Review Category : Health

Muhammad Ali’s Doctor Calls Boxer ‘Most Genuine Person I Have Ever Known’

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) — As Ferdie Pacheco, the doctor who was in Muhammad Ali’s corner for 17 years, reflects on their friendship and “ride of a lifetime,” he also describes the icon as “the most genuine person I have ever known.”

“Sometimes, the hand of fate touches you — and if you’re lucky, you recognize that your life has changed,” Pacheco said in a statement. “I was touched by fate, when, as a doctor in Overtown, Angelo Dundee asked me to look over his new young boxer who was training at the 5th Street Gym. And so Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) became part of my life — and I became a part of his.”

Pacheco was the doctor in the boxer’s corner from the Sonny Liston fight at the Miami Beach Convention Center in 1964 when he became heavyweight champ for the first time to Ali’s second fight with Joe Frazier in 1977.

“And just like the rest of us — sometimes you don’t like what the doctor prescribes. I told Ali he must quit because of the damage the doctors were seeing to his brain,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco continued, “Of a wide spectrum of friendship that I’ve developed in sports he ranks far and above the best of all my friends.”

“He grew up with a magic to his presence that is one of a kind. He was simply a great champion. He was so genuine that he sparked a confidence in everyone. If you were ever around him, you had the confidence, you had energy,” he said.

“He was a natural force. His radiance came from inside. You got the feeling of inner excellence, he felt from himself. It came from him. As he developed as a great champion it was apparent that this was a God given quality I never doubted,” he said. “He was also the most genuine person I have ever known, his kindness and generosity cannot be overstated. He was simply, the greatest of all time.

“The world seems is a little diminished today now that The Greatest is no longer in it. Thanks, Champ. It was the ride of a lifetime.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Houston Girl Overjoyed at ‘Twin’ Doll with Matching Prosthetic Leg

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A Houston girl got the surprise of a lifetime when her mother bought her a doll that shared the same prosthetic leg as hers.

The two-minute long video posted to Facebook shows 10-year-old Emma Bennett receiving an American Girl doll wrapped in a box. But it’s not until she pulls the toy out, unveiling its special appendage, that Emma becomes overcome with emotion.

Emma was born with a rare birth defect that required the amputation of her leg when she was 9 months old.

She was fitted for a prosthetic leg several months later and began to learn how to walk, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported.

Emma now plays sports and is on the cheerleading squad at school. Her mother, Courtney, told KTRK-TV that even though Emma has a prosthetic, she “doesn’t skip a beat.”

Despite her positive attitude, Emma has always said he wanted a doll that looked like her, and that wish recently came true.

Courtney told KTRK-TV that she knew Emma would be excited, but was not expecting such an emotional reaction to the doll.

The touching moment has since gone viral, garnering more than 6 million views and nearly 200,000 shares on Facebook.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Mom Opens Up About 7-Year-Old Transgender Daughter: ‘She Always Was Elizabeth’

Katie Flesch(NEW YORK) — Katie Flesch says her transgender daughter Elizabeth is your typical little girl. The kindhearted 7-year-old loves animals, likes to bowl and enjoys picking flowers for her family.

Now, Elizabeth’s mom is telling her story in hopes to encourage others to embrace the transgender community.

“She is one of the most amazing people that I know and that’s including children and adults,” Katie Flesch of Springfield, Ohio, said of her daughter. “She is so empathetic and just compassionate towards everybody. I am truly honored, and blessed and lucky that she is mine.”

She added: “I feel like if I’m given a platform to educate and advocate for my daughter and behalf of the transgender community, then I should do it. I want to show my daughter that she should never be ashamed or hide her true self. She’s beautiful and amazing and I want her to be herself all the time.”

Elizabeth was assigned male sex at birth. She was born Landon in 2009, along with her twin brother, Logan.

From the time Elizabeth was a toddler, Flesch said she always knew there was “something different” about her child.

“The twins were just polar opposites,” Flesch said. “She’s always been a happy child, but once she started communicating and having a personality of her own, it was different.”

Elizabeth preferred the colors pink and purple, and liked playing with girls’ toys. But for Flesch, that behavior never signified that Elizabeth was transgender, she said.

“It doesn’t mean anything, but it was just the way she would would move and dance everywhere,” Flesch said. “We’d be bowling, she’d throw her ball and do a pirouette — silly things like that.”

