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Nine-Year-Old Boy Rides for Help After Dad Is Injured in Snowmobile Crash

Snowmobile accident leads to joyous rescue

9-year-old boy leads rescuers to father after snowmobile accident. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Never underestimate the power of children as one quick-thinking 9-year-old boy recently demonstrated. This is a child you want around during a crisis. The Marin County, California boy is credited with saving the life of his father who had been injured in a snowmobiling accident near Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

J.T. Bierdneau was trapped when his snowmobile pinned him on Sunday. Severely injured in the crash, he was unable to extricate himself. His son, Bode Bierdnaeu, tried to dig him out of the deep snow on his own but was unable to do it alone. Though he tried, his own fingers became numb from the cold. The child realized the only thing he could do was go for help. He was nervous and unsure about trekking alone for miles across the snow, in part because he was unsure of which direction to go.

He had no cell phone reception but didn’t panic. He stayed calm throughout the ordeal, finally locating help with an emergency radio. The tour group he found radioed for help. Once that was taken care of, he was able to lead the rescue party to his father. Bode’s mom said the search and rescue officials called the boy’s efforts heroic.

J.T. was airlifted to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery on his leg, which was broken. He is expected to make a full recovery, thanks to Bodes quick thinking and nerves of steel.

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Instagram Reunites 2 Sisters Who Haven’t Seen Each Other for 18 Years

Logo for Instagram

Two sisters are reunited after 18 because of post on Instagram.

Modern technology has been behind some of the most amazing stories of this century. This one comes from social media site, Instagram.

Nia Edwards, 23, had been out of touch with her 42 year old sister Brenda for roughly 18 years. After trying to find her through social networks Facebook and MySpace, Nia turned to Instagram, a photo sharing site. The two were reconnected about 2 weeks ago.

Nia found Brenda’s page and left a comment explaining who she was, asking if Brenda was indeed Brenda Edwards, the daughter of Milton Edwards and told her sister she hadn’t seen her since she was 4 or 5 but loved her very much.

Brenda responded that she was the right ‘Brenda Edwards’ and that she, too, had been looking for her sister. She asked if Nia had a phone.

Because of the social media hook up, not only were the 2 sisters reunited but Nia is going to get to meet an older brother she has never met before, Milton. He is planning a trip to visit Nia in Hazlehurst, Miss. over the summer.

Nia is excited because even though the 2 women barely know each other, it feels as if they’ve known each other their whole lives. The younger sibling is also hoping to reconnect with 2 other siblings, Maurice and Candace. In the meantime, they are keeping in touch via Instagram by commenting on each other’s photos.

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Afghan National Guard vets reunited with 8 battlefield dogs

Soldiers reunited with battlefield dogs

New York National Guard are reunited with eight mixed breed dogs that they found while on patrol in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Reunions among soldiers who once served together are a long-standing tradition but a few of the men who served in Afghanistan with the National Guard recently enjoyed an unusual reunion.

While stationed in the Middle Eastern country, the adopted a 65-pound, mixed breed stray dog. They were reunited with her and her 7 frolicking puppies on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport shortly after the animals arrived.

A Long Island pet rescue organization made the reunion possible. Their motto is “Paws of War — No Buddy Left Behind.”

1st Lt. Joseph LaPenta of Staten Island said the dogs had become like members of their family. The mother dog, whom the men had named Sheba, was adopted by the group after they arrived in Afghanistan in January. She often accompanied them on patrol and chased off other stray dogs that could have posed a threat to her pack of men.

In March, Sheba gave birth to her puppies> she and the puppies were in a weakened state of health and the men saw to their needs, nursing them all back to health. This was accomplished in part by the beef jerky and MREs the guys shared with the dogs. Later, as word of their need spread back home, the men’s’ families sent bags of dog food.

As part of the U.S.’s plans to reduce their presence in Afghanistan, the men learned their base was to be closed. LaPenta said they were all heartbroken at having to leave them behind. Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba of Long Beach decided to do something about it. He contacted a former high school teacher who put him in touch with the Long Island-based Guardians of Rescue. The organization has been collecting donations for a number of years to assist with bringing dogs back from combat areas. Roughly 20 dogs had already been rescued when the request to help Sheba and her pups was received. They worked with a Kabul-based organization called Nowzad to get the dogs shipped to the U.S. where the soldiers were waiting to adopt them.

