Review Category : Health

Your Body: Getting Struck by Lightning

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

Summer thunderstorms can be a common event, but how much do you know about lightning and how to stay safe?

If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, you should postpone your trip to the beach or your outdoor activity, or make sure an adequate safe shelter is readily available. Remember the phrase, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

If you are caught in an open area during a thunderstorm, crouch down in a ball-like position, with your feet and knees together, head tucked and hands over your ears so that you’re down low with minimal contact with the ground.

Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly from over 100 feet away.

If you’re in a group during a thunderstorm, separate from each other — this will reduce the number of injuries if lightning strikes the ground. You should also stay away from wide open spaces, such as parks, swimming pools and beaches.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Florida Zika Virus Outbreak: Students to Get Zika Lessons, Mosquito Protection

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The fight to stop an outbreak of locally transmitted Zika was complicated last week after a second transmission site was located in the Miami area. Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed on Friday there was a new outbreak of locally transmitted Zika in Miami Beach that has left at least five people infected, bringing the total number of locally transmitted cases to 36.

The site was announced as health officials continue to try and clear a separate site where the virus is being transmitted by mosquitoes.

Here’s a look at how the first-ever outbreak of locally transmitted Zika in the continental U.S. has affected people throughout the region.

Students Get Zika Prevention Lessons

Monday marks the first day of school for Florida students in the Miami area and government officials are hoping they can teach students to stop Zika transmission and how to protect themselves.

Our students/parents recognize importance of staying protected. Clothing/repellent distribution event. #Zika

— Miami Dade Schools (@MDCPS) August 21, 2016

Schools are getting extra bug spray and teachers are getting training on how to teach students to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Additionally, students are now being allowed to wear long sleeves and pants, even if they don’t match their uniform.

NIH Official Warns Gulf States at Risk

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that many other states, especially “those along the Gulf Coast” could be at risk for an outbreak of locally transmitted Zika.

“I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas, in Louisiana, particularly now where you have a situation with flooding in Louisiana,” Fauci told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on This Week on Sunday.

He explained that Gulf states have a mix of climate and circumstances that could contribute to an increased risk of a Zika outbreak. However, he said did not think there was a big risk of a nationwide outbreak of the disease.

“When you have a sub-tropical, or semi-tropical region with the right mosquitoes, and individuals who have travel-related cases that are in the environment, it would not be surprising that we will see additional cases, not only in Florida, but perhaps in other of the Gulf Coast states,” Fauci said.

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Beach Warning: Shallow Water Brings Potential for Severe Injuries

    Blend Images/ThinkstockBy BECKY WORLEY

      (NEW YORK) — When we head to the beach we fear riptides and sharks, but there is a much more common danger that can strike in as little as two feet of water and sends thousands to the emergency rooms each year. When waves slam swimmers down, the swimmers can suffer broken bones, concussions and even paralysis just 10 feet from the dry sand.

      Growing up in Hawaii I witnessed it over and over: visitors playing in the break zone, so close to shore that they felt safe, not realizing that one of the most dangerous spots is where the waves crest and break onto the shore. It seemed all too common to see ambulances taking people to the hospital with dislocated shoulders, concussions and sometimes paralysis.

      As I researched this story I found out it’s a repeated occurrence at beach destinations nationwide.

      Over a three-year period at the emergency room at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, Delaware, they reported 1,519 swimmers with break-zone wave injuries that required treatment.

      “The people who are getting injured are really the bathers typically not in a great deal of water,” said Dr. Paul Cowan, who directs emergency medicine at Beebe Healthcare and has treated many of those patients.

      “The energy from a three- or four-foot wave can have the same effect as being hit by small compact car traveling at 20 or 30 miles per hour,” he said. And while the injuries can be minor, like fractures of the arms and legs, the potential for paralysis and death is real.

      Josh Basile, who spent his childhood swimming at the beach, knows that all too well. The then-college student was on a family vacation in Delaware in 2004 when he became one of those statistics.

      “I was in waist-high water with my back to the ocean when a wave picked me up and slammed me head-first against the ocean floor,” he said.

      Basile was left a quadriplegic. He’s now an attorney who represents the catastrophically injured.

