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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Two Missouri teens are being hailed heroes for saving a woman from drowning after a June storm dumped six inches of rain over Columbia, Missouri with little warning. The fast moving storm caused flash flooding with creek waters bursting their banks, causing overflow zones to turn into ponds.

Boyscouts Joseph Diener, 16, and Dominic Viet, 15, were exploring the scene of their hometown to survey the damage after the massive rainfall flooded parts of the city. The two, along with a few other friends, were biking past a basketball court when they heard someone calling for help. The group of teens saw a woman in a bathing suit, clinging to a basketball hoop that was nearly entirely submerged in the floodwaters. The young woman was desperately trying to keep her head above water under the force of a current.

The two took “about 30 seconds” to realize they had to take action, Joseph said. There was a small group of people gathered near the woman already, Dominic said. “We didn’t have time to think, her head was barely above the water and we could see her sinking more down every second. We didn’t think about the risks, we had to get her out.” The two teens hoisted her up onto their shoulders because her legs were cramping. “There were some currents trying to pull us down too, because — I don’t know —it’s not normal water,” Dominic said.

The two were able to get her to solid ground where she started throwing up water. Emergency services arriving at someone else’s call performed first aid and rushed her to the hospital. Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins described the boys’ act as heroic and brave, as did Dominic’s mother Monica Viet, who had been calling her son to warn him of another storm rolling through and was growing nervous. She sent her husband to where they were located and when he saw the ambulance and fire truck, she said her heart sank. “You know, my mind went to the place where he was the one who was injured,” she said. “I didn’t realize that he was out there saving somebody! But then he saw them on their bikes heading back to their friend’s house, and I got a text from Dominic saying ‘Coming home soon, just saved a woman’s life Mom.’”

The fire department honored the two boys with a “Citizen Life Safety Award” for their heroic rescue. Both teens are Life Scouts, which is the last level before Eagle Scout. Neither are working on any lifeguarding skills as part of their upcoming projects, but their scoutmaster, Morgan Dailey, that they might get badges for their honorary action. “There’s a heavy emphasis on being prepared and especially being prepared for emergency situations and this clearly was an emergency situation.”

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

A Wisconsin father of three, broke the Guinness Book of World Record for most pushups in a year. Nate Carroll launched his mission on June 14, 2020 with two goals in mind, to teach his children a lesson in the power of perseverance by offering them an example in real-time and to raise money for the families of fallen first responders.

In order to claim a new Guinness World Record—ousting the current titleholder after an almost 32-year run—Carroll has been diligently documenting his accomplishments both in a logbook and with time-lapse video throughout his year-long odyssey. On June 6th, Carroll completed the countdown to his record-breaking goal with a special 50-yard line halftime ceremony during the 48th annual Fun City Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

When he completed his 1,500,231st pushup, he broke the previous record set by Paddy Doyle in 1989. After the record was broken Caroll said he wanted to finish his year in a number that included 9-11. He finished his 365-day period with a total of 1,500,911 pushups. It seems fitting since he was raising money for the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

The foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the mortgages for families of fallen first responders, so they don’t have to worry about losing their homes. The program, which has paid for 250 mortgages since 2014, is named for a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Carroll has a full time job as a social worker and shared parental custody so finding the time during his busy schedule to clock thousands of push-ups per day was one of Carroll’s biggest challenges. “To set aside time to do 4,000 push-ups is impossible,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal. “You have to really make it a priority and be willing to commit to it and embrace the fact that you have to weave that into your day.”

Carroll said he wanted to show his children that it’s possible to achieve their goals if they’re willing to put in the work. He also wanted to show his children the importance of first responders in the community. “I wanted to demonstrate to my kids what goals that seem impossible look like when they are broken down into daily manageable chunks.”

During an interview Carroll said “Set a goal, and get after it. Make it who you are, not something you do. That way, when it gets hard and life throws obstacles in your way and offers you convenient excuses to stop or says it’s too difficult, you find a way to endure and persevere and keep after it. Winning those mini-battles each day builds strength and shapes one’s perspective of what is possible.”

