Wednesday, July 31, 2013
(Clay Walker talks about loving with MS)
(CNN) -- As a country music recording artist, as an entertainer and especially as a husband and father, life can get hectic. I realized early on the importance of having a routine to manage such a busy schedule.
(CNN) -- As a country music recording artist, as an entertainer and especially as a husband and father, life can get hectic. I realized early on the importance of having a routine to manage such a busy schedule.
But my body kept giving me "reminders" earlier in my career that something was just not right. In the mid-'90s, I started to experience tingling and numbness on my right side along with facial spasms. I hoped they would pass, but symptoms continued to appear all too frequently.
After a battery of tests, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of multiple sclerosis. My diagnosis came when I was 26. It surprised me to learn that of 400,000 Americans with MS, many are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50, like I was.
I kept wondering, "Why me? Why now?" My career was progressing, and there were many positive things going on in my life: I had just recorded my fourth album and was celebrating the birth of my first child.
So this country boy decided he was not going down without a fight. With support from my family and friends, I realized that I needed to stop dwelling on being diagnosed with a chronic disease, and instead focus on finding a groove. To do that, I had to develop a routine to manage my condition, which helped me look forward for the first time since being diagnosed.
at 5:55 AM
(Rich Clifford in his own words...)
(CNN) -- It had been a little more than four months since completing my second space shuttle mission, STS-59, on the shuttle Endeavour.
I was finishing my annual flight physical at the Johnson Space Center Flight Medicine Clinic. The words from the flight surgeon were as expected: I was in great condition with nothing of note. Then I asked the doctor to look at my right shoulder because my racquetball game was suffering.
He asked if I had pain. I told him I wasn't in pain, but my right arm did not swing naturally when I walked. This comment must have set off some alarm, because he observed my walk down the hall and quickly said he would take me downtown to the Texas Medical Center the next day.
I remember saying, "I don't believe we can see an orthopedic surgeon that quickly." He merely noted that we were going to a neurologist.
Little did I know that next day would change my life so quickly. The neurologist spent five minutes with me before saying that I had Parkinson's disease. He added I would have to undergo several separate tests to prove that I didn't have some other neurological disorder. Parkinson's disease is diagnosed by the process of eliminating other possible diseases.
After several tests, the diagnosis was confirmed. This was December 1995.
Ryan Chalmers pushes his wheelchair across the country 3,300 miles to build awareness for the potential of all persons with disabilities...
(Ryan Chalmers, who was born with a birth defect called spina bifida, an incomplete closure of the spinal column...in his own words.)
(CNN) -- I started playing sports at a young age and gravitated toward wheelchair basketball and track.
In college, I decided to focus primarily on track and pursue my dream of going to the Paralympics. With the support of a great coach and team, I was selected as a member of Team USA and competed in track at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
On Saturday, April 6, I embarked on the most challenging journey of my life. I left Los Angeles, heading toward New York City in my racing wheelchair -- a 71-day journey of 3,300 miles.
While I didn't know what to expect or how my body would react to the demands of "pushing" the equivalent of two to three marathons a day, I knew one thing for sure -- I'd get it done. I committed to Push Across America as my way of giving back to Stay-Focused, an organization that has significantly impacted my life.
Stay-Focused offers a SCUBA certification program for teens and young adults with disabilities. I met Roger Muller, founder of Stay-Focused, in 2005, and was given the opportunity to learn to SCUBA dive.
at 5:39 AM
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
If the fashion industry has an award for heroes, Henrik Silvius should get a nomination.
Muscular dystrophy may have the 22-year-old Dane using a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop him from diving into the crowded sea of fashion blogging. Spending his days blurring the line between masculine and feminine fashion norms, Silvius is luring hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic readers to his Where Fashion Is Fashion Is blog.
At first blush, Silvius’ opinion on clothing might seem somewhat eccentric. For instance, he’s been known to combine the flare of leopard prints or fluffy furs with otherwise banal black men’s suit or a printed t-shirt. He’s not afraid to sport a pair of thick gold earrings, carry a Prada purse or sport a chunky bright necklace.
“A lot of men are afraid of looking too feminine or not getting the standard of the macho ideal,” Silvius said in an email interview. “Come on, we are living in 2013 and we’re way past the caveman style…in the shallow world of fashion, I’m sure that clothes are the uniform with which we conquer the world.”
at 6:30 AM
William Johnson follows the message from his fortune cookie right into his own pot of gold and wins $1 Million in the lottery...
