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Man, 41, who has THREE wives says monogamy made him 'insecure'

A retired firefighter and former bouncer who has three wives and eight children has said that he abandoned 'insecure' monogamy because he 'loves everybody' and wanted to build a family his own way. 

Jermaine Roquemore, 41, who lives with first wife Angelica, 41, second partner Leighanne, 36, and third partner Maria, 41, along with his nine children in Bakersfield, California, started his family when he was 16-years-old.

And it has just kept growing and growing since, with a current age gap of 23 years between the oldest and youngest sibling.

'We were taught to be monogamous and I feel like that just makes us become insecure', he said

'We're told to go out there and find the one, the perfect love, the perfect mate and spend the rest of our lives on this earth with just that one person. 

'To me that was very unideal because I love everybody.

Polyamory has opened that door and that opportunity for us to expand our horizons.

'But to expand it together instead of being a broken home and me having multiple partners all over the world, we combined ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and have built this empire.'

Jermaine met his first wife, real estate worker Angelica, when they were both 19 years old. After getting married she did not demand monogamy, and asked her husband to respect her and her well-being.

Three years later he met the woman who was to become his second partner, retail manager Leighanne, 36, in an online chat room. They fell in love and in September 2001 she moved in with Jermaine and Angelica.

And, in 2015, Jermaine met his third partner, analyst Maria, 41, on a dating app. They met several times before deciding they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. She moved in with the rest of the family.

Jermaine and Angelica have three children called Hennayee Janiverly, 19, Jermaine Deon, 17, and Lodum Quinton, 14, while he has four sons with Leighanne called Braylon Lee Anthony, 15, Aniken Raz, 13, Izan Marcel, 11, and Holden Jermaine, 9.

He also has a daughter with his third partner Maria, two-year-old Amelia, and a 25-year-old son that he had when he was 15 years old.

It's like having a team of warriors that constantly have your back and support your well-being', he said describing what it's like to have three wives.

'This combination of love we built has allowed me the opportunity to love unconditionally and learn the differences it takes to emotionally, mentally and physically support each of them in their and my own way.

'I look at these women as a piece of my body. An extension of my love. This is our normal and because we don't live what this world calls a normal life, one husband, one wife. 

'We are doing just as fine living the way we are in this situation just as good as one on one partnership. One on three is fine with us.

'It's our life decision and we wouldn't change it for this world. We used to share the same room at one time but now the adults are divided up into three rooms and I get to take turns sleeping in three different beds.'

His wives also have the option of taking another partner as well, if they would like to

His wife Angelica said that she was not sure what she wanted in a family but, after seeing friends with large families, she felt she wanted a 'bigger' one. 

'Being in a polyamorous relationship means having the extra support within our household to be able to achieve what most other families cannot. 

'Our plan is to continue to build our empire and become successful along the way of teaching our children to be successful.'

The family have a strong presence on social media,  and regularly post updates for their followers.

'Don't judge us for who we are because this is the only life we have. If you want to love more, that's great for us', said Jermaine.

'If that's not how you want to live, we're not going to judge you. Just allow us the opportunity to love the way we choose to love.

'I'd rather promote healthy, happy relationships rather than cheating and lying relationships because then it turns into a tragic situation.'

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 11:05

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The Husband Who Left His Wife in a Capsized Ship for a Lifeboat

Words of Wisdom aims to highlight important morals, which we feel our readers will benefit from reading. We hope you enjoy this fable.

What would come to your mind if you heard that a man jumped onto a lifeboat and left his wife behind on a capsized ship? It’s heartless? Selfish? Well, the reason behind his actions is something you might not expect.

This is a story that has been circulating on the internet about a life lesson that one teacher taught to her class. The lesson was about a cruise ship that capsized at sea and how a couple was forced to make a decision about who they should leave behind, as the life boat only had space for one person.

At that critical moment, the man pushed his way through and jumped onto the lifeboat, leaving his wife standing on the sinking ship. She then shouted something to her husband.

The teacher stopped the story to ask the class, “What do you think she shouted?” The majority of the students said that the woman shouted, “I hate you!”

It does not come as a surprise to us that the students would think this way. Most of us would have thought the same, as the answer seems logical, considering that the man left her behind to die alone. But there was one boy in class who didn’t speak, and the teacher noticed his quietness.

She asked him for his answer and he said, “Miss, I believe she would have shouted, ‘Take care of our child!’”

The boy’s answer surprised the teacher. She asked, “Have you heard this story before?”

He shook his head and said, “Nope, but that was what my mom told my dad before she died.”

“That answer is right,” the teacher told the class.

After the ship sank with his wife, the man went home to bring up their daughter by himself. The daughter later found her dad’s diary one day while tidying his belongings many years after his death.

She discovered the reason that her mother was left behind—her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and therefore her father had to save his own life in order to raise her.

“How I wished to be at the bottom of the ocean with you, but for the sake of our daughter, I had to let you lie forever below the sea alone,” he wrote.

Everyone was silent by the time the teacher finished the story.

Though this might not be based on a true story, it does teach us never to judge someone by looking at things from the surface, and this is something that we should always remember.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 10:17

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Devastated couple move wedding to say vows before terminally-ill husband dies

A newlywed mum has spoken of her devastation after her wedding was brought forward when her husband was given a heartbreaking diagnosis.

Debbie Cooper, 45, was shocked to learn that her partner of 11 years, Mark, 47, had a life-limiting illness and had been given a maximum of two years to live.

Mr Cooper began to feel unwell in August 2018 after returning from a family holiday and went to get checked out.

But his health continued to decline and he was told by doctors in May he had motor neurone disease.

Mrs Cooper told Hull Live : "Mark was always a fit and healthy man and cycled and played golf every weekend and even used to play for Hull City.

But Mark started to become unwell after we came back from holiday last August and said he felt 'funny' and had aches and pains and sounded slurred and drunk when he spoke.

"He got checked out and doctors thought he'd had a stroke but was treated for that and still got worse.

"He lost a lot of weight and started Googling his symptoms. He already had an idea of what it might be but didn't want to frighten me.

"When Mark went to the hospital again and was told that he had motor neurone disease, it was just the worst news as there is no cure."

She added: "The diagnosis was devastating and it was something that I thought happened to other people, but that it would never happen to our family.

"If Mark had been told he had cancer, I think I'd be able to deal with that as both my parents died of cancer so I can understand it more, and at least there are some cures for cancer, but MND is incurable."

Faced with Mr Cooper losing the ability to walk and talk, the couple decided to move their wedding and honeymoon forward to ensure that he would still be fit enough to walk down the aisle and say his vows.

The day was bittersweet for the couple, but they both enjoyed their day and the family holiday in Turkey that doubled up as a honeymoon.

Mrs Cooper added: "It was a fabulous but emotional day. We've both been married before but this time the wedding was everything we wanted and more. My 12-year-old son gave me away as I've lost both parents and that in itself was emotional.

"Mark was shattered by the end and we had to go to bed early, but the day itself was amazing and as happy as much as it was sad."

The couple has launched a fundraising drive to convert a bedroom and wet room downstairs.

"Mark is a proud man and doesn't want to ask for charity but we don't have the money for all the home adjustments," she added.

"Every little helps and anything we can raise is amazing - I feel quite embarrassed asking for money but it's my only option and it's hard but I need to do it in order to give Mark the quality of life that he needs."

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 10:10

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Fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi could also have been victim

The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have escaped being a second victim of the killing, according to Turkish police.

Investigators said the writer's killers were most likely unaware his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, was waiting for him outside the Saudi consulate, where he was killed on October 2 last year.

The 59-year-old had gone into the consulate in Istanbul to collect divorce papers for his upcoming wedding to Ms Cengiz.

She was left waiting outside for him and his remains have never been found. Turkish police now think if she had entered the embassy she too would have been murdered.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by a 17-man hit squad of Saudi operatives.

Turkish police believe his dismembered body may have been disposed of in a cooking furnace on the grounds of the Saudi consul's nearby residence and burned, according to Turkey's state-run news agency, Anadolu.  

Police believe Khashoggi's dismembered body could have been carried from the consulate where he was murdered to the consul general's residence nearby where his remains were burnt. 

The consulate had two wells and a gas and wood floor furnace that could reach heat of over 1,000 degrees, destroying any DNA traces, Anadolu said today, quoting a report by the Turkish police. 

After making numerous contradictory statements about Khashoggi's fate, Riyadh said he had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Police believe information obtained in the investigation indicated that the dismembered remains of Khashoggi may have been burned, Anadolu said.

Despite Turkey's investigation looking at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, the consul's residence and several other locations, Khashoggi's remains have not been found.

Khashoggi's killing has severely strained ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, although Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has good ties with the Saudi monarch, King Salman.

Erdogan has said Khashoggi's killing was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership and has repeatedly called on Saudi officials to identify a 'local cooperator' involved in the killing. Riyadh has rejected accusations that the crown prince was involved.

Footage from the police report shown on Turkish televisions showed a man believed to be a Khashoggi impersonator walking alongside a man police say is the 'local cooperator' in the case. The identity of the man was not immediately clear.

Last week a UN human rights expert said Khashoggi was murdered in a 'brutal and premeditated killing' carried out by Saudi officials.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made her assessment after visiting Turkey.

Callamard also said that Saudi Arabia undermined Turkey's efforts to investigate the death and that the killing was carried out 'by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia'.

Turkish officials have been frustrated by what they say is a lack of cooperation by Riyadh and have called for an international inquiry.

After denying Khashoggi was killed in the consulate for several weeks, Saudi Arabia indicted 11 people in the killing and is seeking the death penalty against five of them.

Turkey says Saudi Arabia must reveal the identity of a person who is thought to have disposed of the journalist's body and hold all involved accountable.