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6 months ago · by · Comments Off on 60 Year Old Miami Woman Has Been Feeding Thousands Since Start of Pandemic

60 Year Old Miami Woman Has Been Feeding Thousands Since Start of Pandemic

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left millions with food insecurity but good Samaritans like Doramise Moreau ensure that people in her community don’t go to bed hungry.  The part-time janitor who lives in Miami has cooked over 1,000 meals a week for the hungry since the start of the pandemic.  Moreau doesn’t have a vehicle so she walks or takes the bus to work and prepares the meals at the end of the week to feed between 1,000 – 1,500 people every Saturday. 

Every Thursday and Friday, the 60 year old widow borrows her church’s truck to buy groceries. Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church pays for the food, relying on donations.  Moreau then cooks all day long preparing the meals singlehandedly, while church volunteers serve or deliver them to people in need.  Sometimes cooking until past midnight, people ask if she’s exhausted but she says she is fueled by her faith and her passion for helping others encourages her to wake up early to start cooking. 

Moreau said her desire to feed the hungry goes back to when she was a little girl in Haiti. She’d sneak food from her parents’ kitchen to give to those in need. Despite her mother’s fury, Moreau persisted because it bothered her so much seeing people in need.

Reginald Jean-Mary, a pastor at the church, said this isn’t Moreau’s first time lending a helping hand. She also sends pallets of food back monthly for her family and friends in Haiti. Since the start of the pandemic, every morning before work, Moreau lays out a table with hot teas and other homeopathic remedies for church staff, police, and community leaders to inhale and drink to help strengthen their immune system.  “She takes care of everybody from A to Z. She’s a true servant. She goes beyond the scope of work to be a presence of hope and compassion for others,” Jean-Mary said.

Though she didn’t expect it, Moreau’s selfless deeds were rewarded by community leaders who nominated her to receive a brand new car. As part of a Miami, Florida anti-poverty initiative, community leaders nominate residents known for community service.  The Toyota Corolla was purchased by the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation through a grant, and Moreau will only have to pay $125 monthly for three years before she can own it. It was just a small token of appreciation for a woman who does so much.

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7 months ago · by · Comments Off on Indiana Community Gifts Pizza Delivery Man A Car

Indiana Community Gifts Pizza Delivery Man A Car

An Indiana community is giving back to the man who has delivered pizzas with a smile for 31 years.   Robert Peters, known as Mr. Smiley around the town of Tipton, was gifted a new car after one customer decided to raise donations.  Tanner Langley, 28, a customer of the Tipton Pizza Hut said he and his family have been getting deliveries from Robert Peters since he was a child.

When Peters recently told him he was having trouble with his 28-year-old Oldsmobile, Langley decided it was time to thank Peters for the kindness he has shown the town over the years.  He started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to buy him a new car. In just 2 days, with donations from the community, he surpassed the $12,000 goal, reaching over $18,000. 

“This community has a countless number of amazing citizens, but there are few people in this world that fill a room with smiles and happiness more than Robert Peters,” Langley wrote on the campaign’s website. “Robert has been delivering pizzas in the same car for a plethora of years, and I think it is about time that he gets an upgrade to his current vehicle!”

On Jan 11, Langley surprised Peters with a 2017 Chevy Malibu. The car’s registration, insurance and taxes were also covered and Peters was given a $500 gas card, plus a $2,500 thank-you tip from the neighborhood.  “He makes an impact on everybody and he’s a very kindhearted individual. Every time you see him, he has a smile on his face. He has never not been joyful”  Langley said in regards to the overwhelming support for Peters. 

Peters was overcome with gratitude for the generosity Langley and the community showed him.  He told news outlets it was heartwarming to know Langley and the community would go out of their way for him.  ” “I couldn’t believe it, it’s almost like it’s surreal.  I just hope that all those who made this happen will be blessed as much as they have blessed me,” Peters said. “This has really been an awesome experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. To me, me this is luxury. This is the first car I’ve had made in the 21st century.”

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7 months ago · by · Comments Off on Mark Cuban’s Partnership Could Change The Pharmaceutical Market

Mark Cuban’s Partnership Could Change The Pharmaceutical Market

After Dr. Alex Oshymansky, a radiologist in Dallas, TX started a public-benefit company to combat the exploding prices of certain prescription drugs, he attracted a new partner—Shark Tank billionaire investor Mark Cuban.  Oshymansky started in 2015 with Osh’s Affordable Pharmaceuticals and a million dollars in investment capital. Four years later, the new partnership is moving forward under the name Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Co, and donating medicine to those in need.

