Review Category : Health

See This Amputee’s Amazing Halloween Costume as Lumiere From ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Josh Sundquist(NEW YORK) — One amputee took a page out of a fairytale this Halloween.

Josh Sundquist, who had his left leg amputated after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at the age of 9, is dressing up as Lumière from “Beauty and the Beast.”

A photo of the Santa Monica, California, man as the animated candlestick is now going viral online. In an Instagram caption, Sundquist wrote, “Want to see my #HalloweenCostume? Be my guest.”

Sundquist, 32, told ABC News he’s been brainstorming his Halloween costume for about three months. He keeps a running list of ideas on his phone.

The motivational speaker gets help from his assistant, Lisa McLaughlin, to create his costumes each year, which have gone viral before.

“They’re pretty time-consuming,” he said. “But Lisa basically builds them from scratch. She’s incredibly good at crafting.”

McLaughlin spent weeks creating Lumière.

According to Sundquist, McLaughlin purchased a metallic gold morph suit. Next, the base was made out of papier-mâché and covered with gold fabric. The candle holder was made out of decorative tubes — or poster board glued into a cylinder — topped with clay to create the illusion of dripping wax.

“On my face is a silicon nose that I bought on Amazon and clown makeup,” Sundquist added.

Previously, Sundquist has dressed up as the Gingerbread Man, an IHOP sign and even a pink flamingo.

“The flamingo — that was really crazy,” Sundquist recalled. “Probably no matter how many costumes I make there’s never going to be one that’s quite as uncanny looking as this one.”

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Mom of Toddler with Down Syndrome Pushing Brands to Put Children with Disabilities in Ads

Crystal Barbee Photography(ATLANTA) — A Georgia mom fighting to get companies not only to value children with disabilities as consumers of their brand, but also to feature them in their advertisements, got some huge news Friday: an invitation for her toddler with Down syndrome to model in a Carter’s holiday advertising campaign.

Meagan Nash, 27, of Buford, Georgia, came across a casting call in July for Carter’s, a children’s clothing brand. So, she sent photos of her 15-month-old son, Asher, to a talent agent because he met the requirements for the call.

When she didn’t hear back from the talent agency, the mother of two said she reached out to the agent.

“Her [the agent’s] response to me was, ‘I did get the submission but I did not submit because the criteria did not specify that they were looking for a baby with special needs,'” Nash said. “And to that, I asked her, ‘Well, did they specify that they were not looking for a baby with special needs?’ And she said ‘No.’ She said they didn’t specify either way.”

Nash said the agent apologized and said she’d submit Asher’s pictures but the incident got the Georgia wife and mother thinking for months about how many other talent agencies were not entering the photographs of children with disabilities.

“I was hurt,” she said. “I was really hurt. … I’m seeing this baby [Asher] that I think would be a huge contribution to the modeling world. … He didn’t even get the chance to be rejected by Carter’s because he never even got submitted. I felt angry.”

Eventually, Nash came across Changing the Face of Beauty, an organization that, in part, identifies companies that have not yet used children with disabilities in their marketing. Nash said she picked OshKosh B’gosh, a subsidiary of Carter’s.

“I put a picture [of Asher] on Facebook with OshKosh and I shouted out to them, asking them to please change the face of beauty and use him [Asher] in the advertisement,” Nash said. “My end goal was that I wanted OshKosh to hear what we were saying and I wanted them to consider using kids with disabilities in their ads.”

Her post went viral, after it was picked up by a Facebook page called Kids With Down Syndrome. Nash said that within a day of her post being shared, OshKosh B’gosh had reached out to her.

Nash and Asher met this week with representatives of OshKosh B’gosh at its headquarters. She said she spoke to Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh about how important it was for their brands to include children with disabilities in their advertising. By the end of the meeting, she said, everyone was smitten with Asher.

“It made me feel really good, as his mom, as his advocate,” said Nash, who also works with the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. “I feel accomplished. I feel like I set out to tell Asher’s story, to be heard, for him to be heard. And that is exactly what happened, we were heard. Our message was delivered.”

In a statement to ABC News, OshKosh B’gosh thanked Nash for raising the companies’ awareness on the issue.