The cost of transporting a dog out of a war zone and back to the U.S. is roughly $4,000 each. It includes a 30-day quarantine period prior to shipment, vaccinations, food and the transportation.

The soldiers met with the dogs at a Save-a-Pet animal shelter on Long Island. The puppies are already 6 months old and have been given the names of Cadence, Rocky, Sarah, Jack, Buckeye, Breezy and Harris. Two of the soldiers are taking 2 dogs each and the 3 others will take one each. All but 2 will be staying in the New York area. The other 2 will be moving to the Cincinnati area.

Caba was grateful for the diversion created by the dogs. He lost his home in Superstorm Sandy and has just completed his third tour in Afghanistan.

As for Sheba, her situation is still being assessed. There is hope she can one day be trained as a service dog to help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

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4 Men Tackle Cincinnati Purse Snatcher

The screams of a woman brought 4 Good Samaritans to her aid last Thursday in downtown Cincinnati. The woman, an attorney whose identity is being protected, screamed that someone had taken her purse. She had been walking westbound along E. Seventh Street at about 11 a.m. A man came up from behind and grabbed her purse which he detached from a pull-behind briefcase.

Suspect apprehended

Man apprehended when 4 Good Samaritans intervene in purse snatching. Photo by ABC News

The man took off in a southbound direction on Ruth Lyons Alley, a busy area that connects Sixth and Seventh streets. He was spotted with the handbag as he ran by David Ginsberg, the head of Cincinnati Downtown, Inc. Ginsberg was on his way to an appointment when he heard the commotion and spotted the suspect.

He heard the woman saying ‘stop him, stop him, he stole my purse.’ Another man acted without hesitation and =gave chase, tackling the suspect to the ground. Ginsberg had also been chasing the man. When he reached him, he got on top of the man, Shane Wilkins, 35 and beckoned 2 other men to help.

Together, the 4 men held the 5-foot, 11-inch and 150 pound Wilkins at bay until the Cincinnati police and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene. The suspect was then handcuffed and taken into custody.

All of the victim’s belongings were recovered intact, including $500 in cash, several credit cards and other papers.

Though Ginsberg and the others knew they were putting themselves at risk, they believed it was the right thing to do. Ginsberg said he knew since there were enough of them to control the man, they could keep his hands on the ground and nothing dangerous could happen.

Wilkins was arraigned Friday and in spite of his attorney arguing for a misdemeanor charge on the basis of the amount of cash involved, the judge ruled it a felony because of the credit cards. Bail was set at $50,000.

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Boston Marathon bombing survivor dances again

Dancer injured in bombing

Adrianne Haslet-Davis, victim of the Boston Bombing, returns to dance. Photo courtesy of ABC News

In last year’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon, Adrianne Haslet-Davis was among the injured. The pretty young woman had been a professional dancer up until that fateful moment when a pressure cooker bomb exploded and caused her the loss of part of her left leg.

This past Wednesday, Haslet-Davis returned to the stage as she danced in public for the first time since her life-altering injury. She performed with her partner, Christian Lightner at the 2014 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The 33 year old dancer is from Boston. She showed off her new prosthetic leg in a short, white, sparkling dress. The high-tech leg supported her beautifully as she twirled with her partner to a shortened version of Enrique Iglesias’s “ring My Bells.”

She released a statement following her return performance in which she expressed her delight at being able to dance again. She had always known, following the bombing, that she would find a way to return to what she loved, that she had to do it.

The dancer and her husband, Air Force Maj. Adam Davis, were among the 260 people who were injured in the explosions that took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Hugh Herr, the director of biomechatronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began working on a design for a bionic leg that could be used for dancing soon after visiting Haslet-Davis in the hospital. His own status as a double-amputee gave him the empathy to want to help this courageous young woman return to what she loved doing.