While at dinner with his wife last week, William Johnson cracked open a fortune cookie to find a message inside that read: “You will soon come into a lot of gold.” The Southwick, MA resident took it as a lucky sign and the next day purchased a lottery ticket – a Massachusetts Millionaire Mania instant game from the Mass. State Lottery.
Johnson held onto the $10 ticket for several days before playing it. When he finally did scratch the ticket, he was thrilled to see that a lot of gold did indeed await him in the form of a $1 million prize.
Johnson selected the cash option on the prize and received a one-time, lump sum payment of $650,000 (less taxes). He and his wife plan to take their time in deciding what to do with the cash windfall, but are thinking that they may like to buy a lake house.
at 6:23 AM
Monday, July 29, 2013
True Hero: Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam goes out of his way to make the days of kids with cancer a little better by showing up on his own time unannounced at local hospitals...
The first thing to know about the video in this story is that nobody at the University of Memphis knew about the video in this story. Not until it went viral and people all over saw footage of the quarterback, the piano and the precious little girl singing beside him.
See that big guy sitting there? His name is Jacob Karam. He plays quarterback for Memphis. He just showed up Monday night at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and started playing.
People within the Memphis athletic department, who normally are the ones to arrange this sort of thing, didn't arrange it. They didn't even know about it. They just sort of found out, like the rest of us did, after the family of the little girl sitting next to Jacob Karam posted the video on Facebook. The video went viral, as wonderful videos tend to do.
"That's how I heard about it," said Ron Mears, an assistant athletics director who oversees public relations for Memphis football. "Someone showed me the video."
The video shows that, in addition to being a pretty good amateur quarterback, Jacob Karam is a very good amateur piano player. Once he hears a song, he can play it -- no sheet music required. It's one of those amazing gifts some people have. Karam has a few others, too. He graduated with highest honors from Texas Tech in 2 1/2 years and then transferred to Memphis, where he threw for 1,895 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012.
Karam also has a soft spot for kids like Breanna Bercegeay -- friends call her Bree -- the 11-year-old girl in the surgeon's mask sitting next to him. Last month she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and soon she left her home in Geismar, La., to begin receiving treatment at St. Jude. In Memphis. Where Jacob Karam plays quarterback.
"I'm part of a big Lebanese-Catholic family," Karam said. "The founder of St. Jude, Danny Thomas, was Lebanese -- and we were raised to support St. Jude. It's almost part of our heritage. When I transferred to Memphis, it was icing on the cake that I could help out at St. Jude."
Pro golfer Hunter Mahan walks away from a $1 Million dollar prize to witness the birth of his daughter...
(CNN) -- PGA star Hunter Mahan chose family over work this weekend, and though it may have cost him more than $1 million, he sounds ecstatic.
"What a whirlwind of a day," Mahan tweeted Sunday morning, "but I'm happy to announce the birth of my daughter Zoe Olivia Mahan born at 3:26 am. Thanks for all the support!
"Both Baby and Mom are doing great. Thanks to all to my sponsors who appreciate what's important in life and all my fans for being Awesome!" he added in a second tweet.
Mahan was halfway to his sixth career PGA Tour tournament victory, with a two-shot lead after Friday's second round of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.
But after receiving a call early Saturday that his wife, Kandi, had gone into labor, he withdrew from the tournament and flew home to Dallas to be present for the birth of the couple's first child rather than continuing to pursue the $1.008 million first prize.
"Kandi and I are thrilled about this addition to the Mahan family, and we look forward to returning to the RBC Canadian Open in the coming years," Mahan said Saturday, according to PGATOUR.Com.
Mahan has made more than $2.3 million already in 2013, with four Top 10 finishes this year, including a tie for fourth place at the U.S. Open and a tie for ninth place at the British Open over the past two months, PGATOUR.com says.
at 6:25 AM
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Terminally ill co-creator of the "Simpson's" television show Sam Simon vows to give away his fortune..."I get pleasure from it. I love it."
Called both "brilliantly funny" and "mentally unbalanced" by Simpsons co-creator Matt Groening, television writer-producer Sam Simon, 58, has become known throughout Hollywood for his philanthropy since leaving the iconic animated series in 1993 (he retained a highly lucrative executive producer title). A Stanford grad who grew up in Beverly Hills and Malibu -- and rose in the industry at a young age to become the showrunner of Taxi at 24 -- Simon confesses, "I don't know," when it comes to estimating his charitable donations to date.