“OshKosh B’gosh enjoyed spending time with Asher and his family earlier this week and hearing their perspective. We appreciate Ms. Nash’s passion for greater inclusiveness of children with special needs in advertising. … We are committed to evolving our process to ensure that in the future children with special needs are better represented in our advertising campaigns,” a representative said.

Carter’s confirmed Friday that Asher will be modeling in its holiday campaign and that a shoot had been scheduled for the coming weeks.

Nash, who also has an 8-year-old daughter, Addison, said her family was excited about the news and that other companies had since expressed interest in using Asher as a model.

“If Asher, when Asher is used in these advertisements, he will be the first one and for him, for the Down syndrome community and for people with disabilities that’s iconic for them,” she said. “It’s a huge accomplishment.

“My real goal for him [Asher] in life is just for him to be included,” Nash said. “I want him to be included with his peers when he goes to school. I want him to be included when he is an adult and he is going to work.

“I just want him to be able to live in a world where he has full inclusion and he is accepted for who he is, not for his diagnosis.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Infant with Deadly Disease That Causes Scaly Skin Survives to Celebrate 1st Birthday

Angie Foy(EDMONDS, Wash.) — When Harper Foy was born last year, doctors knew immediately that something was wrong. The newborn was covered in thick, callus-like skin that threatened to cut off blood to her extremities.

“It was like a thick skin that built up,” Harper’s mother, Angie Foy of Edmonds, Washington, said. “It created big thick plaques” on her body.

The cause of the disorder was a genetic disease called harlequin ichthyosis. It occurs so rarely that it’s difficult to know how many people have been born with the disease.

About 1 in 300,000 babies are born worldwide with it, according to a published study, but Seattle Children’s Hospital estimates it’s even rarer at close to 1 in 500,000.

The mortality rate has been estimated to be as high as 50 percent, according to medical literature.

Children born with the noncontagious disease can suffer diminished breathing as the skin literally restricts their ability to breathe.

“How we describe it to people — she reproduces new skin every two hours — we describe it like a snake,” Foy said. “Her feet and her hands are the worst and her head can get scales.”

Doctors had to act quickly to reduce the thick skin Harper on newborn Harper because it was cutting off blood flow to her limbs. Doctors performed surgery on the infant and coated her in moisturizer before covering her in plastic wrap in an attempt to diminish the callused skin.

Dr. Raymond Tse, a plastic surgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said doctors had to perform surgery almost immediately to save her limbs, which were being constricted by her skin.

“I had never seen a case like this in person, and I’ll probably never see one again,” Tse said in a statement released by Seattle Children’s Hospital. “My first question was: Is this child going to survive? From what we learned about the condition, there’s about a 50 percent mortality rate, which usually occurs in the first few weeks of life due to infection.

“We knew if we were going to save her limbs, we were going to need to do something quickly.”

Foy and her husband visited Harper every day for the first two months in the neonatal intensive care unit. The girl seemed to face a new issue daily.

“We didn’t even know if she was going to live,” Foy said, explaining that the infant had three serious infections while in intensive care. “We went in there every day and brainstormed and just tried to keep her alive.”

Dr. Craig Jackson, medical director of Seattle Children’s neonatal intensive care unit, said they weren’t sure initially whether Harper would survive.

“When we first saw Harper, her outlook looked grim,” Jackson said in a statement from Seattle Children’s Hospital. “But we didn’t give up hope. We thought she would make it, and we were willing to go the extra mile for her. The nurses who cared for her every day were key to her survival.”

After two months, most of the thick callused skin had either been sloughed off or removed, and Harper could finally go home just in time in 2015 for Halloween. The family still faces challenges from Harper’s constant itchiness.

“We have to keep her hands covered ” so she doesn’t scratch and injure herself, Foy said. “She does it because her whole body itches and now it’s become a habit; it’s bad.”

To help Harper cope, Foy gives her three to four baths a day to reduce the skin build-up. “She loves being in the bath,” Foy said.

The family is now raising money to buy a special bath device that uses bubbles to help slough off the dead skin. But even with the extra baths, the skin literally restricts her movement, meaning developmental milestones have been delayed.

“It hurts for her to stretch out her skin,” Foy said. “Even though she’s a year, she’s like a 6-month-old baby.”

