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Sunday
Nov272016

Oregon Woman Creates Glow-in-the-Dark Mural to Help Friend's Son

Crispin Young Wilson(NEW YORK) --  When one 4-year-old boy refused to sleep in his bedroom, a friend of his father's created a glow-in-the-dark mural that's made his room his new go-to spot.

Crispin Young Wilson is the friend who created an illuminating mural that's captured the attention of tens of thousands of people on the Internet. After the Hood River, Oregon, woman shared photos of her work on Twitter, it went viral overnight with 40,000 retweets and more than 83,000 likes.

Young Wilson, 36, told ABC News she was commissioned by her friend, who needed to help his son named Ben.

 "He's like, 'Can you please do something for Ben because he's throwing tantrums non-stop? He doesn't want his own room. He wants to sleep with mommy and daddy,'" Wilson recalled. "I was happy to try and do something."

It took Young Wilson, who is a computer hardware technician by day, approximately eight hours to create the mural, which is inspired by the highest mountain in Oregon, Mount Hood. She used phosphorescent or glow-in-the-dark paint to create the mural.

"I love camping. I love going out in nature and hiking," Young Wilson said.

"Mount Hood is often visible from my neighborhood. And I love outer space," she added, noting that she can see the Milky Way Galaxy from her home state.

Young Wilson charged the family $12 per square foot for her work. "It was a great day. I got paid to do what I love to do," she added.

After seeing how much Ben loved his new bedroom, she now hopes to use her talents to help kids in need, perhaps in hospitals.

Young Wilson said she wouldn't charge parents with kids who have illnesses and "can’t get outside." She hopes to connect to an Oregon-based charity for her next mural.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Nov262016

Sixth Death Confirmed After Thunderstorm Asthma in Melbourne

iStock/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE) -- Multiple people have died in Melbourne, Australia, due to a thunderstorm asthma emergency this week.

A sixth person was confirmed dead Saturday, according to Australia's ABC, and five patients remained in intensive care in Melbourne hospitals.

On Monday, a thunderstorm aggravated very high levels of rye grass pollen and created breathing problems for thousands in Melbourne.

Ambulance Victoria responded to more than 1,870 calls within a five-hour period on Monday, according to BBC, causing extended waiting times and limited emergency services.

Asthma Victoria chief Robin Ould said according to BBC that the rye particle count in Melbourne on Monday was more than double what was normally considered high.

"The key message of this event is that, if you have asthma, you should be using your preventative medication as described," he said to BBC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov252016

10-Year-Old Given 48 Hours to Live Is Flower Girl at Wedding 4 Months Later

Chelsie Darling Photography(NORFOLK, Va.) -- Abby Furco, a 10-year-old girl first diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia six years ago, was determined to walk at her camp counselor's October wedding.

After being given only 48 hours to live last summer, Abby made the long walk months later, successfully throwing rose petals as she continued down the aisle inside the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia.

Abby and her camp counselor, Sarah Swaim Rostock, met at Camp Fantastic, a camp run by the Special Love organization for kids who are fighting cancer, back in 2013.

Rostock, 27, who was also diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2003, bonded with Abby over several summers. And when she heard Abby had relapsed earlier this year, she reached out to the girl's mother to offer any support as Rostock had also relapsed before seven years ago.

"I immediately found her mom on Facebook and reached out to her and said, 'I know the path that you’re about to walk down and I want to be there for Abby in any way that I can,'" Rostock recalled.

Afterward, Rostock was there for Abby, visiting her in the hospital and being a point of reference through every test and treatment, including a possible bone marrow transplant.

"Transplant is really hard and it comes with a lot of ups and downs and I just wanted to make sure she knew that I would always give her my best answer," Rostock said.

Still, Abby's mother received word from doctors in June that she was nearing the end of her life. In fact, doctors gave Abby just 48 hours to live.

The news shook Rostock to her core but she hoped an invitation to participate in her wedding would give Abby something to fight for.

"When you’re [fighting] cancer ... you live day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute," Rostock said, "but sometimes looking towards the future can help propel you forward."

After asking Abby's mother for permission, Rostock asked Abby to be her flower girl at her Oct. 29 wedding to her now-husband, Patrick. The two, who also met at Camp Fantastic, dated for seven years before tying the knot.

"I’m so glad that she was there," Rostock said of Abby.

In fact, Abby helped calm down the bride before walking down the aisle. Rostock remembers Abby telling her amid a slight excited freakout, "Sarah get it together! You need to calm down!"

To which Rostock replied, "Thank you for my reality check, Abby."