When Elizabeth attended kindergarten, her mother let her, her brother Logan and step-sister Xandria choose their own school supplies and clothes. Elizabeth picked pink girls’ shoes and a “Hello Kitty” backpack.

“When she started first grade, she started insisting that she was a girl,” Flesch recalled. “Even when she started doing that, I questioned it. For four years basically, I thought she was going through a phase.”

Flesch said Elizabeth was taken to two different psychologists who both diagnosed her as having gender dysphoria — strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned biological sex, according to Psychology Today. Elizabeth was transgender.

Flesch took the news to Elizabeth’s elementary school principal.

“I said, ‘Landon prefers to be identified as a girl and if the class is separated by boys and girls, she should be with the girls,'” Flesch told the principal.

Elizabeth’s teachers and principal were fully on board, and Elizabeth began to embrace her true self as a young girl.

“We started out slow by picking out girls’ shirts and girls’ pants,” Flesch said. “The father-daughter dance, she wanted to wear a dress. The principal was fine with that. She’s a lot happier than wearing clothes she wasn’t comfortable in.”

Elizabeth also chose a new name after “Emily Elizabeth” — the blonde-haired character from the children’s book series, “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

At school, Elizabeth is currently using the bathroom in the nurse’s office — a decision Flesch and the school administration made together as a team, she said.

“It was to allow her to transition slowly and smoothly, without the students or the parents being uncomfortable,” Flesch said. “When she goes to the faculty bathroom, she walks past the principal’s office and that gives her a chance to check in with him and let him know everything’s going alright.”

She added: “Transgender people just want to have the same rights and freedom as everybody else. If it came to a point where Elizabeth wanted to use the girls’ bathroom, then she should have the same rights as every other girl, but she’s OK using the faculty bathroom and I’m OK with it as long as she is.”

Elizabeth has been welcomed by her classroom peers and remains close with her twin brother, Logan.

“It took him a while to get used to the name change and the pronoun change, but her name is Elizabeth and he has a sister now and that’s just everyday life for him,” Flesch said. “They argue like siblings will, but they’re also best friends and he sticks up for her. Kids really don’t inherently judge people, so it’s been a pretty smooth transition for her.”

As for naysayers, Flesch feels that Elizabeth knows herself better than anyone.

“She’s very brave,” Flesch said. “There are some circumstances that she won’t defend herself, but for the most part, she puts her hands on her hips and sticks up for herself. She never wavers. She’s a girl. I like to ask people, ‘At what point did you know you were a girl?’ When I was 7 years old, I knew that I was a girl and it’s the same way for her. She knows that she’s a girl.”

Susan Maasch, the executive director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation in Portland, Maine, told ABC News that education on the transgender community is key for loved ones to gain better understanding.

“Parents try to educate themselves about whats going on and sometimes relatives and coworkers are not,” Maasch said. “Some are saying ‘Oh, it can just be a phase,’ but you’re not a developmentalist, you’re not a pediatrician. Where did you read that? … It can be frustrating. A phase is short. A parent and pediatrician is looking for consistency off an expression and persistence of an expression for that child. If the parent ignores them, what happens is the child starts to go down a dark road. The school or parent will notice that and usually, the parents will come out to support.”

Maasch added that supportive families have a positive effect on transgender youth.

“When you have a child that’s not hitting puberty yet, but is really, very strongly speaking about their gender identity, saying it doesn’t match their biological birth, then the recommendation is to just embrace them,” she said. “Show them that they’re unconditionally loved. Studies show the child doesn’t change their mind around puberty. I think that what when they get older, they might not change their mind about being transgender, but they could change their mind about what they’re going to do about it.”

For Elizabeth, Flesch has been spending time with people of the transgender community and recently attended a transgender youth symposium in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth now has a mentor who is a transgender high school student, Flesch said.

“It’s not a new thing, but it’s been taboo for so long and people are just feeling comfortable coming out,” she added. “Parents have been advocating and helping their child living a life that is authentic. When she was born, we thought that we had a boy, but we didn’t — we had a girl. We just didn’t know until she asserted that to us. I know now that she always was Elizabeth, but I didn’t always know.

“I hope the world will gain a little more compassion and come together in accepting a really wonderful community of people.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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7-Year-Old Gets Dream Wheelchair-Accessible Tree House

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hayden Trigg’s reliance on a wheelchair and diagnoses of both spina bifida and cerebral palsy meant the 7-year-old had trouble playing alongside his classmates and two siblings.