Khashoggi's killing provoked widespread revulsion and tarnished the image of Crown Prince bin Salman, previously admired in the West for pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive. 

US intelligence agencies believe the crown prince ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi. 

CCTV footage emerged in December allegedly showing Jamal Khashoggi's body parts being carried into Saudi Arabia's consul residence in bags and suitcases on the day he was murdered.

The images feature three men carrying five suitcases and two large black bags into the home of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul, Turkey.

The residence lies a short distance from the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was butchered in a killing that has tested Riyadh's relations with the West.

Saudi Arabia has also repeatedly rejected Turkish demands to extradite suspects connected to the murder of the journalist, a critic of the crown prince. 

The journalist had decided to leave his native Saudi Arabia for the US in September 2017, but was lured to the embassy in Istanbul on in October this year to collect papers for his upcoming marriage. 

Listening devices planted inside the building by Turkish intelligence captured the 'kill squad' planning the murder in the days before and carrying it out.

A report by the Washington Post, to which Khashoggi was a contributing columnist, says that when he arrived at the consulate a member of the team asked 'whether he would take tea'.

The paper reports that there was an 'edge' in Khashoggi's voice when he accepted the drink that betrayed his sense of unease.

Shortly afterwards, a member of the Saudi 'kill squad' chillingly told the journalist he would be 'going back to Saudi Arabia', before injecting him with a lethal dose of sedative. 

Khashoggi's final gasps for air are audible on the tape recordings, officials told the Washington Post.

They added that there was nothing to suggest that the team had any intent to take Khashoggi alive.

Further reports quoting those who have listened to the recordings claim Khashoggi's last words were to tell his killers 'I can't breathe'.

Just moments after his gasps faded, the silence on the tape gives way to the sound of an electric saw, consistent with reports that Khashoggi's body was dismembered. His remains have never been found.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 10:02

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Mother Of Two Ties Knot With Tree

A woman has exchanged wedding vows with a tree in an attempt to bring attention to the destruction of green spaces near where she lives. 

Kate Cunningham, 34, from Melling, Merseyside, tied the knot with an elder tree in Rimrose Valley Park, in Litherland, as family and friends watched on this weekend.

The mother-of-two, who wore an olive green dress, a home-made skirt and green pumps for the event, also announced that she would be changing her name by deed poll to Kate Rose 'Elder', after the species of tree to which she is now married. 

She said: 'At first it was just an idea. Then we decided that we were going to make it happen.

'It's a great day for all the local community to come together. It's our day.'

The symbolic ceremony, which was attended by dozens of guests and was performed by local actor, musician, and poet, Davy Edge, is the latest attempt by local residents to halt plans to build a new bypass through Rimrose Valley.

The bypass, proposed by Highways England, is a three-mile long dual carriage intended to ease traffic congestion into the Port of Liverpool.

Miss Cunningham said that she was inspired by female activists from Mexico who held similar ceremonies to bring attention to illegal logging and land clearing, and that she hoped to draw attention to the campaign to save Rimrose Valley park. 

The former primary school behaviour support assistant said her family and boyfriend were supportive of her decision. 

She said: 'My boyfriend is very supportive of my decision. He's even helped make props for the ceremony.

'My oldest son was initially embarrassed when I told him I was going to do it, but he decided to come to the ceremony. It means a lot to him to be there. 

'My dad has been very supportive. He's been out in his van helping to organise everything for the big day.' 

Wishing to get the full bridal experience, Miss Cunningham added that she also treated herself to a hen party the night before her big day.

She continued: 'We had a little hen gathering in Rimrose last night by the tree to mark the occasion.'

The environmental activist said she felt that she needed to take more of an unconventional approach to raising awareness of the fate of Rimrose Valley.

She added: 'The spark for this idea came when it was announced that road was going to be built.

'I've been a protester marching in street demonstrations with thousands of other people but it doesn't attract enough attention from people.

'I want people to engage with the campaign and raise questions about the destruction of our green space. There are plenty of local people who aren't even aware of what is happening.

'This is particularly close to my heart. My mum died of an asthma attack and I suffer from a lung condition called bronchiectasis which means that my own lungs are prone to infection.

'Plans to bulldoze this beautiful place for yet another busy road makes no sense and are an attack on our health.

'There is already too much pollution in our region and we desperately need a solution which addresses this; not one which will make it even worse.'

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:54

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Weddings Don’t Have to Be Expensive – British Couple Gets Married Wearing Jeans and T-Shirts At Their £250 Wedding

A bride and groom decided to wear T-shirts and jeans when tying the knot, and are sharing photos to show weddings don’t need to cost loads of money to be magical. Rebecca Maxwell, 26, and Glen Maxwell, 30, wore jeans, personalised ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ T-shirts and trainers for both their ceremony and reception. The newlyweds bought similar personalised tops for the bridal party, best man and mother and father of the bride and asked their 40 guests to wear jeans and t-shirts too. Rebecca and Glen got engaged back in August 2016, and quickly started planning a massive white wedding. The more they planned, the more they realised a posh wedding just wasn’t right for them. Totting up the costs of the occasion only caused the couple stress and they were fed up of agonising over a budget instead of being excited about the romance. One evening Glen told Rebecca: ‘We could get married in jeans and T-shirts and I’d still love you.’

Cute, right? They chose to take that idea to its natural conclusion and have a casual wedding that was all about their relationship, not spending loads of money. They’re sharing their story to encourage other people to ditch the pressures of a big wedding and focus on having a day that’s special to them. Rebecca, of Blyth, Northumberland, said: ‘When we were planning our wedding, we started doing everything to please other people. ‘Our guest list was getting out of hand. You feel like you have to invite people because you don’t want to upset them rather than because you want them there. ‘We had spent hours looking through Pinterest at all the dresses, cakes and decorations and you do get sucked in.

‘But at the end of the day me and Glen just really weren’t bothered about all of that. ‘I had even bought a wedding dress but after having [my daughter] Eleanor I went to try it on again and I ended up crying. It just was not what I wanted at all.’ The couple’s original wedding was planned to take place at a farm at Christmas time, set to cost them £14,000. Instead they said their vows at the town hall in Darlington on 26 April with 40 of their closest friends and family. The ceremony cost just £250. After doing the official wedding bit, Rebecca and Glen took their guests to Center Parcs Whinfell Forest in the Lake District for a carvery dinner costing £400. Instead of a pricey wedding cake, they spent £35 on a selection of Morrisons cupcakes and a sheet cake with a photo of the couple printed on top. With T-shirts and jeans for the wedding party coming in at £150, £200 spent on flowers and £70 for Rebecca’s hair and makeup, the couple’s big day cost just £1,105 in total.

Saving so much on their wedding meant Rebecca and Glen were left with £6,000 savings, which they used to treat their wedding party to a weekend at Center Parcs. Rebecca and Glen say the lowkey day was perfect for them, as they ‘just like simple things’, preferring a night in to a posh holiday away. ‘We just love each other’s company,’ said Rebecca. ‘What was special was that we were going to join together and I was going to have the same surname as my little girl. ‘A big dress or fancy day, that all paled into insignificance.

I want to show other brides that if they don’t have a big budget, it doesn’t matter. They don’t have to spend a fortune or put all that pressure on themselves. ‘As long as you marry the person you love, surrounded by people you love, your day will be special. ‘Me and my husband are still married just like all those people who are in £20,000 debt. ‘I do really believe that so many people lose sight of the real reasons to get married. ‘It becomes like a big expensive show, a production for everyone else and the real reasons are lost in all that. ‘It should be about how in love you are. I don’t know anyone who gets married just because they think their partner is alright.’

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:47

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'Mother and daughter' roll around on the floor in bitter street fight in front of jeering crowd of baseball bat-wielding neighbours

A shocking video captures the moment a 'mother and daughter' fight each other in the middle of a housing estate in front of horrified children. 

The battling pair were filmed on an estate in Grangetown, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, as a neighbour armed with a baseball bat jeers them on.  

Footage shows one woman, in black-striped grey joggers and a grey t-shirt, run over to a house on the estate where a woman in wellies is seen smoking.

The woman in the black-stripped joggers shouts and tries to budge past a neighbour in the front garden who is standing in front of the woman in wellies. 

As the woman in wellies finishes her cigarette, she shoves the neighbour out of her way and confronts the woman shouting at her.

In dramatic footage, the woman in striped jogging trousers launches into the other woman and the pair begin throwing punches at each other

Go on Trish' can be heard as the woman in wellies knocks the other woman to the ground and punches her repeatedly in the head.

A man then comes over and lifts the woman in wellies off the other woman, and places her on the ground. 

A woman wearing a red hoodie is then seen kicking out at the woman lying on the ground while the pair continue to scrap before someone can be heard saying: 'Let them get on with it'.

Larger crowds begin to gather, including two young children, before a man with a baseball bat appears on the scene.

The neighbour in the red jacket approaches the baseball-wielding man as he swipes the bat through the air.  

A man is then seen appearing to try and break the fight up by bending down, which led to Facebook users to suggest the man is wearing a 'thong.'

After a few scraps and kicks, which leads to the fight being taken onto a footpath, the pair are eventually broken up.

They continue to shout at each before one woman is taken into a house and the other taken into a car.       

Zara Davison posted the footage on her Facebook page on September 5 and has since racked up more than 358,000 views. 

The post has also received more than 1,500 comments, most of which are outraged this took place in front of children.

Emma 'rosey' Robertson said: 'Disgusting behaviour this in front of kids. Wouldn't even dare. Not something kids need to see at all!'

In response to Emma's comment, Vicki Hammond added: 'That's mother and daughter fighting, she's hitting her own f****** kid. They need help honestly.'

Natalie Kristina Tillson-Hill said: 'Going on like that in front of kids and everyone's buzzing, yeah cause that's really clever.'

