Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Follow up: After being born with only one arm Zach Hodkins was told he would never play college basketball - he just made one of the nations best teams - The University of Florida

(CBS News) Georgia teenager Zach Hodskins was told he'd never play college basketball, but now he's earned a spot on one of the nation's top teams, the University of Florida. The 17-year-old was born without the lower half of his left arm.
"I just see myself as another player that's worked hard to reach his goals," said Hodskins.
However, getting others to see him that way has been difficult, and he told CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez that he "loves" to flip stereotypes of his disability around.
His game videos from Georgia's Milton High School have been viewed 3.6 million times on YouTube, showing him sinking three-pointer after three-pointer.
He caught the attention of scouts, like Joe Davis.
"His birth defect is- really he uses that as a strength," said Davis. "If he ever has to make a left-handed pass, he'll just wrap it around his back and make that pass."
This week, Hodskins finally got the news he has been waiting for: He will be playing for the top-10-ranked Florida Gators next season.
Hodskins told Bojorquez that ever since he was little he knew he wanted play college basketball somewhere.
Matt Kramer, Hodskins' coach, told Bojorquez that this player's inspirational story has been a highlight of his 20 years of coaching high-school basketball.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "I've never been around anything like it."
Neither have his teammates.
"He definitely gets his share of looks and whispers, you know, to the side," said Shawn O'Donnell. "I mean, once he starts playing, they're like, he's better than half the kids out there."
That's all Hodskins has ever wanted, to show he's a good basketball player, born with something to prove.
"You can accomplish anything, you know," he said. "Coming up, you know, I know I had a lot of doubters saying, you know, 'He won't play at the highest A1 level,' but I would never listen to those people."

Lessya Kotelevskaya To Get A New Face After Sporting Injury Mistreated as Cancer...


Lessya Kotelevskaya, a stunning blond and former businesswoman, wears a bandage across her face that covers scars caused by a horrific misdiagnosis -- terminal cancer.
A decade ago, she suffered an injury when a cheering fan accidentally hit her at a basketball game, causing swelling in her jaw, and doctors in her native Kazakhstan put her through cancer radiation that impaired her ability to eat and talk.
The disfiguring treatment was socially isolating: She lost her business and her husband and because she couldn't find a job, and she eventually became homeless.
Kotelevskaya dropped to 79 pounds and was convinced all the while that she was going to die.
But soon, thanks to a loving cousin who lives in the United States, Kotelevskaya, now 30, will get free facial surgery from University of Louisville Physicians.
Dr. Jarrod Little, a plastic surgeon, has agreed to reconstruct her jaw for free. The University of Louisville Hospital has also donated its services, making the gift worth an estimated $1 million.
"They are fantastic people and we are so glad their story is out there," the physician team's spokeswoman Tiffany Meredith told "She is so sweet. She said she doesn't feel so self-conscious. She had felt no one cared."

13 year old Cameron Richard's Cleft Palate Surgery Allows Him To Sing After Doctors Said It Was Impossible

A Louisiana teen has completely defied his doctors’ prognosis and hopes his story will inspire other kids with disabilities to chase their dreams, too.
Born with a cleft palate, Cameron Richard was told at a young age that he would require extensive operations and speech therapy and that singing just wasn’t an option, WGNO reported.
While Cameron has undergone “many” surgeries, the 13-year-old refused to give up on his love for the stage.
Two years ago, the now singing sensation, entered his first competition and took home a prize for his rendition of the Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” according to
The guitar-strumming star didn’t stop there.
He still competes, has been garnering fans on his YouTube channel and has even opened for some bigger-named acts.
“It gives you the courage if you do have a disability, you can overcome it,” Cameron told WGNO. “It’s really a miracle. I’m so blessed.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

The cast and crew of the "Good Wife" celebrate their 100th episode by giving back to New York area hit by Hurricane Sandy...