His contributions include founding the Malibu-based Sam Simon Foundation (worth nearly $23 million as of 2011) that rescues the hungry (humans -- but with vegan foods only) and strays (dogs, of any variety). His other pet charities include PETA, which in February thanked him for his support by naming its Norfolk, Va., headquarters the Sam Simon Center; international nonprofit Save the Children; and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a global marine conservation organization. His contributions led it to name one of the four ships in its fleet of vessels, used to hinder whaling and illegal fishing, the M/Y Simon in 2012. He also turned a Malibu spread into a canine haven that rescues dogs from kill shelters and trains them as companions for the deaf.
Five months ago, the nine-time Emmy winner -- whose post-Simpsons projects have included directing (The Drew Carey Show), hosting (the short-lived poker reality series Sam's Gamefor Playboy TV) and consulting (currently on FX's Anger Management) -- was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. He confirmed during a May 16 WTF With Marc Maron podcast that he was given the prognosis of three to six months to live and that he will donate nearly all of his sizable Simpsonsroyalties -- which he has said earn him "tens of millions" annually -- to charity. (Simon's marriages to Jennifer Tillyand Playboy Playmate Jami Ferrell were childless, or child-free, depending on your point of view.) "I think it's really nice for him that he's doing it now and he gets to see the results of his philanthropy," says Tilly. "He really does have a passion to survive, and the longer he's on the earth, the more good work he can do." On July 1, Simon spoke frankly to THR about what goes on in the mind of someone who has much to give but not a lot of time to give it.
at 10:36 AM
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -
What would you do if you found an envelope filled with $5,000? The waitress at Mercer's Steak and Seafood on Wilmington Island returned it to the customer who lost it.
"It was definitely shocking," says Jennifer Shaw, the waitress at Mercer's. "It was mostly one hundred dollar bills, but there was one hundred that was broken up out of it."
Shaw tells WTOC a group of gentlemen who seemed to be reuniting had been sitting at the table, and she found the money when she went to clean it.
"I mean you dont really know what to think at the moment. My knees where actually shaking once I realized exactly how much it was. I immediately did not keep it out in the open. I put it in my apron and continued on to my other table that i was taking care of," says Shaw.
Knowing exactly who the money belonged to, Shaw said she could do nothing but return the envelop to its rightful owner.
"I could tell that this was not just money that they did not need. This wasn't just five dollars to them. This was like $5,000 that it would be to me," said Shaw.
The owner of Mercer's tells us he is proud to have such honest employees working at his restaurant.
"Very rarely do people lose things in a restaurant facility like this, but when it happens it makes you feel wonderful that our staff are trust worthy," says Mark Egan.
The customer did reward Shaw with $100 for returning his money.
at 10:30 AM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Alfred Morris's 1991 Mazda perfectly represents him as a person and a professional football player..."It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point. So that's what helps me."
Despite earning over $700,000 and establishing himself as one of the top running backs in the Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris has no plans to get rid of the 1991 Mazda 626 that he drove from Florida to Virginia for his first training camp last summer.last season,
“Actually, Mazda has her," Morris said from Redskins training camp on Thursday. "She’s getting refurb – Mazda is going to make her like new, like she came off the floor on ‘91. They actually just took it, so we’re going to switch cars while they’re doing it. They said it would take about 6–8 weeks to do it, but they’re going to totally refurbish it, so I’m happy about that… They’re just (refurbishing) it so that it can run for about 20 more years."
Morris proudly parked the economical compact amid a players' parking lot dotted with luxury SUVs and pledged that his kids would one day drive the car.
"One day, my kids are going to drive that car. If it breaks down, I'm gettin' it fixed. That's just how I am," Morris told the team's official website.
At the time, Morris was smart to not upgrade his vehicle. As a sixth-round pick, Morris received a $123,100 signing bonus and, at the time, had only earned $45,882 (before taxes) of his $390,000 non-guaranteed base salary. Morris would go on to rush for 1,613 yards, second only to Adrian Peterson last season, and score 13 rushing touchdowns, establishing himself as the Redskins' top running back and one of the better backs in the league entering 2013.
Between his signing bonus ($123,100), base salary ($390,000) and performance-based pay bonus ($211,431), Morris had $724,531 in on-field earnings in 2012. Along with some increased job security, Morris easily could have plunked down some cash on a new car. Instead, he's sticking with the plan to keep the Mazda 626 and one day hand it down to his kids.