      Ken Haskett, a Los Angeles lifeguard and water safety expert, has also seen some of those injuries.

      “We have a lot of spinal injuries, a lot of shoulder injuries, neck injuries,” he said. When I ask him about our misconception that the sand is soft and can’t hurt you if a wave knocks you down onto it, he replies: “That sand, it’s like wet cement.”

      Haskett and I head into the water at Zuma Beach in Malibu. A pretty intimidating swell is hitting the beach at this spot, which is a notorious shore break — meaning the swells crest and crash very close to the beach. As we fight hard to stay safe and out of trouble, Haskett shares some tips that could help you save your own life if you see a wall of water bearing down on you.


      Not only can lifeguards pull you out of the water if something goes wrong, but they say that the best rescues are made on land before a swimmer ever hits the water. Lifeguards are there to share information about where it’s safe to swim, how to safely enter and exit the water, and whether conditions are safe for beginning swimmers and children. They want you to talk to them, don’t be intimidated, your life could depend on it.


      That means you should study the water before you get in. If you’ve ever seen a surfer arrive at the beach, no matter how great the waves are, they take time to look the water before they get in. Waves come in sets — some small, then building to bigger ones. They break differently in different parts of the beach, so study the water to see where on the beach the waves are biggest or smallest. What do the small waves in the set look like? What do the big ones look like? How much time is there during the small waves for you to get into the water before the big ones hit?


      If you get caught in the surf zone and a wall of water is bearing down on you, don’t stand tall and brace yourself. Haskett explains why. “It tightens you up and the wave will push you over and slam you into a sandy bottom, possibly hurting your neck, hurting your shoulders, or your arms,” he said. Instead of bracing while standing, you should drop down, pancaking your body flat to grab sand. As counterintuitive as it seems this move will keep the force of the wave off your body as the energy of the wave dissipates on the water above you. Yes, you can dive under it, but lifeguards also see injuries where people hit sandbars and reefs when they dive, so your safest bet is to pancake.


      Sometimes no matter what you do, a wave picks you up and puts you in the spin cycle. In these instances a few strategic moves could save your life. First, Haskett says you should put your hands at the base of your head where it meets your neck lacing, your fingers together. “Grab the back of your head, elbows are in front of you so if you hit the sand you’re kind of protecting your head,” he said. This is actually hard to do when you are being tossed around like a rag doll, but it does offer some protection. Next — and this is really hard but incredibly helpful — tell yourself to relax. Surfers call it a hold-down, when you feel like you can’t get up for air, but it passes fast. Not panicking conserves oxygen and energy.


      I spoke with Captain Joe Donnelly of the water patrol in Bethany Beach, Maryland, and he said the majority of accidents that they see happen when swimmers are getting out of the water. The maxim of the ocean is to never turn your back on the water, but that is physically impossible when trying to get back to the beach. Instead, time your exit so it’s after the big swells in a set and in the smaller waves. Don’t lollygag in the break zone, and keep your head on a swivel. If you see a big one coming and you don’t think you can make it to the beach, head back out to deeper water and hit the deck in that pancake move to grab sand and wait out a better time to exit.

      Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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      Gulf States Are Next at Risk for Zika Outbreak, NIH Official Says

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), warned that Gulf Coast states are the most susceptible to a new Zika outbreak.

      “Well, the ones that are most at risk, George, are those along the Gulf Coast. I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas, in Louisiana, particularly now where you have a situation with flooding in Louisiana,” Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

      “When you have a sub-tropical, or semi-tropical region with the right mosquitoes, and individuals who have travel-related cases that are in the environment, it would not be surprising that we will see additional cases, not only in Florida, but perhaps in other of the Gulf Coast states,” he said.

      On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning after five Zika infections were confirmed in Miami-Dade County.

      The CDC recommended that those living or traveling to the area increase their efforts to prevent mosquito bites and advised pregnant women and their partners to postpone “nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.”

      The head of the NIAID said Americans should take the threat of Zika seriously, although he does not believe there will be a widespread outbreak across the continental United States.