Mark Cuban has been outspoken about his disdain of the mixture of FDA demands for approval, and drug company greed creating soaring prices for drugs, making them unaffordable to many Americans.   Now under Cuban’s brand name, the private-label arrangement allows Oshymansky to buy from third party suppliers, take care of the labeling and branding laws himself, and sell it at a serious discount with just a 15% mark-up for the business expenses.

This partnership allowed the pair to lower the cost of an anti-parasitic medication called albendazole from its normal U.S. price range of $225-$500, down to just $20.  This proved especially valuable for Baylor College of Medicine, who needed thousands of doses of albendazole to complete a study they were doing on U.S. hookworm infections in the South.

“The Germ of the South,” was a catch-all term that characterized a curious lethargy and haziness of the brain, distended bellies, and emaciated shoulder blades, found across the Deep South during the 20th century. Today, American hookworm still infects large numbers of people, particularly children, due to poor sanitation and poverty.  A study done in Lowndes County, Alabama of 24 homes found that 34% of stool samples contained the parasite, which is killed rather quickly by albendazole.

Cuban and Oshymansky donated the first 10,000 doses of the company’s albendazole supply to Baylor and the author of the study, Dr. Rojelio Mejia, so that volunteers from Alabama to New York who test positive for hookworm could immediately purge the parasite from their bodies.  “We found it deeply troubling that albendazole is extremely expensive in the United States, and are happy to be able to manufacture it for free for this research and provide it at significantly decreased prices to the rest of the U.S. market.”

Other drug companies estimate that the number of doses Cuban and Oshymansky donated would have cost $2 million, an overwhelming cost that would have kept the research from being conducted.  Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs is aiming for 100 new drug offerings by the end of 2021, all with no hidden costs, no middlemen and no rebates only available to insurance companies.  They’re also in the process of constructing their own brick-and-mortar pharmacy in Dallas where they hope to earn a profit on non-pharmaceutical items that can fund the lower cost formulations and offer drugs for rare diseases directly to patients or through outpatient facilities.  If successful, Cuban and Oshymansky’s efforts could force drug companies that continue to overcharge their customers to lower their prices or go out of business.

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on US Oncologist Forgives $650,000 In Outstanding Medical Debt

US Oncologist Forgives $650,000 In Outstanding Medical Debt

A US oncologist gave an extraordinary gift to his past patients by forgiving $650,000 in medical bills for cancer treatments. In February of 2020, the clinic Dr. Atik practiced out of closed due to staffing shortages. At the time, there was close to $650,000 outstanding patient debt on the books. Dr. Atik attributed the large sum to the fact that no patient was ever denied treatment, regardless of whether or not they could pay.


After the clinic closed last year, Dr. Atik attempted to settle the debts. He soon realized that many of the people he’d treated didn’t have the means to pay—especially with so much added financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic—so with the blessing of his wife, Mehreen, he decided to forgive the outstanding debt.


“My wife and I, as a family, we thought about it and looked at forgiving all the debt… We saw that we could do it and then just went ahead and did it.” Dr. Atik said. It was one final way for Dr. Atik to show kindness and compassion to patients that he had always considered it an honor and privilege to treat. The week of Christmas, Dr. Atik sent out holiday cards to nearly 200 of his former patients that read:


“The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to have you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for the majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients.”


Dr. Atik said “We thought there was not a better time to do this than during a pandemic that has decimated homes, people’s lives and businesses and all sorts of stuff. I just hope that it gave them a little sigh of relief and made it easier for them so they could face other challenges they may be facing in their lives.”


Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Atik founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in Pine Bluff in 1991, providing treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and CAT scans. He is now a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In 2013, he was named president of the Arkansas Medical Society. Five years later, he became chairman-elect of the board of governors of the American College of Physicians. He credits much of his success to being in the right place at the right time. “I believe the opportunities that have come my way are, in part, because of where I am,” he explained.