Herr, who lost his legs in a climbing accident in 1982, designed his own legs that he now uses to climb today. He spent long hours studying dance so he could design a prosthetic that would hold up to the demands.
Next up for Haslet-Davis is an appearance on television’s dance competition show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

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Cat Rescued after Being Stuck Atop a Utility Pole for 3 Days

Cat rescued after 3 days atop utility pole

Athena being rescued by Animal Control

We’ve all heard stories about the local fireman rescuing a cat stuck in a tree. What happens when the cat is stuck atop a utility pole with powerful electrical cables running off in several directions? That’s what one Las Cruces, New Mexico family found out about recently when the family pet climbed a utility pole and got stuck.

Athena, the cat, climbed the 60-foot power pole in Las Cruces and was unable to get back down. Her cries continued for 3 days as the family tried to determine what to do and prepared for the eventual probability that the cat would die.

El Paso Electric rarely gets involved in saving animals because of their policies concerning safety for their employees. This didn’t leave pet owner David Eason and his family many options but it was time to start weighing them. One idea floated out was to shoot the cat to prevent it from suffering a long, drawn out death from starvation and dehydration. Naturally, Eason’ 16 year old daughter who is the cat’s actual owner, was not in favor of this plan.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department got involved. Someone there convinced El Paso Electric to turn off the power to that line temporarily and to provide a bucket truck. Then, Lt. Mary Lou ward, a supervisor with Animal Control climbed in the bucket and was lifted to the top of the 60-foot pole where she coaxed Athena from her perch and the rescue was complete.

The family is very grateful for all the assistance they received. Eason says he believes Athena will become an indoor kitty after this adventure.

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Paris Cat Cafe Offers Patrons ‘Purr Therapy’ with Their Coffee

Paris cafe offers 'purr therapy'

Cats are a part of the ambiance at a Paris Cafe. Photo by Gandelon

A new café in Paris is offering patrons a chance to enjoy a little one-on-one time with a member of the cat population while they enjoy their coffee and croissants. The “Cafe des Chats” is situated at the center of the Marais district in France’s capital and most famous city. There, visitors will find a dozen felines weaving between their legs and catnapping on armchairs.

The city’s many apartments often prohibit residents from keeping pets. The eatery seeks to comfort those who love to have a cat companion but aren’t allowed to. Café manager Margaux Gandelon is a firm believer in the benefits “purr therapy” can provide to humans.

She explains that the vibrations that accompany the purring are soothing to arthritis and rheumatism sufferers and that in turn can lower blood pressure and decrease your heartbeat.

During the restaurant’s week long opening, customers stood in long queues that snaked along the sidewalk. Reservations were taken extending out for months and more than 300 would-be patrons had to be turned away.

Gandelon makes the safety and protection of the animals a main focus. Patrons are not allowed to stress the cats and anyone not abiding y the rules will be asked to leave.

The cats were all abandoned or stray cats Gandelon adopted from a pet rescue agency. Habby, is one of those, a little charmer who suffers from feline dwarfism. Habby has an unusually short tail and short paws. After 2 years with foster families, he hadn’t found a home until Margaux came along. Now he is happy and well-adjusted to his new home, looking forward to the daily attention he receives.

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The Effort to Help Those with Down Syndrome Reach Their Fullest Potential Is Its Own Reward

Centers for those challenged with Down Syndrome

Down Sydrome center

Nancy Gianni is on a mission and her energy is high. At GiGi’s Playhouse, the 10,000 foot “achievement center” she built for people with Downs Syndrome, she works with adults, children and their families.

Inspired by the birth of her now 11-year-old daughter, GiGi, Gianni works to show people how beautiful kids with Downs are and what unlimited potential they have. GiGi is the embodiment of that ministry. She sings, dances and shares her mom office where she personally writes thank you notes to donors.

When GiGi was born, Gianni saw the look of fear on the faces of her doctors and when she heard the words “Down Syndrome,” she says her world just kind of stopped. She found the nurses stopped looking her in the eye and the doctors were lost for words.