Forget the cake, the champagne and the red carpet: "The Good Wife" celebrated 100 episodes a little differently. The cast and crew assembled in the Far Rockaways, an area of New York hit hard by Hurricane Sandy one year ago, and helped rebuild homes affected by the storm.
"[W]e realized how we'd want to spend a celebration to say, 'Wow, 100 episodes' -- which is such a milestone in television -- that we could give back and say thank you rather than take," series star Julianna Margulies told reporters on Saturday. "I think it's important for us to give back. We have so much."
"The Good Wife" cast, crew and even the people higher up came together to raise more than $77,000 for the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping disaster-impacted communities recover. Reese May, the East Coast director of operations for St. Bernard Project, said it's important to not forget many people are still suffering a year later. "['The Good Wife'] did a lot of work here in the community after the storm and it's really amazing to have them down here, obviously committed to the long-term recovery a year later."
the good wife
"We both kind of suffered through Hurricane Sandy, but nothing compared to what people went through here … It's so important to give back. It's really nice to be here to do our little bit," Archie Panjabi said during an interview with her co-star Matt Czuchry.
Margulies and Josh Charles both described themselves as "handy-ish," while Chris Noth said he was there for hard labor. The three actors were in awe of their co-star Zach Grenier.
"Zach, who plays David Lee, is really a first-class carpenter," Margulies said. "He's in there putting all of us to shame right now."
"I'm basically going to apprentice him," Noth said.
the good wife
For creators Robert and Michelle King, it was especially nice to give back to celebrate their TV milestone. "We feel really grateful," Michelle said.
"We didn't think it'd go past 13. With 13, there wouldn't have been anything we were doing. We would've been at home watching TV," Robert said, and Michelle added, "Painting our own basement!"
"So many of the cast and crew, right down to the grips, put in money to support it. It makes you feel a little Frank Capra about everything," Robert said. "It's exciting that it is the 100th episode because truly we didn't think we'd go past 13."

11 year old blind girl Joyce Jimenez does an amazing cover of Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus while reading the lyrics in Braille...

A blind 11-year-old girl is fast becoming an Internet sensation with her rendition of Miley Cyrus' hit "Wrecking Ball," reading the lyrics from Braille.
The girl appeared in a three-and-a-half-minute video on YouTube, belting out the lines while her left hand "read" sheets of paper containing the lyrics.
"She is Joyce Jimenez, 11 years old from Barangay Luzon, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental," said George Doton, who uploaded the video last Oct. 23.

Many of those who left comments on the video indicated they were impressed, one of whom even commenting that she was "better than the original."
Others praised the girl for her "awesome" rendition and said she "deserves the limelight."
Even tech site Mashable lauded the girl for belting out the song "with a voice more powerful than, well, a wrecking ball."
"Move over, Miley — this girl is coming for your spot on the charts," wrote Mashable's Nehe Prakash.
As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, the video has had 413,240 views, with 8,008 likes and 111 dislikes.
A separate report on Gulf News said the video has also gained at least 60,000 likes on Facebook and 20,000 shares on Twitter. — TJD, GMA News

50 years of catching up to do for 5 adopted siblings from North Dakota...

A crew of five siblings had a lot of catching up to do earlier this month — about 50 years’ worth, actually. That’s because none of them had known the others existed since their mother gave them all up for adoption in North Dakota when they were infants, more than 40 years ago.

The remarkable reunion all began with Deidre Handtmann, of Bismarck, North Dakota, who found her birth mother back in 1993. The two became close, and when Handtmann’s birth mom died of pancreatic cancer in March, her obituary noted that reuniting with her daughter had been the highlight of her life.

Meanwhile, Buddine Bullinger of Dickinson, North Dakota had been given up for adoption by the same woman. She had been told the name of her birth mom (which the family wants kept out of the press) by her adopted family and had mentioned the name to her friend. According to Handtmann, her friend spotted the obituary and called the funeral home to try to track down Handtmann.

"I was like, this is strange. Can I bury my mother?" she recalls. But then Buddine called her, and the two sisters, along with their combined six children, began to form a close bond. 

And Handtmann became certain of one thing.