Melanie Gibson commented: 'And this is the wonderful world we're living in right there, what chance do the kids have if grown adults are behaving like that.' 

However others appeared to be drawn to one of the men who appeared to be wearing a 'thong.'

Taking a screengrab of the clip, Andrew Simon Cope said: 'Is he wearing a thong?' 

Nicky Marshall also noticed the lingerie and commented: 'Watch this. I'm sure he's wearing a thong'. 

Cleveland Police say they received a report of an ongoing fight, but no crime was reported.

A spokeswoman said: 'Police received a report of an on-going fight in the street on Eglington Road in Grangetown at around 11am on Saturday 31 August.

'Officers attended, however, no one came forward with any injuries and no crime has been reported at this time.'

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:42

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Homeless parents forced to live in tent with six kids after being refused help

A homeless couple with a child as young as three have been raising their kids in a tent for a month. Joanne and Daniel Foster resorted to desperate measures after the pair fell ill and could no longer afford to rent. They appealed to their local council for help in March but were classed as ‘intentionally homeless’ – meaning they would not be prioritised for emergency accommodation. They pitched up tent in Daniel’s mum’s back garden in Kent, but fear their kids could catch pneumonia after waking up ‘absolutely freezing’ each morning. Joanne said: ‘The mornings at the moment are absolutely freezing – the kids wake up and you can hear the sniffles.

We don’t know how cold it’s going to get. Pneumonia, it can kill a child. ‘It’s horrible knowing that instead of going into their beds, they have got to go into a tent. ‘Putting them to bed in a tent – there are just no words at all. ‘Getting them ready for school out of a tent has been an absolute nightmare because they used to take so long anyway. ‘So trying to get them up and getting them ready with breakfast – waking up and it’s cold as well – it’s not nice at all. ‘It’s disgusting. Their human rights have been taken away from them and they haven’t done anything wrong.’

Before being made homeless Daniel worked as a French polisher at the houses of A-list celebs such as George Michael, while Joanne worked as a part-time barmaid. However, things quickly spiralled when they both contracted arthritis, forcing them to quit their jobs and switch over to benefits. Joanne said: ‘My husband was working, he had a brilliant job. ‘We were both really happy just plodding along, we didn’t have any worries. ‘Everything just got so behind that we just couldn’t get out of that situation, as much as we tried we just couldn’t.’ Thanet District Council are searching for emergency accommodation for the Fosters’ and their kids, who are between 3 and 14.

Joanne said she would take even a one bedroom property to give them a roof over their head -but claim the council have refused this option. She claims the local authority won’t give her a one or two bed because they say her eldest daughter needs her own room. Joanne said: ‘They say because my eldest daughter is 14 she’s got to have her own room. ‘But she hates sleeping on her own anyway so I’d happily take a three-bedroom house. ‘I’ve got three girls and three boys and they’ve all shared rooms. ‘I’d even take a two-bedroom and sleep in the front room – anything will do just to put a roof over my kids especially when it’s getting colder. ‘Even a one-bedroom – just anything that I can put my kids into.

Kent County Council, which runs social services for the area, was unable to comment on the case. A Thanet District Council spokesperson said they couldn’t comment on individual cases. The issue has now been brought to the attention of Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England. She said: ‘Regardless of the specifics of a case, for children, there should be a general and vital principle is that it cannot, in this country, at this time, be right that six of them live in a tent in a garden as their home. ‘Children need stable, safe and permanent homes within which not only to live, but to thrive and get the best start in life. A tent does not fulfil that. ‘Once families reach a crisis point, there are often a number of things that they and the authority could and should have done earlier to resolve the issue, but at this point this cannot be the end, or even a short term, solution’.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:35

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Extraordinary moment a woman kicks a man in the HEAD during a violent brawl on a busy Saturday night

Shocking video has emerged of a woman kicking a man in the head with the full force of a martial arts-style kick as he sat during a wild fight.

A sickening noise can be heard as a woman in high heels calmly kicks the defenceless man in the face as he sits on a Perth city street, seemingly injured, between two cars.

The woman calmly walks to where the man is sitting on the ground with another man behind him.

It is not clear in the video whether the man behind him is helping the injured man or restraining him.

What is clear is that the woman takes aim, reaches out a balancing hand to the man behind's shoulder, then pivots her hip for a full-force kick that hits her victim directly in the head. 

The disturbing attack was part of a brawl involving several young people outside Tiger Lils nightclub on Murray Street in Perth's CBD on Saturday night.

Mobile phone video has surfaced from a passer-by named only as 'Sam' who was shocked by what he saw, recorded it, and passed the footage to Nine News Perth.

'Pretty shocking, how out of hand it got so quickly, I wasn't expecting it to get to that level,' he said.

Sam said there was no attempt to stop the fight.

'It just went on in the middle of the street.' 

 The brawl began with pushing and shoving on the footpath on the busy city strip, progressing quickly with punches thrown.

Soon, two men can be seen rolling on the road with a third man as they try to punch and wrestle each other.

A man in pale blue jeans and a black T-shirt with a white diamond on the back can be seen trying to hold back the woman in the white dress.

As more men rush in to fight, traffic was stopped.

A blond man in a black shirt and shorts can be seen punching another man directly in the face, and he falls and rolls on the road, while a group of about 10 people continue their dispute in the background.

Several men were treated at the scene by paramedics but their condition was unknown on Monday.

Police did not attend the fight, Nine News reported. 

A WA Police spokesperson said no one has been charged in relation to the fight. 

Disgusted people vented their anger about the woman's kick.

'A thought out and deliberate kick to the head - hope she gets the book thrown at her too. A family member works there and saw it as it started inside. Apparently the sound of her kicking that guy was deafening,' one woman wrote on Facebook.

'In the video you can hear it. Disgusting behaviour,' wrote another in reply.

'Young girls behaving like out of control feral cats,' another person posted.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:29

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James Middleton credits his dogs for playing a 'vital role' in his recovery from clinical depression - as he announces new role in Crufts charity competition

James Middleton has credited his dogs for playing a 'vital role' in his recovery from clinical depression.

The 32-year-old brother to the Duchess of Cambridge, who has been frank about his struggles with mental health in an effort to raise awareness around the topic, also revealed his new role in a 2020 Crufts project.

The entrepreneur announced that he would be reading out the stories of the 'unsung dog hero' entrants of a new competition by dog welfare charity The Kennel Club, before meeting the finalists at the 'Friends For Life' competition next year.

The avid dog lover, who works as a host at Scottish hotel Glen Affric Lodge near Loch Ness, has nine dogs - Golden Retriever Mabel, a black Labrador, two Cocker Spaniels, and five black Spaniels called Rafa, Ella, Zulu, Inka and Luna.

In a video filmed in an unknown location, James can be seen sitting on a checked couch with two of his dogs, clad in jeans and a smart navy shirt.

Speaking directly to the camera, he said in the post shared with his 142,00 followers on Instagram: 'My own dogs played a vital role in my recovery from clinical depression. 

'In light of this I want to celebrate the important role dogs play in our lives and the unconditional love and support they give us'.

Urging the owners of dogs who have played a vital role in public services and beyond, he wrote: 'If you know of an unsung dog hero, PLEASE nominate them for the 2020 competition at - I will be honoured to read all the stories & meet the finalists at Crufts 2020'.

A variety of dogs with their owners can be seen in the touching video. 

James' Instagram account reveals he is an avid wildlife lover with a love of outdoor spots, who enjoys frequent hikes with his army of dogs. 

In August appeared at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home this week to donate his £2,299 Babboe Cargobike, which has a box large enough for his dogs, after he promised to make the donation if it was returned, when it was stolen in June. 

Last year it emerged the youngest Middleton is working as a host at Glen Affric Lodge near Loch Ness, owned by David Matthews, father of Pippa's hedge fund manager husband, James. 

Affric Lodge comes with ample opportunities for outdoor activities, along with personal gamekeepers, world-class cuisine from personal French chefs and a butler.

In June James also shared his first picture alongside French financial expert Alizee Thevenet, 29, who he started dating last summer.

The pair were pictured holidaying in St Barts with Pippa Middleton, her husband James Matthews, brother-in-law Spencer Matthews, and his wife Vogue Williams at the beginning of the year.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:18

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Woman Dreams She Swallowed Her Engagement Ring - Turns Out She Actually Did

You know that horrible dream where you think you've p****d yourself, and then you wake up and you've actually p****d yourself? Yeah, well that's basically what happened to a woman in the US, except instead of p*****g herself, she swallowed her engagement ring.

Jenna Evans, from San Diego, California, shared the amusing tale in a post on Facebook which has since gone viral, earning 54,000 shares and 32,000 comments.

The 29-year-old was dreaming of a 'very sketchy situation involving a high speed train and bad guys' when her husband-to-be, Bob, advising that she swallow it for some reason - 'cause that is the only way to prevent something from being nicked.

But when Jenna woke up, she realised the ring wasn't on her finger, which is when she twigged she'd actually gone and swallowed the bloody thing. After breaking the news to Bob and 'laughing for an hour and a half' they then headed to the hospital, where they confirmed the ring was indeed in her belly.

But the laughs quickly fizzled out when it began to 'really hurt' Jenna, who had to sign a release and be put under for an upper endoscopy. Fortunately, they managed to retrieve the ring without any hitches and it is now back where it belongs on her finger - though Bob was reluctant to give it her initially.

Jenna's recounting of the tickling ordeal is as lengthy as it is amusing, so here's an abridged version of her post: "On Wednesday morning, I realised my ring was not on my hand and had to wake Bob Howell up and tell him that I swallowed my engagement ring. I don't think he believed me right away.

"We laughed pretty hard for about an hour and a half, called my mom, laughed until we were crying, googled 'do other adults swallow rings' because kids do it all the time, but apparently it's less common for adults.