      “I do not think, although we need to be prepared for it, that we’re going to see a diffuse, broad outbreak in the United States because of a number of issues, particularly the conditions in our country … would not really make that a very likely happening,” Fauci said.

      He added that he anticipates Zika to stick around for “a year or two.”

      “Hopefully, we get to a point to where we could suppress it so that we won’t have any risk of it,” he noted.

      Fauci overseas research to prevent, diagnose and treat established infectious diseases, as well as emerging diseases like Ebola and Zika.

      Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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      How Jesse Israel Went from Record Label Maverick to Meditation Club Founder Without Missing a Beat

      ABC News(NEW YORK) — In 2005, Jesse Israel was a sophomore film student at New York University who had signed an up-and-coming college band to a record label he had co-founded out of his dorm room.

      The band was MGMT. And Israel went on to run that record label, Cantora Records, for the next nine years, building it into a successful company with business partners and a Manhattan office.

      Then he decided to walk away from all of it.

      “As the company was growing there was something inside of me … that was saying, ‘This has been an amazing chapter in your life but it’s time to move on and figure out what’s next,’” Israel, 32, told ABC News’ Dan Harris during an interview for his podcast, 10% Happier.

      “All the logic said, ‘Stay at the company, amazing business partners, great SoHo office, company reputation is killer, money is good,’ but my intuition and sort of my heart was saying, ‘You’re meant to do something else right now.’… and I had no idea what I was going to do next. Zero.”

      The Los Angeles native took some time off to travel to Africa and then scaled back his New York City lifestyle, moving out of a Brooklyn loft into an apartment with roommates, trying to figure out his next project.

      “I was jumping into comparison [with my peers] at that stage in my life. It was just like instant torture,” Israel said. “And I had to just drop it or else I would go into these patterns, these holes. I would totally lose sight of how exciting this new phase of my life was, where I was able to give myself to exploring what I was really here to do … [but] I had to make this choice that my lifestyle was going to change.”

      Israel said he looked into ways he could “bring people together through shared interest,” which he was already a seasoned pro at doing. About a year after he graduated college, Israel started a “cheeseburger club” called the Burger Boys of NYC (now retired), a sort of “men’s group,” Israel said, built around guys in their 20s getting together and eating cheeseburgers all over the city.

      Israel went on to start a bike club called the Cyclones that grew to more than 1,000 riders. With funding and networking from the Cyclones, he helped create a bike-share program in Tanzania, an idea born from his travels when he would see children walk for miles to get school.

      But by December 2014, a few months after he had left the record label, Israel was looking for his next project — and he was running out of savings.

      “It was too cold to ride bikes, and then I was like, ‘Oh, God, I’m faced with the giant question mark of the unknown once again,’” Israel said. “At that point I was asking people what they thought my greatest gifts were … because I was getting job offers that were in the music and tech world that were so incredible and I felt so lucky to be getting these offers, but I knew it wasn’t what I was here to be doing anymore.”

      After toying with a few ideas, Israel came up with a plan to start Medi Club — a New York City community for young adults to meet, meditate and “share quiet,” he said.

      Israel said he started practicing meditation in 2010 as a way to relieve stress. First he tried Shambhala, a form of Buddhist meditation, for several months and then moved to Vedic meditation, a form of mantra meditation, which he practices twice a day, every day.

      “Meditation had been this huge piece of my young adult life … and it was one of the only consistent components of my life during this period of intense transition,” he said. “And I was seeing that lots of young people in my communities from the music industry, the tech house, the places I was partying in New York City; these active people that you wouldn’t think would be meditating at the time were starting to learn meditation.”

      At the first Medi Club meeting in December 2014, Israel said they had about 23 people show up. Today, Medi Club meets once a month and they cap the admission at 150 people.

      Medi Club has grown to host smaller 10-person groups called Circles on a weekly basis, Israel explained, and then a larger event in conjunction with nonprofits called “Big Quiet” roughly every three months, where they invite thousands of people to participate in group meditation and listen to guest speakers and performers.

      Israel said they charge a range of prices for their “gatherings,” the lowest being $10 and the highest being $50.

      “[Medi Club] is essentially an events business,” Israel said. “But we have all sorts of ideas about how to go beyond that. This thing can scale and reach lots of people if we’re actually making money and putting the team to it.”

