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Monday
Apr152019

These 15 wellness programs keep health, fitness goals on track during vacation

Casa Ventanas(NEW YORK) -- What happens on vacation, stays on vacation, right? Well, not quite. As travel has become more accessible than ever, that mantra has increasingly become null and void for business and leisure travelers who are constantly on the go.

Keeping up with your health and fitness regimen while on vacation can be difficult, however, especially if the hotel is not equipped with all of your regular wellness needs. Thankfully, many hotels are meeting these needs more than ever.

Larger hotel chains such as the Four Seasons, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott even offer varying options at each property, as part of a commitment to serve guests with more wellness options.

From on-demand trainers, unique spa treatments, poolside yoga and Peloton bikes right in your hotel room, you'll begin to feel less guilty about indulging while traveling for business or pleasure at one of these hotels.

EVEN Hotel Miami Airport (Miami, Florida)

Besides the fact that there are no odd-numbered rooms in their hotels, EVEN Hotels is unique for having wellness woven throughout its brand. Specifically geared towards business travelers, the hotel focuses on these core pillars: "Eat Well, Rest Easy, Keep Active and Accomplish More."

Don't believe the hype? Each room features an in-room training system, which includes a mounted fitness wall, resistance bands, an exercise ball, yoga mat, yoga block and 18+ on-demand fitness videos. Did we mention the stationary bikes? You literally can step from your bed to the bike in less than 10 seconds.

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (Miami Beach, Florida)

Miami is extremely multifaceted: from its nightlife to its culture, to its food, and even to its wellness offerings. One resort in particular exudes the "luxury of wellness": Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.

This resort focuses on aligning physical, mental and spiritual health by offering a comprehensive retreat and an integrative medical wellness center. With over 20 fitness classes offered daily, a two-story indoor rock wall, four pools located throughout the property and services such as a "Grocery Guru," which teaches you how to stop the grocery aisle with no regrets, and "Life Transition Therapy," for those going through a major life change such as a break-up, divorce, new employment, relocation, quarter-life or midlife change.

Hilton Head Health (Hilton Head, South Carolina)

Taking care of your body doesn't always mean hardcore workouts. Sometimes, the peace and tranquility that comes with a change of scenery will also do the trick.

Take, for example, the award-winning Hilton Head Health, set in seclusion on Hilton Head Island. The health and wellness resort offers an endless array of fitness classes, nutrition counseling, and therapy offerings that take personal health and wellbeing to a whole other level.

Hamilton Hotel (Washington, D.C.)

Washington, D.C. in itself is the perfect fitness destination for those looking to explore all of the beauty that the city has to offer. With miles and miles of museums and historical attractions, you can rack up those FitBit numbers in an instant.

Located in the heart of the district, the Hamilton Hotel offers guests the opportunity to experience a new way to explore (and burn some calories) by way of the two-wheel Lopifit electric walking bike.

The hotel debuted a fleet of six Lopifits, a new, innovative way of moving, exercising and seeing the city -- imported direct from the "bicycle capital the world," The Netherlands. Hamilton guests who want to take in the sites while obtaining a quick workout have complimentary access to the Lopifit bikes, which are propelled by a battery that turns the treadmill while a person walks.

Four Seasons New York Downtown (New York, New York)

New Yorkers are always looking for what's new and next in wellness, including with the trendiest classes. Am I right?

Seeing this trend, the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown realized the days of spas only offering boring fitness classes, facials, massages and standard beauty treatments are gone. The Spa, situated in the heart of downtown, instead offers guests a personalized workout experience with some of the city's top trainers.

JW Marriott Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

The weather is getting warmer, which means it's the perfect time to add Chicago to your travel wish list. You'll want to balance all of your deep-dish pizza indulgences at The JW Marriott Chicago, which has a fitness facility unlike most city-center hotels.

Why, might you ask? Well, first and foremost, the resort welcomes you with its own Fit Squad -- a team of elite Chicago trainers led by Jason Raynor, one of 50 Nike Master Trainers in the world.

Intimidating, much? That's not all. The 20,000 sq. ft. spa and fitness center includes a massive swimming pool, all of the cardio and strength training equipment to your heart's desire and best in class fitness classes.

Red Mountain Resort (St. George, Utah)

Designed to combine medical expertise with balanced and holistic approaches to wellness, Red Mountain Resort offers state of the art facilities and services when it comes to benefiting your overall well-being. What better way to take care of you first than in the beautiful background of the Utah mountains?