"I went to urgent care where I struggled to explain why I was there, because I was laughing/crying so hard. The doctor ordered an X-ray and seemed pretty shocked when she walked back in with a second doctor and showed me that sure enough, my ring was right there in my stomach! They called a gastroenterologist and decided it would be best NOT to let nature take its course. (Thank God) Before I left, she recommended seeing a sleep specialist as well.

"Bobby took me to the GI doctor where I got to tell a whole new group of doctors and nurses that yes, I swallowed my engagement ring. At this point, I could definitely feel it in my guts, it was starting to really hurt and make us nervous.

"They decided an upper endoscopy was just the thing and said don't worry its not big deal, but please sign this release form just in case you die. Then I cried a lot because I would be SO MAD if I died. I waited a long time for that damn engagement ring and I WILL marry Bobby Howell DAMNIT.

"Everything went great, they found my ring just beyond my stomach in my intestines, retrieved it and gave it to Bobby, not me.

"Bobby finally gave my ring back this morning - I promised not to swallow it again, we're still getting married and all is right in the world."

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:10

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Four kids almost killed when an iPhone charger burst into flame and engulfed their home

A mother-of-four says her children are lucky to be alive after an iPhone charger exploded in her Perth home, leaving them just minutes to run for their lives.

Melodie Gangell, 39, and her family lost everything they owned in the fire which started when an extension cord was plugged into the wall socket, and linked to an iPhone charger.  

Within minutes, flames filled their home in Noranda, about 10km north of the Perth CBD.

Now she is urging people to learn from her near-fatal mistake.  

'I do it all the time, my 15-year-old daughter does it... the phone wasn't even plugged in at the time,' she said. 

'We all do it... we plug things in, think "oh that doesn't reach, I'll just get an extension cord" - how many times have we plugged our phone in then grabbed it and just left?'   

Ms Gangell was at work and her four children, aged 9-18, were at home when the blaze broke out.

She said her eldest child had heard two loud popping noises coming from their front lounge room and gone to investigate. 

Her son Kale, 18, headed in to check on the noise, but before he got there, a third pop sounded and the wall socket burst into flames. 

'He knew straight away the fire was electrical and he couldn't put it out,' Ms Gangell said. 

'He grabbed my nine-year-old son and basically threw him out the door.'

Her two daughters, aged 15 and 12, were also able to escape, with one forced to climb out her brother's bedroom window when the smoke became too thick to navigate. 

Firefighters told Ms Gangell they could not see any source other than the socket in their front room, which only had an extension cord linked to an iPhone charger plugged in. 

'Whether it overheated or anything, I don't know,' she said. 

'From what I've heard from the neighbours, it was literally five minutes and the whole house was engulfed.'

Ms Gangell and her children have not yet been able to access the property, but photographs taken by her partner Ben, who was able to quickly walk through before the property was fenced off, show the utter devastation. 

Paint on the walls - where they still exist - has turned black, and the floor is covered in roof tiles and a thick layer of soot. 

Ms Gangell said she is still processing all that has happened, and said while using an extension cord for a phone charger is not uncommon, she won't be doing it again. 

The family of five are currently squeezed into Ms Gangell's partner's home, which he shares with a housemate, and are desperately fundraising to be able to afford to start over from scratch. 

'Like lots of others doing it tough as a single parent, they could not afford and did not have contents insurance,' their GoFundMe page reads.

'They now have nothing other than the clothes they had on today and their two dogs.'

The mother-of-four said she has been overwhelmed with offers of free furniture and clothing collections set up for her family through local community and single parenting groups on Facebook. 

Despite the help, Ms Gangell said there are some things that can not be replaced. 

'It really hit me - I have a blanket from my grandma, and I know that's gone and that was the only thing I have of her left,' she said. 

'I've stayed really strong and really calm and just kept going, because that's what you do when you have children, you stay strong and you don't break.

'It may seem silly, but when it's the only thing you have of someone and you just think - oh my god it's gone.'

Ms Gangell said the experience had left her committed to being more vigilant when it comes to safety, and warns everybody should take the same approach. 


'I guess just monitor [power cords] - don't leave it turned on, plugged in and just sitting there,' she said.  

'Turn everything off - take the extra two seconds. 

'And make sure you tell people you love them and you care about them, and don't worry about the silly stuff - this has been a big eye opener.'

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 09:04

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I met Paul online and he was my rock. One day in the car my world came crashing down..

It was a trivial conversation, but one that would end in tragedy.

As Gemma Cunliffe  drove her partner Paul Dudley home, the pair chatted about a treat she had picked up in the shops.

It was February 2017, and the pair were living in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. The pair had met 11 years earlier, on dating website Mutual Friends.

By 2012 Gemma had sold her home in Oldham and moved to a new town to live with Paul. The next few years were full of happiness - and they were there with each other in the hard times.

They wanted to get married, but there never seemed to be time. They couldn't possibly know how little time they would have together.

"It was stupid really, we were talking about dieting," Gemma, says of that fateful, final car journey she had with Paul.

"He was talking about how he wouldn't eat sweet things.

"I'd been down the shop, there were some iced buns. I said 'they were only 27p'.

"He said 'they were only a bargain if...' then he stopped talking. He made a snoring sound."

Paul slumped backwards, and a shocked Gemma pulled into a petrol station. When she cradled his head, his eyes rolled backwards.

"I phoned the ambulance. The police came - it was only five minutes", she said. "They got him out of the car onto the forecourt and they were doing CPR."

The medics' efforts were in vain.

One minute the couple had been having an ordinary conversation.

An hour later Paul had been pronounced dead in hospital, and Gemma's rock, the man who loved and cared for her, had gone.

Paul was just 44. He had spent that day painting at his late dad's house and had mentioned that he 'didn't feel well', but there had been no sign that he was dangerously ill.

Doctors concluded he died of heart failure, and, as he never regained consciousness, Gemma believes his life was lost at the moment he collapsed next to her in the car.

In that moment Gemma became part of a group who can feel particularly isolated and barely understood in our society - women and men who are widowed young.

For Gemma, the first few weeks after Paul's death were a fog.

"It was very traumatic, I had flashbacks. I was in a daze. My mum stayed with me for five weeks", she said.

"I don't remember a lot of it. I had three months off work. I was just in shock really."

Paul's death was the latest in a series of blows.

The couple had had a 'really good relationship', and would enjoy walks and days out. Paul was kind, calm, strong, and funny - he loved the sea, machinery and railways.

"It felt like we were meant to be," Gemma added.

But, in 2016, things began to 'go wrong'.

Gemma's mum Gill Kenworthy, and her mum's twin sister Judi, were both diagnosed with terminal lung cancer within a week of each other in August of that year.

Paul's dad Tony's health deteriorated, and he gave up his job as a joiner to become his full-time carer.

Tony passed away in October 2016.

"We were upset (about Tony's death) but we knew it was our time to look to the future. We were both planning to move further north," Gemma said.

Paul was 'supportive and caring', as Gemma coped with her loved ones' health problems, driving her up to Oldham to see her mum when she was having radiotherapy.

But, in a cruel twist of fate, Paul lost his life eight months before Gill, who died in October 2017.

Suddenly, the closest people to Gemma - her mum and partner - were gone. Then her mum's twin, Gemma's Aunt Judi, died in January 2018.

"You couldn't write it. If it was on Corrie, you wouldn't think it was realistic", Gemma said.

"When mum died it was just a blur. We were close. She went suddenly downhill. I stayed with her the night before, it was just a shock.

"It was very quick. I wasn't ready for it, like with Paul. They were the two people who had been there for me - my whole support network."

Struggling with the trauma, Gemma questioned whether it would be 'easier to give up on life'.

She stopped going out, and lost her motivation in life.

"Losing Paul was like losing a part of myself. I didn't get much pleasure out of things. I'd think 'it's not the same, I want to be with Paul'."

Feeling lost without her soul-mate, Gemma joined a support group for young widows.

"I wanted someone to tell me I would be OK, even though I knew it wouldn't," she admits.

Everyone at the group was really supportive, and she is still a member now.

Despite lacking motivation, there was one other thing that piqued her interest - and brought her relief from her troubles.

A member of Gemma young widows group mentioned a 'tuneless' choir that existed in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, for people that 'can't sing'.

Gemma thought she'd try it out, and went along to one of the rehearsals. 

"I loved it, everyone was really friendly. When you sing you feel good, it releases endorphins", she said.

"Every song seemed to be poignant and about love. It was quite hard. Sometimes I would get upset and would go outside and cry. It was like a release of emotions."

In April this year, Gemma decided to move back to Oldham to be closer to her family, and got a job at Oldham Council.

Her dad Barry has 'taken her on', helping her with practical things, like Paul used to.

"My family wanted me back up here, my brother is here, and my dad. They were worried about me on my own. I put a bit of a face on. I was not a person who wears their emotions on their sleeve.

"It's been hard adjusting. It took a bit of getting used to.

"I have only gone back to work in the last couple of weeks. I have got good friends up here. It's nice to be able to go back to work."

She still cries 'most days', but says support from others has made a 'massive difference'.

And, as she embarks on a new chapter in life, Gemma wants other people in the same situation to know that things do get easier.

Even though some people say insensitive things, like 'It doesn't matter how hard you cry, he won't come back'.

"I don't think they mean it maliciously. People think you'll get over it after a few months or a year, but I'll never get over it.

"It would be easier to give up, it's hard to keep going. But it does get easier each day."

Gemma missed being part of the tuneless choir when she moved home. So she decided to set up her own group in Oldham.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 08:51

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Policewoman jumped in river to try and save drowning baby thrown off bridge

A policewoman who raced to save a baby allegedly thrown from a bridge into a river later tweeted about her "worst shift" ever.

Constable Jessica Voiels, 24, was one of the first to arrive at the scene to try to rescue Zakari Bennett-Eko.

