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Tuesday
Mar212017

Pamper your baby at baby's own day spa

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- All they do is eat and sleep but now, babies can have an even cushier life.

Introducing Baby Spa Perth, the third "baby spa" in a franchise that started in South Africa. It's the first of its kind in Australia, where babies may indulge in hydrotherapy or massage sessions.

According to Anita and Kavita Kumar, the spa directors, infant hydrotherapy benefits "range from improved sleep quality, reduced discomfort from colic, wind, constipation and reflux while regular visits can benefit the cardiovascular and respiratory systems."

The Baby Spa website states that it is the only facility in the world to use a specially designed floatation device, sort of like an Elizabethan collar, which supports babies in the water, allowing them freedom of movement that they would otherwise not experience.

Parents shouldn’t feel left out, either. According to the website, massage and hydrotherapy help develop “reading and respecting cues - becoming acquainted with the behavioral states and cues of your baby." Additionally, the spa offers “quality bonding time for parent and baby via interaction, relaxation, observation and communication.”

If Australia is too far for you to travel to indulge your baby, there is a similar spa in Texas called Float Baby.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar202017

Teen EMT delivers her 1st baby, born 2 weeks early, in couple's bedroom

Angela Windt(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J.) -- One New Jersey woman gave birth two weeks early in her own home after not being able to make it to the hospital in time, but what made the unique delivery even more unusual was who delivered the newborn: a teenage EMT.

“I was a bit nervous because I have never delivered a baby before, but I was confident in my training and my crew,” Nicole Segalini, 18, an EMT with the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad, told ABC News. “I wasn’t scared, but I was definitely amazed at what we were doing.”

When mom Angela Windt, of Berkeley Heights, knew she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital, her husband, Paul, dialed 911.

“I was getting up out of bed to change to go to the hospital and my contractions started going and I felt her and knew this is not good,” Windt recalled of the harrowing experience on March 10. “I made it halfway across the bedroom floor and looked at my husband and said, ‘We’re not going to make it.’ He laid me down on the floor and got some towels down. I said, ‘Call 911,’ and he was cool as a cucumber. That was the great part.”

Luckily, the volunteer rescue squad arrived within five minutes of the call for a smooth, safe delivery.

“They started to buckle me into the stretcher to take me to the hospital and I reached down to unbuckle the ankle things and said, ‘Oh no, you can’t. She’s coming,’” the mom explained. “They looked down and right then she crowned and they said, ‘This baby is coming right now.’”

Segalini acted as “the catcher” as the rest of their team coached and assisted her through the birth.

“This wasn’t a one-person job,” the humble teen said of the incredible learning opportunity. “I was lucky to have the opportunity to catch, but this was a job built around teamwork.”

Baby Ava Sharon was born with 30 minutes of Windt’s water breaking.

Mom and baby are both healthy and happy.

“She’s doing great. She’s doing really well,” Windt said of her new bundle of joy.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar202017

“Sesame Street” to introduce TV fans to Julia, a Muppet with autism

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Next month, viewers of Sesame Street will be introduced to Julia, a Muppet with autism.

The new character with red hair has been present on digital properties and printed works for some time. Now she'll get her TV debut in April.

On Sunday the show posted videos to the HBO site and YouTube, introducing Julia to the new medium. Julia sings "Sunny Days" with her friend Abby Cadabby.

She also plays the "Boing Boing Tag" game with Abby.

Sesame Street senior writer Christine Ferraro told 60 Minutes that the character was complex because "autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism."

She added, "When [children] encounter [someone autistic] in their real life it’s familiar. And they see that these — these can be their friends too."

Clips from her debut show depict Julia in normal situations, where she might not answer a new friend right away, but someone who knows Julia explains the situation to the other characters.

The other Muppets and children do not shun Julia for being different. In fact, they welcome her with open arms. Stacey Gordon, the mother of a son with autism, will be the puppeteer for Julia.