David Wroten, executive vice president of the Arkansas Medical Society advocacy group, said that Dr Atik had called him “to make sure there was nothing improper” about his idea of forgiving patients’ debt. “If you knew Dr Atik, you would better understand. First, he is one of the smartest doctors I have ever known, but he is also one of the most compassionate doctors I have ever known” Wroten said.

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Prison Camp Survivor Donating $50 Million Children’s Hospital In New Zealand

Prison Camp Survivor Donating $50 Million Children’s Hospital In New Zealand

Mark Dunajtschik, an 85 year old prison camp survivor committed $50 million dollars of his own money toward building a children’s hospital in New Zealand. Dunajtschik is one of the most successful industrialists and real estate developers in New Zealand and is known for his philanthropic works—having financed the country’s Life Flight Trust helicopter rescue service which has been credited with saving 22,000 lives. Dunajtschik’s latest major humanitarian endeavor is overseeing the construction of a new children’s hospital in Wellington.

Dunajtschik escaped Knicanin prison camp with his mother near the end of WWII and was forced to flee his homeland of Yugoslavia. Five years after the war ended, he became an apprentice toolmaker. He mastered the trade and after spending five years travelling the world, decided to make New Zealand his home. Soon after arriving he established his company Precision Grinders, running the business for 25 years. Dunajtschik was among New Zealand’s most successful property developers and investors, although he only started in the industry as a “hobby” at the age of 57 and has no staff.

Dunajtschik’s life experiences have undoubtedly contributed to the man he is today and his commitment to giving back. Housing in post-war Germany was almost nonexistent, Dunajtschick’s only option at that time was living in a housing facility for the mentally and physically disabled. Seeing the daily challenges his housemates faced made him realize how lucky he was. “Because I was given the opportunity to live in that home, which was founded by an industrialist in the 1880s, now that I am in a position that I can also do something, naturally I want to do it. Those people that are born with a healthy body and mind can look after themselves and those unfortunate to be born with, or suffering ill health, need our help” he said in an interview.

Over the summer, construction on the exterior of the hospital was completed. Dunajtschik had no desire to simply throw money at the new hospital. He takes a hands-on approach to all his projects so he plans to see it through to completion. “It’s exciting to see that in a little over a year the vision will be realized and we will have a magnificent new purpose-built facility that will help generations of sick kids to come,” said Bill Day, Chair of Wellington Hospitals Foundation.

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on NJ Man Mows Lawns For Free To Help Seniors During Pandemic

NJ Man Mows Lawns For Free To Help Seniors During Pandemic

With many unemployed during the pandemic, it’s uplifting to hear about those that have found a way to help others during this stressful time. Brian Schwartz, an advertising executive who lost his job due to the pandemic founded the nonprofit I Want To Mow Your Lawn to help seniors, veterans and the disabled with their lawn maintenance for free.
Schwartz started out small, covering areas in northern New Jersey but he has a vision of helping people on a scale beyond his own part of the country. While he is using his own knowledge to market this idea, he is looking for volunteers from all over to join his crusade. Schwartz welcomes any and all help ranging from kids in school up to professional landscapers.

Schwartz said “It may sound like a bumper sticker, but it’s true: it just feels good to help out, to do something tangible that people need done and can’t quite do themselves, something straight-forward and clean-cut as newly mowed grass. It really is helpful, it makes an immediate difference that people can see, and people are so appreciative because it is free, no strings, no small print, no paperwork at all. We come, we mow, we go.”

The volunteers are the backbone of this non-profit, some also found themselves out of work and looking for some way to give back to their community. Volunteers can have their own shareable profile URL, custom email alias and phone # extension. Any and all help is welcomed, ranging from kids in school up to professional landscapers.
There is no better feeling than helping out someone in need and kindness is contagious. Schwartz is looking to keep growing nationally. Volunteers must have their own landscaping equipment, be able to transport it and be willing to travel within a 5-10-15 mile radius. To volunteer or request free mowing services you can find more information at IWantToMowYourLawn.com or check out the Facebook page.

Schwartz refuses to accept payment or tips, and he says there’s no fine print to this good deed. “I believe in putting some good into the universe. I see what’s going on in the world, and I just want to help.” His decision to not wallow in the loss of his job in a grim job market and instead, find a way to help others is a testament to who he is. He has helped many in his area and given those that want to help those in their community a way to do so.