The 11-month-old had allegedly been thrown into the water. His father Zak Bennett-Eko, 22, has been charged with murder.

The baby died despite frantic efforts of emergency crews to save his life.

Miss Voiels took to Twitter to describe the horrific incident at the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, saying "Had my worst shift yesterday. I can't see many things being as bad as that in the future."

The police officer's mother Julie McCormick later said her daughter had leapt into the water on Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to save the child.

Mrs McCormick said: "She jumped into the river to try to save the baby. It is awful.

"Her sergeant sent her a text saying not many people go through that in a lifetime.

"People have been texting her saying that they hope she is OK. They are so proud of her and she has handled it really well."

However, Greater Manchester Police denied any officers had entered the water, saying it would have been unsafe to do so. On her Twitter feed Miss Voiels, who describes herself as a "response cop in Bury," received messages of support from colleagues and friends.

Inspector Jim Jones posted a tweet praising the officer, who graduated from Liverpool University with a criminology degree.

"Many cops will never deal with that in 30 years," he wrote. "Proud of you." The baby was rescued from the water by firefighters before being rushed to hospital by ambulance. Yesterday Bennett-Eko was remanded in custody at Manchester Magistrates' Court. He is due to appear before a judge on Monday.

The child's mother, Emma Blood, 22, issued a tribute to her son, describing him as a "cheeky chappie" who had everyone wrapped around his little finger.

She said: "On Wednesday afternoon my life changed forever. "Zakari was my life for 11 months and will be the heart of our family for many years to come. He was a cheeky little chappie with a smile that melted hearts. He was the youngest of five generations of our family and was loved beyond belief.

Zakari wrapped everyone around his little finger. He was a happy and content baby with a gorgeous little smile and a head full of curls. Everyone that met him fell in love with him instantly.

"It's hard to comprehend that I will not get to see my baby grow up to be the handsome decent man I knew he would become."

Zakari was rescued by fire crews around 100 yards from the bridge and paramedics tried to revive him.

Police initially said he was in a critical condition but his mother was told he was dead when she arrived at A&E.

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 08:38

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Kayaker, 22, chose to have her right leg amputated after an accident in the water caused her to develop agonising 'suicide disease'

A woman has told how she chose to have her leg amputated after a minor accident left her in constant pain. 

Helena Stone, of north London, developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), dubbed 'suicide disease', after a kayaking accident six years ago.

Despite being told she would be 'fine in two weeks', the pain 'never went away', with Miss Stone comparing it to 'burning barbed wire round her leg'.

Unable to walk or even shower, the 22-year-old made the dramatic decision to have her right leg amputated on September 3. 

Nearly two weeks on, Miss Stone is getting about on crutches and will shortly start rehabilitation to learn how to walk on prosthetics. 

Far from being put off kayaking, she hopes to one day represent the UK in the sport at the Paralympics.  

Miss Stone, from Islington, was 16 when her leg became trapped while kayaking in Wales.  

'My foot got caught in the water and my leg got pulled,' she said. 'I knew it was bad enough that I went to A&E, but I thought it was temporary.

'They sent me away on crutches and said I'd be fine in two weeks. The pain never went away.

'It was like someone had tied a burning barbed wire round my leg and pulled it tight.' 

Over the next six years, Miss Stone endured spinal injections, physiotherapy and even ketamine infusions but nothing rid her of the pain.     

'I would always have a baseline level of pain but anything could trigger it to become unbearable,' she said.

'It wasn't just a simple knock or bash. Changes in air pressure could set it off. People didn't want to sit next to me in case they brushed it.

'I couldn't even have a shower without breaking down.' Miss Stone first considered amputating her right leg in January.

The NHS does not perform or advise amputation for CRPS because it could make symptoms worse in the stump. Miss Stone therefore had the operation privately. 

'You get to a point where you're so desperate,' she said. 'You just think, how much worse can it get? It was worth taking that risk.

'I knew ultimately the leg wouldn't be there to ulcerate and get bashed.'

As well as ridding her of the pain, Miss Stone claims the amputation boosted her mood. 

'It was a mental health decision,' she said. 'I wouldn't say I was suicidal but I had days or weeks where I just couldn't be bothered.

'They call it the suicide disease in America. If people don't have a support network, they crumble.'

Miss Stone went under the knife at the Princess Grace Hospital in Marylebone, London, and immediately felt better. 

'It's been amazing,' she said. 'I was telling the doctors the nerve pain was gone.

'Any question they asked me, I kept saying the CRPS was gone. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't say anything else.' 

Once fully recovered, she will be mentored by gold medallist Andy Lewis, who won the Paratriathlon in Rio 2016.

'If I was given the opportunity to go for that Paralympics, I'm not going to say no,' Moss Stone said.

'But most of all, I just can't wait to start running and kayaking again.

'The accident hasn't changed how I see kayaking. It's a big part of my identity and I still love it.

'I've not become disabled by chopping the leg off, I've become enabled by it.'  

Miss Stone, who is speaking out to raise awareness of CPRS, warns other sufferers not to assume amputation is the right option for them. 

'If you are considering amputation, that's completely normal but don't underestimate the magnitude of the decision,' she said.

'I wouldn't want someone to look at me, who's fine now, and make the decision to lose their limb.

'There is no known cure. I might not be in pain right now, but tomorrow it could come back somewhere else.'

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 08:19

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Heart implant approved in Britain for the first time saves baby's life after defect left him struggling to breathe

A SIX-WEEK-OLD baby is fighting for life, desperate for a heart transplant after a rare defect caused him to have two cardiac arrests.

Little Charlie Douthewaite is the youngest patient waiting for a heart transplant and has already endured nine surgeries and more than 20 blood transfusions.

Tracie Wright, 30, and Steven Douthewaite, 32, were given the devastating news their baby was suffering from a rare heart defect at their 20-week scan.

After considering an abortion, the parents-of-three were adamant that their son deserved a chance at life.

Charlie was fitted with a shunt to control blood flow in his heart when he was just three days old.

But four days later Charlie suffered his first cardiac arrest and has been on life support ever since.

Despite several surgeries to mend his tiny heart Tracie and Steven were told Charlie needs a new heart three weeks ago.

Tracie, of Fenham, Newcastle, said: “When we found out Charlie had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) at his 20-week scan we were absolutely devastated.

“We had never even heard of it before so we didn't know what to think.

“We were in total shock, especially after having two other pregnancies without any complications.

“We thought about a termination but we were adamant that Charlie deserved a chance to live and a chance to fight.

“Charlie is such a little fighter, we are so proud of him. He has endured more in such a short time than most adults could.”

After Charlie’s first cardiac arrest it took medics half an hour to bring him back.

Tracie has shared pictures of her tiny boy covered in tubes and surrounded by medical equipment in the hope it raises awareness about the importance of organ donation.

“Finding out Charlie would need a new heart was horrendous. I just didn't want to believe it. It's sickening to think another baby will have to lose their life to keep our baby alive,” she said.

“But whoever that baby is will be giving the most amazing gift, the gift of life to our Charlie.

“Charlie is our whole world and no words could ever describe how incredibly grateful we would be to the family who agrees to let him have their baby's heart.”

HLHS is a congenital heart disease that affects the normal flow of blood through the heart and the formation of the left side of the heart.

It is a congenital heart defect, meaning it is present at birth.

Shortly after receiving Charlie's devastating diagnosis, Tracie developed obstetric cholestasis – a pregnancy related liver condition that can be toxic to babies if they are taken to full term.

At 38 weeks, Tracie's was induced and Charlie was born via emergency caesarean on October 2 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

Despite looking “perfect” Charlie's condition was so severe that he had a hole in his heart between two chambers and underdeveloped valves that were small and leaking.

He will not be allowed home until he has a new heart.

Tracie travels a two hour round trip to Charlie’s bedside everyday while her and Steven try to keep things normal for their other children Ryan, seven, and Jamie, 10.

“Going through labour was so scary, I was absolutely terrified. Charlie's heart rate kept dropping with my contractions so I had to have an emergency caesarean.

“When he came, he had to be taken away straight away. It was nice hearing him cry and knowing he was here and alive but awful not being able to hold him. That's all any mother wants to do.

"Steven and I didn't get to hold him for the first time until the morning before he went in for his first surgery.

“He was absolutely stunning. He's so beautiful, you never would imagine there was anything wrong with him. Outside he's perfect, it's just his heart that is broken.”

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Sadly there is a shortage of donated organs and around three people die a day in need of a transplant.

“Hearts need to be matched by size and a very young child like Charlie will only be able to receive a heart from a child whose family agree to donate.

“We urge everyone to please join the NHS Organ Donor Register and then tell your family you want to donate. A few words can make an extraordinary difference.”

stella Posted on September 19, 2019 08:08

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Boy, 4, with cancer bullied by adults because of his weight

The mother of a little boy who has gained almost three stone due to a rare, life-limiting condition says she is astonished by the cruel comments he receives – especially from adults. Banner Sears was diagnosed with ROHHAD in June of last year, months after his weight increased at an alarming rate and he began experiencing breathing problems. The syndrome, which impacts the autonomic nervous system, means the youngster weighs five stone – almost twice the average for children his age. His mother Lyndsay Sears, 39, said she was shocked at reactions of some adults, adding that their comments only add to the grief that comes with accepting their child’s life-limiting condition. ‘People can be so cruel,’ she said.

The hairstylist from Rhode Island described how one house refused to give Banner any sweets when they were out trick or treating. Another time, at the fair, ‘a woman started pointing at him and doing a blow up face’ as he ate a doughnut. ‘In 2019 when there are so many invisible diseases it shocked me that an adult could behave like that,’ said the mother-of-two.