But that changed earlier this month when Hayden, of Austin, Texas, cut the ribbon on the wheelchair-accessible tree house of his dreams. The tree house was constructed in his family’s backyard thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the generosity of a local contractor, Austin Tree Houses, etc.

“It’s leveled the playing field for him,” Hayden’s mom, Adrienne Trigg, told ABC News of the tree house that was built between 200-year-old oak trees on the family’s one-acre property. “He goes outside but cannot play, but that will change this summer.”

Hayden, who has been in a wheelchair his entire life, watched dutifully as the tree house was built in his backyard, with contractors working through the rainy Texas weather to finish it on time.

When the final nail was nailed, Hayden’s entire first-grade class rode the school bus to his home to join him in playing for the first time in the tree house.

“It was the best day of his life,” Trigg said. “His wish was to share it with his friends. He’s got to be the most popular kid in school right now.”

Hayden has since been completing his physical therapy treatments in his new tree house instead of the family’s home, according to Trigg. He is also using the tree house’s 65-foot-long wheelchair ramp to break new barriers for himself.

“He has very low muscle tone, so it’s hard for him to go long distances in his manual chair,” Trigg said. “For the very first time, he took the manual chair up and down the ramp because he was so excited.”

She added, “That’s really thrilling to us. We’ve already done a slumber party in the tree house and have scheduled parties this summer.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Toddler Breaks Down After Learning Dad Shaved Off Beard

iStock/Thinkstock(KATHLEEN, Ga.) — An adorable little boy got emotional this month after finding out that his dad shaved off his beard.

Greg Hogan of Kathleen, Georgia told ABC News that he began growing the beard for the fundraiser, Beards For Bleeders, after his son Patrick, 3, was born with hemophilia.

“It’s where dads of kids with hemophilia will try and grow a beard to raise awareness,” Hogan said.

Patrick has never seen his dad without a beard and the toddler’s reaction was unlike anything Hogan ever expected, he said.

“I almost kind of panicked a little bit because I didn’t want him to get upset,” Hogan said. Thankfully I’ll have the beard back very soon.”

Hogan captured his son’s reaction in a YouTube video posted June 1. “You shaved it,” the boy said in the video.

“Are you sad?” Hogan asked his son. “Do you still love me?”

“No, I want your beard,” the boy responded, crying.

Hogan then promised Patrick that he would grow his beard back. “Listen, next week I’ll have my beard back and I’ll have a full beard again, OK?” he said.

The toddler flashed a smile after hearing his dad would grow back his facial hair just for him.

The pair ended the video with a father-son selfie shot.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Mom Shares Emotional Surrogacy Story After Tragedy

Ashley Marston Photography (VANCOUVER, Canada) — After a long journey of heartbreak, a Vancouver woman proudly became a second-time mom to a daughter named Scarlett.

Now, she’s sharing her story of tragedy and new-found happiness with the world.

“I was anxious, I was excited, I was terrified and then I was a complete puddle of tears when I saw her come out,” Kate Austin-Rivas told ABC News. “She was crying and seemed strong and it’s one of those moments that I needed and I will never forget.”

After suffering multiple miscarriages, Austin-Rivas and her husband Didier welcomed their daughter Elle in 2009.

“It wasn’t easy to conceive our first daughter,” Austin-Rivas told ABC News. “After her, I became pregnant easily with our Katelyn who was a stillborn. We took a little time to heal and process it, and again, we became easily pregnant with Ireland who I carried to term.”

In 2012, Austin-Rivas gave birth to Ireland.

Ireland was born with severe oxygen deprivation, which resulted in cerebral palsy, Austin-Rivas said.

“It was a catastrophic delivery with her and my life on brink,” she said. “I ended up surviving and she passed away at a hospice at one month of age.”

Austin-Rivas said she was “devastated” by the loss and felt guilty. “It was very conflicting because I was very sick myself and it always has been conflicting knowing that she didn’t survive and I did.”

The couple has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and physicians. The case is ongoing.

Wanting another child, Austin-Rivas and her husband of 12 years, Didier Rivas, decided they would consider the option of surrogacy.

Austin-Rivas put her family’s story on social media. Three women came forward who were serious about serving as a surrogate for the couple. But it was a Vancouver Island mom, Christine Hale, who Austin-Rivas decided was right for her and her husband.