"[This] means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society. Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion ... and like her," Gordon told 60 Minutes. "Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that’s OK."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Mar192017

High school senior creates 'We Dine Together' so no student eats alone

iStock/Thinkstock(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- One student at Boca Raton Community High School has created a new student group called "We Dine Together" so that no student has to eat alone at lunch.

Denis Estimon immigrated to the U.S. from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, when he was in the first grade.

"There was a language barrier ... and my mom was always working and my father was still in Haiti at the time so I wasn't able to talk to anybody," Estimon told ABC News. "I felt isolated. I felt lonely. And so I still remember how I felt not being able to speak to fellow students."

The now-18-year-old high school senior, who's enrolled at the Florida school that has more than 3,000 students, decided that no student should feel how he once felt. So with the help of his English teacher, Jordan Hernandez, he created We Dine Together.

Denis Estimon created "We Dine Together," a student group at Boca Raton Community High School in Florida so no student has to eat alone.

Estimon said he got the idea while talking to his mentor at an after-school program called Propel.

"At Boca High, if you look at the cafeteria from a bird's eye view, on one side you’ll see more isolated kids, and on the other side you’ll see the football players," the student explained. "I told him it shouldn’t be this way. He challenged me to do something about it and that’s basically what I did."

Back in August, when the school year started, Estimon tapped three other students from different affinity groups to recruit students to gather every Tuesday in Hernandez's classroom. What started off with just 15 students has now ballooned to more than 80 students weekly.

"Our mission is to build relationships over the table," Hernandez, who's been teaching English at the school for four years, told ABC News. "We try to go out and find those who are ostracized or isolated and bring them into the club."

"It's a place where you are safe and accepted for who you are and for what you choose to be," he added.

The feedback from the students has been "tremendous," Estimon said.

Not only has it changed how students interact inside the school, but also how they behave at home. "Kids have been telling me they started to try and eat at home with their parents," he said.

Estimon, who is now applying to colleges where he'd like to study business, hopes that We Dine Together will grow to be present in every high school around the nation.

"Could you imagine what a different that would make?" he asked. "If we had relationships with people, then the things that are happening today wouldn’t happen."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Mar192017

Deputy helps girl build snowman while mom with cancer recuperates

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, S.C. ) -- A South Carolina deputy's act of kindness brought a smile to a little girl's face.
Miyah Washington, 12, was building a snowman by herself when Chris Blanding of the Richland County Sheriff's Office stopped his patrol car and offered to help.

"I just thought that was so awesome that he would actually take the time out of his day and help [a] little kid in her yard," Miyah's mom DaVida Washington told ABC News. "I thought it was pretty cool and she did too, she was very excited."

She was fighting a cold on March 12 and was resting inside her home when her daughter, Miyah, went to play outside.

"Plus my white blood cells are low, so I can't be out in the cold," Washington said. "I've been under the weather for a couple of days so Sunday was one of those days I couldn't go out."

Miyah was trying to make a snowman when Deputy Blanding stopped by and asked if he could join the fun. She agreed and the pair posed for a picture, taken by her father.

Lieutenant Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff's Office told ABC News that Blanding, who was working on his regular shift that day, is an asset to the department.

"The Richland County Sheriff's Department believes in unity in the community and we want to show them we are just as human," he said. "[One] of the ways we do that is getting to know the people in the community where we are working to protect and serve."

Wilson said Blanding was unaware Washington had cancer until after she shared the image of him and her daughter on a local news organization's Facebook page.

Washington said she was thankful to Blanding for being kind to her daughter.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Mar182017

7-year-old boy paralyzed in car accident 'dances' again

Lyhoy Mansy(NEW YORK) -- A young boy who was paralyzed by a car accident is 'dancing' again.

Bruce Mansy, 7, of Fresno, California, was paralyzed from the waist down by a spinal cord injury that he suffered in a car accident on Sept. 17, 2016.