It was when GiGi came home that Gianni and her husband saw a difference. Their older kids didn’t see her as her just an illness but as their sister. They accepted her unconditionally so Gianni decided to put her fears away and to she began to educate herself. This is what led to the eventual culmination of her dreams, GiGi’s Playhouse.

Here, kids can come in and feel they belong and are loved. The program has been so successful that it now boasts 16 locations across the U.S. and Mexico and has 6 more planned for 2014.

Services like tutoring, music and life skills classes are available for free to adults with Down Syndrome. All the programs for kids are therapeutic in one way or another. One of the problems with Down Syndrome is the low muscle tone is causes. So even blowing bubbles is really an activity that helps a 4 year old strengthen facial muscles while she has fun.

What Gianni is doing changes lives for the better on a daily basis. And that’s just what she wants to be doing.

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Father Dying of Cancer Writes 800 Napkin Notes for His daughter’s Future Lunches

Father with cancer leaves notes for daughter

Man dying of cancer leaves napkin notes for his daughter

Garth Callaghan has been battling cancer since 2011 He first learned he had prostate cancer in November of 2011. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer twice more after that. According to his oncologist, he is going to die from it. That hasn’t stopped him from trying to be the best father he can be.

The 44-year-old father will probably not live to see his daughter, Emma, graduate from high school. Hois prognosis is 90% that he will pass away within the next five years. In order to make sure Emma has a little piece of him in her life every day, he is on a mission to make 800 napkin notes for all her future lunches.
It’s something he has done for her every day since she was in second grade. The notes contains quotes, words of inspiration or messages of love. For example, one note reads, “Dear Emma, Sometimes when I need a miracle, I look in to your eyes and realize I’ve already created one. Love, Dad.”

Not wanting to end the practice and knowing what it will mean to her, Garth plans to make 826 such notes to cover the four and a half years’ worth of lunches she will eat between now and her graduation from high school. He wants them ready in case he can’t be around to do it on a daily basis.

He is hoping his efforts won’t go unnoticed with other parents too. He believes it is important to make a daily connection with your kids and this is such a simple and heartfelt way to do it. So far, Garth has 740 napkins done with only 86 left to write out. What a remarkable message of love.

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Son surprises parents for Christmas with weight loss of 130-pounds

Lucas Irwin decided he’d had enough of being overweight and in 2013 set out to shed some of his 300 pounds. He kept his efforts a secret from his family for the entire year and surprised them when he came for the holidays at fit and trim weight of 170.

The big moment was captured on video and has been going viral on YouTube. Irwin hid upstairs until his parents entered the house. Then he came down stairs to gasps and excited exclamations as they laid eyes on the new Lucas.

Lucas Irwin

Son loses 130 lbs and surprises family at Christmas. Photo courtesy YouTube screen capture

In an interview with Today, Lucas said he only goes home to visit once or twice each year. He made an excuse for missing the summer visit so his family wouldn’t see how far he’d come already. Even though he’d achieved his goal, he felt jittery waiting for the moment of the big reveal. He described the moment as surreal and said he was shaking throughout it.

His parents, Jeff and Susan Irwin, were overjoyed to see him looking so healthy. Jeff said he was just stunned when he saw his son but on the inside was beaming with pride. Lucas’ stepmom, Susan was moved to tears by what he had accomplished.

Irwin, 25, lost 130 pounds by sticking with a strict eating regimen and changing his diet. He kept a food diary to hold himself accountable and wrote down everything he ate for the entire year. He says 95% of the weight loss came from simply making changes in his diet. He waited until 7 or 8 months into his jour4ney before he started exercising.

Because he was keeping his efforts a secret from his family, he couldn’t turn to them for support. Instead, he relied on the Internet and social media. He especially lauded the Reddit community “Lose It’ where he was able to post about his progress and find tips and other dieting help.

He has struggled with his weight his entire life and on Dec. 28, 2012, made a pledge to himself to make a change. Experts in weight loss Irwin’s method of keeping it to himself was a good one. Statistics show that when you make up your mind to do it for yourself, success rates are much higher than when you rely on others to hold you accountable.

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