“Once my sister from Dickinson found me, I just felt like there was others,” she tells KXMB-TV. “And we went through Catholic Family Services out of Fargo, and they found them all for me.”
Carly Gaddie, director of adoption services at Catholic Family Services, tells Yahoo Shine that she’s never seen a reunion of adoptees quite like this one. “It’s an amazing story,” she says. “This situation was a little bit different in that the main person involved knew her birth mom. But we feel very fortunate we were able to locate the other siblings.”

The other siblings include a brother, John Blankendaal, in Tennessee; a sister, Sandy Watkins, in California; and a local brother, John Maixner — who had actually come in contact with Bullinger before.

“I’d seen Buddine here for years [working] at Wal-mart,” Maixner tells KXMB, “and I didn’t have a clue.”

None of the siblings have any inkling about why their mother gave them all up for adoption — or why she failed to mention to Handtmann after they reunited that she had four siblings out in the world. "I have no idea," Handtmann tells Shine. "She never would give me any answers [about giving me up]. I just quit asking. And I had a great upbringing."

DNA testing has confirmed that all five are indeed full brothers and sisters (which means they also all share the same biological father). But at a joyous reunion at Handtmann’s home in Bismarck on Oct. 19, none seemed too stuck on the past.

“We have wonderful lives. We all have wonderful families. And now it just grew, and it’s even more wonderful,” Blankendaal tells KXMB. “I just love every one of these siblings, and I can’t wait to be a part of their lives for the rest of my life.”

And for Handtmann, getting to know her siblings was mind-blowing. "We're all identical," she says. "My younger brother and me, we are like two peas in a pod. It's so cool … and Sandy and I have the same laugh." Still, she adds, meeting her brothers and sisters has had a sad element too.

"I think it's fantastic. But I'm hurt. I'm very betrayed," she admits. "Still, I love my mother even more because she had to hold it all in, and it must have been terrible. I will find out the truth, though. I'm not done yet."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Long overdue family reunion - sisters reunited after being apart for more than 60 years...

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Tuesday brought an emotional reunion for three sisters who hadn’t seen each other in decades. Their Cuban family was separated after Fidel Castro took control in 1959.
Sisters Ina Jenner and Gloria Gonzales moved to the U.S. in the early 1950s, and ultimately settled in Pocahontas, Illinois. They never dreamed that once Castro took over, it’d take until 2013 to see their sister again.
It’s not hard to imagine the butterflies these women were feeling, waiting at Lambert Airport for their long lost sister to arrive.  Those minutes creeping by felt even slower after they learned her flight was delayed an hour.  But 83 year-old Rosa Llorca finally showed.
Since communication with family in Cuba wasn’t possible, they had no recent photos.  They almost missed each other, until Rosa recognized her big sister.  “You recognized me but I didn’t recognize you,” says Gloria, “remember you said ‘Cuca,’ you see, that’s the name they used to call me, Cuca.”
Ina hadn’t seen Rosa in 57 years. For Gloria, it’d been 61 years.  Rosa was able to get a 5-year visa, so the three will have plenty of time to catch up.
The first introduction was to Ina’s American husband, Joe, who took the women to the airport.
Future plans include a family reunion, so Rosa can meet all those cousins, nieces and nephews. There may be a slight language barrier, but no borders will keep this family apart, anymore.
These sisters have 10 other siblings, scattered throughout the United States and Cuba.
Gloria and Ina had a similar reunion with their mother, who came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1993.

After being denied on a commercial flight Marine's dogs get a special flight across the country courtesy of Wrigley heiress Helen Rosburg ...

A good Samaritan with deep pockets chartered a private jet to fly a Marine's dogs across the country to the soldier's new base on Sunday, after the pets were deemed too big to travel on commercial flights.
Helen Rosburg, the great-granddaughter of chewing gum industrialist William Wrigley, said she was more than happy to help out Andrew Morales and his family upon hearing that they may have to leave their beloved pets behind.
"He was going to lose his dogs and I said 'Not on my watch,'" said Rosburg. "He's a hero on so many different levels. The Wrigleys are an extremely patriotic family and I am a true Wrigley child."
Morales had rescued Dusty and Wyatt while on an overseas tour of duty almost three years ago and could not bear to part with the two part-Anatolian Shepherds.
"In Afghanistan, they are pretty much your best friend," Morales told ABC Affiliate WWAY.

