S., and according to experts, the institution of fatherhood has never looked more different. Blended families are common, extended family members might share a household and there is a significant number of single dads as well -- about 1.8 million.

"When we think of the classic dad’s model, it tends to look very 1950s simple households," Lindsay Monte, a family demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau, said in a phone interview.

"In this data, we see much more diversity of households in terms of the men and the children with whom they live," she added.

Molly Martin, an associate professor of sociology and demography at Penn State University, says the idea of family that comes from the 1950s represented more of an anomaly than a long-term trend.

"While we kind of think of it as the good old days, it’s a really weird historical point in American family history," Martin said.

But while less traditional family models are no longer outside the norm, that can complicate daily life too.

It’s "more complicated in the sense that you may have children with more than one woman, you may not be co-residential with your children, and so making meaning and making those relationships work for everybody is more complicated," Martin said.

Parenting has changed, and with it, fatherhood has too

Rather than relying on their own parents for advice, there are now endless troves of data online, advice columns and parenting books that offer "best practices" to modern fathers.

One piece of advice that’s commonly offered? Eat dinner with your kids. Studies have shown that kids benefit from eating dinner with their parents.

According to Census data released earlier this week, about 75 percent of men who live with kids under 18 years of age eat dinner with the children 5 to 7 nights a week.

"Research has found that parents eating dinner with their children is associated with a range of benefits for children, including expanded vocabulary, fewer behavior problems, and lower likelihood of substance abuse among teenagers," Monte said in a news release from the Census Bureau.

And while all that advice can be helpful, it can also translate into pressure to be perfect.

"The overwhelming part, the part that I struggle with the most, is still trying to find that balance between providing a stable financial, financially successful life and household with the tradeoff of spending time away," Flood said.

But Flood said the feeling of being prepared as a father is elusive.

"It never feels as if you’re fully prepared, but had I known just how much fun and enjoyment the hard times and the good times, and just how fulfilling being a father was, I wouldn’t have waited as long as I did," he said.

"I think often times men feel the pressure or the need to have everything in life sorted out, you know the good job, the finances sorted out and all that, that we often put up false pressures on ourselves or false expectations that we think we need to meet before we’re fully prepared to be a parent," Flood said. "But I definitely wouldn’t have waited as long had I known what I know now."

More pressure, but more valued

Ronald Levant, the former president of the American Psychological Association and a professor emeritus at the University of Akron's department of psychology, said that the role of the dad has changed significantly over the years.

He said he has noticed a greater closeness with children in younger fathers.

Levant said this is apparent in the "intimacy of care," and said that children now see "their dads as someone they can talk to."

"What I am seeing is that this greater involvement and hands on parenting and greater emotional intimacy with their kids," he said.

Flood said, in his experience, it’s relatively easy these days to talk about being a father and he thinks today’s world is more accepting and open about fatherhood, which leads it to be seen in a more positive light.

Marc Taylor is the director for the federally funded program TRUE Dads, an organization that works with younger fathers who have young children.

"The one thing that is encouraging to me is that... people are understanding how valuable fathers are now," Taylor said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Dad to receive kidney from daughter he adopted 27 years ago

Courtesy DeLauren McKnight(DURHAM, N.C.) -- A woman from North Carolina has given the gift of life to the man who adopted her when she was an infant.

DeLauren McKnight chose to donate her kidney to her dad, Billy Houze, after tests revealed she was a match for the procedure.

"She told me, 'Daddy, you thought you were saving my life pulling me from foster care but in actuality, you were saving my life so I could save yours later,'" Houze, 64, told "Good Morning America." "I am extremely proud of her."

Houze, a pastor and father of five, said his kidneys began shutting down in 2016 after he underwent gall bladder surgery. Doctors informed him that he wouldn't live past five years if he didn't receive a kidney transplant.

"And then they told me I would be on the list and it would be seven years before I would possibly get a kidney," Houze said.

Houze's sons were tested but were not matches. But on Feb. 1, McKnight, whom Houze and his wife Karen adopted in 1992, learned that she was a match.

"I never thought I would be a match because I was adopted," McKnight told "GMA." "I got the call at work and I wanted him to be the first person that knew. I called and I said, 'Daddy, I have to tell you something. I'm a match.'"

She continued, "He said, 'What are you mad for?' I said, 'No, I'm a match!' He stopped talking and he was crying. I was shaking. It was overwhelming."

McKnight and Houze hope to have the surgery in the next few weeks. McKnight said she is thrilled to be saving her father's life.

"I call him my Superman," she said. "Without him and my mom, I wouldn't have known where I'd be. There's nothing in this world I wouldn't give him so he can enjoy life and be right there beside me."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Thousands of US cities and counties in federal opioid lawsuit file for class status

iStock/WoodysPhotos(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of U.S. counties, cities and villages filed for class action status in a massive, multi-district litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies on Friday.

