Paralyzed Woman Writes Book Using Only Her Eyes

Locked-in syndrome is a condition where the person loses all muscle control or becomes entirely paralyzed, while maintaining most cognitive functions. In simple terms, this means they can still think and feel, but cannot move or speak. Some people, however, have found technological leads on how to help locked-in patients communicate, such as this nanoscience professor who created a computer interface that helps them identify letters and words using only their eyes.

Using a similar device, a woman diagnosed with the syndrome wrote an entire book about her experience. Mia Austin was only 21 years old when she suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed, but now at 29, she finished her book In the Blink of an Eye using only eye movement, a spelling chart at first, and eventually the specialized computer.

Her mother Carole, 62, recalls: “She [Austin] was in the hospital for around 14 months and writing poems and stories kept her alert and occupied. I think the idea [for the book] stemmed from there really.”

According to her father Rick, the book took about a year to write. Meanwhile, Mia’s siblings also helped in her process, especially with the spelling chart, which took a lot of energy and made Mia exhausted. Despite this, Mia just doesn’t seem to run out of achievements.

The book is by no means Austin’s only incredible feat of determination. She completed a criminology course at Wirral Metropolitan College in 2017 before signing up for a forensics course with the Open University. And this year she will begin another course in criminal justice.

Aside from academics, Mia is also incredibly engaged in charity work. She launched a campaign for disabled travellers. She participated in awareness projects for homelessness. She has been on aid missions to orphanages even outside the country.

In an interview with The Mirror, Austin explained her desire to give back to the charities that have supported her. She said: “I love to take part in new challenges to prove I can succeed despite my condition. I also want to support various charities because I have received help myself in the past.”

Mia’s story sort of robs us of any excuse to waste our energy today, doesn’t it? It could just as well inspire us to push our minds and bodies to the limit from here on out.

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Former Patient Becomes Nurse At Childhood Hospital

After delivering her baby brother, 12-year-old Jacee Dellapena decided she wanted to be an OB-Gyn. These dreams are not so uncommon. For 24-year-old Montana Brown, realizing her dream of becoming a nurse doesn’t seem simple at all. A two-time cancer survivor, Brown decided she would pay it forward in the very hospital she was treated in.

When she was 2 years old, Brown was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of childhood cancer of the connective tissue. She underwent chemotherapy for a year at the AFLAC Cancer Center.

Brown had gone into remission, only to later find out, at the age of 15, that her cancer had returned. The same nurses that cared for her 13 years prior were once again by her side. Brown has since expressed her deepest gratitude for their compassion.

“The nurses here, as great as they were when I was 2… they were extremely loving and caring and compassionate. And, just the love they showed me and my family in our time of need just really helped me,” she said. “It helped me want to become as kind and as caring and as compassionate as they were for me.”

Brown has come full circle and is now a pediatric oncologist at the AFLAC Cancer Center. I suppose that sometimes, the best way to pay it forward is to have a look back.

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Elderly Man Cradles NICU Infants For A Living

It’s 2018 and we all know heroes don’t always wear capes. In fact, they also vary in age. You can be a budding 8-year-old lifeguard or a middle-aged charitable millionaire. Whatever the case, not one hero is like another. This retired grandpa is a champion to NICU babies — he cradles them for a living.

“There are a lot of benefits to that warm connection of being held—when a baby puts their face against your heartbeat, there’s a benefit there. I came to love it, but not just because of the connection with the babies, but the whole atmosphere of the hospital.” [said grandpa David Deutchman.]

Deutchman volunteers at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and has been doing so for 12 years. Prior to baby-cuddling, his official job title was in international business marketing. Now, the father of two is a dad to hundreds, if only for a day or so.

“I talk with mothers and sometimes I hold their hand, because holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby,” he says. “There’s a lot of stress for these parents. Having somebody tell them they can go get breakfast and assure them I’ll be there with their baby, it means something to them. It’s important.”

While NICU babies can be fussy, a bit of spit-up does little to faze Deutchman. I sure do wish he was my grandpa.

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Hockey Player Purchases Arena Suite For Needy Kids

When people like Bill Gates are donating billions of dollars to charity, your own efforts may seem eclipsed. But, as I like to say, every good deed counts, no matter the extent. Hockey star Jonathan Drouin decided to surprise underprivileged children by purchasing them an arena suite to attend games.

“From the first day I got here, I wanted to get involved and do something for children by giving them an opportunity to enjoy memorable experiences. By giving them a chance to attend a hockey game, I am hoping that an evening in the suite will provide the kids and their families with some relief from the personal hardships they are facing,” Drouin said.

Prior to the suite stunt, Canadiens player Drouin also pledged $500,000 to a Montreal medical center over a 10-year span. The Bell Centre suite cost him a sizable check of $165,000. Regardless of numbers, Drouin seems to be more than willing to help.

“They’ll have a chance to be together and have a great time, and for me, it’s an opportunity to contribute in my own way to their well-being.”

While the Canadiens are off to a somewhat rocky start, Drouin has confirmed his rightful place as MVP.

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Queensland ENTs Bring Dying Woman To Beach

On occasion, people suffering from crippling medical conditions experience unexpected miracles. Surgeons in Rochester saved both teacher Dan Fabbio and his music function from a high-risk tumor. Gene therapy is finally giving butterfly children a chance to recover. However, things don’t always turn out as planned. Queensland paramedics did everything they could for palliative patient Graeme Cooper, but to no avail. They chose to fulfill her dying wish, and took her to the beach one last time.

“Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity – tears were shed and the patient felt very happy.” [said officer-in-charge Helen Donaldson.]

Shared on social media, the photo immediately went viral, shared more than 10,000 times. The paramedics team had taken Cooper to see the ocean two weeks prior, when she was en route home to be with her husband. Tragically, her last visit to the bay was a pit stop back to the hospital. Still, she was optimistic.

“I said to the patient: ‘What are you thinking?’” [paramedic Danielle Kellan] recalled. “And she said: ‘I’m at peace, everything is right’.”

I always commend paramedics for their skill — but this was all simply compassion.

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Disney Commits $100 Million To Kids’ Hospitals

When it comes to health, hospitals are necessary but hardly ever enjoyable. Despite the rise of surgical robots, many prefer to self-diagnose. Still, Google remains a breeding ground for hypochondriacs, in spite of Apple’s efforts to create health-centered mobiles. To make pediatric wards a little less daunting, Disney is donating $100 million to institutes around the globe.

“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time,” [said] Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney will be bringing games, entertainment, and movie magic into infirmaries. Familiar characters will likely put children at greater ease and perhaps even pull some laughs. Patient rooms will be laden with murals (Disney-themed, of course), and staff will undergo extra training.

“The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience,”

Truth be told, I’d be slightly less nervous getting my blood drawn by Mickey Mouse. Or, if not, who doesn’t love Pluto?

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Fraternal Twins Are Born In Separate Years

The miracle of birth is nothing short of a spectacle. Whether you’re a transgender man breaking norms or a preteen delivering your own brother — it’s exciting! For some, like California mom Maria Esperanza Flores Rios, it’s also pretty weird. The eager mom gave birth to twins, born minutes apart but in different years.

Delano Regional Medical Centre has stated that Joaquin was the last baby born in Kern County in 2017, with his younger sister Aitana named the first baby born in Kern County in 2018.

Talk about a never-ending dispute of “but I’m the older twin!” Breaching complications forced Rios into a C-section, but the twins are perfectly healthy. The rare duo join three other sisters, who will likely boast the incredible story at school.

According to Louise Firth Campbell and Amram Shapiro, co-authors of The Book of Odds, the odds of twins being born in different years are around one in 60,000.

Now that’s something to brag about.

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Breast Cancer Patient Weds A Day Before Passing

It’s startups like ChemoCars that ease everyday difficulties for struggling cancer patients. Though burdens have mitigated over the years, for some, there isn’t much of a light at the end of the tunnel. Still, women like Heather Mosher can make the best of a bleak situation. The 31-year-old married beau David Mosher only 18 hours before her passing.

“I saw her sick,” [said] Mosher… “I saw her in a lot of pain and she didn’t give up until she married me. It is so humbling that someone could love me like that.”

Mosher proposed to his wife over the holidays of 2016. Five days later, she was diagnosed with a quick-spreading cancer, which caused her health to deteriorate. Despite the verdicts, friends and family promised Heather joyous festivities.

“I was with her every single day at the hospital that week, and I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate,” [friend Christina] Karas said. “… I just had to get into wedding mode because my heart was in ‘losing my best friend’ mode. I just thought, ‘For Heather, I’m going to do this.”’

Despite a bittersweet end, Heather is proof that good things can come of the most tragic of circumstances.

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Ambulance Caters To Mental Illness Emergencies

As it becomes less of a stigma, mental health is finally receiving the attention it deserves. People are embracing their conditions thanks to online tools like DIY therapy and help hotlines. Notwithstanding, feeling vulnerable and ashamed remains a looming issue — one that Sweden is tackling firsthand. Countering rising suicide rates, Stockholm has introduced the world’s first mental health ambulance.

Inside the ambulance is a warm, inviting area equipped with comfortable seats instead of medical equipment, two mental health nurses and one paramedic.

The Psychiatric Emergency Response Team attends to roughly 130 calls monthly, countering 15,000 attempts annually. So far, the ambulance’s success rate has risen steadily.

“I can’t see any reason as to why the project shouldn’t continue,” [Mental Health Emergency head Fredrik] Bengtsson said. “It has been considered a huge success by police, nurses, healthcare officials, as well as by the patients.”

It sounds as though Sweden is the first to get things right. If mental illness is as urgent as physical trauma, why not treat it as such?

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Pregnant Doctor Delivers Baby Before Giving Birth

Delivering a baby is always a unique experience. You could be a preteen delivering your brother or an OB-Gyn delivering a gorilla. Regardless, the journey is always different. Pregnant doctor Amanda Hess thought she’d only be birthing her own child when she stepped out to deliver another woman’s baby.

While waiting to begin the procedures to have her labor induced, she glanced at the computer screen in her room that alerts the medical staff to patients’ conditions and noticed that an unknown woman was having complications with her pregnancy.

“I heard nurses running down the hallway,” Hess says. “I said, ‘Do you guys need some help?’”

Patient Leah Halliday-Johnson’s baby was experiencing sharp drops in her heartbeat. When Hess learned that the on-call OB-Gyn was not on duty, she immediately took action.

Dr. Hess, in practice about seven years, says occasionally women deliver a baby in the hospital when a doctor can’t make it in time and in those cases, the nurses handle the birth.

But Dr. Hess didn’t mind at all, and afterward returned to her own room and started the medication to induce her own labor.

To us, the decision may have demanded more thought — but to Dr. Hess, it was a total no-brainer.

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