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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

College Student Invents Spoon For Parkinson’s Patients

A college student developed a stabilizing Parkinson’s spoon. Raleigh Dewan said he was inspired by his grandmother after watching as hand tremors made it difficult for her to hold a spoon and share meals with her family. The Southern Methodist University student was determined to find a solution for his Grandmother June and patients like her.

He saw that there were self-stabilizing cutlery sets on the market, but many used motors and electronics to function, meaning they cost more than $200 and required regular charging to function properly. Non-motorized spoons were cheaper, but less effective at countering tremors.
After three years of working on it, the senior at SMU has created the SteadiSpoon, a self-stabilizing spoon that helps patients with hand tremors feed themselves with dignity.

SteadiSpoon has no motors or batteries and was inspired by a principle Dewan discovered on film sets. Dewan’s brothers work in the film industry and he had watched massive cameras swing through the air, capturing chaotic action scenes with smooth, seamless motion. He was captivated by the Steadicam mounts that kept cameras level throughout and wondered whether he could translate the Steadicam technology into a spoon to help his grandmother eat.

The product has received tens of thousands of dollars in seed money and recently won a $20,000 grant from VentureWell, an organization that supports student inventions. After testing SteadiSpoon with Parkinson’s patients earlier this year, Dewan and his team want to improve the design and create a batch for sale by early next year.

At the heart of Dewan’s determination was his love for his grandmother, who passed away in 2020 before he finished developing SteadiSpoon. He said when she passed away he wasn’t sure he wanted to keep working on it since the person he wanted to help was now gone but his grandmother spending her life helping people ultimately inspired him to see the development through.

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Teen Writes Book To Distract Himself from Video Games

A 16-year-old recognized he was spending too much time playing video games and decided to distract himself. Dylan Brennan had always dreamed of writing a novel and started writing Noble: Betrayed in April 2020. The lockdown gave him the perfect opportunity to knock out the first full draft in 9 months. The final copy was released in October 2022.

The London high schooler self-published the fantasy novel that’s now selling as far away as Australia. The tale revolves around the main character Lord Simon Pargion visiting the court of close friend King Emannar Woodgairrd before uncovering a plot to kill him. It combines elements of fantasy with the sense of community and atmosphere of living in London. Some of the characters are named after his teachers at St. George’s Catholic School, in Maida Vale.

The book was inspired by Dylan’s favorite authors: George R. R. Martin, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Andrzej Sapkowski. “It’s amazing! It’s a dream I’ve always had and I’m so pleased with it but I can’t stop here, I’m already working on the next one. I love fantasy, it’s just my genre” Dylan said. His book has sold over 150 copies and the average number for self published books is 250 so he’s well on his way.

“There’s so much technology you can use to publish for yourself now which takes a few steps, and publishers always have their own direction they want you to take” he said. Dylan plans to study to become a lawyer but wants to keep writing as a side hustle, adding he’s aiming for a crime novel next.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Friends Reunite 75 Years After Voyage to US

A reunion after 75 years took place recently between immigrants Lena and Yolanda, who were young girls when they first met during a 14-day ocean crossing. In April of 1947, both the young girls were emigrating with their Italian families to the US. They met each other aboard the Saturnia, a ship sailing toward America’s Ellis Island—and became instant friends.

Lena left her hometown of Pallagorio when she was ten years old. Nine-year-old Yolanda left her home in Belmonte—a 2.5 hour drive between them. When the ship made it to America, the families went their separate ways. Unbeknownst to each other, the two women had been living within 2.5 hours of each other their whole lives.

The heartwarming reunion came about when Lena’s youngest son Steve had been researching their transatlantic voyage over the last few years and uncovered the actual ship’s manifest online. Lena, now 85 years old, had always remembered the name of her sailing buddy, Yolanda. So, Steve diligently searched for the whereabouts of her friend, who had remained a memory for his mother for years.

Steve found that Yolanda was still thriving and had been living just 2.5 hours away. Steve found Yolanda’s phone number and left a message on her answering machine explaining that her childhood sailing buddy wanted to get in touch. Covid-19 and other obstacles delayed the reunion, but finally a time and date were set.