It's pretty cool that Morris is sticking to his word and it's very smart of Morris to remain thrifty while playing on his rookie contract. We're not as sure that Morris' kids will agree with these decisions.
at 7:44 AM
Friday, July 26, 2013
The Secret Billionaire - Chuck Feeney plans to give ALL of his billions away before he dies - "I want the last check I write to bounce"
An Irish-American billionaire who kept his philanthropy secret for 15 years has given away $7.5billion (£4.9billion) - and plans for it all to go to charity before his dies.
Chuck Feeney, 82, wears a $15 Casio watch, travels in coach, does not own a car is a self-confessed 'shabby dresser' and sensibly made his children work their way through college.
He has given away 99 per cent of his fortune to health, science, education and civil rights causes around the world through his Atlantic Philanthropies foundation.
Feeney, who still has a sizeable $2million left in the bank, made his money from duty free shopping and quietly began giving his money away in the 1980s.
His generosity went unknown until 1997 and he even made charities keep the source of their donations secret because he did not want the attention.
Feeney's 'giving while living' philosophy inspired Bill and Melinda Gates to set up their charitable foundation as well as Warren Buffet's Giving Pledge, where some of the richest people in the world have promised to give away half of their fortune during their lifetime.
The fund has handed out $6.2billion in three decades and will close in 2020 once its last good causes have been chosen.
'People who have money have an obligation,' Feeney told Forbes last year. 'I wouldn’t say I’m entitled to tell them what to do with it but to use it wisely.'
Feeney, who was raised by Catholic parents in an Irish-American New Jersey neighbourhood during the Depression, preferred to use his influence and connections during his lifetime rather than letting his money be frittered away after his death.
'I became convinced that there was greater satisfaction from giving my money away and seeing something come out of the ground, like a hospital or a university,' he told the Financial Times last year.
'It just seemed logical to put the money to good use rather than putting it into a bank account and letting it accumulate and accumulate.'
He told Forbes: 'I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself you’d always be worrying about that piece. People used to ask me how I got my jollies, and I guess I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people.'
at 7:34 AM
Unlike most kids that come up to me with curiosity, I felt so much energy coming off of him and I was completely overwhelmed. His hand on my leg was very powerful and about brought me to tears while playing. Not because he is blind or autistic.. but because of a connection I have never felt and one that is impossible to explain.
at 7:23 AM
In a show of solidarity with 2 year old cancer patient former President George Bush shaves his head...
(CNN) – Last week, former President George H. W. Bush had a full head of hair when he gave President Barack Obama a pair of socks. Today, it's gone, shaved to the scalp in solidarity with a young cancer patient.
According to a statement from a spokesman for the 41st president, Bush shaved his head after members of his Secret Service detail shaved theirs, meant to show solidarity with Patrick, the two year-old son of one of the detail who is battling leukemia.
Members of the security detail have already created a website meant to raise money to pay for Patrick's treatment. His last name is being withheld along with that of his father Jon.
At 89, Bush shaved his head this week after making a donation to Patrick's leukemia treatment. Bush and his wife Barbara lost their second child, Robin, to the disease six decades ago at the age of four.
According to the release, the security detail is also organizing a motorcycle benefit run next month that will ride through the Maine countryside and host a lunch and silent auction to raise money for Patrick's treatment.
at 7:12 AM
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Vivek Jain woke up his 14-year-old son, Varun, one early morning in early July. "Varun, you got a perfect score on your SATs," the father said.
The sleepy teenager simply said "Wow," and fell back asleep.
"If anybody in the United States can get a perfect score in middle school, it has to be Varun," his father told ABC News.
In an indication of how rare it is to get a perfect 2400 score on the trio of tests that make up the SATs, only 360 students did it in 2012. More than 1.6 million students took the tests that year.
And those students were in high school. Jain, who will be a high school freshman this fall, was in eighth grade when he took the tests.
Jain did not stress over the test. His father reminded him the night before that he was to take the exam the following morning. Only then did he start preparing for the math, writing and critical thinking segments.
Just a few days before the SAT was administered, Jain took the AP Calculus BC exam, a course usually offered to the most mathematically advanced high school seniors. Jain took the course online in a month.