While the family was delighted to have her back home, they said, it’s still sometimes difficult to take Harper out and see people’s reactions when they see the infant’s skin. Some children have been frightened by her condition and been afraid to touch her, Foy said.

“Not everyone knows what to say,” Foy said. “She’s just another human being.”

Despite of the difficulty of caring for Harper, the family was able to delight in the girl’s first birthday on Sept. 28. It was a huge milestone for the family, who worried day-to-day for the first months of Harper’s life about her survival.

“Now I don’t worry at all,” Foy said. “I know she won’t have a normal life [but] she’ll survive and live and it’ll be hard.”

Despite the difficulties, Foy said, her daughter is already making a mark at home in a family with two other children, ages 6 and 17, who do not have the disease.

“She’s the light of our lives,” Foy said. “She’s a fighter and very loud and vocal and very strong willed. … She rules the roost.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Halloween Dangers Not Always What’s Expected

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As parents and kids get ready for costumed fun this Halloween, doctors and other medical experts want to remind people to stay safe while trick or treating.

Here are a few key tips:

Wait for a Green Light to Cross

If children are excited about reaching every house in the neighborhood to amass a large candy stash, safety experts say kids can quickly forget basic street safety guidelines.

Purnima Unni, the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said children may dart into the street if they see a friend across the road or if they are eager to head to more houses.

“We see twice as many kids killed just walking [on Halloween] than a normal day. It’s something we often talk to parents about,” said Unni. “They’re running out across the street. They’re not looking left and right.”

She also advises parents to sit with children before Halloween to remind them of key dangers and to use reflective tape or glow sticks so that they are more visible to drivers.

“Even if they’re not paying attention,” Unni noted, drivers will say, “‘I see a moving, shining object, it has to be a child.'”

Children and adolescents who trick-or-treat should always travel in group for increased visibility and safety.

Be Alert for Drunk Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that Halloween is a particularly deadly night for car accidents, since there are increased rates of drunk driving.

“Over the five years from 2007-2011, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver,” the NHTSA website states.

Beware Toy Swords

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reminds parents that even toy weapons can be a hazard and that any costume weapons should be “short, soft, and flexible.”

Do a Face Paint Test Run

Anyone, but especially children, can end up with irritated skin from Halloween face paint. To avoid having children look a fright even after Halloween, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doing a test run before the holiday. Apply a small amount of make up to the skin a few days before to see if any irritation develops.

Make Sure the Costume Fits

Kids eager to have their favorite costume may end up wearing an outfit that is slightly too big. Unni said parents should be careful it’s not so long that kids end up tripping.

How Much Candy Is too Much?

Unni said parents can decide on their own how much candy the child should be allowed at the end of the night. She also recommends saving candy to be doled out later in the week.

“Every day they can enjoy a little bit of Halloween,” said Unni.

The CDC also recommends eating only factory-wrapped treats, no homemade confections.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Professional Dancer Recounts Breast Cancer Diagnosis at Age 26

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Olivia Hutcherson’s life as a professional dancer in New York City took an unprecedented turn on the night of her 26th birthday in 2015.

Hutcherson, now 27, saw blood on the inside of her blouse at the end of the night.

“The following day, I went into the doctor’s office and they told me that it was nothing to worry about but I felt like something was wrong,” Hutcherson told ABC News’ Amy Robach in an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America. “I went back to the doctor just three days later.”

Hutcherson said she requested a mammogram but was initially discouraged against one by her medical team because she was 26, had never smoked and had no family history of breast cancer.

“I wasn’t leaving until I got it,” Hutcherson said.

Three mammograms later, Hutcherson was diagnosed with DCIS, the earliest stage of breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy just three weeks later. Doctors found a tumor in Hutcherson’s right breast during the double mastectomy that required chemotherapy.

Hutcherson, who is currently cancer-free, said she had “no idea” she could get breast cancer at the age of 26. Statistics show she is not alone in facing the disease at an early age.

An estimated 12,000 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year, according to The American Cancer Society.

Robach was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 after undergoing her first-ever mammogram live on Good Morning America in 2013. Jennifer Finkelstein, of New York City, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at age 32.