After he was reassigned from his base in southern California to camp Lejeune, N.C., in October, Morales called various airlines to book travel for the dogs, but was told that the dogs were too big for commercial planes landing at the airport at his new base.
He called the rescue league that had initially helped bring the dogs back from Afghanistan, and they made an online appeal on the family's behalf.
Rosburg, a self-described animal lover, said she first heard about the family's plight after a friend posted the appeal on her Facebook wall.
Rosburg acknowledged she has a reputation for rescuing animals and at-risk youth, as well as supporting the military.
"Everybody in my circle knows what I do," said Rosburg. "If they see an impossible situation, they'll post something to my [Facebook] timeline."
Rosburg is a horse exhibitor and published romance novelist who raises German shepherds for "personal protection, military, police, service." She is the founder of animal rescue organization, On the Wings of Angels Rescue, and has pigs, chickens, goats, cattle, donkeys, rabbits, cats and exotic birds on her farm in Tampa, Fla.
The family said they were thrilled that Rosburg came to their rescue, and said they would love to thank her in person one day.
"From the bottom of me and my wife's hearts we really appreciate what she did for us," said Morales.
They may just be able to, if Rosburg has anything to do with it. The heiress said she would "absolutely" love to meet them. "We've just got to find a way to get together," she said.

"Keith Special" - Sheridan Hedrick takes one for the team by helping his special needs teammate Keith Orr score a touchdown

Sheridan Hedrick was in the clear. No defenders to stop him, only the endzone in sight.
But at the one-yard line, he slid to the ground, to incredulous groans from the crowd. His teammates patted him on the shoulder pads to congratulate him.
"I was going as fast as I could and then I saw the one-yard line," Hedrick said. "And I was like, 'I've gotta get this for Keith' and I downed it for him."
Enter Keith Orr, a 95-pound player who has behavioral and learning disabilities. His task: carry out the "Keith Special" -- a play drawn up by his teammates.
"He always tries his hardest and everything so we thought it would be cool to do something and have him get a touchdown," said Hendrick.
And Orr scored.
"After he scored that touchdown, the stadium erupted," said Coach Tim Jungel. "They were hooting and hollering. The kids have never celebrated a touchdown as enthusiastically as Keith's touchdown."
Keith started the season as an outsider. His parents signed him up for football to teach him teamwork. His mother says she was just happy Keith got playing time, but she never expected what happened Oct. 5.
"Yes I'm excited and happy that he made a touchdown, but what have these boys showed this community? That's what gets to me," she said. "Not that my kid made a touchdown, but that these kids planned it and they wanted him to have a touchdown. They've been planning it and they made it happen for him."
And the football experience for Keith Orr has helped him beyond the gridiron. His coach says he can see the difference in his life.
"Now [the other players] eat lunch with him," he said. "Now they talk to him in the halls. Keith has discovered there are things he can accomplish he didn't know he was capable of."
His mom is now more at ease, knowing that he has friends to last him through high school.
"They've got his back," said Carrie Orr. "And he knows it."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Aaron Wright surprises his family and gets a surprise of his own...