The accident happened while Bruce was riding in a car with his father, Samuel, and three siblings, who all suffered minor bumps and bruises.

The young boy was taken to Fresno Community Regional Hospital where after multiple tests he was diagnosed with a severe tear in his spine, his mother, Lyhoy Mansy, told ABC News.

"He’s no longer able to feel sensation or possibly have any motors skills [below the waist]," she said.

Bruce, now a 2nd-grader, also had to have surgery back in September for internal bleeding near his large intestine.

Doctors told the Mansy family that Bruce may never walk, run or dance again. He requires round-the-clock care.

"It’s definitely challenging," Lyhoy, 33, said, noting that she tends to her son's catheter every four hours.

Every night Lyhoy or her husband, Samuel, also 33, rotate their son in his bed every two hours "so he doesn’t have any pressure sores," she said.

Lyhoy heard from her older sister, Lykeav, Bruce's aunt, about Project Walk, a paralysis rehabilitation center in Walnut Creek, California, approximately three hours from their home.

The family began in December to take Bruce twice a week to the facility, where he does harness therapy, designed to stimulate and improve motor function below the waist, and other therapies.

A video of Bruce that is getting a lot of attention online shows the 7-year-old happily dancing during harness therapy.

"I feel excited when I go," Bruce Mansy told ABC News. "They put me on my feet and I can dance again. It makes me happy."

His mother said her son's excitement is the only reason why they continue to trek the three hours.

"He’s learning how to live with his condition," Lyhoy said. "Their goal is to focus below the injury, and they work with Bruce, saying, 'Look at your legs, kick, kick, kick!' They’re trying to stimulate his brain to find another way to eventually be able to move his body."

Bruce's mother said she hopes that her son will grow up without feeling constrained by limitations.

"Obviously, there will be certain things, but if he thinks he can't do it, then I hope he says, 'Let's just try it a different way,'" she said.

The mother of four said her and her son's faith keep her strong.

"Never once have you heard him complain or say, 'I can’t believe I’m not walking.' He’s still happy, and part of the reason why is because he still has that faith," she said. "Whatever God has planned, he’s going to be OK."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Mar182017

Dad and daughter transition together from mother and son

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For almost two years now, a father and daughter have been sharing the journey of transitioning from mother and son.

Eric Maison, 39, began socially transitioning to become male in the fall of 2015, after his daughter Corey, 15, started her hormone treatment to become female. Maison's medical transition began in 2016.

"Corey's bravery definitely inspired me to come out as transgender," said Maison, a resident of Detroit, Michigan. "To see how courageous she is, despite all of the cruelty the world shows her at times, makes me so proud. I thought, 'If she can do this, so can I.'"

In June 2016, ABC News spoke with Maison (who then went by the name Erica) and daughter Corey to share the story about the transgender teen and her message against bullying.

Corey, then 14, was born with the same name but was assigned male sex at birth. Corey has been identifying as female since she was 2 years old, Maison said last June. Corey said she was inspired by transgender activist Jazz Jennings and saw a therapist who helped her transition from a boy to a girl. Jennings, who was assigned male sex at birth, stars in the TLC reality TV series "I Am Jazz," which documents her life as a transgender youth.

"We're not a threat," Corey wrote to ABC News in June. "We are just like any other kids. We only want people to accept and love us for who we are."

Maison said in June that Corey was bullied for being transgender when she was younger. The first incident was when a child pushed her down a hill covered in frozen ice, causing injuries to Corey's face. Eventually, Corey was moved to another school as a result of the bullying, Maison said.

Back then, the boys didn't speak to Corey. Today, they've accepted her as one of their peers.

Now, Eric Maison, who still goes by mom even though he now identifies as a male, is sharing his journey.

Eric Maison was assigned female sex at birth. He told ABC News today that he always knew in his heart that he was male. Like his daughter, Maison learned "what it meant to be transgender" after watching ABC's 2012 "20/20" special on Jennings, he said.