“It was five weeks before my wedding,” Finkelstein recalled of her diagnosis. “I underwent a single mastectomy and chemotherapy weeks later instead of a honeymoon.”

Finkelstein, now cancer-free, turned what she called the “most isolating” experience of her life into a way to help others. She launched the 5 Under 40 organization that provides medical, emotional and beauty services to women under 40 who are fighting breast cancer.

Hutcherson is one of the women that Finkelstein’s organization has helped.

“They helped me with the wig, they helped me with the head shaving, and there’s always somebody on the other end of the line to get you through the moment,” Hutcherson said.

In addition to the double mastectomy, Hutcherson also froze her eggs after her cancer diagnosis. She recalled to Robach what it was like to date while undergoing treatment.

“I’m, like, out on a date with my wig — I’ll never forget — and this guy was like, ‘Babe, you have the most beautiful hair,’” she said. “And I’m like, huh, that’s awkward.”

Now more than one year after her diagnosis, Hutcherson has ditched her wig and returned to the dance studio with a new motto: “Liv Strong.”

“A warrior princess is who I see,” Hutcherson said of looking at herself today. “I see this strong soul, and that’s really powerful.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: What to Know About Restless Legs Syndrome

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

Do you have an insatiable urge to move your legs or a feeling of creepy crawlies on them at night? If so, you may have restless legs syndrome.

RLS is a common neurologic condition affecting about 7 to 10 percent of the population. Not only does it impact your legs but also your mood.

It can be incredibly disruptive to sleep because it tends to be worse at night. Symptoms often start at rest and are relieved or lessened with movement.

If you experience this, here’s what I suggest:

  • First, don’t panic. Start with a visit to your primary care physician and possibly visit a neurologist or sleep specialist.
  • Treating an underlying condition like iron deficiency can be a big help, as can certain prescription medications, baths or relaxation techniques.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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More than One Million Have Received New, Highly-Effective Hepatitis C Treatment

Ca-ssis/iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) — More than one million people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide have been treated with a relatively new cure for hepatitis C in the two years since the treatment’s introduction.

According to the World Health Organization, Direct Acting Antivirals were first approved in 2013, and despite fears that a high cost would put them out of reach for many of the 80 million who suffer from the disease worldwide, more than one million have already gained access to the treatment. The WHO says the new medicines have a cure rate of over 95 percent and fewer side effects than previously available treatments.

Still, DAAs cost an estimated $85,000, making them unaffordable even in some high-income countries.

The WHO and other partners have worked to make the treatment available in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and others. Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of WHO’s Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme said that “maximizing access to lifesaving hepatitis C treatment is a priority” for the organization.

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Cancer Survivor Mom Celebrates Her 23-Week Preemie’s First Birthday with Photo Shoot

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A mother who survived cancer is now celebrating her baby daughter’s medical triumph.

The baby girl, who was born at 23 weeks and given a 26 percent chance of survival, has just celebrated her first birthday.

Ajshay James beat cancer in 2010, after battling a type of brain cancer called astrocytoma for four years. So, when she and her then-boyfriend decided to have a child together, James was ecstatic.

“I was really excited to be a mom. It’s something I’ve waited for a long time,” James, 35, told ABC News. “I, myself, am a cancer survivor and I didn’t think it would happen for me.”

James had a difficult pregnancy — from spotting to seizures. In fact, she had to deliver her baby, whom she named Harper, at only 23 weeks after doctors discovered James’ umbilical cord was “hanging down.”

“It was an immediate threat to my life and an immediate threat to Harper’s life,” James said.

James also had a difficult birthing process as doctors found three fibroid tumors, which had grown to 17 centimeters, that they had to cut out.

“I lost a lot of blood,” James recalled. “I almost didn’t make it. She almost didn’t make it.”

When Harper was born on Sept. 9, 2015, she weighed only 13 ounces. Due to her incomplete development and small size, doctors told James her daughter had a 26 percent chance of survival.

The Houston, Texas woman said because she didn’t have the opportunity to take the “normal birthing photos, where I’d hold her and kiss her,” she decided she’d go all out for Harper’s first birthday with a glamorous photo shoot.

“She was the size of a soda can. You could look through her; she was red in color. She didn’t look anything like a baby,” James said of Harper when she was first born. “She’s what they call a micro-preemie.”