It was a morning of tears, hugs and more tears.
A local member of the military surprised everyone in his family after coming home almost a month early from serving overseas.
Aaron Wright lives in South Bend and is a Chief Petty Officer for the U.S. Navy.
He was deployed to Bahrain in February and has spent the past eight months doing operational support.
He kept his homecoming a secret from his family so he could surprise them in person, but he quickly found out that he too would get a surprise of his own.
WSBT was the only television station there.
Thursday started at Memorial Hospital in South Bend where Aaron Wright's wife Kris is a nurse.
People gathered in a hallway with balloons, signs and American flags.
Kris ran into her husband's arms as soon as she saw him.
Kris got the day off and headed out with her husband to surprise their children.
The first stop was at their son's school.
Ryne Wright says, "I don't even know what I was thinking. It was amazing."
Then, it was a short drive to their daughter Claire's school.
Claire says, "When he stood up, I was like yeah I get my football buddy back."
After a big family hug, the Wrights, for the first time in eight months, went home together.
Their home is where Kris turned the tables on her husband and gave him a surprise.
Kris says, "We had a new floor put in in the house and had some chores done, our foyer painted and moved his office to the front of the house."
After walking around to see the changes, there was one more reunion left.
The family's dog ran in and threw itself at Aaron's feet.
Aaron said the whole thing was perfect.
Aaron says, 'It was surreal. It was a long time coming, and it's unbelievable just to be home and to be able to see their faces and to be able to touch them for once instead of just seeing them over FaceTime or Skype."
Kris says, "I was, you know, flabbergasted and so relieved that he was here and safe."
Aaron is done with his deployment and is home for good.
He will return to Notre Dame to work full-time in the Office of Information Technology.

Aaron wants to take some time off before going back to his drill and reserve status.

World of Children: Kay and Harry Leibowitz leave corporate America to help 30 million children.

When Kay and Harry Leibowitz were newly dating, Kay attended an Ohio event held by World of Children, the global children's advocacy awards program Harry had recently founded, in 1996. Looking back, she said, it was the moment she fell in love with him.
“I was there watching what he was doing for children, and I had tears in my eyes. That day, I fell in love with Harry and World of Children,” Kay told The Huffington Post of her now-husband and business partner. “That was 14 years ago and we’ve been on this mission together. It’s the best thing we do in our lives.”
It's a mission that led Harry and Kay, both high-level executives, to leave the corporate world behind and bring their business acumen to a new encore career. Before World of Children, Kay was a senior retail executive for mega-chains including Victoria's Secret and Banana Republic, and Harry served as an executive at companies like Procter & Gamble and Esmark. Now, they've devoted their lives to giving back.
Although Harry enjoyed working in business, he said that he always had an inkling that there was something more he could be doing. Having grown up in poverty with his family in Coney Island through World War II and the early 1950s -- they all shared a single common bathroom with nine other families, and Harry had to work through high school to support everyone -- he understood what it was like to face challenging circumstances early in life. And later, during his many business trips around the world, Harry was exposed to the extreme hardships faced by children in developing nations, experiences that left a lingering impression on him.

Jessica Eaves wallet was stolen while grocery shopping...her reaction is quite remarkable.

Jessica Eaves was shopping in Guthrie, Okla., earlier this month when her wallet was pinched. She spotted the man she suspected of taking it in a nearby aisle and wondered what to do next.
"As I saw him, a scripture came to me from Luke, which basically says 'If someone should take your cloak, you should give them your shirt as well,'' she told The Huffington Post,
The passage inspired her next actions, as she approached the man and calmly said, "I think you have something of mine. I'm gonna give you a choice. You can either give me my wallet and I'll forgive you right now, and I'll even take you to the front and pay for your groceries," or she would call the police, according to Yahoo! Shine.
"He reached in his pocket and gave it back to me," she told HuffPost, adding that "he started crying as we walked to the front. He kept apologizing and saying that he was embarrassed."
Eaves, a mother of four and leader of the Christian outreach team at the First Christian Church in Guthrie, responded that she makes mistakes every day and has just as much to be embarrassed about, as she believes that in the eyes of Jesus, no one sin is greater than another.
She paid $27 for his groceries, which was almost all the money that she had in her purse.
"I never carry cash. When I got to the check-out counter that day his (robber's) total was just a little over $27 and I had $28 in cash in my wallet. And so I knew in that moment it wasn't me. It was Christ that played in that moment," she told Christian Post.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Sydney and Celeste Corcoran well on their road to recovery after the Boston Marathon...

15 year old orphan David Only steps up to the pulpit to plead for a family to adopt him and over 10,000 people now say they want him to be a part of their family!

