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Tuesday
Aug152017

'I felt like the monster was chasing us:' Woman speaks out after 11 people in her family get breast cancer

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Pennsylvania woman has made it her mission to raise awareness for the devastation that breast cancer can cause after 11 women in her family -- including herself -- have been diagnosed with the disease.

"I felt like the monster was chasing us and now it's close. I'm thinking to myself, 'I may be next,'" Felicia Johnson told ABC News' Robin Roberts of watching the women in her family, who span three generations, be diagnosed with breast cancer. Johnson opened up to Roberts as part of a new digital series on WebMD, "Advanced Breast Cancer: Courage, Comfort and Care With Robin Roberts."

Johnson added that she is especially trying to encourage a more open conversation about the disease within the African-American community. Black women in the U.S. were more likely to die of breast cancer than any other race or ethnicity group, according to data released in 2014 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our culture as African-American people, we're very, very private," Johnson said. "We keep things hidden, so there was just silence."

Johnson said this is what partly what inspired her to speak out so openly about her own experience with the disease that has waged a war on her family.

Dr. Lisa Newman, the director of the Breast Cancer Oncology Program at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, said that Johnson's work is important as an especially deadly form of breast cancer, known as triple-negative, is more common within the African-American community.

"We know that triple-negative breast cancer is twice as common in African-American women compared to white American women," Newman said, adding that she is researching possible causes for this alarming statistic.

Johnson said she feels her advocacy work is important because "without information you suffer."

"You want to give yourself the best opportunity that science has to fight your disease," she added.

Johnson also says she hopes to use her own story of survival to encourage other woman who may be afflicted with the disease.

"She needs what you went through so she can see ... that there's hope," Johnson said. "When I told someone that I have stage 4, when I told someone I had triple-negative, and they see that I'm alive ... OK, there's hope."

The full episodes for the digital series "Advanced Breast Cancer: Courage, Comfort and Care With Robin Roberts" can be seen on the WebMD website.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug152017

Teacher inspires student after her unexpected pregnancy

ABC News(HARLINGEN, Texas) -- After Yvette Luna discovered she was pregnant in high school, she transferred to Keys Academy in Harlingen, Texas, where her parents hoped the small student-teacher ratio would help Luna stay on track to graduate.

Years later, she thanked her math teacher, Juan Antonio Fraga, 66, for giving her “the skills that I needed to be successful.”

“Keys [Academy] is not just about economics. It’s about people who are helping people, building up relationships. The job sometimes is not that easy because a lot of students might not be initially focused as to what they want to do,” said Fraga.

Luna, 31, said Fraga taught her skills that went far beyond basic equations.

“I want to say thank you for always believing in me when things were tough. There was times when I didn’t believe in myself, and you believed in me. You allowed me to go further my education and I thank you for that,” she said.

Yvette now teaches fourth grade at a local elementary school. In 2017, Fraga and his former student both received “Teacher of the Year” awards from their respective schools.

“I love my students, I care about them. Those are the qualities that I got from Mr. Fraga that I take into my classroom,” said Luna.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug142017

Man gets tattoo replica of 9-year-old son’s burn scars

Joel Thomas(FESTUS, Mo.) -- A Missouri dad has received a special tattoo to help his 9-year-old son cope with year-old burn scars.

In 2016, Landon Thomas accidentally fell into a bonfire at home and badly burned his right leg and foot, his father, Joel Thomas, told ABC News.

"At first, he had to wear compression socks to help him heal and even after, he wore long socks to hide [the scars]," said Thomas, 31, of Festus, Missouri.

To give his son a boost of confidence, Thomas said he offered to get a tattoo that would match the scars Landon sustained.

Thomas then put in an application to the show "Ink Master" on the Spike network. Two weeks ago, an episode of Thomas receiving his tattoo with Landon by his side aired.

A spokeswoman for Spike told ABC News that Thomas was tattooed by “Ink Master” competitors Jessy Knuckles and Allisin Riot, employees of Pinz and Needlez tattoo shop in Maryland.

“Joel and Landon were exactly the story we were hoping to tell: a dedicated and loving parent who wants to show his son that scars are what make you unique,” Ink Master's executive producer Andrea Richter wrote to ABC News in an email.

Thomas’ fiancé Melissa Kuhlmann called Thomas’ tattoo a “beautiful reminder” of the bond between father and son.

“I don’t know many people that would purposely scar themselves,” Kuhlmann told ABC News. “Joel would do anything for his children.”

Thomas' scar tattoo is complete with Landon's initials.