The resort is serious when they say they cater to every traveler, offering packages such as the Essential Retreat, which offers state of the art comprehensive health evaluation (including genomics testing, with the health care professionals at Intermountain Healthcare Live Well Center in St. George, Utah), or the Sacred Sisterhood Retreat, which inspires guests to discover a greater self-awareness and how best to achieve happiness well beyond their stay with daily acts of self-care.

WhyHotel (Various locations)

Why Why? That's a great question. An alternative to the "traditional" hotel experience, sometimes the amenities of seemingly being at home will keep you on your workout grind.

The hotels operate in brand new, luxury apartment buildings, turning their unused units into hotel rooms during their lease-up phase. Giving you the best of both worlds, WhyHotel works with local vendors to stock the lobby with healthy, locally sourced snacks and drinks, which are free to guests. Guests also have access to the gym and wellness areas in the pop-up, making it seem like a home away from home extension.

Lenox Canyon Ranch (Lenox, Massachusetts)

Now in its 40th year, Canyon Ranch continues to be a staple in the wellness community. The property -- offered in Tucson, Lenox and Las Vegas, is dedicated to catering to guests at various levels of their fitness journey (after filling out a health and fitness assessment before you arrive).

This ensures every individual that steps foot on the property gets a personalized experience. Offering a range of over 40 classes daily, and a devoted health food menu, Canyon Ranch is where guests come when they want to make a significant life change (and don't know where to start), or just want to jumpstart back into their wellness practices (after falling off the wagon).

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Hawaii)

You'll never know rejuvenation until you've experienced the healing traditions that Hawaii has to offer. A bucket list destination to many, you'll be impressed at how Waikiki Beach Ritz-Carlton Residences incorporates traditional fitness and spa style offerings at its spa.

Want a treatment infused with minerals from the Oahu rainforest or be pampered to stone from Hawaiian volcanoes? Check, check. Needless to say, at the price point, you're sure to get more bang for your buck here.

The resort fitness center, which was also curated by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, has the makings of a fitness lover's dream.

The Cove Atlantis (Nassau, Bahamas)

They say everything is better in the Bahamas -- and they weren't lying. To that point, The Cove at Atlantis takes its health and wellness very seriously. The resort's Mandara Spa is a best-in-class wellness retreat that incorporates Balinese healing and elements of the island, along with a collection of unparalleled dining options featuring health inspired and fresh seafood offerings.

Not to mention, you'll have the opportunity to workout with the island's top trainers -- Bahamian style. Relax, relate and release in one of the resort's warm and color plunge pools, or in one of the steam/sauna rooms.

The Buccaneer (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands)

It's easy to get distracted from your fitness goals... when you have the beautiful backdrop of St. Croix situated in the background. Thankfully, at The Buccaneer, you can do it all.

The resort, which offers a host of wellness activities for you to enjoy, makes plenty of use of its 340 acres to cater to your wellness traveler within. Taking advantage of the natural beauty of the island and the Caribbean Sea, you'll be in for an island treat, with offerings such as tennis lessons, yoga class, meditation and golf.

Hideaway Spa's award-winning treatments also offer acupuncture or a chiropractic adjustment for those looking to get a bit deeper into solutions to heal their body.

Viceroy Los Cabos (San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico)

Once you step foot on the Viceroy Los Cabos property, you'll immediately be "wowed." Located in San Jose del Cabo facing the Sea of Cortez, the resort is bringing a new brand of health and wellness to Los Cabos.

Helmed by celebrity fitness guru Harley Pasternak, the resort's fitness center features state of the art equipment and programming that will almost have you forget that you're on vacation -- almost.

Just a year old, the property is encompassed by surrounded by Infinity edge beach pools -- great for Instagram photo ops -- and offer outdoor workouts led by the hotel's "Head of Vibe" (yes, that's a real thing).

Casa Ventanas (Cayo Espanto, Belize)

Even when you're on a secluded island getaway, you'll still want to live your best, healthiest life. Casa Ventanas at Cayo Espanto, a private island resort located three miles off the coast of Belize, aims to please.

In addition to luxurious, private, over the water villas, Casa Ventanas is inclusive of every imaginable comfort, custom-crafted furnishings, private dock and amenities -- especially when it comes to adventure.