‘He’s just a little kid and he doesn’t understand, which is lucky, but people are just unbelievably cruel.’ ROHHAD stands for Rapid Onset Obesity (RO) with Hypothalamic Dysregulation (H), Hypoventilation (H) and Autonomic Dysregulation (AD). According to the ROHHAD Association, there are only 100 children in the world with the condition and those diagnosed with the illness typically die in their teens and early twenties.

Banner’s symptoms began in February 2018, when he gained just over half a stone in six weeks following a bout of flu. His weight continued to balloon and he began experiencing breathing problems, culminating in a six-month hospital stay due to a viral infection last September. The four-year-old was also forced to undergo surgery to remove a tumour last December and underwent experimental low-dose chemotherapy to try and slow the onset of his condition which caused him to lose his hair. Despite all that, Lyndsay – who with husband Brian are also parents to two-year-old Blaise – says Banner is excited to start preschool on September 17. ‘He is starting school on Tuesday and I am so excited for him to have structure and I hope it will give him a boost,’ she said.

I think it will be wonderful for him.’ She added: ‘I want him to gain some independence back and hopefully school will be the best thing for him.’

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 14:26

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Father-of-two who lost his sight in horrific London acid attack 20 years ago finally has his vision restored after undergoing pioneering stem cell treatment

A father's eyesight has been miraculously restored through a clinical trial of stem cell treatment more than two decades after losing it in an acid attack.

James O'Brien, 44, was sprayed with ammonia by a younger student at his school on his way home from the cinema at 18 years old in Sutton, London - leaving him blind in his right eye. 

In the moment his 'face felt like fire' and he thought he was going to die with acid pouring into his nostrils and mouth. He was then rushed to hospital where he spent two weeks on eye drops and other medications.

But the father-of-two went on to become one of the first patients to undergo life-changing £92,000 eye surgery on the NHS as he 'felt like (he) had nothing to lose'.

The stem cells from his healthy left eye were grown in a lab for six months in Modena, Italy, around a year ago, as part of the trial. 

Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London then replaced the scar tissue from his right eye with the lab-produced stem cells, last year.

They gave the cells one year to adjust before inserting a cornea and the medical procedure was completed in June. 

The success of the surgery 'means the world' and has 'definitely improved (his) life' as he is a keen cyclist. More importantly it has had a 'really positive' impact on how he feels about himself.

James, who lives in York with his wife Lisa, said: 'It's the little things I've appreciated the most, like being able to see my wife and children clearly for the first time. 

'Before I could barely see the chart with all the letters on, now I can see the third line down and it's only going to get much better.'    

Dr Sajjad Ahmad who performed the surgery said James 'kindly accepted to be the guinea pig' for the treatment and because of the result, they can offer it to 'everyone who needs it. 

He hopes to develop the treatment for people blinded in acid attacks and suffering degenerative diseases.

'This is going to have a huge impact. A lot of these patients are young men so it affects their work, their lives, those around them.'

James has a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son with his wife - and there were instances where other children would 'recoil in horror' at his right eye's heavy scarring. 

James has said a passerby who rushed over and poured some of the ammonia away might have saved his left eye. 

However, doctors told him early on he was likely to have suffered permanent damage.

'It was a traumatic thing to go through, particularly at such a young age,' James added, and was a case of being 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'.


He went on to identify the attacked who he claims has spent years in a Young Offenders Institute.

Prior to the surgery James's right eye was heavily scarred but part of the operation involved surgeons smoothing out the scarring and making the damage there before far less pronounced.  

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have approved the treatment for all eligible patients.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 14:18

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Wife of British former headteacher, 65, says the end was 'dignified and calm, exactly as he wanted' after he paid £10,000 to die at Swiss Dignitas clinic following terminal motor neurone disease diagnosis just four years ago

The wife of a terminally ill British headteacher who ended his life at the Dignitas in Switzerland yesterday said his death was 'dignified and calm, exactly as he wanted'.

Richard Selley, from Perth in Scotland, ended his life at the clinic in Switzerland yesterday, with wife Elaine and brother Peter at his bedside.

The 65-year-old paid around £10,000 and died at lunchtime. 

Shortly after, Mrs Selley wrote on her family's blog Moments with MND that her husband 'had taken control of his own destiny' after choosing to pass away at the Swiss clinic.

She said: 'At Dignitas, in a clinically clean room, well appointed but devoid of any personal touches, we could feel all the love that has been shared with us over the years.

'The end was dignified and calm, exactly as Richard wanted. He had taken control of his own destiny.' 

Mrs Selley thanked friends and the staff at Dignitas for their 'exceptional' work and support over the past few months.

She also said that she will 'continue to fight for the human right of those who are terminally ill to choose how and when they die in Scotland.'

She said: 'The experience of travelling to Switzerland will never leave me. It was traumatic. 

'No one should ever need to make that journey from a supposedly humane and compassionate country like Scotland.'

Before his death Mr Selley made a final plea to politicians to legalise assisted deaths in the UK.

He said the law change would be 'too late' for him but would enable other terminally ill people to 'die peacefully'. 

He said the cost of attending the clinic in Switzerland is about £10,000 which he said he is 'fortunate' to be able to afford, unlike other suffers of similar conditions. 

The ex-headteacher of Loretto junior school in Musselburgh, East Lothian, begged politicians in Scotland and in Westminster to help others facing similar decisions.

He said: 'Since my diagnosis with MND four years ago, I have lost the ability to walk, talk and swallow. I have also lost most of the power in my arms.

'Despite these losses I have tried very hard to remain positive and my palliative care has been outstanding.

'However, as I enter the final stage of my journey, I don't wish to suffer for much longer so I am seeking an assisted death with Dignitas.

'Despite what some people think, Dignitas do not let people simply fly to Zurich, knock on their door and ask to die.

'I have already had to compose letters, write a life story and obtain medical records that prove that I am terminally ill.

'This has been stressful, particularly as my GP was advised to refuse my request for an up-to-date medical report.' 

MND is an incurable neurological condition that attacks the nerves that control movement. 

It is a rare condition that mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s. 

Writing on his and Mrs Selley's blog earlier this week, Mr Selley said he had 'shed some tears' after making the decision,

He penned: 'Throughout this month, I have known that I will die on September 6. That has been a surreal experience, not dissimilar, perhaps, to that faced by someone waiting in a condemned cell.

'I will end my life in a few days' time, and I have to admit, those moments have rarely been out of my mind recently, I have shed some tears, but my overriding emotion has been one of relief.

'As I have said my goodbyes to family and friends, or read their farewell messages, I have felt profoundly sad, but feelings such as anger and despair left me long ago. 

'Elaine will be at my side in Switzerland, and although parting from each other will be unbearable, she knows that I cannot battle with this awful disease any longer.'

Mrs Selley, 57, was until recently head of private Glenalmond College, Perthshire. The couple, who have been married for eight years and have five children between them, live in the grounds.

Mrs Selley said in July that she was 'angry' at the fact she could have faced prosecution for helping her husband. 

She said: 'It is the toughest thing I have had to do. You never, for one minute, think you will be talking publicly to the nation about your husband dying.

There needs to be a change in the law that allows people like Richard to die in peace at home, surrounded by family and loved ones. 

'It's awful to have to go abroad and he's going early I think. If the law was different in Scotland, he probably would still be with us another few months.'

Mrs Selley said her husband came to the decision to end his life when he could no longer eat unassisted. 

She said: 'March was the cut-off point for Richard when he couldn't get a spoon into his mouth for breakfast. At that point he said 'I've had enough'.' 

Mr Selley has previously said his earliest suspicions that he had MND were triggered by watching The Theory Of Everything, a biopic about the life of Professor Stephen Hawking.

Only three months after seeing the film, he was diagnosed with the terminal illness and his ability to speak, walk and eat began to deteriorate.

The average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 14 months but the former economics teacher has now lived with the illness for years.

Holyrood has twice considered bills aims at introducing assisted suicide, with these having brought forward by independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who suffered from Parkinson's disease and died in 2014. 

Green MSP Patrick Harvie also brought forward a bill on the same subject after her death.

However, these both failed to get enough support to proceed through the Scottish Parliament.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 14:12

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Michael Jackson's ex-bodyguard lives in 'constant fear' of losing his 3-year-old son to a mystery superbug - as the toddler suffers sudden seizures that cause his heart to stop beating

A celebrity bodyguard who once worked for Michael Jackson, has revealed that he lives in constant fear that his three-year-old son will suddenly die.

Matt Fiddes, from Wiltshire, whose youngest son, Hero, suffers from a super bug that doctors have been unable to cure, has told how the toddler had a close call with death while on a family holiday to Turkey last month. 

The family were visiting a five star luxury resort in Belek when Hero's health suddenly took a turn for the worst, with his temperature escalating to 37.7c. Within minutes the three-year-old was having a seizure and was then in full cardiac arrest, falling unconscious.

Now Matt, who believes he would have been unable to save his son without the hotel's medical team, is speaking out in the hopes of raising awareness of the importance of having first aid skills. 

Last year, Hero was saved by a paramedic who left her lunch break when she heard that he was suffering a seizure.   

Matt says the three-year-old's episode in Turkey was far worse than his previous encounter, and that the first aid administered within the first few minutes is what helped to save his life.

In aid of his son, Matt has launched his own First Aid skills classes to encourage more people to learn basic life-saving skills. 

'The doctors did warn us after Hero's first seizure that some children and toddlers have a superbug which causes them to have a seizure, their heart to stop and they have no idea where it has come from.

'As a result of what happened to Hero the first time around, we are always cautious about his temperature as any rise seems to trigger a seizure,' he said.

He continued: 'The resort in Turkey where we were staying had a great kids club which Hero loved. He woke up with his brother that day and wanted to go there.

'We were sitting by the pool when we got a phone call about his temperature and they asked us to bring Calpol for him from our room as they can't administer medicine. Moniqe and I immediately knew what was happening and we started to run to help Hero.