Today, Abby isn't 100 percent better, Rostock said, but she's "stronger and just amazing."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov252016

4-Year-Old Celebrates Thanksgiving with 82-Year-Old Best Friend 

Tara Wood (AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- Norah Wood, the 4-year-old girl who bonded with an 82-year-old widower at a grocery store, spent Thanksgiving with the man whom she now calls her best friend.

“If they had never met, I don’t know if he would’ve had anyone to spend Thanksgiving with and that makes me sad,” Norah’s mom, Tara Wood, of Augusta, Georgia, told ABC News. "I'm grateful that I followed Norah's lead on her speaking with him at the grocery store that day. He will always be part of our family now."

Norah and Daniel “Mr. Dan” Peterson became friends on Sept. 28 while she and her mother were buying cupcakes for her fourth birthday.

They exchanged small talk and parted ways before Norah asked her mom if she could take a picture with Mr. Dan for her birthday.

“They hugged and they acted like they’ve known each other forever,” Wood said.

On Halloween, Norah and Mr. Dan captured hearts across the internet after she visited him while dressed in her Minnie Mouse costume. Wood said the pair have been inseparable ever since.

As Thanksgiving approached, Wood, a mom of seven, decided to invite Mr. Dan to join her family dinner.

"I prepared him and said, 'You're walking into a bunch of new faces,' but he was delighted," Wood said. "He came in smiling and repeated everyone's names. They treated him like royalty because the story went worldwide. My kids felt like they already knew him because we talk about him so much at home."

Mr. Dan wore the special necklace Norah made for him at school and made himself "right at home," Wood said.

"[Norah] led him by the hand. ... She kept going over to check on him and sat on his lap," she added. "He'll be with us until the end of my days ... at least that I know."

This year, Mr. Dan is also invited to help Norah and her family decorate their Christmas tree.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov252016

Your Body: Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, happens when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. While you might think it only happens to professional athletes, it can be very common among children going about their day to day lives.

Severe injury can happen with something as common as a parent tripping and falling while holding a child. Children can even suffer TBI as a result of playing around or falling from a bunk bed.

Kids in high chairs aren’t always safe either. High chairs placed too closely to tables allow kids to kick their feet off of the table and push the chair over backwards.

If your child hits their head, this is what you should watch out for: Headache, a change in sleeping patterns and irritability. They can all be signs of TBI in children.

If you suspect a concussion, see your child’s pediatrician immediately.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov252016

Selena Gomez Returns to Spotlight After Taking Time Off for Health Concerns

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  After returning to the spotlight to accept an award at the American Music Awards last Sunday, Selena Gomez also just returned to social media to thank her fans once again.

The singer, who announced back in August that she was taking a break to focus on her health, took to Instagram on Thursday to reflect on her self-imposed break.

"I have a lot to be thankful for this year," she began in her caption. "My year has been the hardest yet most rewarding one yet. I've finally fought the fight of not 'being enough.'"

Gomez, 24, continued: "I have only wanted to reflect the love you guys have given me for years and show how important it is to take care of YOU. By grace through faith. Kindness always wins."

The "Kill Em With Kindness" singer ended the note saying, "I love you guys. God bless."

Previously, Gomez said she was taking a break for health reasons in the midst of her Revival World Tour, which was originally slated to conclude Dec. 18 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In a statement to People magazine, she explained in part, "I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges. I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off."


When Gomez won the American Music Award earlier this week for Favorite Female Artist - Pop/Rock, many of her fans were surprised when she took the stage to accept the award.

Still, she used her speech to further explain why she needed her break.

"I had to stop," she said onstage Sunday. "I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside. And I kept it all together enough never to let you down ... [instead] I let myself down."

She then thanked her fans "because you guys are so damn loyal and I don't know what I did to deserve you."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Friday
Nov252016

Baby Girl Born on Side of Highway Amid Thanksgiving Traffic

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York couple made an unexpected pit stop on the way to the hospital this Thanksgiving, giving birth to a healthy baby girl on the side of a highway amid the rush of holiday traffic.

Terrice Thomas says she's heard all those stories about women giving birth on the side of the road, but never expected to be one of them, she told WABC, a local affiliate.

She and the baby's father, Austin Thomas, were on a highway in Yonkers when she realized the baby just couldn't wait.

"We pulled over, he called 911, they started to walk him through what to do, and I'm like, 'I'm here, I'm over here,' I called out to the dispatcher, 'I'm here, I'm over here, the baby's coming,'" Terrice told WABC.

"I saw the baby's head; the baby's head was out. So he was saying to me, 'Listen the baby's going to be slippery, you got to catch it. Don't let it fall, you got to catch the baby,'" said Austin.