Because Belize is known for having the world's second largest barrier reef system, water activities are plentiful and offered through the instruction of private guides or as a part of a larger group.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan (Bali, Indonesia)

Bali and wellness go hand in hand, so much so, that people from around the world flock to the destination on their journey of healing, holistic wellness and spiritual well-being.

Lush greenery, organic fruits and vegetables, guided meditations and adventure are all part of the reasons that people travel across the globe to experience it firsthand, and the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan takes it up a notch.

Guests are able to experience wellness like a local (with a touch of luxury), with activities such as river rafting, field cycling tours and even a Day in the Life of a Balinese farmer experience.

Incorporating the rituals and practices of energy healing, each of the resort's programs are created with the purpose of restoring balance and harmony to the spirit, developing an inner peace and getting in touch with your inner self.

Travel doesn’t have to seem as burdening with these unique wellness programs catering to all of your mind, body and soul needs.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Apr142019

Is Kratom, an over-the-counter supplement, contributing to overdose deaths? 

iStock/YanawutBY: DR. NAVJOT KAUR SOBTI

(NEW YORK) -- In an age where energy boosters, fat loss supplements, and pain relievers are easy to get over the counter, little is known about a supplement known as kratom – an herbal extract which has been linked to at least 91 deaths, according to the CDC.

It has become a go-to for many people suffering from opioid withdrawal and substance abuse, and as kratom becomes more popular in the U.S., scientists are trying to better understand how it affects the body, and how to test for it in people who overdose.

Kratom is derived from a plant by the same name from Southeast Asia. It can be swallowed as a pill, brewed as tea, or crushed and smoked. Kratom’s key ingredient, mitragynine, can cause “stimulant” or energizing effects -- similar to caffeine and amphetamines. At higher doses, it can cause opioid-like effects similar to narcotic pain medications. Because of this, it has become popular with people recovering from opioid addiction and drug abuse.

People who abuse drugs, or are on chronic opioids, may view kratom “as something [they] can get easily, and try themselves,” Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, told ABC News.

Kratom is easy to buy in stores or on the web. While it can relieve pain and make people feel more energized, scientists are unsure what doses are safe to take, or if it is safe to use at all.

The supplement has been linked to 91 overdose deaths in 27 states, according to the CDC. In recent years, both the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have issued warnings about kratom use.

As kratom has become more mainstream in the U.S., phone calls to the Poison Control Center for accidental kratom overdoses have skyrocketed. A recent study showed that the number of kratom exposures was 52.5 times higher in 2017 than 2011. Most of these phone calls came from young adults age 20 or older, and about 70% of them were men, according to the CDC.

The people at the highest risk of kratom-involved deaths are those with a history of substance abuse. According to postmortem tests performed by the CDC, most people with kratom-involved deaths died by fentanyl and heroin overdose. These people often tested positive for multiple drugs, including prescription pain medications.

It is unclear where kratom use increased their risk of overdose-related death.

“While kratom may have useful effects, right now, it’s wholly unregulated,” Spiller told ABC News.

"Most people are not aware of its risks, including potentially serious, drug-drug interactions,” Spiller added. “We need to let [people] know that just because kratom is a natural medication, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe. It is quite potent, and can have serious, untoward effects.”

Navjot Kaur Sobti is an internal medicine resident physician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock-Medical Center/Dartmouth School of Medicine and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Apr132019

Ground beef responsible for E. coli outbreak in six states, 109 people sick: CDC

ABC News(ATLANTA) -- An E. coli outbreak affecting 109 people in six states has been traced back to ground beef as the likely source, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

"A total of 109 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states," the CDC said in a statement released on Friday. "Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that ground beef is the source of this outbreak. Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants."

No brand or common supplier has yet been identified for distributing the tainted beef yet. It is an ongoing investigation.

"Seventeen people have been hospitalized. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported. No deaths have been reported," the CDC said.

This E. coli investigation began on March 28, after authorities in Kentucky and Georgia reported infections to the CDC.

The CDC is not advising the public to avoid ground beef, and it didn't issue a recall notice or advise retailers to stop serving or selling ground beef. That said, the agency is advising home cooks and restaurants to cook the beef thoroughly as a precaution and to wash hands and any other objects or surfaces that come into contact with raw ground beef with soap and hot water.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Apr132019

Women outliving men around the world because they're more likely to seek health care: WHO 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women, particularly those living in wealthy countries like the United States, are outliving men around the world according to that latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO released its “World Health Statistics” report last week laying out health disparities by sex for the first time. Although the overall global life expectancy has increased from 66.5 years to 72 years since 2000 thanks, in part, to improved health screenings, better technology for detecting disease and higher quality treatment, the report said that among the 141 million children expected to be born in 2019, boys will live an average of 69.8 years and girls an average of 74.2 years.