'Three minutes later we had another call to say Hero was having a seizure and a nanny at the kids club who was supervising the children had grabbed his tongue. Two doctors on site and a nurse were also called to the club along with an ambulance.

'When we arrived at the scene, we could see Hero was not breathing, his heart had stopped and doctors were trying to resuscitate him.

'But they were struggling to get anywhere because Hero's jaw was locked due to spasms from the seizure. The nanny had managed to put a spoon in Hero's mouth just in time to stop him from swallowing his tongue but Hero's mouth was now trapped tight around it.

'At this time Moniqe was pulled out of the room because she was panicking and screaming. There was no colour in Hero, he looked like a dead body.

'A doctor managed to restart Hero's heart, but they needed to get his mouth open to secure an airway for a tube.

'I had no choice but to sign permission for a muscle relaxant and anti-seizure drug. This was given and his mouth opened. And they tubed an airway to breathe for him.

The doctors told me it was 50/50 whether he would survive as the drug was like Valium and Hero was not breathing. 

'The drug would suppress breathing and can cause respiratory failure. There was no sign of his mouth or body relaxing and a big fear from the doctors is that he would have another seizure as his temperature was rising.

'The medication was administered as depositories and worked. Once he was stable he was put in the back of an ambulance and taken to hospital.'

Matt added: 'So we nearly lost our little boy again. It was very traumatic. Hero certainly lives up to his name!'.

Hero has now been prescribed anti-seizure drugs which he will have to take for three years, in addition to Matt and Moniqe having to carry an emergency drug with them at all times in case he has another turn.

Doctors in England are currently examining the MRI scan that was taken at the Turkish hospital in the hopes of finding some cause for Hero's medical condition which so far has left them baffled.

Speaking about the impact Hero's health has on their family life, Matt revealed Moniqe is weary of being left alone with their son.

What can cause a seizure? 

The most common cause of seizures is epilepsy. 

But not every person who has a seizure has epilepsy. 

Sometimes seizures happen because of high fever, which can be associated with an infection such as meningitis.


He said: 'When Hero had his last seizure, I was able to help save him but this time around it was much more severe and I wouldn't have been able to help him had I been on my own. We are very grateful to the medical team at the hotel for helping to save Hero.

'I'm now forever touching his forehead to make sure that he's okay. The slightest noise that he makes at night, Moniqe will rush to his bedside, because we know that it could happen at any time.

'She doesn't like to be left alone with the kids because she's worried in case anything happens to Hero and she can't help him. Now, she goes pretty much everywhere with me. I think she feels like she's letting down the family but she doesn't want to take the risk of something happening to Hero.

'Hero and I definitely have a stronger bond because of what happened the first time around.

'Hero has lost control of his eye muscles a little because of the seizure and the doctors believe his eye sight maybe damaged due to lack of oxygen for a period of time. We're all now just hoping that they can find out what's wrong with him.'

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 14:04

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Son, 21, is jailed for just THREE YEARS despite beating his 90-year-old father to death in a rage after he refused to give his mother £10 for cigarettes

A 21-year-old has been jailed for more than three years after beating his 90-year-old father to death because his mother asked the son for £10 for cigarettes. 

Michael Burns left his father William with a fractured cheekbone, eye socket and ribs after punching him repeatedly in the doorway of the family home in Netherton, Merseyside.

The attack took place moments after William and his wife Diane, 58, had returned from church on March 24. 

Mr Burns was rushed to hospital three days later, when officers found him slumped on the living room floor. 

He died in hospital after catching pneumonia on April 6. 

Burns pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Liverpool Crown Court before being sentenced.

The court heard that he has autistic spectrum disorder and is now a father to a two-month-old child.

Mrs Burns had called up to Burns in his bedroom to ask for £10 on the day of the attack, prosecutor Anya Horwood told the court. 

Burns shouted: 'I’m sick of this, I’m always giving you money.' 

The defendant then came downstairs and ran towards his father, who was standing near the front door, with clenched fists.  

'He began to punch his father to the face and side of body,' said Ms Horwood.

The attack ended at the family home when Mrs Burns intervened, the court heard.

Mr Burns was seen by a doctor at home the following day but was only sent to hospital after a neighbour called the police on March 27.

They arrived to find Mr Burns collapsed on the floor of the living room. 

When Burns was arrested he told officers he had 'just flipped' and admitted hitting his father on previous occasions, although none of them resulted in serious injury, the court heard. 

Lloyd Morgan, defending, said Burns had autistic spectrum disorder.

'He is a young man wracked with guilt, shame and horror that his actions have killed the father he loved and have caused his mother such pain and despair,' he said. 

'No matter what sentence is passed upon him today, he will be suffering a sentence for the rest of his life - the knowledge he took the life of his father.'

The court heard that Mrs Burns had written a statement in which she spoke of the loss of her husband but also of her 'heartbreak' at the thought of losing her son.

Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary QC said: 'I recognise that your mother is desperate about the predicament in which you are now placed.

'I’m satisfied that you do not represent a significant risk to others in the future and are not therefore to be regarded as dangerous.'

But the judge said he could not 'ignore the level of violence used' against Mr Burns, whom he described as slight of build, small and 'particularly frail'.

The court heard that Burns, from Salford, was now a father to a two-month-old child and had the support of his partner and wider family.

He shook in the dock as he awaited his sentence.

A number of family members in the public gallery were in tears as he was jailed.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:57

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UK's first Down's syndrome couple to marry 24 years ago face devastating diagnosis

Skipping happily along the seafront hand in hand, Tommy and Maryanne Pilling sing Let’s Go Fly a Kite.

As they embrace and discuss what ice cream they will have, they look like any other couple in the first throes of love.

But they have already been married 24 years – after becoming the first Down’s syndrome couple in the UK to tie the knot in 1995.

They have enjoyed the longest marriage of anybody with the condition and everyone who knows them says their romance is like a “fairytale”.

Maryanne, 48, says: “I love him. I loved him from the first time I met him.”

And pointing towards his wedding ring, Tommy, 61, adds: “I wear this every day. I married her, I did.”

From their daily walks on the beach in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, to rustling up something special in the kitchen, they have done everything together since meeting at a life skills training centre in July 1990.

Sadly, Tommy lost both parents by 12 and was in residential care – but Maryanne’s family took him under their wing.

After 18 months, Tommy bought a plastic ring from a vending machine and, having asked permission from Maryanne’s mum, Linda Martin, he popped the question.

Linda, 69, says: “When I sent out the invitations people said it wouldn’t last and asked me what I’d do if it didn’t.

"But we need to treat Tommy and Maryanne like adults. Everyone should be able to marry the love of their lives.”

The big day itself was certainly something to remember as 250 family and friends gathered at church in 1995.

Maryanne says: “We got married on July 15. I had a white dress and I wore a crown like a princess.

"And Tommy was in a suit with a shirt and tie. My wedding day was the best day of my life. I love my husband. He is my best friend.”

Maryanne and Tommy then moved in with Linda before getting their own flat, next door, in 2002.

Linda says: “They would talk all the time, from the moment they woke up to the moment they went to sleep. I had to bang on the wall because they’d be in hysterics.

“They also cooked with me every night and I taught them the basics of how to make fresh dinners. These two are marvellous in the kitchen. That’s where Tommy gets into his element.”

When we visit Tommy and Maryanne in their flat, their pride shines through. Maryanne says: “I clean it every day.”

The couple’s love for music is also apparent, as the apartment is crammed with Elvis memorabilia. There is even wallpaper with the King’s face and a cuckoo clock that plays his songs.

So it comes as no surprise when Tommy sings Love me Tender to his wife. “I sing this to her every day,” he says. “I sang it when we got married too.”

Maryanne nods while cradling a heart-shaped locket containing a photo of them with their names engraved.

The couple renewed their vows on their 20th wedding anniversary in 2014, in front of 150 people. And every year, they are keen to celebrate their anniversary and show the world their love.

But devastatingly, Tommy may not be able to remember their 25th anniversary next year.

He was diagnosed with dementia five years ago and already struggles to do day-to-day tasks like tying his shoelaces or washing his hair.

Heartbreakingly, he also sometimes forgets who Maryanne is. If he continues to decline, her family fear they may be forced to separate for the first time.

Maryanne’s sister Lindi Newman, 31, says: “He’s forgotten who Maryanne is a handful of times. He pushes her away and says, ‘I don’t know who you are’ and ‘I don’t love you’.

"Maryanne takes that to heart and is hysterical. She calls me and I go across the road to calm them down. It’s scary for Tommy too but then he forgets anything has happened.

“We tell her Tommy forgets things because his brain’s a bit poorly and he’s getting older.

"But we take each day as it comes because we’ve been told if Tommy needs residential care, Maryanne wouldn’t be able to go with him. We’d do whatever we could to stop it happening.”

Maryanne is also determined to do everything she can to help Tommy.

Lindi says: “Tommy can’t put his own shoes on or fasten his jewellery or watches. Maryanne also helps him in and out of the bath, helps get him get dressed and things like that.”

Maryanne chips in: “I tell him I love him three times a day. We have kisses and cuddles. I do all I can.”

And this is clear to see when we head to the beach, as she grabs Tommy’s hand and leads him in the right direction.

“Come on, Tom,” she grins as they point out their favourite lunch spots and pubs. “We just like spending time together,” she adds. “Sometimes we get an ice cream and a shandy.”

And when Tommy stumbles, Maryanne is right there to support him. “Easy, tiger,” she laughs as she steadies him.

The pair are working to make new memories and will go to Disneyland this summer with Lindi and her family.

Lindi says: “Next year, when Maryanne and Tommy reach 25 years, my husband and I will have been married 10 and my mother-in-law and father-in-law 50 – so we have a huge celebration planned with all the family going on holiday.