Terrice gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Taliah in the front seat.

Firefighters arrived on the scene soon after, checked Taliah's vital signs and cut her umbilical cord.

The whole family is doing well at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov252016

Your Body: Newborns and the Human Touch 

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

The human touch could be life saving for an infant.

Skin to skin contact immediately after birth can lower a child’s risk for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics says not only does it independently lower the risk of SIDS, it also facilitates breastfeeding, which is another protective factor.  

The group’s new recommendations also emphasize traditional safe sleep practices, including placing an infant on its back on a separate surface from parents and not crowding the crib with stuffed animals, padding or blankets.

The recommendations for skin to skin contact can be done my mom and dad, and the sleeping recommendations also suggest babies sleep in the same room as parents but in their own crib, not in the grown-ups' bed.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Nov242016

Woman Starts Foundation to Help Fund Adoptions, Build Families

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- November is National Adoption month, and one woman is helping turn dreams into reality for families looking to adopt for those who don't have the financial means to do so.

When Becky Snyder Fawcett and her husband were ready to start a family, they were faced with the harsh reality that they would not be able to have children of their own. The couple, eager to find a solution, attempted five rounds of in vitro fertilization, which resulted in three pregnancies and three miscarriages.

"My journey to become a mother was not what I expected it to be," Fawcett said. "I really didn't think I would have any problems getting pregnant the old fashion way and having a child."

After the emotional and financial stresses of their failed attempts at having a child, the two decided to try something else.

"We had just the amount left in our savings that would cover an adoption. And I think during that first meeting with the adoption attorney for Jake's adoption it just hit me of how lucky I was, how lucky I was to be making these choices on my terms," Fawcett said.

Fawcett started to wonder how other couples took on the same hurdles and surprises. "I asked the question, 'What do people do in my shoes if they don't have this money?' Because an average adoption costs $40,000 in full and upfront," she said.

Once the couple adopted their first son Jake, she knew she wanted to do something to help others get a fair shot at adoption.

"We have to do something to help these other families become families and to help these kids get homes," Fawcett said. "Because the trick of it all is if people can't afford to adopt children, what happens to these children?"

Fawcett developed her idea into a plan and launched "Help Us Adopt," an organization that helps give financial assistance to other adoptive parents from all walks of life. "We don't discriminate. Period," Fawcett said proudly. "Family is family. You want to adopt a child? You have a valid home study? Come."

The organization is now in its ninth year and has helped build 179 families, awarding more than $1.5 million dollars in adoption grants to all kinds of families.

"I believe that we have changed the way Americans perceive adoption," the now mother of two said.

"I have my-- these children are my own," she explained of her son Jake, 10, and daughter Brooke, 7. "It is so funny that I literally have to pinch myself to remind myself at points throughout the day that these children did not come out of my body...They are my children. They are my own. We are a family," she added. "We just went about it a little different."

For the mother who at one point thought she may never have a family of her own, she realizes now that her journey is what shaped her vision to help others overcome the trials and tribulations that can come when starting a family.

Fawcett said, "It really is cool that you can take an idea and make it happen...It's pretty easy to get up and go to work everyday."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Nov232016

Foster Mom Gets Her Thanksgiving Wish to Adopt for the First Time

Courtesy Melissa Birchmore(WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- Days before Thanksgiving, one South Carolina woman got her holiday wish to adopt the little girl she fostered and fell in love with.

Melissa Birchmore of West Columbia officially became "mom" to 5-year-old Jeneva on Nov. 21 at Sumter County Family Court.

"It felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders," Birchmore, 52, told ABC News. "It was a feeling that you can't describe. [Jeneva] is pretty excited. She understands she is what she calls [herself], 'my forever girl.' She came in and she meshed and fit and it's never been her plan to leave."

Birchmore has been a foster care mom since 2009, fostering 14 children over the years.

In 2013, Jeneva came into her life. The two immediately developed a special bond, Birchmore said.

"She came in and made herself at home," she said. "She was meant to belong. She's very much a girly girl. Even though shes a little bit sassy, she demands that she fits in and be included. She's very fun-loving. She adapts to whatever her surroundings are."

Jeneva was a victim of neglect and often "bounced around" under the care of various relatives for years before Birchmore became her foster mother, Birchmore said.

"From the beginning, I loved her and didn't want her to go anywhere," she added.

At family court on Monday, Birchmore signed the adoption papers in front of a judge and her loved ones.

The family is hosting Thanksgiving dinner Thursday and Jeneva is excited to celebrate with her new cousins and "cook with mommy," Birchmore said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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