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis

Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis

 

 

 

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The state of Michigan has reportedly reached a deal to pay out about $600 million to victims of the water crisis in Flint. The crisis began in 2014 when Flint’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, switched the source of the city’s drinking water in order to save money. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had found dangerous levels of lead — which can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves — in the water flowing into residents’ homes.
The water source move has been linked to at least 12 deaths from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, as well as widespread lead poisoning in residents, including 12,000 children. Dozens of lawsuits, including class-action cases, filed against Michigan and the city of Flint followed. Many cases emphasize the youngest victims — the children whose exposure to lead and toxins could lead to neurological disorders and learning disabilities, among other conditions.
The Supreme Court this year said it wouldn’t block a lawsuit by Flint residents seeking to hold city officials accountable. Lawyers for the city had asked justices to step in, saying their clients had immunity from such lawsuits. A previous ruling from a federal appeals court also sided with the residents. “Knowing the Flint River water was unsafe for public use, distributing it without taking steps to counter its problems, and assuring the public in the meantime that it was safe is conduct that would alert a reasonable person to the likelihood of personal liability,” the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals held.
In March 2017, nearly three years after the incident first came to light, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100 million to fund water infrastructure upgrades in Flint. A few weeks later, city officials declared the city’s drinking water was safe to drink. Six years later, the city has inspected more than 25,000 service lines and has replaced 85 percent of the pipes. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put work on hold. Residents are still scared to drink the water after city, state and federal officials have been accused of ignoring, denying or covering up complaints that started immediately after the switch.
Tens of thousands of Flint residents are expected to be eligible to receive money from the settlement. The settlement will establish a court-monitored victim’s compensation fund that will provide the direct payments to Flint residents. Nearly 80% of the money will go to those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis. Besides the state of Michigan, the settlement includes the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the individual defendants, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, according to a news release. Litigation will continue against other defendants, including two private engineering firms charged with professional negligence.

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on Campuses in US Switch to Virtual Learning Amid Outbreaks

Campuses in US Switch to Virtual Learning Amid Outbreaks

 

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The U.S. reported another 43,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 on, bringing the official U.S. death toll to nearly 172,000.  Public health officials are expressing alarm as the number of daily COVID-19 tests across the country has dropped 17% since mid-July, making it harder for states to track the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control is warning infection rates are “steadily increasing” in children as millions of students have started or are preparing to return to school.

As global confirmed coronavirus cases topped 22 million, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that young adults and children are increasingly driving the spread of COVID-19. WHO officials said recent outbreaks in Australia and the Philippines were sparked mostly by people younger than 40, while WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove warned younger people are not immune to the worst effects of the virus.

A surge in coronavirus cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has forced the school to switch to remote learning, after 177 students tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of in-person classes.  The school said in a statement that the Covid-19 “positivity” rate jumped to 13.6% from 2.8% just a week before.  At the time of the announcement, the school had tested 954 students, with 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus.

In Indiana, the University of Notre Dame canceled all in-person classes and said it would move to online-only instruction. The university’s sole testing site has been inundated since students returned in early August, identifying a total of 336 coronavirus cases.  Notre Dame contends that most infections stem from two off-campus parties thrown by seniors but cases have surged as students introduce the virus to new social groups, straining the school’s resources.

Michigan State University announced it would require undergraduates to study remotely (graduate students and students who take part in athletics are exempt from the mandate). According to NPR, the directive was issued before many students returned to campus, as classes don’t resume until early September. The university released a statement on Tuesday saying, “Given the current status of the virus … it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus.”

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people had an age-adjusted COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5.3 times that of non-Hispanic white people. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people.  While there’s no evidence that people of color have genetic or other biological factors that make them more likely to be affected by COVID-19, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions. Having certain conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, increases your risk of severe illness with COVID-19. But experts also know that where people live and work affects their health. Over time, these factors lead to different health risks among racial and ethnic minority groups.

A summer of waning social distancing restrictions has caused a surge in Covid cases among those under 35.  Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead and an infectious disease epidemiologist warns “We are seeing people, even young people, who are ending up with severe disease. We are seeing young people who are ending up in ICU. And we are seeing young people who are dying from this virus.”

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