New York's Albany County and New Jersey's Bergen County, as well as Atlanta, Georgia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Phoenix are just a handful of the approximately 1,800 municipalities already involved in the massive litigation against central figures and companies responsible for the national opioid crisis.

The federal bundle of cases accuses opioid manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, of aggressively marketing the drugs while misleading doctors and the public about how addictive they are.

They also accuse distributors, like McKesson, of moving huge quantities of the painkillers without alerting authorities, and accuse pharmacies like CVS Health and Walgreens of selling large amounts of the pills to patients.

Thousands of U.S. counties, cities and villages filed for class action status in a massive, multi-district litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies on Friday.

New York's Albany County and New Jersey's Bergen County, as well as Atlanta, Georgia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Phoenix are just a handful of the approximately 1,800 municipalities already involved in the massive litigation against central figures and companies responsible for the national opioid crisis.

The federal bundle of cases accuses opioid manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, of aggressively marketing the drugs while misleading doctors and the public about how addictive they are.

They also accuse distributors, like McKesson, of moving huge quantities of the painkillers without alerting authorities, and accuse pharmacies like CVS Health and Walgreens of selling large amounts of the pills to patients.

It could be a step to resolve the case, because companies often prefer to settle all potential suits through class action, according to Carroll.

In fact,the judge appointed to oversee the case, Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the North District of Ohio, has already preemptively urged both sides toward a settlement.

In a statement to ABC News, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma said: "The company is committed to working with all parties toward a resolution that helps bring needed solutions to communities and states to address this public health crisis. We continue to work collaboratively within the MDL process outlined by Judge Polster."

Johnson & Johnson declined to comment on filing for class status.

McKesson, CVS Health and Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hanly said there is no settlement amount attached to the class ruling but that a potential settlement in the case could be more than $100 billion.

"Sometimes defendants like to enter into class settlements because it offers more closure," Carroll said.

An average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Rabies in humans comes from bats most of the time, not dogs

iStock/CreativeNature_nl(NEW YORK) -- When you think about rabies, you might consider dogs or raccoons to be the first ones to pass the viral disease, but according to a new report, you’re more likely to get it from bats.

Rabies is a deadly virus that, up until 1960, had been spread mainly through domesticated animals like dogs. Once they began getting vaccinated for the disease, however, wild animals became the main rabies hosts, causing about one to three human cases each year in the United States — a drop from over 100 deaths a year in the early 1900s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Reducing rabies in dogs is a remarkable achievement of the U.S. public health system, but with this deadly disease still present in thousands of wild animals, it’s important that Americans are aware of the risk,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, said in a press release for the agency’s new report.

The report’s authors looked at national rabies data from 1938 to 2018 and compared that to the number of people who underwent rabies treatment between 2006 to 2014.

From 1960 to 2018, 125 people were diagnosed with rabies, the report said. Eighty-nine of those cases were acquired in the U.S., with 62 of them being transmitted by bats and the rest from racoons, skunks, foxes and native dogs. Cases that weren’t acquired in the U.S. came from dog bites during international travel, the report said.

Rabies is mainly spread through the saliva of an infected animal from a bite or scratch. It’s fatal over 99% of the time unless a person who believes they’ve been exposed to the virus receives a treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis before symptoms begin, according to the CDC.

“The first [symptom] is generally pain or tingling — like a bee sting,” Emily Pieracci, veterinary epidemiologist for the CDC and lead author of the study, told ABC News. “Soon after that, fever develops, followed by confusion [and] agitation. ... People eventually die from going into a coma.”

Symptoms typically take about a month before they start to appear, Pieracci said, adding that anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a bat or other unfamiliar animal should not “wait and see” if symptoms appear before seeking treatment — they should go to a health care provider right away as a precaution.

Bat scratches, Pieracci said, can be less than 1 millimeter wide — smaller than the head of a pencil eraser.

That said, bats live in a diversity of environments, including in urban areas, people’s attics, lodges and campgrounds, Pieracci said. But while they can be found just about everywhere, she said that bats also “play a critical role in our ecosystem and it is important people know that most of the bats in the U.S. are not rabid.”

Pieracci emphasized that you can’t tell whether an animal has rabies just by looking at it. She said that problems arise when people handle bats because they assume they’re not rabid. The same goes for dogs you might see when traveling internationally.

“A lot of people think a rabid dog is salivating, aggressive,” Pieracci said. “But I have seen them shy [and] timid, and [then they] bite when you’re not looking.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


NY bans non-medical exemption to vaccines amid ongoing measles outbreak

Hailshadow/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New York is now the latest state to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccinations amid the ongoing measles outbreak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the removal into law Thursday, noting that the Empire State is in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in more than a quarter of a century.