      Israel acknowledged that there are some who might criticize Medi Club for turning a profit off meditation, but he pointed out that there are other for-profit businesses around meditation starting to crop up. He also said he has income from a web video production company he started in college.

      “There are elements of [Medi Club], that people don’t like, that we charge for, and I totally respect it. But it’s probably not for that person,” he said. “We actually started without charging and it didn’t feel right to me. It didn’t feel like we would be able to do it in a way that we feel like we need to do it … so it’s something I’m planning on sticking by.”

      He added that Medi Club is still a work in progress, but he hopes to expand it to other cities around the world.

      “What I can see is this: People are very appreciative of what we’re creating and very hungry for it,” he said. “My belief is that if we can continue to grow this … there will be ways to support myself, to support a team, to support a global team eventually, and there’s a decent amount of blind faith that’s going into it. But that’s how the whole thing started.”

      Watch the full interview below or download the 10% Happier podcast on iTunes.

      Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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      Toddler Saved From Boat Crash in Cocoa, Florida

      Stockbyte/Thinkstock(COCOA, Fla.) — A pocket of air and a life jacket helped save a toddler after a boat carrying a family of four capsized in Cocoa, Florida.

      Tammy Bossard and her husband were with their two young daughters on a boat on the Indian River Friday night, when the boat hit something and flipped.

      Good Samaritans helped pull the couple and 7-month-old Charlotte to safety, but 23-month-old Kennedy was missing.

      “We all kept looking and looking and we kept hearing her, and I cried to her, and then they thought they heard her, and she was under the boat in an air pocket,” Bossard said.

      Kennedy was in the water wearing a life jacket for nearly an hour when she was found by authorities in an air pocket.

      “Thank you for saving my baby. Saving our world, I cant imagine. I just cant imagine,” Bossard said.

      According to Cocoa Police, the family was taken to the hospital as a precaution and Kennedy was listed in good condition as of Saturday.

      ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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      ‘Miracle at 36,000 Feet’: Photo Captures Mom Holding Baby She Delivered on Plane

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An airline passenger’s photo has gone viral after she posted a snapshot of a fellow traveler holding the baby she gave birth to while 36,000 feet in the sky.

      “You could call it an uneventful flight, if you want to … but it wasn’t,'” Missy Berberabe Umandal of Makati, Philippines, wrote to ABC News. “It was such [a] heartening moment. Mothers don’t get as much credit as they do, and that mother who gave birth on a plane was truly a wonder[ful] woman.”

      Umandal said she was flying home with her mother via Cebu Pacific Airlines to the Philippines from Dubai, when a woman went into labor merely “feet” away from her.

      The airline confirmed to ABC News today that the baby was born premature at 32 weeks approximately four hours after the flight’s departure from the Dubai International Airport on Aug. 14. The mother and baby were assisted by the flight crew and two registered nurses who were passengers that day.

      The aircraft was diverted to India to ensure both mom and child would receive proper medical attention.

      “Throughout my 11 years of flying, this is certainly the most special,” a member of the flight’s lead cabin crew said in a soundbite released to ABC News. “Our team was calm and collected and did what they were trained to do to help.

      “… We are blessed to have been an instrument in your safe delivery,” he added in a message to the mother. “You will always be my most memorable passenger.”

      While flying, Umandal, 20, photographed the touching moment when the mother held her new daughter for the first time. Umandal then posted it on Facebook, where it received thousands of shares.

      “I was definitely surprised by the amount of shares, likes, and compliments I received from family, friends, and even strangers around the world,” she said. “It was actually meant to be private, just for friends, really.”

      Umandel added: “Witnessing that event has changed me in more ways than one. I wanted to be able to touch the lives of others by narrating a story of how a miracle came to be.”

      The mom from the airplane is declining press interviews at this time, according to Cebu Pacific. In celebration of the baby girl’s birth, the airline has awarded her and her family with one million, non-expiring “GetGo” points, which can be used to fly for free.

      Umandel is in touch with the sister and brother of the woman who gave birth and hopes to meet all of them in person, she said.