In 2007, Eric Maison married husband Les Maison. The pair have five children: Chelsea, 22, Corey, 15, Kailee, 14, Ellen, 9, and Willow, 6.

While he loves his children, Eric Maison did not enjoy being pregnant, he said.

"It was very hard not being comfortable in my own body, but not understanding why," Eric Maison said. "Especially when others would tell me how beautiful I was, or they wished they had the same body as mine. I always wished I had a different body."

Les Maison, 53, told ABC News that Eric Maison came out to him a year and a half ago.

"My reaction a first was a little bit of surprise," Les Maison said. "I was happy on one hand that, 'Here we go, somebody gets to live their life as who they are.' On the other side was, 'How does this impact myself, our relationship and my family?"

Les Maison said he didn't have suspicions that Eric Maison was transgender besides certain things he would say prior to his transition.

"[He] said, 'I wish I had just got breast cancer so I can have a double mastectomy,'" Les Maison recalled. "There was no other indicator other than he hated having large breasts. There was an ah-ha moment after [he] said something [about coming out], but it all seemed to make sense at that point."

On Feb. 21, Eric Maison underwent a double mastectomy.

"I am very happy I had breast removal surgery and am taking hormones," Eric Maison said. "I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, like I was carrying the weight of the world, and now I am free."

Eric Maison's procedure was performed by Loren Schechter, plastic surgeon director of the gender confirmation surgery program at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

"Surgery went well as expected and he's recovering well," Schechter told ABC News. "Top surgery is not simply for individuals who consider themselves male. It's also for individuals who consider themselves gender nonconforming or gender neutral. Oftentimes, people will put these tight compression wraps around their chests to hide their breasts when they're in public. Their goal can be to walk around the beach, pool or at home as well, without wearing a top. If they have breasts and it's a source of dysphoria, that makes it difficult or impossible for them to do."

Schechter said he looks to the "Standards of Care" (SOC) established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health before performing gender confirmation surgery on a person. The protocols include offering primary care, hormonal treatments, mental health services, voice and communication therapy, and additional assistance before the patient can undergo surgical transition.

Eric Maison was considered a good candidate based on this SOC, Schechter said.

"Much of the [SOC] is designed to make the individuals aware of all the options that are open to them," he added. "And what are social implications in terms of family, friends, work? It's to guide them through the process and to aid with their transition, to ensure people are exploring and considering the various options to them."

As for Les Maison, he is happy Eric Maison has taken the steps to live an authentic life and supports the decision 100 percent.

"If nothing else, it's made our relationship stronger, it's made it better," he said. "The biggest misconception in terms of the question [is], 'Does this now make me gay?' No, it doesn't. Gender is who you go to bed as. Sexual preference, which is completely different, is who you go to bed with. He's had top surgery. He doesn't plan to have bottom surgery.

"Even if he did, we made the decision a long time ago that no matter what, we were going to make this work," Les Maison added. "We decided whatever path was placed before us, we would walk down that path together. The only people that have to be happy, in my opinion, are people in my house and people we care about, and in our close circle of friends and family."

When asked about his hopes for the future, Les Maison said he wants acceptance for Corey and Eric Maison most of all.

"They have more courage than I do," he said. "It takes an awful lot to break away from societal norms to live your life as who you are or at least who you identify as. This isn't a choice that they're making. This is the way they're born. The education is important. If you can educate yourself, then all that lack of knowledge becomes knowledge."

Eric Maison said he's thankful that his husband and all five children love him the same -- especially Corey, who knows firsthand what her mom is going through.

"[Corey] said that she understands what it's like to live in the wrong body, and is so thankful I was able to transition into the correct one that aligns with my gender identity," Eric Maison said.

"I am most looking forward to continue the second half of my life living my truth, and living as my authentic self," he added. "For anyone afraid to come out, please find someone you can trust to talk to. Find a support group either locally or online. There are so many people like me who will help you, and protect you."