Yolanda‘s son Rich drove his mom across state lines from her home in Weirton, West Virginia, to Lena’s house in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they greeted each other at the front door, embracing with tears of joy. During the meeting, the two women reminisced about their few memories of that voyage on Saturnia—which included feelings of wonderment of what the New World would be like. They shared stories of their unfolding lives during the afternoon lunch.

Lena said “Yolanda was the face and name that was synonymous with my transition from one life to another. For that reason alone, I could never forget her. Now that we’ve been reunited, I am even more grateful to call her my friend and to have had the chance to share our stories.”

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Maryland Firefighter Involved In Multi-Car Crash Helps Victims Then Gives Birth

Maryland firefighter Megan Warfield is wired to help others. Warfield was nine months pregnant and had been on desk duty when she was involved in a multi-car crash. Instead of focusing on herself, she turned her attention to saving others. She initially got out of her car to help direct traffic but then she saw someone trapped in a car that was overturned and her instinct to help kicked in.

Warfield brushed aside her labor contractions to save the person trapped in their vehicle. During an interview she said “I started to climb in there with her, but then I was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re nine months pregnant. I ended up holding onto her to keep her in place because I wasn’t sure of her injuries at the time. It was also important that I keep her calm, it was a pretty traumatic event.”

Shortly after paramedics arrived to take over, Warfield decided she should go to the Johns Hopkins Hospital to get herself checked out. The accident had induced labor and, unbeknownst to Warfield, had knocked her unborn baby into a traverse position. Luckily Warfield’s boyfriend Joshua Daugherty was one of the first paramedics on the scene of the accident. The couple welcomed a healthy little girl named Charlotte on Oct. 4, less than 24 hours after the crash. Baltimore County emergency medical service units transported six patients to two local hospitals and all but one of the patients was listed with minor injuries.

In a Facebook post, Warfield’s department congratulated her for being a “true public servant” in the line of duty. “Ignoring any chance she could be injured, Megan immediately exited her mangled vehicle and began providing care to a person trapped by their overturned car,” the post explains. “Megan stayed with this patient until Squad 213 arrived to free the victim. After all patients were evaluated, Megan agreed to an evaluation herself. Less than 24 hours later, Megan delivered her beautiful baby girl. Since no good deed should go unrecognized, we wanted to highlight Megan’s heroic and selfless actions.”

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

US Couple Save Babies From Fire While On Honeymoon

An American couple are being hailed as heroes after they saved babies from a burning nursery in Spain. Doran Smith and David Squillante had to wait over two years before going on their honeymoon in Barcelona, Spain, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Bristol, Rhode Island couple decided to take a walk to a scenic Barcelona park to enjoy a tour on what they thought would be an otherwise uneventful day.

During their walk Smith said she noticed something amiss in a nearby building: Women were running out of it and into the street, panicked. Smith said “I saw a flame coming out of the doorway next to the door that these women had come out of So I said, ‘Oh my god, there’s a fire.'” After Smith called attention to the fire, Squillante says “instinct took over.” The couple ran into the building without a second thought, not realizing they were running into a nursery filled with sleeping babies.

Squillante said “I found myself looking at 15-20 babies sleeping and immediately just kind of lined everybody up. We started grabbing them and putting them into the cribs. We were just literally taking cribs with a few kids in them and rolling them across the street to the high school lobby,” Smith explained.

Squillante said that no one inside the nursery spoke English so they didn’t understand what was probably being explained to them. The couple — along with other bystanders and good Samaritans who pitched in to help save the babies. Everyone worked quickly to move all the young children out of the nursery as the room filled with smoke from what appeared to be an electrical fire.

Squillante estimates that the whole ordeal lasted around 10 minutes, though he said it felt like an instant. Once Barcelona fire crews arrived on the scene and the situation was under control, the couple said they continued their walk toward the park as planned, “as if it was a normal day” leaving them with a unique, heroic honeymoon tale to tell for years to come.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Texas Trucker Named Highway Angel for Rescuing Trooper

A Texas truck driver, Gary Wilburn was named a Highway Angel for offering aid to an injured Arkansas state trooper after a serious crash. The Truckload Carriers Association bestowed the honor and shared the story. On October 4, Wilburn was driving slowly in heavy traffic near Forrest City, Arkansas when he came across a crashed State Trooper’s vehicle on the side of the road.

