Friday, May 2nd, 2014
A group of churches in Memphis have organized their first-ever prom for teenagers who live with disabilities like Down syndrome. More from ABC News on the “Memphis Joy Prom:”
[The prom was] complete with a red carpet, a makeup station, limos and tiaras for everyone. They had a prom dress donation drive in March, and a church member offered to cover tuxedo rentals from Men’s Warehouse, so the 110 attendees didn’t have to spend a dime.
“This was our first one, and it was unbelievable,” organizer Ashley Parks told ABCNews.com.
Parks said one parent sent a heartfelt note thanking her for loving her children “as much as God loves them.”
“We all cried over it,” she said. “It was one of many.”
But what made the Joy Prom different was that it allowed people 16 and up to attend. She said a couple with disabilities in their 60s went to Joy Prom because they never got to go to one when they were in high school.
Image: Prom corsage, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Hector Montoya, a 9-year-old Texas boy, was saving his money to buy a long-desired PlayStation 4 video game console when tragedy struck his town in the form of a fire that claimed the lives of a mother and her daughter. So Montoya decided to use his money to buy smoke detectors for families in his community that didn’t have them, as The Huffington Post reports:
Hector Montoya, 9, from Grand Prairie was saving up for a PlayStation 4 video game console. However, after hearing about a deadly fire that claimed the lives of a mother and daughter nearby, he decided to spend his money on buying smoke detectors for houses in his community that didn’t have them, CNN reported.
“It really hurts my heart to see people die in a fire,” Hector told the outlet.
He’d saved $300, and with it he was able to buy 100 smoke detectors which the local fire department installed last weekend, NBC 5 DFW reported.
“Saving a life is more important,” Hector told the outlet.
The inspiring kid was planning to save up again for the game console, but now he won’t have to.
After word of his good deed was spread on the local news, strangers decided to reward the selfless kid with the PS4 he had originally intended to buy, and also to donate an additional $100 for more smoke alarms, CNN reported.
In addition to fire alarms, download our free fire safety guide for more important tips.
Image: Smoke detector, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Fourteen-year-old Will Hart has made headlines, and cast a positive light on a very snowy winter, by creating a simple message into the snow on top of a parking garage visible from his mother’s hospital room, where she is undergoing treatment for a recently diagnosed leukemia. Today.com reports:
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To boost her spirits, the teen made a simple gesture that brought joy not only to his mom, Shari Hart, but to many others at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago as well.
On Saturday, as Will headed to the hospital with his dad and uncle, the trio shuffled their feet through the snow on top of a parking garage to form a message from Will: “Hi Mom,” with a smiley face inside the O just for fun.
From the garage across the street, he called Hart and coaxed her to her 14th floor window, where she proudly waved down to her son. The snowy note came as Hart, who has acute myeloid leukemia, was exhausted from chemotherapy.
“It was very sweet and I felt very uplifted,” said Hart, 48. “My son is an amazing 14-year-old with an ability to make me smile any time of day.”
It’s not the only heartwarming snow message appearing outside of hospitals. Earlier this week, an unknown woman and man stomped the word “Love” and a peace symbol outside of the St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota.
After visiting his wife in the hospital, Hart’s husband, Tim, felt the trio should add to their message to inspire fellow patients and the doctors and nurses caring for them. They planned for “God Bless You All,” but ran out of space, with room only for: “God Bless U” in large capital letters.
“It was a proud mommy moment, and being married to someone who wants to send a message to so many people is beyond wonderful,” said Hart, married for 24 years. “The amount of love there is just incredible.”
Will noticed that people were watching from other windows in the hospital, some waving and jumping up and down with excitement.
One of those was Angela Washek, a surgical intensive care unit nurse, who snapped a photo and shared it with hospital officials. After the hospital posted the photo on its Facebook page Monday, Will’s 18-year-old sister, Hannah, identified her family. “It brought joy to my whole unit and our patients’ families just as much as I’m sure it brought joy to your family,” Washek wrote on Facebook to Hannah.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Amid the rubble and destruction of the deadly typhoon that may have killed as many as 10,000 people in the Philippines, an astounding story of survival has emerged–a baby was born in a makeshift hospital that was set up in the badly damaged Tacloban airport. More from PEOPLE.com:
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On Nov. 11, Emily Ortega, 21, gave birth to daughter Bea Joy in a makeshift hospital set up in what remains of the Tacloban airport.
“She is my miracle,” she told the Agence France-Presse. “I had thought I would die with her still inside me when high waves came and took us all away.”
Ortega named her new baby after her mother, Beatriz Sagales, who was swept away in the storm surge of Super Typhoon Haiyan which ravaged central Philippines last week.
With her husband, Jobert, by her side, Ortega went into labor at 5 a.m. Monday morning near the coastal town of San Jose and had to walk towards Tacloban before a truck driver picked up the expectant mom.
While the family rejoices in the birth of their child, the moment remains bittersweet.
“We are supposed to be celebrating today, but we are also mourning our dead,” Jobert said.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The amazing stories of survival abound in the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and now Shayla Taylor’s remarkable story of how she endured active labor during the worst of the storm–in a hospital that took a direct hit–is among those stories. NBC.com reports:
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The blow devastated the hospital, as news photos plainly show, ripping away the roof and walls.
After the chaos, Taylor said she heard not the freight train sound described by so many witnesses, but the absolute silence of the storm’s center. Then she opened her eyes.
“All of a sudden I could see daylight and the wall was gone,” she said. “I look out and I see I-35 and part of the Warren theater,” which later became the triage center for victims of the tornado that killed 24 and injured more than 230 people.
She had been dilated to 9 centimeters, nearly ready to deliver the baby, when nurses gave her a quick shot to slow labor during the height of the storm.
Taylor was quickly reunited with her husband, Jerome Taylor, 29, who had taken their 4-year-old son, Shaiden, to wait out the tornado with others in the hospital cafeteria. With the help of hospital workers, she was carefully carried through the destroyed building and out to a waiting ambulance, which whisked her 5 miles to another hospital in the Norman Regional Health System.
Three hours later, after doctors determined that the petite Taylor would need a cesarean section due to the baby’s size, she delivered Braeden Immanuel, a healthy 8-pound, 3-ounce boy.
“His middle name means ‘God is with us,’” said Taylor. “The name had been picked out for months. Now I know why.”