The largest disparities between the sexes existed in first-world countries where there was abundant access to health care services and where men and women face the same diseases, WHO said, noting that much of the reason men don't live as long is because they aren't as proactive as they should be about their health care needs.

The reason: Their “attitude,” according to men’s health specialist Dr. Lawrence Jenkins of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“Men tend to decline screening tests as if they are invincible sometimes,” Jenkins told ABC News. “Both men and women face similar diseases. Men, however, are seeking health care far less than women.”

Of the 40 leading causes of death, 33 of the causes contributed more to a reduced life expectancy in males than in females. These included ischemic heart disease, road accidents, lung cancer, stroke, suicide and homicide.

Suicide rates among men around the world were also 75% higher in men than in women in 2016, according to the report. Suicidality can be prevented through screening for depression and subsequent mental health care. However, many men choose not to take these steps, Jenkins said.

“There is a strong need to push males into actively seeking help or just care in general,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes, ego or fear can get in the way for a lot of men.”

This year’s World Health Day (April 7) was centered on primary health care and preventive medicine as the foundation for universal health. The health disparities WHO found between the sexes shines light on this issue, proving that there is a need for awareness around preventive medicine and a need to encourage screenings for diseases like HIV, heart disease and various cancers.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

All models of Fisher-Price Rock N' Play sleepers recalled after infant deaths 

iStock/JNemchinova(NEW YORK) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling all models of Fisher-Price Rock N' Play sleepers after it was linked to over 30 infant deaths.

The move comes just a few days after the American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization of pediatricians known by the acronym AAP, called on the CPSC to recall the products, citing an analysis from Consumer Reports magazine connecting it to 32 sleep-related infant deaths.

"This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately," Dr. Kyle Yasuda, president of the AAP, said in a press release. "When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it's being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case. There is convincing evidence that the Rock n' Play inclined sleeper puts infants' lives at risk, and CPSC must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies."

The Consumer Reports analysis was published on April 8, just days after the CPSC issued a warning on the product imploring parents to stop using it once their children turned 3 months old or began exhibiting the ability to roll over — whichever came first. The analysis found that many of the children who had died were younger than 3 months old. The cause of death for some of the babies was asphyxia, or the inability to breathe due to the child's position.

In it's statement, the AAP said it does not recommend "inclined sleep products like the Rock n' Play, or any other products for sleep that require restraining a baby."

"The AAP advises against using car seats, strollers or other devices for sleep," the AAP said, "because of the risk that a baby could roll or turn into an unsafe position and be incapable of moving, leading to suffocation or strangulation."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

Bus driver surprises student with decorated school bus in honor of her birthday

Courtesy Kathleen Hopson(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- A school bus driver has pulled out all the stops to make one of her little passengers feel special on her birthday.

Arletha Sherman, 64, of Jacksonville, Fla., decorated her school bus this week in honor of Anna Hopson's fifth birthday.

"She's touched my heart," Sherman told Good Morning America of Anna. "She never complains. She has the most beautiful smile and it inspired me to do something for her."

Anna Hopson is a pre-kindergarten student at Sabal Palm Elementary School in Jacksonville, Fla. Anna has a progressive neuromuscular disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which causes nerve damage mostly in the arms and legs, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Mom Kathleen Hopson told GMA that Anna, who has been using a wheelchair for the last six months, rides Sherman's wheelchair-accessible bus.

"Anna’s pretty independent and she’s been riding the bus without a parent since she was 3 years old," Hopson said. "Arletha [Sherman] is an excellent bus driver and a very caring person. She loves all the kids that she drives and always goes above and beyond to make them feel safe and happy on the bus."

Hopson said Sherman gave a princess gown and tiara for Anna. When Anna boarded the bus on April 10, it had been decorated with streamers and a "Happy Birthday" banner.

"[S]he looked around and asked, 'Is this all for me?'" Hopson recalled. "Anna was thrilled and surprised."

Sherman said some of the children on the bus sang "Happy Birthday" to Anna. Local news stations reported on the story after Anna's aunt shared photos of the surprise on social media, Sherman said, adding that Anna is going to serve as flower girl in her July 27 wedding.