Every other motorist was passing the vehicle without stopping to look inside but Wilburn knew he was stopping. “I was in traffic for an hour before I saw the trooper. Some of the stuff I noticed was insane—no one’s calling the police, cars are driving by, and no one stopped to help him” he said. Wilburn, who drives for Anderson Trucking, saw the officer pinned inside his vehicle, called 911 and reported what he found.

“He was banged up really bad, lower legs were broken, upper legs were broken and he was just pinned in. His legs were crushed really badly” he said. He then stayed with the trapped officer until emergency personnel arrived and he was airlifted to a local hospital. “I’m that idiot that runs into burning buildings and pulls out pets. When I see something like that, I can’t keep going on about my day” he said.

The unidentified officer was flown to Regional One Hospital in Memphis where he is still recovering, the Arkansas Highway Patrol said. The injured officer has been with the highway patrol since 2014. Since the Highway Angel program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Indiana Mom Offers Free Salon Services to Parents of NICU Babies

An Indiana mom volunteers to encourage exhausted parents of high-risk newborns and remind them they’ve “got this.” The mom of a former NICU baby has opened a hospital hair salon to spoil other parents of high-risk newborns. Sarah Pulley knows the NICU inside and out because her daughter Amelia was born premature and spent four months in the neonatal intensive care unit at two different hospitals in Indianapolis.

Last year, Pulley became a volunteer at the hospital’s Ronald McDonald House Family Room, a program under the global nonprofit Ronald McDonald House Charities. When Pulley, a salon owner, heard that Riley Children’s Health wanted to open a hair salon in one of its two family rooms, she excitedly took the lead on the initiative.

Pulley donated a chair from her salon, Three Seventeen Hair Design. She also contacted her distributor, which agreed to provide $150 worth of free hair care products, and she volunteered her hair styling skills. Beauty Bar is located on the third floor of Ronald McDonald Family Room Maternity Tower at Riley.

Parents can relax in a HydroMassage chair, doze in a nap pod and snack on fruit and granola bars. Pulley also goes out of her way to pamper and style postpartum moms and sleep-deprived dads at no charge. “We shampoo, blow dry and give scalp massages on the second Wednesday of each month,” she explained. Most moms who deliver at Riley have high-risk pregnancies or babies who need immediate medical support. The salon is open to all patients who deliver there.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Humane Society Flying Florida Shelter Animals Across the US

Thousands of Floridians are still grappling with storm recovery after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc. Sadly, when families evacuate, many pets are left behind. Immediately after the storm passed, volunteers went to work helping to rescue people and pets found in flooded areas. Animal shelters have been overloaded with displaced pets but know they have to help the best they can.

The Humane Society of Naples has started an operation to free up space in local animal shelters. They are flying animals to shelters in different states to make room for the influx of displaced pets. Sarah Baeckler, CEO of Humane Society Naples said it’s not just pets separated from their owners in the storm that rescue groups are preparing for, but also an influx of surrendered animals from people who have other things they have to deal with. Many displaced families are surrendering pets because they can’t find shelters or hotels that will accept them.

Tennessee-based Race for Life Rescue is providing the plane, and the Bissell Pet Foundation, a charitable arm of the vacuum cleaner company, is footing the bill. The first flight of 40 cats was flown to a shelter in Tennessee, where they’ll be put up for adoption. The second flight that took place, in cooperation with the nonprofit groups Petco Love and Wings of Rescue, included both cats and dogs.

Shelters in Massachusetts and Chicago have welcomed animals from the Naples Humane Society as they continue to work with partners to transport animals from the Gulf Coast to other available shelters with plans to fly out more than 450 animals in all. Greater Good Charities also partnered with the Humane Society of the United States conducted an emergency airlift of 181 animals from animal shelters in Florida to shelters in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Thousands of Floridians are still grappling with storm recovery after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc. Sadly, when families evacuate, many pets are left behind. Immediately after the storm passed, volunteers went to work helping to rescue people and pets found in flooded areas. Animal shelters have been overloaded with displaced pets but know they have to help the best they can.