Medical exemptions, which are relatively rare, will still be in place, but non-medical exemptions, including religious exemptions, would no longer be allowed in the state.

"This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis," Cuomo said in a statement.

"While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks," Cuomo said.

This comes as communities across the country grapple with how to stem the tide of the growing outbreak, which has led to 1,022 confirmed cases across the nation so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this week.

Two areas of New York have the highest numbers of measles cases out of every outbreak in the country, the CDC numbers show.

New York City has had 566 confirmed cases from September through June 3, while Rockland County has had 259 confirmed cases from an unspecified 2018 date to June 6. The CDC has not reported an outbreak in any other part of the state.

A large portion of the confirmed cases in New York have been connected to areas with sizable Orthodox Jewish communities.

In April, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an order demanding that all persons, starting at the age of 6 months old, who live, work or attend school within the specified zip codes of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, be vaccinated.

Isaac Abraham, who is involved with Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and frequently speaks to the media on their behalf, told ABC News he felt the blame being attributed to the Jewish communities is unfair.

Talking to ABC News in late April, Abraham pointed to de Blasio's order, saying that the mayor mentioned the Orthodox Jewish community more than a dozen times in his press conference.

Abraham said there were multiple reasons why some in the community do not vaccinate their children, including skepticism of government orders, frustration with how the city government has approached the issue, and not believing the vaccine will work. He added that the community has noticed an increased sense of anti-Semitism, as people, he said, appear to attribute the spread of the disease to the Orthodox Jewish community.

The tactic of eliminating religious or non-medical exemptions in an effort to increase immunizations is not a new move.

In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in May that removed residents' right to cite philosophical or personal objections as a reason to be exempt from vaccines, but the state still allowed religious exemptions.

Washington's Clark County was at the center of the state's outbreak, and personal exemptions were cited as the reason why 7.9 percent of kindergarten students were exempted in 2018, according to state records.

California lawmakers removed non-medical exemptions in 2015 after a measles outbreak in the state, but now there is some public debate over proposed bills that would tighten the restrictions on medical exemptions.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ahead of Father's Day, Census Bureau releases new insights on fatherhood

Vasyl Dolmatov/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With Father’s Day just around the corner, the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday published some statistics that offer a glimpse into what fatherhood looks like.

The first Census Bureau report took statistics from the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation and found that 61.6 percent of men over 15 years old are fathers. That's about 74.4 million men, according to the report.

The demographic breakdown by the census shows that “among men ages 20 to 29, 21.2% of white men, 24.9% of black men, 12.4% of Asian men, and 29.4% of Hispanic men are fathers.”

Of the men who live with biological or adopted children, approximately 75 percent eat dinner with their children five to seven days a week, the Census Bureau found.

“Outings with children are also associated with positive child development and are an indicator of parental involvement. Around 40% of men in all family types take young children on outings at least three times a week,” a news release from the Census Bureau said.

Lindsay Monte, a demographer in the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch at the Census Bureau, said in the news release that "for the first time, we're able to look at the fertility of men as well as women."

“When looking at the full fertility histories of men, we see a depth and complexity to the experiences of fatherhood that we have not been able to see before in our data,” she said.

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Humans consume the equivalent of a credit card worth of plastic every week: Report

alexialex/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The consumption of plastic has become unavoidable in recent years, but a new report is proving just how much humans are ingesting on a regular basis.

People are consuming about 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent of a credit card, according to an analysis by the World Wildlife Fund and carried out by the University of Newcastle in Australia.

That equates to about 21 grams of plastic per month and just over 250 grams per year, the report states.

The single largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap, the analysis found. Other consumables with the highest recorded plastic levels include shellfish, beer and salt.

While the numbers are realistic in range, the consensus among specialists is that further studies re required to obtain a more precise estimate, the report states.

In the Australian study, researchers combined more than 50 studies on the ingestion of microplastic by humans to further understand the impact of plastic pollution on human health. The findings will help scientists determine the potential toxicological risks for humans going forward, said Dr. Thava Palanisami, microplastic researcher at the University of Newcastle, in a statement.

The long-term effects of ingesting large quantities of plastic are unclear, but studies are underway, according to the report.

The problem can only be solved by addressing the root cause of plastic pollution, said WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini, in a statement.

“These findings must serve as a wake-up call to governments," Lambertini said. "Not only are plastics polluting our oceans and waterways and killing marine life -- it’s in all of us and we can’t escape consuming plastics. Global action is urgent and essential to tackling this crisis."

Since 2000, more plastic has been produced worldwide that all the preceding years combined, and about a third of the plastic ends up in nature, according to the report.

The WWF is urging the public to sign a petition calling for a legally binding treaty on marine plastics pollution. The petition has garnered more than 700,000 signatures so far.

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