Sherman hopes Anna's story encourages other bus drivers to spread kindness to children.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

Ohio becomes the latest state with a heartbeat abortion ban, but will likely face legal challenges

Casimiro/iStock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio has now added itself to a growing list of states where the governor has signed a ban on abortions after a heartbeat can be detected.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the controversial ban, which is one of the most stringent in the country, on Thursday.

Similar bills had been proposed in Ohio in the past, but the state's last Republican governor, John Kasich, vetoed those saying that they were unconstitutional.

The legality of abortion bans that start at the point of a detectable heartbeat — which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy when some women may not know that they are pregnant — has been challenged in a number of other states.

As soon as DeWine signed the Ohio bill into law, the state's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that they will be challenging it in court.

"This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked," said Freda Levenson, the legal director of the ACLU of Ohio, in a statement. "SB 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country."

Already this year, there have been two other states — Kentucky and Mississippi — where similar so-called "heartbeat" bills have been signed into law. Kentucky and Mississippi's new laws have both already faced legal challenges, and neither has taken effect.

While no six-week ban has actually gone into effect, abortion advocates claim lawmakers push for "radical abortion bans" as "part of a deliberate strategy" to get legal challenges that could take an abortion case to the Supreme Court, as Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said on a conference call with reporters in late March.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund reports that in the first three months of 2019, there were 16 states where a six-week abortion ban has been either filed, moved or signed into law.

The debate over such a ban in Georgia is ongoing, and the state's legislature has approved of the bill but it is awaiting the governor's signature.

One potentially unexpected group that came out against the Georgia bill is the Writers Guild of America East and West, which released a statement condemning the "draconian anti-choice measure." The guild said if passed, "this law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

ER visits almost double for young children swallowing objects

romrodinka/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Before children explore the world on foot, they explore it with their five senses.

Early development often includes children listening, looking, touching, smelling and tasting their way through their surroundings. The mouth is one of the first body parts that babies have control of, and anything that they can see and touch is often something they can sink their teeth -- or gums -- into.

Unfortunately, this newfound eagerness for discovery is often accompanied by the hazard of accidentally swallowing objects and potential choking.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics, by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found the number of ER visits by children younger than 6 who accidentally swallowed objects nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015.

"This means an average of 99 children per day are going to emergency departments for foreign body ingestion," Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis, a pediatric gastroenterologist and primary author of the study, told ABC News.

The study found the most common objects ingested were coins, specifically pennies and quarters. The other most likely objects were small toys, jewelry and so-called button batteries.

Dr. Orsagh-Yentis attributes this rise in hospital visits to the increased availability of easily swallowed objects in households despite stricter choking hazard regulations.

"Button batteries," she told ABC News, "are in things like watches, hearing aids, small remotes, and in toys. The relative availability of these and other objects has increased since 1995."

While most kids who swallow objects have few or no symptoms, swallowing any object has the ability to cause difficulty breathing or choking. Certain objects such as batteries and magnets pose the greatest risk when swallowed, since they could potentially cause burns or tear the lining of the esophagus, stomach or intestine.

"What is of paramount importance is practicing safe storage" said Dr. Orsagh-Yentis, who recommends that any small objects be stored and locked at an elevated level. "If children can’t see them, they can’t be enticed by them."

The following are some ways to prevent accidental object ingestion in kids:

  • Put yourself in their shoes. Get down on all fours so you can see what your child sees in nooks and crannies that you otherwise may not see while standing. You’ll also be able to tell which drawers, cabinets or trash containers they are able to open from that level.
  • Store small objects in closed containers, out of reach and locked away. Even though some containers and most prescription bottles are made to be childproof, never underestimate a curious child. The key is out of sight, out of reach, out of mouth.
  • Keep your guard up. Kids can be speedy, and it sometimes takes just a few seconds for them to swallow something they shouldn’t. While it's virtually impossible to keep them away from every single object they might accidentally swallow, close supervision can help prevent many of these accidents from happening.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

Boy with cancer needs a mixed-race bone marrow match to save his life

Courtesy Jacoby Family(LOS ANGELES) -- A 7-year-old mixed-raced boy who's fighting his second battle with an aggressive form of cancer is in need of a stem cell donor who shares his ethnic background, and his parents are asking people to register as donors.

Ryan Jacoby was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in April, 2017 and is currently at Children's Hospital Los Angeles receiving treatment. In order to push his cancer back into remission, the second grader and video game-lover needs a bone marrow transplant.