"[Landon] loves it," Thomas said of the tattoo. "The fact that I was willing to carry that along with him--that load of the scar and the pain of something that happened in his life, it made us a lot closer."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug142017

The heartwarming reason why parents took newborn photos with 21-year-old son

Chaotic Perfection Photography (LOS ANGELES) -- One newborn photographer never got a chance to give her own child the posed photos that new moms and dads love. So she decided that despite 21 years passing, she'd finally take "newborn" photos of her first son.

Rebecca Hayes told ABC News that she got the idea to take the silly photos of her son, Clayton Jensvold, back in March right after photographing one of her clients.

"I threw it out there just sort of joking around," she recalled.

Hayes, 38, had no idea that her partner and high school sweetheart David Ward would completely be on board. Their son, which Hayes had at 16 years old, was also game to her delight.

"He’s got a really quick wit and dry sense of humor and so he’s a hard read," Hayes said of her son, "but with this he just like sat up, saying, 'We have to do this.'"

It was especially important for the couple, who dated for years in an Orange, California, high school before breaking up after they discovered they were expecting.

"It got a little bit complicated and we just parted ways," Hayes explained.

The two both went on to marry and have children in those relationships. Still, after the death of Hayes' husband in 2013, she reconnected with her high school sweetheart, who helped her cope.

It was perfect timing as Ward, 40, would soon need to lean on her once his wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. She passed away a year later.

"We didn’t know any other people who had passed so young so we had each other," Hayes said. "Then one day we looked at each other and said, 'What the hell?'"

The two have been dating since January.

Ward added of the full-circle moment, "It's weird but it's a good weird."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug142017

From war hero to white coat: A wounded veteran's journey to Harvard Medical School

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Seven years before Greg Galeazzi put on a white coat at Harvard Medical School, he wore Army fatigues while serving a year-long deployment in Afghanistan.

In May 2011 a roadside bomb tore off Captain Galeazzi’s legs and much of his right arm, just a month before he was expecting to return home.

“It felt like I was an empty coke can on train tracks getting hit by a freight train moving at 100 miles per hour,” said Galeazzi.

Without a medic on the ground, there was no available pain medication.

“All I could do was scream,” Galeazzi recalled. “It’s hard to put into words that sickening, nauseating feeling to see that my legs were just gone.”

Due to his unit’s remote position in northern Afghanistan, Galeazzi had little hope of receiving timely medical support.

“I put my head back and just thought, 'I’m dead,'” he said.

He passed out. Upon waking just minutes later, he discovered that his soldiers had successfully applied tourniquets to both his legs and right arm, which had been nearly severed at the shoulder. A half hour later a Medivac helicopter arrived to take him to the trauma bay.

“What I found out then was that the real nightmare was really just beginning,” said Galeazzi.

He endured over 50 surgeries, hundreds of hours of physical therapy, and numerous months as a hospital in-patient.

But the traumatic experience and new limitations did not diminish Galeazzi’s dream of becoming a doctor.

“Not only did I still want to practice medicine, but it strengthened my resolve to do it,” explained Galeazzi.

Over the next few years, Galeazzi took more than 18 pre-medical courses and achieved his desired score on the MCAT entrance.

Galeazzi was accepted into Harvard Medical School this past year and is the only student who uses a wheelchair in his class of 165 students. He has not yet decided what type of medicine he’ll eventually practice, but is leaning toward a primary care field.

“You’re that first line of defense. You need to know a little bit about everything. I like the idea of being a jack of all trades,” he said.

Galeazzi also looks forward to marrying his fiance Jazmine Romero next year.

“Even though I’ve gone through this journey, it’s not lost on me how unbelievable this ride has been,” said Galeazzi.

 Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Aug132017

Contaminated eggs found in more than 15 countries

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Fifteen countries in the European Union, along with Switzerland and Hong Kong, have received eggs tainted with an insecticide, according to the European Commission.

The insecticide, fipronil, has been found in contaminated eggs from the Netherlands. Fipronil is used to kill lice and ticks on animals. It was banned by the EU in the food industry and has been linked to kidney, liver and thyroid-gland damage when eaten in large quantities.

Farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany were shut down after authorities confirmed that fipronil had been used, according to European Commission spokesman Daniel Rosario.

The countries include the U.K., Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Denmark.

The commission will hold a Sept. 26 meeting with regulators.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug122017

Five deaths reported after using balloon systems to treat obesity, FDA says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At least five people have died from 2016 to present day after using gastric balloon systems to treat obesity, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

"All five reports indicate that patient deaths occurred within a month or less of balloon placement," the FDA said in a statement, adding officials do not know if it was the devices or the surgical procedures that led to the deaths.