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      Community Rallies for Disabled Dog Whose Wheelchair Was Stolen

      iStock/Thinkstock(LONG BEACH, Wash.) — A disabled dog’s wheelchair, and only means of getting around, was stolen off his owner’s front porch to the heartbreak of a Washington state community. Residents then came together and crowdfunded to buy the beloved dog, Charley, a new set of wheels.

      His wheelchair was stolen Monday night in Long Beach, Washington, Charley’s owners, Rod Beauregard and Leona Wolf, told ABC Portland, Oregon, affiliate KATU-TV.

      Charley has relied on his wheelchair to get around since rupturing a disc about a year ago.

      “He’ll try to sit up and he doesn’t understand why he can’t get in his chair,” Beauregard said of Charley after his chair was stolen.

      The owners did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

      Beauregard told KATU-TV that he can’t understand why someone would steal his disabled dog’s wheelchair, but that he suspects someone stole it for parts.

      “It has BMX wheels on it. Someone could put it on a bike. They’re going to throw the other piece away, probably,” Beauregard said.

      A friend of Beauregard’s started a GoFundMe page Tuesday to buy the dog a new set of wheels, writing on the page, “I would love to be able to help him replace the custom made wheel chair for his best friend,” and asking the community for donations.

      They met the GoFundMe goal of $585 within a matter of hours – and have since doubled it — and updated the page this morning with an announcement that Charley has a new wheelchair on the way.

      Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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      Parents Want ‘Opt-Out’ Option for HPV Vaccine, Study Finds

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, vaccine has continued to be seen as controversial. Despite continued recommendations and support from leading medical institutions, parents remain wary about requiring children to receive an HPV vaccination for school admissions, according to a new study.

      While just 21 percent of parents thought laws requiring the vaccine before school was a “good idea,” that number rose significantly — to 57 percent — if there was an “opt-out” provision offered, according to the study published Friday in the journal Cancer Epdiemology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

      “We were expecting a higher number of parents supporting vaccine requirements,” study author, Wiliam Calo of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina told ABC News. “21 percent is a lot lower than we expected.”

      Calo added that he feared an opt-out provision could make the laws less effective.

      HPV infects approximately 80 million people, about 14 million per year, in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus can have serious effects on both men and women, causing genital warts, as well as vaginal, vulvar, penile, and anal cancers. The HPV vaccine was approved in 2006 and is now available starting at the age of nine and up to age 26.

      The majority of states have introduced legislation on HPV vaccination. Half of those have enacted regulations around funding, public health messaging, or school requirements and three jurisdictions have made HPV vaccination required for school attendance: Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

      Controversy over the HPV vaccine, which was developed to help combat a hugely growing rate of infection, has persisted for a few reasons. The survey aimed to assess parents’ current views on the vaccine in light of states considering the vaccine as a requirement for school admission. Researchers from multiple institutions, including the University of North Carolina, surveyed an ethnically diverse group of more than 1,500 parents of 11 to 17-year-olds from around the country.

      They found that many parents often did not trust there was a need for the vaccine or did not feel they knew enough about it. Approximately 23 percent were concerned the vaccine could cause long-lasting health problems and 32 percent thought the vaccine was a ploy for drug companies to make money.

      Calo said many parents were also unaware of the ways the vaccine could safeguard health.

      “One of the most surprising findings of the study is that 60 percent of people don’t believe the vaccine is effective in preventing cervical cancer,” Calo said.

      HPV a virus that is often passed through sexual relations, which is one reason some parents have been hesitant to vaccinate their children.

      But, it is “important to start vaccinating at age of 11 or 12 as opposed to waiting until people become sexually active because that’s when there is the most benefit of the vaccine,” Dr. Henry Bernstein, pediatrician and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Disease told ABC News.

      Because HPV protects against preventable cancers, Bernstein said it is most effective when it is administered earlier, before the conditions exist for those cancers to develop.

      The side effects of the vaccine have also raised some concern, particularly in the first years after the vaccine was introduced. Stories about severe side-effects traveled the internet, creating fear about lasting complications or even death. From June 2006 through September 2015 there were 117 deaths reported out of the 80 million doses of HPV vaccine given, according to the CDC. However, they said that, upon further review, none of these cases had evidence to show the vaccine caused the death.