Harper will still face developmental challenges. James said her daughter has the capabilities of a five-month-old and is still learning how to crawl. Still, James is optimistic.

“But she’s always had a smile from day one and that’s what fills me,” the proud mother said.

Although it’s been a difficult year for the mother and daughter, James told ABC News she has no regrets.

“The journey has been amazing. I not only have the blessing of a daughter, but I’ve learned so much about my own personal strength,” James said. “It’s really helped me define and redefine who I am as a woman and as a mother.”

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Study Refutes ‘Cranberry Cure’ for Urinary Tract Infections

Alexandra Grablewski/DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association refutes the long-held theory that cranberry capsules can cure urinary tract infecctions in nursing home residents.

The study is the latest data point in decades of conflicting evidence as to the efficacy of the “cranberry cure.” While some studies indicated that there was a benefit to using cranberry capsules as a preventative measure, the science remained weak.

Bacteria plus pyuria, the researchers note, is common in older women living in nursing homes. However, when they performed their study, using 185 women over the age of 65, they found no significant difference in the presence of bacteria.

Researchers say 147 women completed the one-year study, but the difference in incidence of urinary tract infection was small — 10 UTIs in the group receiving cranberry capsules, as compared to 12 in the group receiving a placebo.

Urinary tract infections lead to approximately nine million doctor visits each year, and over one million hospitalizations, mostly involving women.

An editorial also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that while further research can be done to find more effective preventative measures, “it is time to move on from cranberries.”

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Girl Battling Cancer Becomes Honorary Firefighter

Stout Family(O’FALLON, Mo.) — A 9-year-old girl has become an honorary firefighter as she bravely battles a rare form of cancer.

“She was dancing around saying, ‘I’m an honorary firefighter!'” mom Robin Stout of O’Fallon, Missouri, told ABC News. “She was just skipping through the firehouse and was so excited. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness and love and the whole thing was completely amazing.”

On May 15, 2014, Keira Stout was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of sarcoma. A tumor had developed behind Keira’s right eye, severing her optic nerve and causing her to lose vision in that eye.

Keira underwent several rounds of chemotherapy but her cancer has since returned and is now in her bone marrow, pelvis and spine, her mother said.

“When things get really tough I’ll ask her, ‘Are you scared?’ and she’ll say, ‘No, I’m not scared,'” Stout said. “She’s just very positive and she’s kind of an old soul in a tiny little body.”

Through mutual friends, the Stouts developed a relationship with the firefighters of the O’Fallon Fire Protection District in September 2015.

Keira became particularly close to firefighter Tom Vogelgesang and even shaved his head during an event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation — a non-profit organization that raises funds to help find cures for children with cancer.

“They instantly became great friends,” Stout said of Keira and Vogelgesang. “She does that. She kind of wiggles into people’s hearts. She was like, ‘That’s my Mr. Tom now.'”

Tom Vogelgesang told ABC News that Brian Moore, assistant chief of the district, came up with the idea to hold a surprise ceremony and name Keira honorary firefighter.

“Everybody knew how Keira and I have been getting close,” Vogelgesang said. “We have become friends, her parents and I, and it just seemed like the thing to do for her. It’s just her resilience to bounce back. To see her be a child and to hear her talk about cancer and how you can fight it, it’s just absolutely incredible.”

With her family and a large crowd in attendance, Keira Stout was sworn into the O’Fallon Fire Protection District on Oct. 24.

She even received her own gear, badge and a personalized purple helmet that reads “Keira Strong.”

“The first thing she said to me was, ‘I can’t believe you kept this a secret,'” Stout said of her daughter. “Then she kept asking me, ‘Can I wear this to school?'”

On March 4, 2017, Keira and Vogelgesang will be shaving each other’s heads during another event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Keira’s goal is to grow the hair back that she lost from radiation in time for the event.

“She said, ‘I have to hurry up and finish [chemo] so my hair can grow back and he can shave my head too,'” Stout said. “I said, ‘What happens if it doesn’t?’ She gets fixated on certain things and I didn’t want her to get her hopes up but she said, ‘That’s OK, I’ll just shave [Mr. Tom’s] head then and anyone else who wants their head shaved.”

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