ST. PETERSBURG — He went to church that Sunday to plead for a family.
Over the next two weeks his story spread across the world, popping up on websites, TV screens and front pages from here to India.
The Florida teenager says he has found his purpose.
And 10,000 people believe they have found a son.
Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, was born in prison, raised in foster care, and lives in a group home with 12 other boys. He has never had his own room or felt wanted.
Last spring, after discovering that his birth mother had just died, he determined to find someone to adopt him.
He first shared his quest with the Tampa Bay Times in a front-page story Oct. 8. It told of his visit to St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, where his caseworker had arranged for him to take the pulpit.
In her 28 years working with foster kids, Connie Going said, she had never known one who wanted to put himself out there like that. To risk being rejected. Again.
"I know God hasn't given up on me," Davion softly told the congregation. "So I'm not giving up either."
After the service, dozens of people hugged Davion, congratulated him, offered to take him to a Bucs game.

Fitness unarmed: Having no arms hasn't stopped Barbie Thomas from becoming a body builder and model...

Body building: It’s all about biceps, triceps and delts, right? For Barbie Thomas, an armless bodybuilder and model, it's much more than lifting weights. Despite losing her arms at a young age, Thomas has achieved her dreams of competitive bodybuilding against all odds.
Thomas, a 37-year-old who lives in Phoenix with her two sons, regularly competes as a bodybuilder, which she documents in her website, Fitness Unarmed. She’s even won a few amateur competitions since she began in 2003.
According to "Good Morning America," Thomas lost both of her arms when she was two years old, living in Texas. She told "GMA" that she climbed onto a transformer while playing outside of her apartment building and electric current from the wires burned her arms off.
"They were like charcoal," she wrote on Fitness Unarmed. "They were completely dead and had to be amputated at the shoulders."
While she was not expected to live, Thomas, against the odds, not only survived but achieved the impossible as a bodybuilder. "I thank God I am alive," she told "GMA."
She said she went through years of physical and occupational therapy though doctors thought she would end up “a vegetable,” GMA reported.
"The doctors were boggled by my recovery," she said. "They decided I must have survived because of the rubber soles on my tennis shoes. True, they may have played their part, but I believe I survived because God saw the bigger picture and had plans for me."
Instead of getting down, Thomas participated in athletic activities growing up like soccer, dancing and aerobic running, adding fitness has been part of her life “forever.”
"I was not allowed to be negative and say I can't do something," she told ABC News. "I was always taught to focus on what I can do, not what I can't do. It probably has a lot to do with my personality -- I can't imagine being a negative Nancy all the time."
Despite lacking two crucial limbs, Thomas said she gets by using her shoulders as arms, which her sons, 13 and 17, call her “nubs.” During her phone interview with ABC News, she said she was holding the phone between her ear and right shoulder. She said she also uses her feet to open doors, plug in music and hold bags and uses her mouth to fasten her shoes.
And in bodybuilding competitions, Thomas performs dance routines with splits, high-kicks and a ninja kip-up, which she nailed in one competition through the National Physique Committee, an amateur division of the International Federation of Body Builders.
"We were thinking, 'How can she do that routine?' but she blew our minds," said Miles Nuessle, Arizona chairman of the NPC. "She was absolutely beautiful. She was on the floor jumping up and doing splits. I don't know what half the moves were called. She was rolling all over the place and shaking it -- sexy, athletic, fun and emotional. The crowd went nuts.”
"You can't use the word handicapped with her or she may punch you in the face," he continued. "Barbie is not handicapped."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Giving the homeless dignity one shower at a time...showers on wheels.