"We were shocked, stunned, crushed and distraught," dad Chris Jacoby of Redondo Beach, California, told ABC News' Good Morning America of his son's diagnosis. "To save Ryan we need someone with the same ethnic mix--half Vietnamese, half Caucasian and time is of the essence. It's imperative for Ryan's survival."

In 2017, doctors had looked to the bone marrow registry for what's called a "perfect-10 match" for Ryan but their search came up short. Instead, they performed a stem cell transplant with his older brother Matthew, 22, who is a half-match.

For one year, Ryan remained in remission. He returned home to play with his beloved cat, Sonic, and even posted videos with his sister Mikayla on their shared YouTube channel.

"Things were looking good, but knowing how vicious AML is, I didn't high-five and say, 'We're done.'" Jacoby said.

In February, Ryan began having a series of random headaches. A bone marrow examination and spinal tap revealed the devastating news that the AML had returned.

Ryan underwent another round of chemotherapy and was once again hospitalized. Now, his doctors and his parents -- Chris and Fawn Jacoby -- are pleading with people who are half Asian and half Caucasian to register with Be The Match marrow registry.

"It would be the greatest gift we could ever receive," Jacoby said. "Looking at it from the other perspective it will hopefully save us having to bury a 7-year-old year old boy. It's almost a cliche to say you're someone's hero but you are potentially the only lifesaver you could be for that human being. "

Dr. David Freyer, a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is Ryan's primary doctor.

Freyer told GMA that Ryan is not the first patient he's seen who requires a stem cell donor of mixed-race ethnicity.

"His mother is Vietnamese, his father's Caucasian and that combo is rare," Freyer said. "The current status of the donor pool there are less than 1 percent that have that particular racial background."

"If there are listerners out there, readers who are Vietnamese and Caucasian, if they have a parent who had that ABCG, I would want to encourage them to contact Be The Match and see if they'd be willing to get tested," Freyer added. "It requires so little in the way of burden--blood test or swab inside the mouth."

The Jacoby family lauched the hashtag #Match4Ryan on Facebook. They're hoping Ryan's story not only finds him a bone marrow donor, but that it helps other children fighting for their lives as well.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr122019

One of America's smallest babies heads home from New York hospital

Jamie and John Florio(VALHALLA, N.Y.) -- A baby born weighing less than 11 ounces, about the size of a human heart, has been sent home after spending 270 days in the hospital.

Connor Florio, now 8 months, was discharged from Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, on April 9, 2019. Now, parents John and Jamie Florio are thrilled to have their family all in one place.

"He's going really well," dad John Florio told ABC News' Good Morning America. "He's still on a couple of medications and oxygen. He's very playful, calm -- he doesn't cry very much. He loves people watching and so far he doesn't mind getting licked by the dog."

Connor arrived via emergency caesarean section on July 13, 2018, at 26 weeks at Westchester Medical Center. He was then transferred to the NICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and was diagnosed with with chronic lung disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and SGA (small for gestational age), among various other medical conditions.

When he was born, doctors told Connor's parents that their son may not survive.

"We knew that was definetely a possibilty with his size," John Florio said. "I was cautiously optimistic."

Dr. Dennis Davidson, unit chief for the Infant & Toddler Unit at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, said a 26-week-old baby born at normal weight would normally have an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival.

"However, Connor was less than half of the appropriate weight for a 26-week baby," Davidson said in a statement released to GMA. "He was 310 grams which is about 11 ounces, roughly. And his father could literally hold him in his hand. Babies who are that small barely have a chance for survival but he made it through."

"The work at the neonatal ICU at Westchester County Medical Center, Maria Fareri, brought him from a life-threatening situation at birth to the point where we could start his rehabilitation at Blythedale," Davidson added.

Besides medical care, Connor received physical therapy, occupational therapy, as well as speech and feeding therapy, Davidson noted.

"He attended infant school," Davidson said. "There he became much more interactive, starting to play with toys. So he got a lot of developmental care. Partly from us, but his family was here all the time and you can't beat that."

To keep their spirits up, Jamie and John Florio dressed Connor in outfits for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, among other holidays.

Today, Connor weighs 10 pounds, 10 ounces, and is happy to be home.

"It's really nice to be our own little family in almost 9 months," mom Jamie Florio told GMA of her son's homecoming. "I don't know if Connor would've survived today if it wasn't for the doctors and nurses. They really are superheroes in the NICU."

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