“Because of everything I’ve gone through, I realized how valuable it is to listen to your gut,” Austin-Rivas said. “She’s very responsible. She’s a single mom of three kids. Our values are very similar. Shes a very giving person, besides the connection we have.”

In June 2015, Christine became pregnant via IVF. Austin-Rivas accompanied her to doctor and sonogram appointments and the two women remained close throughout the pregnancy.

While the Austin-Rivas’ were excited about the pregnancy, the couple chose to keep it from their loved ones.

“We were cautious because of what happened with Ireland,” Austin-Rivas said.

On the afternoon of January 22, surrogate mom Christine delivered baby Scarlett.

In an effort to capture the unforgettable day, Austin-Rivas hired photographer Ashley Marston for the job.

“Because we have so many traumatic memories from Ireland’s birth, I wanted to make sure that we had some positive memories that would be stuck in our minds,” Austin-Rivas said. “That was my reasoning for doing it because sometimes you forget. I am so happy we got them done.”

Ashley Marston of Vancouver Island told ABC News that baby Scarlett’s birthday was emotional for all.

“There were a lot of tears,” Marston said. “I feel really honored being able to document it for them. They really needed a happy ending after so much loss and I’m happy they got it.”

Austin-Rivas said she hopes her family’s story inspires others.

“Our situation is so unique in a tragic way,” she said. “I’m not a big pusher of anything. Surrogacy is not for everyone. But for us, it was our option. Every situation is unique and I think its important people do what they need to do for themselves.”

As for her daughter, Austin-Rivas said Scarlett is a “little ball of love” who adores her older sister.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Zika Virus Test Took Weeks for Results, Infected Washington Teen Says

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATAC, Wash.) — A Washington teen diagnosed with the Zika virus has highlighted how those who want to get tested may face long waits to get results.

Olivia Evans, 17, of SeaTac, had to wait four weeks to get her blood tested for the virus, her mother, Marla Evans, told ABC News Friday. The teen and her parents traveled to Haiti and started to exhibit symptoms associated with the Zika virus a week later.

“Broke out into a rash over her whole body,” Marla Evans said of her daughter’s illness. “We went right to the doctor.”

Olivia also had a headache and “flu-like symptoms,” her mother said.

After Olivia became ill, Marla Evans also developed flu-like symptoms, she said. They went to their family doctor and had blood drawn to be tested for the virus by the county health department.

However, the family had to wait weeks to get results, Marla Evans said. The results were further delayed because Olivia’s first blood sample was discarded by the King County Health Department because they said Olivia did not exhibit enough symptoms, her mother said.

After a second blood sample was taken, the teen had to wait a month to get the results of a positive Zika test, Marla Evans said, noting she is still waiting for her test results.

“Looking back now, I’m glad that we went back, saying, ‘I did get more symptoms. I need to be tested again,'” Evans told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV. “If I wasn’t tested I would not have known I had the Zika virus.”

Marla Evans said she hopes their case will make the public more aware of Zika virus symptoms and encourage people who may be exposed to get tested. The Zika virus often causes mild symptoms, including fever, rash and conjunctivitis. Symptoms usually resolve in about a week.

“I think it’s nice to make the public aware of the what the symptoms are,” she told ABC News. “I think it’s important to not panic.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained to ABC News that testing for people who are pregnant is the priority for health officials due to concerns about birth defects.

“Given the fact that we have limited reagents and limited personnel at laboratories … [local health departments] have issued guidelines to physicians about which types of patients and what sorts of specimens will be tested,” Schaffner said. “The priority list is focused of course on the management of pregnancy.”

There are two tests being used to test for the Zika virus. One tests for signs of the virus during an active infection, when the patient would more likely be experiencing symptoms, that test has been given to some state health departments so they can more quickly identify those who are sick. A second test can identify if a patient has been infected with Zika in the past by examining certain antibodies. The test is more complex because certain viruses such as dengue virus can lead to the creation of the same antibodies as the ones created by the Zika virus.

An official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News that pregnant patients are getting priority testing.

“Zika virus testing is performed at CDC and some state and territorial health departments,” the CDC spokesman told ABC News. “Timing varies on the number of samples received.”