      In most cases, “the side effects are quite mild –- a little redness or soreness at the site,” Dr. Bernstein said, adding that the vaccine is exceptionally safe. “Otherwise, it has been very well tolerated by teenagers of both sexes.”

      Vaccination rates remain low with only 40 percent of girls and 22 percent of boys aged 13 to 17 finishing the HPV vaccination series, according to a 2014 study. The Department of Health Human Services has set a goal of an 80 percent vaccination rate in 2020.

      While many parents remain suspicious of the vaccine, the vast majority of medical experts support giving children and teens the vaccine. The CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are among the institutions that recommend routine vaccination of both boys and girls for HPV.

      “I’m not surprised,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, told ABC News. “There has been a terrible job of promoting it. The funds have not been there to promote the vaccine as part of a comprehensive vaccination program.”

      The vaccine has been extensively studied since it was officially recommended in 2006 and studies have shown major gains in protecting health of teens. Four years after the vaccine was recommended in the U.S., related HPV decreased by 56 percent in teen girls, according to the CDC.

      “The HPV vaccine is the first vaccine that is an anti-cancer vaccine and we have not really made that case effectively,” he said. “That’s the real tragedy here.”

      Bernstein said it’s important for boys to also get the vaccination since they can also develop cancers from HPV. Among young people, the most common cause of head and neck cancer is HPV.

      In fact, he says, “I think immunizations are one of the number one public health achievements in the last century,” Bernstein, pediatrician and member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Disease. “Both my daughter and son have received the 3 dose series, among all of the other vaccines.”

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      Teen with Cancer’s Wish for Puppy Is Granted

      John Dietz(CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.) — A Florida teen who battled cancer has been granted her one wish.

      Lacey Dietz, 15, of Coral Springs, Florida, was introduced to her new best friend, Casper, a miniature American Eskimo dog, on Aug. 13.

      “She still had a couple of close friends come visit her, but for the most part, she’s alone all day long,” Lacey’s dad John Dietz told ABC News of his daughter. “From the moment she [and Casper] first met, he literally followed her wherever she’d go. That’s the first time I’ve seen her smile like that in a year.”

      Lacey was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma on May 21, 2015. The active cheerleader was told she’d have to undergo 35 rounds of chemotherapy over the course of a year, her father said.

      The news, delivered via phone call, was devastating to the Dietz family.

      “It took my breath away,” John Dietz said. “I said, ‘I’m not understanding what you’re telling me’ and the nurse said, ‘Your daughter has cancer.’ The next thing I remember, my son, who was 18 years old at the time, walked into the garage and picked me up off the floor. I never understand people with cancer or people who had children with cancer until now. The world was black.”

      Lacey completed all her chemo treatments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and has been in remission for six months, Dietz said.

      Since her battle with lymphoma, Lacey and her family has been in contact with The Children’s Dream Fund, a Florida-based group.

      When the teen was asked by her dream coordinator what would be her dream, she replied, “An American Eskimo puppy…an American Eskimo puppy…but a miniature, with pink ears and under 20 pounds, so he can come with me to my apartment in college!” the Children’s Dream Fund wrote in a press release.

      On Aug. 13, the dog’s breeder and dream coordinators met Lacey and her parents at Tampa International Air Airport to present her with a puppy.

      “Lacey’s been asking my wife and I if she could have a puppy for the last three years, but we would say, ‘No,'” Dietz recalled. “The Dream Fund asked if there’s anything she wanted, and she said, ‘a puppy.’ At that point we’re certainly not going to say no.”

      Dietz said Casper has lifted Lacey’s spirits.

      “One of the saddest things about watching my daughter in the last year was seeing her go from being an outgoing teenager with lots of friends, to becoming very much of a loner,” Dietz said. “Casper is a companion.”

      He added: “She’s an extremely strong young lady that inspires me. God has huge plans for Lacey. She’s not beating cancer for no reason. Something big is going to happen in her life, and it already has. I hope Lacey takes this experience and continues to grow and realize she has no limits going forward.”

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