Homelessness is an endemic problem in most U.S. cities these days. The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) estimates that there are more than a half-million people sleeping on the streets each night. More than 200,000 of those individuals are people in families, and 13 percent of the nation’s homeless are veterans.
Adequate food, warmth and comfort are concerns we often think of when it comes to homelessness. But one of the greatest challenges that often goes unaddressed is access to showers and clean washroom facilities. That simple access is not only essential to self esteem, but has been declared a basic human right by the United Nations.
Yet, in burgeoning San Francisco alone, there are more than 6,000 homeless, 3,100 of which are forced to sleep on the street each night.  Sixteen free shower stalls are open to the homeless, and most of the showers are located in the downtown area, an impossible bus ride away for those who don’t have the cash to use public transportation.
So a San Francisco organization made up of a consortium of nonprofits and concerned individuals have come up with a way to provide that access.
Lava Mae says the organization’s website, emerged as a result of “a cab drive and a zinger of a line delivered by a seasoned cabbie. ‘Welcome to the land of broken dreams’…
“Those seven words, a desire to bring about change, and a belief that mobile/moveable could be powerful set in motion” by providing a simple answer to a universal need for a place to bathe,” says the website, is what Lava Mae is all about.
The organization’s name is coined from the Spanish for “wash me” (lavame). The founder, Doniece Sandoval along with other individuals, has garnered the support of more than 10 different organizations across the Bay Area to convert San Francisco Municipal Transit (MUNI) buses into mobile shower stations. MUNI has donated one bus so far, and said it will donate others if the pilot project works.
The bus has been retrofitted to contain three showers. Each shower has a toilet and a private area to dress. One of the showers will be specially designed for delousing needs – an often unavoidable side effect of sleeping on the streets or in makeshift shelters.
Lava_Mae_homeless_man_washingEven though the showers are free, there will still be costs associated with running the service. Lava Mae estimates that it will cost $100 every four days per bus, which is expected to be able to provide 500 showers per day. For San Francisco’s homeless population, that seems like a drop in the bucket. Lava Mae hopes, therefore, to have four buses up and running by the time the service gears up in March 2014. It’s also hoping to encourage similar mobile services in other cities.
The project, whose tagline is “delivering dignity one shower at a time,” is being funded by donations Lava Mae receives on its website and through an Indiegogo campaign that just ended, in which it raised just over $58,000 of the $75,000 it will need to open. Another $7,000 was donated through the fiscal sponsor  Zero1, allowing the organization to meet its first goal. Its anticipated yearly budget will be $318,000.
Individuals interested in contributing to the project can contact the organization through its website.

Follow up story: Carmen Tarleton has a new beginning after a vicious attack including a new face and a new boyfriend...

Click here to watch the inspiring story

THETFORD, Vt. — At 1:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day this year, Carmen Tarleton left her rural home here and drove through the frigid dark to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her doctor had called hours earlier with the news she had been waiting for: a suitable donor had been found. She would get a new face.
Almost six years had passed since her estranged husband broke into her house one spring night, beat her with a baseball bat and soaked her with industrial lye that he squirted from a dish-soap bottle. The attack nearly blinded Ms. Tarleton, a nurse and mother of two, and burned her beyond recognition. She lost her eyelids, upper lip and left ear. What remained of her face and much of her body was a knobby patchwork of scar tissue and skin grafts, painful to look at and far more painful to live with.
Now, after overcoming some initial fears, she was ready to receive someone else’s features. After 15 hours of transplant surgery, Ms. Tarleton, 45, emerged from the operating room with what looked to her mother, Joan VanNorden, like a puffy, surreal mask. At first she wanted to faint as she stared at the new face, smooth and freckled, stitched to her daughter’s pale scalp. But when Ms. Tarleton started talking in her old familiar voice — “Can’t you just get in here?” — Mrs. VanNorden relaxed.
“I said, ‘This is who Carmen is now,’ and it really looked beautiful,” she recalled. “Although it didn’t look anything like her, it was her face.”
Face transplants are still an experimental procedure, the first having taken place just eight years ago in France. Some two dozen full or partial transplants have been completed worldwide, including five at Brigham and Women’s, which used nearly $4 million in research grants from the Department of Defense to do four of the surgeries. Arteries, veins, nerves and muscles from the donor face must be painstakingly connected to the recipient’s, in what Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, Ms. Tarleton’s chief transplant surgeon, called “by far the most complicated operation that I do.”

Nurse Debbie Mitchell-Dozier donates a kidney to one of her patients...