The Humane Society of Naples has started an operation to free up space in local animal shelters. They are flying animals to shelters in different states to make room for the influx of displaced pets. Sarah Baeckler, CEO of Humane Society Naples said it’s not just pets separated from their owners in the storm that rescue groups are preparing for, but also an influx of surrendered animals from people who have other things they have to deal with. Many displaced families are surrendering pets because they can’t find shelters or hotels that will accept them.

Tennessee-based Race for Life Rescue is providing the plane, and the Bissell Pet Foundation, a charitable arm of the vacuum cleaner company, is footing the bill. The first flight of 40 cats was flown to a shelter in Tennessee, where they’ll be put up for adoption. The second flight that took place, in cooperation with the nonprofit groups Petco Love and Wings of Rescue, included both cats and dogs.

Shelters in Massachusetts and Chicago have welcomed animals from the Naples Humane Society as they continue to work with partners to transport animals from the Gulf Coast to other available shelters with plans to fly out more than 450 animals in all. Greater Good Charities also partnered with the Humane Society of the United States conducted an emergency airlift of 181 animals from animal shelters in Florida to shelters in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Cancer Survivor Gets Special Announcement on Southwest Flight

A heartwarming moment recently took place as a cancer survivor was taking a trip with her friends to celebrate being cancer free. She and her husband planned a trip with two other couples to Hawaii. The group of lifelong friends were seated on their Southwest flight when the pilot made a special announcement congratulating her. A video of the special moment was shared on Instagram by one of her friends.

Oldman’s cancer fight began in March 2021 when she received a breast cancer diagnosis while she was pregnant. She started cancer treatments right after her daughter was born in August 2021. After almost passing away during one of her treatments, she thought a vacation was necessary to prove to cancer it had not won, and she still had the strength to continue with life.

Oldman had no idea her husband had arranged for the pilot to congratulate her when she boarded the plane. Oldham’s surprise could be seen on her face as the captain said: “I would like to add a special welcome to a special guest on today’s flight. We have a passenger who’s headed to Hawaii with us today to celebrate her victory over late-stage cancer. She fought valiantly and is now cancer-free. Please join me in giving her, Jyrl Oldham, a round of applause.”

The plane erupted in applause as Oldman teared up. Oldham’s husband is reported to have written an email to Southwest Airlines ahead of the flight and printed a letter for the flight attendant. Friend Valeri Jones, who provided the video, said “Jyrl, who is a former pilot herself, loved the announcement and was elated at the reaction the passengers on the plane gave her. It was a great way to kick off our trip,” Jones said.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Free Loaner Life Jacket Program Sets Up 1000th location

What began as a single life jacket loaner booth for boaters to borrow any size preserver before going on the water, has turned into the world’s largest life jacket loaner program.  The program, which started in 2008, now operates loaner stations in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands—all thanks to a Long Island, New York captain.

Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer kept seeing boating accidents and tragedies that could have been prevented, so he decided to start the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation in 2007 to provide the education and resources to eliminate them.  By the following year, the Life Jacket Loaner program was started to help prevent drownings by providing free life jackets to boaters of any size, that they can borrow and return at the end of their outing.

While Frohnhoefer passed away in 2015, his legacy lives on through the efforts of the foundation and his daughter Kristen, who is now president of the board.  The Life Jacket Loaner program reached a huge milestone last month, setting up its 1,000th location at the beach in Clearwater, Florida.  Executive Director Gail Kulp said “Since 2008, we’ve distributed over 90,000 life jackets. We believe that financial struggles or lack of access to resources should never be an obstacle to safety.”

Anyone needing a life jacket can check their map of every loaner location, here.  Capt. Kahle, the Commander of US Coast Guard in St. Petersburg said “It’s truly game-changing when someone puts on a life jacket.  The statistics don’t lie—life jackets save lives.”  The foundation website also explains how people can donate life jackets to the program.  

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