ABC News was unable to find data on how common it is for multiple people in one family to transition.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar172017

Hero cat named Grace saved couple from carbon monoxide poisoning

iStock/Thinkstock(REEDSBURG, Wis.) -- Kevin and Annette Shanahan are lucky to be alive.

One night last month Annette, of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, woke up in tremendous pain.

“I had gotten up because I thought I was having a heart attack," she told ABC News. “You’re so fuzzy you can’t make a reasonable thought. So I had gotten up and gotten to the chair in the bedroom and I thought I was going to die. I wasn’t in the presence of mind to even tell my husband.”

Their cat Grace, or Gracie as they’ve affectionately nicknamed their 8-year-old Maine Coon mix, began rattling their bedroom door with her paw.

Annette said she had fallen asleep in the chair and only woke up because of her persistent kitty.

“Gracie started pounding at the door. Pounding loud. She was really pounding,” she recalled. “Our house is 120 years old so the door rattles.”

Her husband eventually heard the loud sounds and realized he wasn’t feeling well either.

“When he stood up he realized something was wrong. He realized he was fuzzy and not right also,” said Annette. “My husband went and looked to see if our children were home. But I couldn’t stand up. I was thinking in my head I was having a heart attack. I slid down on my side down the stairs and he had gotten my cellphone to call our children to find out where they were.”

The couple’s son could immediately tell something was wrong since Kevin’s speech was so impaired and erratic.

“My son started coming here and he got here before the police,” said Annette. “Then my husband handed me the phone and I dialed 911. We didn’t have the presence of mind to think to get out of the house. All I got out was our address. I said, ‘I can’t breathe’ and kept repeating our address.”

Once the energy company and emergency responders arrived, they discovered lethal amounts of carbon monoxide upstairs.

“Alliant Energy came and tested the house and upstairs was 600 something, and a normal house is supposed to be between 0 and 5.5,” Annette explained.

“We had a tankless gas hot water heater. The vent had gotten iced shut,” she said. “And both our kids had both taken showers earlier that night. When we went to bed our daughter was taking a shower and she left for a friend’s house. And then our son showered right after that. It sucked up the gas and pushed it right into our room.”

The Shanahans have learned a valuable lesson from the scary experience and have now replaced their 15-year-old outdated detector with four new ones. They’re also extremely thankful that Gracie alerted them to the potentially fatal situation.

“We usually sleep with our door closed and right before we went to sleep she was outside our door meowing which is very unusual,” said Annette. “So I thought, ‘Oh I’ll just let her in. She wasn’t’ feeling well. She sensed something was wrong before that I guess."

She added, “We were definitely saved by Grace. Saved by Gracie.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar172017

Georgia woman saves 23 lives by connecting kidney donors to those in need

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When doctors told a Georgia woman that her husband would likely die if he did not receive a kidney transplant, she turned to social media and made it her mission to find an eligible donor for him.

Over the years she has connected recipients in need of kidneys with donors from across the country, saving at least 23 lives since she started this endeavor.

ABC News' Good Morning America honored the work of Kristi Callaway as part of its "We are GMA: 50 Hearts in 50 States" campaign, celebrating ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things for their communities.

More than 26 million Americans are affected by kidney disease, and most don’t even know they have it, according to the National Kidney Foundation. When someone's kidneys fail, they will either need a transplant or to go on dialysis just to stay alive.

In 2014, Callaway used Facebook as a means of reaching out to her community after she found out that her husband's kidneys were failing to the point that it could become fatal if he did not receive a transplant.

"I explained to Kristi that I didn't know what to do," Raleigh Callaway, a longtime police officer for the Greensboro Police Department, told ABC News. "She said, 'Baby, we're going to find you a kidney.'"

Kathryn Sorrells, Kristi Callaway's mother, described how she leaped into action.