A nurse at Tufts Medical Center redefined generosity this summer as she donated a kidney — to a stranger.
“It was something I put in the back of my mind, when the time comes and I can do that I would like to,” said Debbie Mitchell-Dozier, who works in the nephrology division at Tufts. “I have seen the toll dialysis has on a patient. ... I wanted to give this gift someday.”
The Brockton resident is sharing her story to raise awareness ahead of tomorrow’s Boston Kidney Walk, in which 3,000 are expected to walk to raise $500,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.
The 50-year-old had been preparing physically since 2009, when the sign she had been waiting for came.
Pastor J. Kevin Harris, 43, of Victory Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., gave a special sermon at Mitchell-Dozier’s church, Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, earlier this year.
“Normally, I don’t talk about my renal failure publicly,” Harris, 43, said. “On this particular Sunday, I just asked the parishioners to pray for me, for God to heal my natural kidneys or bless me with a kidney via transplant.”
Mitchell-Dozier, an active reservist in the Army, approached him after the service with her offer.
“I just had a blank stare. I was just amazed at such a sacrifice,” Harris said.
He and Mitchell-Dozier matched for both blood type and tissue. The transplant surgery took place in July.
“It is a very amazing thing to meet a person who is selfless like Ms. Dozier,” said Harris’s wife, Ruth, 38. “To me, she really is an exceptional person. She’s a rare breed. She wanted nothing from us in return. She believed this was a calling she wanted to fulfill. The reward we get is priceless.”
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

105 year old Bill Mohr finally receives his high school diploma...

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Montgomery County man is celebrating a few important milestones.
He just blew out the candles on his 105th birthday cake, shared a kiss with his wife on their 70th wedding anniversary — and earned his high school diploma!
CBS 3′s Pat Ciarrocchi has the story.
“I had to leave the Prep,” said Bill Mohr.
St. Joseph’s Preparatory School. The red brick facade on Girard Avenue, 89 years ago, was a doorway to a dream for Bill Mohr.

“I won a four year scholarship to St. Joe’s Prep,” continued Mohr.
Bill Mohr’s journey, that on Sunday, marked his 105th year of life, traveled a winding road.  It was 1926, and a 15-year-old uniformed Bill Mohr was forced into a different reality.
“After my Sophomore year, my mother said ‘Bill, your father’s plant is moving.  We have to move up there, for him to keep his job,’” said Mohr.
Bill had to get a job himself, the Prep was left behind. Work filled his days, World War II filled his mind, but Josie filled his heart. At 105, life markers come in big numbers, Bill and Josie are married 70 years.
No regrets, except one, he told his daughter.
“I regret I was not able to finish my high school years at St. Joe’s Prep. He wanted to finish so badly,” said his daughter Jodie Hartshorne.
Enter teacher Bill Conners and Prep’s president, who could only see one solution.
“We need to give him a diploma. Had Bill graduated with his class, this would have been his 85th reunion, so it is perfect,” Conners said.
Yes, perfect.
“If I die tomorrow, I’m not going to ask the Lord for anything. He has given me everything I need over the years. I can hardly say much more than that,” Mohr said.
Except, dream fulfilled.

High school teacher David (Robbie) Robinson’s goes pink in the name of breast cancer...

Now this is one colorful lesson.
As David (Robbie) Robinson’s high school students prepared to collect candy for the school’s annual trick-or-treating event, they decided to add an extra charitable component to the project, KREM reported. Robinson’s East Valley High School students in Spokane, Wash., asked their social studies teacher to dye his beard and hair pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month if they donated a considerable amount of sweets.
Their 64-year-old teacher agreed to do it –- if they collected 45 pounds of candy.
On Friday the teens arrived with 46 pounds of sweets and their committed instructor then went home and did his part.
"Monday morning, I came in with a pink beard and pink hair," he told the New York Daily News."I'm a man of my word."
Robinson said he feels particularly connected to the cause since his mother passed away from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 30 years ago.
"I believe that kids are the keys to success,” he told KSHB. “I believe that they will make the changes that are necessary in the future, and everything that I can do to convince them, make them interested in school, make them try harder, I’m willing to do as an educator.”