He is also the highest scoring point guard for his school. He plays the sitar and the violin. He has trophies for chess and debate. He won a scholarship from John's Hopkins University to take classes at a community college. He goes to the movies and plays video games with friends.
"I tell him, 'Varun, this is a gift for you,'" Vivek Jain said. "He realizes that because we have seen quite a few geniuses here and there, but they only have a gift for one thing. Varun has an ability that is so well rounded."
Varun Jain hopes to use his talent in the computer science field. His father says he wants to do "something technology related that improves peace in the world and makes everyone thrive."
He is expected to graduate early and then move on to one of his top choices for colleges, either Harvard or MIT.
How can a dog help a person diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia? 'Dementia dogs' can be trained to remind their owners where their clothes are, which medicines they should take, and even raise an alarm in case of an emergency.
"Dogs love routine. They love that predictability," said Helen McCain of Dogs for the Disabled in an interview with BBC News. "By using that hook, we can then teach the dog to actually sort of remind people by the sound of an alarm to go and get the medication at the allotted time of the day."
The idea to train dogs to help patients with dementia was the brainchild of students at Scotland's Glasgow School of Art. Working together with Alzheimer Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled, and Guide Dogs Scotland, they developed a plan to train two dogs for 18 months to assist patients with dementia. And so far, the results have far exceeded expectations.
at 5:37 AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Courageous 11 year old Bailey Moody battles back against bone cancer by making a radical decision to have a rare amputation surgery so she could continue playing sports...
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - At 11, Bailey Moody is already a bit of a comeback kid. Last summer, facing bone cancer, the Johns Creek sixth-grader made a pretty radical decision. She chose a rare amputation surgery because it was her one chance of playing the sports she loves.
"I just knew that this is what I wanted, I wanted to play sports, I wanted to be able to keep up with my friends," Moody said.
But keeping up got much harder in the spring of 2012, when Bailey's right leg began throbbing.
"So, we took her in, had it checked out, they did an x-ray. That was on a Sunday, I got a rather frantic call from our pediatrician Monday morning, and she's normally calm, steady. And she said, 'I think Bailey has a bone tumor,'" said Tiffany Moody, Bailey's mother.
Bailey, then a fourth-grader, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer in her lower right thigh, and knee.
"I realized this is a big deal and I might not be able to save my leg," Bailey said.
Tiffany Moody said, "The thing with bone cancer is you have to get the tumor out. You can't just do chemo, or radiation and get rid of it that way. The tumor has to be removed."
"So I prayed about it and then I heard the options, and they were really hard options," said Bailey.
Bailey's right leg would have to be amputated above-the-knee. But she didn't want a metal joint replacement or a prosthetic knee. She wanted a rare surgery that would radically re-design her leg, turning her foot and ankle into her new knee.
"And the first time we saw it we both said, ‘We are not doing that to our child.' And that's most parents, that's their reaction. Because it just looks so shocking," said Tiffany Moody.
But not to Bailey.
at 6:50 AM
"Be Strong" - Mynra Malveaux is fighting back and sharing her story about ALS disease in order to help and inspire others...
(Suzanne Malveaux is the co-anchor of CNN's international news program "Around The World" and the daughter of Myrna Malveaux)
(CNN) -- With the tap of a toe or the blink of an eye, those with ALS are redefining what it means to be alive.
I have to admit it took some time to come up with that line and believe it -- to have that kind of positive outlook on this nasty deadly disease and the future.
Just a year and a half ago, my mother, Myrna Malveaux, 69, was healthy. Our family's matriarch, she was the one who was the life of the party, the trusted confidante but town crier of all family secrets, the glue that held my father, me, and my three siblings together.
When I was told she had ALS I honestly didn't know what it was. But then my sister described it to me over the phone and I had to pull over the car. It's a fatal, fast-moving neuromuscular disease that would paralyze my mother limb by limb. First robbing her of her ability to swallow, then speak, move and breathe.
When that reality set in, I spent many nights in my home, crying on the floor. What enabled me to get up was that my mother accepted her fate with a strength and grace I'd never seen before. In anyone.
When she began choking on her food, losing her ability to swallow, she got a feeding tube.
When she lost her ability to walk, she got a motorized wheelchair.
When she could no longer speak, she picked up a word board and started spelling out her conversations, still telling my father what to do.
And finally when she lost her ability to breathe, she got a tracheotomy and ventilator to stay alive.
Which is why the notion of what it means to be alive, for me, has completely changed.
at 6:29 AM