The Washington Health Department told ABC News that it is sending all potential Zika testing to the CDC and that the department is getting 12 to 20 cases a week to be tested. Only samples that meet the criteria for testing are sent on to the CDC, a department spokeswoman said, noting that it takes about three weeks for test results to come back due in part to the volume of testing.

The World Health Organization has declared Zika a global health emergency due to its impact on fetal development. The WHO and CDC both recommend that couples who want to become pregnant wait eight weeks if either partner has been to an area with active Zika virus transmissions. If either the man or woman are diagnosed with the virus, they are advised to wait six months.

Schaffner emphasized there’s no evidence that the virus can affect fetal development more than six months after infection.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: What to Eat While Pregnant

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

While many parents are concerned about what to feed their children, some may not think about what the mother should be eating when she’s pregnant. This is why I wrote my latest book, Eat This, Not That When You’re Expecting.

After delivering more than 1,500 babies, the number one most common question I get pertains to food, diet and weight gain during pregnancy. So, I went back to school to get my master’s in nutrition.

So what are my top tips?

Pregnancy isn’t about eating for two — it’s about eating for you. That’s only approximately an added 300 calories a day depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.

Think of food fixes, like ginger, for fighting many pregnancy ailments like morning sickness. And ice cream, in my book I explain why and how it gets an “A” rating for nutrition. Just watch those toppings!

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Virginia School Gets Buzz Cuts in Support of Second Grader with Leukemia

Deb Cross(RICHMOND, Va.) — In an act of kindness, students at a Virginia school received buzz cuts last month in support of a 7-year-old peer battling cancer.

Noah Cross is a second-grader at St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School in Richmond, Virginia. He was diagnosed with leukemia on May 11.

“I think it shows there’s a lot of really good people who care, above and beyond,” mom Deb Cross of Midlothian, Virginia told ABC News. “That school, it’s like his family. They’ve been phenomenal. It just makes him smile to see those kids and to know that he’s still included.”

In less than one month, Noah has had two blood transfusions, three platelet transfusions and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, his mother said.

“He’s doing pretty well,” Cross said. “He’s a kid, so he’s resilient to a lot of things.

“Basically, he has no immune system, so we don’t go anywhere,” she added. “We go to the clinic and then we go home. He just wants to be a kid, but he can’t.”

Abby McDonald, director of development at St. Edward-Epiphany, said Deb Cross dialed the principal immediately after Noah’s cancer diagnosis.

“He’s a kid that’s full of light,” McDonald told ABC News. “He’s kind, he’s always smiling and the family is wonderful. It hit pretty close to home, it was devastating. We are just trying to be as supportive as we possibly can.”

McDonald said that the school set it up so Noah would have a teacher visit his home daily, so long as he felt up to it.

In addition, the school created “Buzz Cuts for Noah” — a fundraiser that had Noah’s teachers and peers gather to shave their heads to raise donations for his medical bills.

The event raised $2,500 for Noah in addition to over $11,000 on the “Noah’s Road to Recovery” GoFundMe page.

A total of 37 students, from second-to-eighth grade, received buzz cuts, McDonald confirmed. Five of them were girls. Three alumni students, two faculty members and some of Noah’s extended family also received the special haircut.

“He thinks it’s really cool,” Cross said of her son. “Noah’s just a really kind child. He doesn’t quite understand what he’s going through, but he just thinks it’s great that everybody loves him so much and we do too.”

Noah is scheduled to have a bone marrow biopsy next week. Cross said she hopes the results show that he’s cancer-free.

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Multiple Salmonella Outbreaks Lead to Hundreds Infected in 35 States

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Multiple salmonella outbreaks have sickened at least 324 people in 35 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salmonella outbreaks involving seven different strains of the bacteria have been identified by CDC officials since January, confirmed via lab testing. Of those sickened, 66 have been hospitalized. One death has been reported, but the CDC clarified that salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in that case.

Symptoms of salmonella infection can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and chills.

In multiple cases the outbreaks were linked back to people interacting with live poultry, including ducklings and chicks from various hatcheries, according to the CDC. Those buying the baby birds told the CDC they bought the animals for a variety of reasons including to get fresh eggs, learn about agriculture, keep as pets or give away for Easter.

“Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean,” the CDC said on its website.

People who are around live poultry should wash their hands with soap and water after touching them, not let children younger than 5 handle the animals and not let live poultry in the house, according to the CDC.

The outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since people may be unaware of the link between live poultry and salmonella infection, according to the CDC.

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