Four of the deaths were attributed to people using the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System, manufactured by Apollo Endo Surgery. One death involved the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System, manufactured by ReShape Medical Inc, according to the FDA.

"In three reports, death occurred as soon as one to three days after balloon placement," the FDA said.

The updated safety alert comes after the FDA issued a letter to health care providers in February, recommending "close monitoring of patients with liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems used to treat obesity for the potential risks of acute pancreatitis and spontaneous over-inflation."

The FDA said officials still recommend health care providers to "closely monitor patients treated with these devices for complications," and report any issues related to the balloon systems to the FDA's MedWatch.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug122017

Fleas are testing positive for the plague in parts of Arizona

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Officials in two Arizona counties are warning the public after fleas in the region tested positive for the plague, the infamous infectious disease that killed millions during the Middle Ages.

Navajo County Public Health officials confirmed on Friday that fleas in the area have tested positive for the rare disease. The public health warning follows a similar notice from Coconino County Public Health Services District in Arizona warning of the presence of plague in fleas found there too.

Both counties are situated in the northern part of Arizona.

"Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals," the public health warning stated. "The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal."

Officials also urged persons living, working, camping or visiting in these areas to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure, including avoiding sick or dead animals, keeping pets from roaming loose and avoiding rodent burrows and fleas.

While the warning may ring alarm bells for people who only know of the plague from history books, the findings are not without precedent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said studies suggest that outbreaks of the plague occasionally occur in southwestern U.S. states such as Arizona during cooler summers that follow wet winters.

Symptoms of plague include sudden onset of fever; headache; chills; weakness; and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes, according to the CDC. If untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug112017

'Healthy Living for Summer': Having a balanced diet

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dieting can be a frustrating experience, at times leading to feelings of guilt or tempting cravings. In the seventh episode of ABC News' "Healthy Living for Summer" series, we spoke with Shawn Stevenson, a nutritionist, author and host of the podcast "The Model Health Show,” who shared advice on how to have a balanced diet without necessarily having to diet.

"The real cause of overeating, when it boils down to it, is that nutrient-deficiency leads to chronic overeating," Stevenson said. "We need to be proactive with our nutrition, instead of reactive."

Having a balanced lifestyle is preferable to sticking to a specific type of diet, Stevenson advises.

Below is more advice Stevenson gave ABC News. Watch the video above for more details.

Quick tips

  • Eat whole foods, or foods that are not as processed or refined
  • Have leafy green vegetables often
  • At the end of your day, make sure what you're eating is not nutrient-deficient
  • Incorporate short and intense exercises into your routine to fight stress and cravings
  • Get plenty of sleep -- try exercising in the morning and avoid too much technology (or blue light exposure) at night
  • Think positively and avoid looking at food in terms of limits -- call it a "treat" meal, not a "cheat" meal

Watch ABC News discuss balanced eating in the video below. This weekly health series will continue throughout the summer.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug112017

Little girl sobs with joy after discovering her mom is pregnant

ABCNews.com(ATLANTA) -- One big sister broke down with tears of joy at the news that her mom was pregnant with another child.

Alicia Capello waited until her daughter, Alexis, 13, was home from a two-week vacation visiting family in Georgia before spilling the beans to her and the family's 4-year-old son Nicholas.

“I had found out around five weeks and we wanted to keep it quiet for a little while until I went to the doctor to make sure everything was OK,” Capello, of New Hampshire, told ABC News. “We decided to tell the kids when [Alexis] came home because we were too excited to keep it from them anymore. I was really anxiously awaiting her coming home.”

Capello and her husband, Anthony Capello, made little goody bags with pink and blue paper, baby-themed candy and T-shirts that read “Biggest 2003” and “Middlest 2012.” At first, Alexis was confused “because she’s always been the biggest,” Capello said of her daughter, who opened her bag first.

But as soon as her younger brother opened his shirt, she realized Nicholas would no longer be the baby in the family. That's when the waterworks started flowing.

The happy parents had her open another bag with a onesie in it. Written across the onesie was: “Littlest 2018.”

“We absolutely expected her to cry and be emotional, but it was definitely really strong,” said Capello. “Her reaction was very genuine. She said afterward she didn’t think we were going to have any more kids, so she was really happy.”

The Capellos don't know yet if they are expecting a boy or girl. If the baby is a girl, the kids already have a middle name picked out for her.

Baby Capello is due next February.

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