"She decided that she would...have a picture taken of her and Raleigh and the girls, with a sign that says 'Our Daddy needs a kidney,'" Sorrells said.

The photo went viral, and eventually the Facebook post helped connect Raleigh Callaway with a kidney donor -- a total stranger who lived 900 miles away.

Even after her husband found a kidney, Kristi Callaway continued her mission of supporting organ donations and helping to connect individuals in desperate need of a kidney with donors from across the country.

"It's a big need, I mean there’s over a hundred thousand people waiting for a kidney transplant," Kristi Callaway said when asked what made her continue her efforts. "So to have that kind of following...you know to have that kind of platform and not use it, just seemed like a waste."

Kristi Callaway's social media pleas, which put a face and story to families desperately in need of a kidney donation, have saved 23 lives so far.

"We didn't know it was going to do what it’s done," Raleigh Callaway said. "It just touches my heart."

One person whose life Kristi Callaway helped save is Bret Reiff, 58, from Atlanta, who found a kidney donor, Carley Teat, 23, from Easley, South Carolina, through Callaway's Facebook page.

"Carley messaged my wife on Facebook and said she was a match for me," Reiff said.

Teat added that she has now formed a close bond with the family of the man whose life she helped save.

"They call me their donor daughter, I call him my donor Dad," Teat said. "We go to camping trips, they came to my graduation last year, we're really close."

Reiff added, "We love her, she's like the daughter we never had...but it's all due to Kristi."

Raleigh Callaway said he thanks his wife every morning for everything she has done.

ABC News' Rob Marciano surprised Kristi Callaway, bringing along over 20 of the kidney donors and recipients who were matched through her extraordinary work. RetailMeNot also surprised Callaway by donating $10,000 to the National Kidney Foundation in her name.

"I don't have words...blessed and thankful," Kristi Callaway said of the surprise. "I know that that money is going to be put to the absolute best use and is needed."

One of Kristi Callaway's most recent cases that she has taken on is finding a kidney for James "Randy" Daniel, of Jonesboro, Georgia. Pat Daniel told ABC News that her husband was born with polycystic kidney disease, and had to have his first surgery at age 16. Pat Daniel said that her husband will have been on the waiting list for a kidney for 10 years this May, and he is still waiting to find a match.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar172017

How long before your cosmetic products should be replaced?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Good Morning America teamed up with lifestyle expert April Franzino, the beauty director at Good Housekeeping magazine, to find out how long you can keep day-to-day products such as makeup and shampoo.

Powdered makeup can last about two years before the colors begin to look a bit off, according to Franzino.

"At that point you may start to notice that they're not performing as well," Franzino told ABC News. "So you might want to switch them out."

Liquid makeup, such as concealer and foundation, should be replaced every six months, Franzino said.

Liquid makeup that is used around the eyes, such as eyeliner and mascara, should be replaced every three months, Franzino added.

"That's where bacteria can grow," she told ABC News, "so you really need to be careful about switching that out every three months at least."

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As far as hair products go, Franzino advised that shampoo and conditioner are generally good for a year. Aerosol spray products can last much longer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate cosmetics, but does warn consumers that “a cosmetic product may go bad if it is stored improperly — for example, in a place that is too warm or too moist.”

Products with active ingredients, however, such as toothpaste, are regulated by the FDA, meaning they will have an exact expiration date that experts advise you should probably stick to.

"You should not be using it beyond that expiration date, especially sunscreens," Franzino said. "It's hard to keep track of every single thing that you have so before you go to use any product just take a second and think, 'Okay, have I had this for a really long time?'"

Franzino's tips to save money on beauty products include swapping out liquid eyeliner in favor of a longer-lasting pencil and buying products that have pumps instead of traditional lids because they prevent bacteria from getting in.

Franzino also recommended not to buy items with an expiration date in bulk because you may end up having to throw it away before you use it.


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