"Every year they have together is special and we make the most of it. And I always take lots of photos and have them put into an album for Tommy to help his memory.”

Devoted Tommy and Maryanne have also won the hearts of 53,000 Facebook followers.

Lindi says: “There’s just so much love that comes through there. Tommy and Maryanne have set the bar throughout their relationship. It’s literally a fairytale.

“Tommy is very romantic. He always opens doors for Maryanne and buys her flowers. He’s very old-school.”

And while Tommy is tired when we leave him, we still hear him repeat: “I married Maryanne on 15th July.”

Because no matter what happens, she is always the first thing on his mind.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:49

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Mother who chose to raise her child in war-torn Syria reveals that the constant fear of death taught her to 'feel every minute' of her life so deeply'

A mum who raised her child in a conflict zone revealed that she's still struggling to sleep due to the 'trauma' she faced in war-torn Syria

Award-winning journalist Waad al-Kateab appeared on This Morning where she opened up about her film 'For Sama', documenting her life raising her daughter, now four, in a country ravaged by civil war.   

The mother-of-two confessed that after living through the 'brutal battles' of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, she has learned to live life 'minute by minute' . 

Revealing she's been suffering with post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of her tumultuous situation, she said: 'We're trying to sleep as much as we can. 

'To be honest in any trauma situation you feel there are many problems. Everything you've seen in the film is still happening right now.

'Thousands of mothers and thousands of children are going though the same thing.' 

Waad admitted that she has learned to 'feel every minute' of her life so deeply', because she could never be certain of her survival while living in Syria. 

She said:  'Under those circumstances you can't feel like you will survive and think about the next step. You just live everyday minute by minute

Something you can learn from this situation you need to feel every minute so deeply - the love, even the sadness sometimes - and think about how to spend the last minute of your life with passion and feeling. 

'In that situation you can't think of more than the day itself.'

As for whether becoming a mother changed her, the journalist says 'everything' became more 'extreme' after having a child.  

She said: 'Everything when I was a mum was more extreme, with everything.  The happiness was more, and the fear was much, much more. 

'It was all mixed with how I was trying to be strong for myself and her and my husband and my hope that I would stay alive, but I knew that maybe not.' 

The family traveled to Turkey after fleeing the country while Waad was pregnant and eventually returned to Aleppo, when Sama was seven-months-old . 

When quizzed on their return, she confessed that after living through 'horrors' with people in the city, she felt she and her husband had to be there to help people as a journalist and doctor, respectively. 

She said: 'We just felt we need to be there, we lived with these people for five years during the extremes of the revolution, through the horror and many, many situations. 

'We felt we could not leave them alone.' 

She went on to explain that although she sometimes doubted her choices, she feels she was 'fighting' for a better life for her daughter. 

She said: 'Every mother around the world has that. Am I doing the right thing for her? Am I doing good for her? and the feeling was much more in these circumstances.' 

'[I thought] I'm Syrian, I'm in Syria. This is my home, this is where I should be and fight for a good future for her. 

 'All the circumstances, these brutal battles happening, if we do not stand up for our people we will not have the life we deserve.  

 'I feel like I have some life inside me, I’m bringing life to a place where people are dying. It gives me hope and strength that we are stronger than what they’re trying to do.'

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:40

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Dad Paralysed After Banging Head While Playing With Daughter In Soft Play Area

Ashley Hooper hit a padded bar of a climbing frame at Once Upon a Playtime while playing with daughter Lottie and collapsed in pain.

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery on his spine following the freak accident during the £4.95 session in Bridgend, South Wales.

Medics are hopeful he will make a good recovery as he is now able to move his toes.

Partner Carly Fraser, 29, said: "While in the play frame he hit his head on one of the padded bars with such a force it compressed his spine leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

"His spinal cord is bruised and swollen and because he’s got a narrow spinal canal there wasn’t a lot of room to allow for swelling.

"The swelling is compressing on nerves which left him in severe pains through his upper body."

Medics operated on his damaged spinal cord - removing bones from his neck to relieve pressure and adding a metal rod to keep him straight.

Carly said: "He is on flat bed rest for 6 weeks and in time we are hoping and praying that Ashley will start to regain movement of his limbs.

"He’s already made amazing progress."

Staff said it "quickly became apparent" the injury was serious and the Welsh Ambulance Service was called

Carly added: "The doctors are very happy and while they can’t guarantee anything they believe that he’s heading in the right direction.

"Recovery of this type of injury varies from person to person but Ashley is so positive and confident and is fighting every single day.

"All we can all do is hope and pray for the best possible outcome."

The centre encourages adults to play with their little ones during the soft play sessions.

It states: "Why should you miss out on all the fun!! All of our equipment is designed and built with adults in mind, so join in with the dress up and try out the slides."

The staff at the play centre has raised over £500 to help the family as Ashley recovers.

A play centre spokeswoman said: "We as a staff have been completely devastated by these events, but that does not compare to what Ashley's family are going through - and we would like to show our support for them."

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:34

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Man breaks silence on wife's 'unforgivable' attempt to have him killed

A Gold Coast mechanic whose crazed wife hired a hitman to have him murdered has broken his silence about her conviction.

Malcolm Stewart, 64, was married to air hostess Theresa Dalton for 25 years but when the marriage broke down, she did the unimaginable and conspired to have him killed.

“It’s unforgivable, what she’s done to me,” Mr Stewart told A Current Affair.

“I organised a bullet-proof vest through a friend that I had to wear 24/7 night and day for 14 months and I only took it off to shower,” he said.

Mr Stewart says he felt a “huge sigh of relief” when 67-year-old Dalton was convicted in the Brisbane Supreme Court of attempting to commission Malcolm’s murder.

“Right throughout her life, Theresa has got away with everything,” he said.

“Teflon Terry, nothing sticks.”

Ms Dalton was remanded in custody awaiting sentence in April.

Mr Stewart says he now hopes that maybe he can get his life back after living in fear for a decade.

“Even now I'm still alert, I don't know whether I'll ever get rid of that," he said.

“It’s changed me, I'm not like a normal person where they can totally relax.”

Since the murder plot was enacted 10 years ago, Mr Stewart has suffered a heart attack, lost vision in both eyes for a month and is now suffering kidney failure.

“She's destroyed me mentally and financially and my health has deteriorated very fast,” he said.

Before enacting her plans to have him killed, Theresa Dalton came to Malcolm Stewart’s mechanic business at Nerang and delivered a chilling threat.

“She came in here with no warning, opened the door and said to me, 'I'm going to mentally destroy you, I’m going to financially destroy you and then I’m going to have you killed',” he said.

“I was terrified and I knew she was capable of doing it.”

The former air hostess tasked her new boyfriend Anthony Werner with trying to find a hitman to have Malcolm killed to prevent him getting any assets.

"She just said, 'Malcolm's gotta go'. She wanted to get rid of him. She didn't want to share the assets they owned,” Anthony Werner told a Supreme Court jury during Dalton’s trial.

He hired Mathew Neels to carry out the hit for a sum of $20,000 upfront and another $20,000 on completion.

Police found Theresa Dalton had withdrawn $45,000 from her bank account in the months prior to Neels being hired.

But Mathew Neels turned out to be a thief not a hitman, taking the $20,000 and instead of murdering Malcolm Stewart he rang him to warn him.

“He said 'I'm just ringing to let you know that Anthony Werner is going to kill you. I'm just ringing to warn you, get out of where you are because you're going to die',” Mr Stewart said.

That was followed by calls from police offering assistance to help him hide but Malcolm refused as it would mean a change of identity and losing his business.

“I'd lost enough and I thought, if I lose my business for Theresa that’s the end of everything and I chose to get the bulletproof vest and just live through the rough ride that I had,” he said.

He started noticing strange cars sitting outside his workshop and people following him when he left.

“I had eyes in the back of my head, I had to pull the curtains in the house I couldn't have the place opened up because I feared a drive-by shooting,” he said.

The long-running saga has not only cost him financially and mentally but he also hasn’t spoken to their only daughter for almost a decade.

“I just hope my own flesh and blood that maybe we can talk again one day before I die,” an emotional Mr Stewart told A Current Affair.

“That’s all I ask for,” he said.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:25

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Whoa, baby!' Jennifer Hawkins proudly shows off her growing belly in a stretchy green frock as she awaits the birth of her first child

She's used to strutting down catwalks and posing up a storm at the drop of a hat.

So it's not surprising Jennifer Hawkins looked a million bucks when she proudly showed off her latest baby bump pics. 

On Monday, the 35-year old took to Instagram and shared two new snaps of her bountiful belly in an olive, body-hugging sun dress.

The Australian supermodel, who is married to the equally stunning Jake Wall, smiled knowingly, looking pleased as punch with herself.

In the second image, the natural beauty worked all her best angles as her hand pulled back her heavenly blonde locks.

In the picture, Jennifer's blinding wedding ring is visible against her frosted mane. 

The former Myer ambassador tagged adorable the pic set: 'Whoa... baby! Fresh new week & vibes are good! (I hope you guys had a great weekend!)

In May, Jennifer announced she was 'so happy' to be expecting a baby girl on Instagram. 

We can't wait to meet her!' Jennifer confessed. 

'Thank you to our beautiful family and friends for their love and support and, most importantly, to my hubby Jake — I can't wait to see you as a Daddy!'

It's the first baby for Jennifer and Jake, 36, who tied the knot in Bali in 2003.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:18

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'Wonder Woman' teacher who tried to stop student jumping to death from plane

A British teacher who tried to cling onto the leg of a Cambridge University student before she jumped to her death from a plane has been hailed "Wonder Woman".

Ruth Johnson was tonight identified as one of the people who tried in vain to stop Alana Cutland, 19, from plummeting 3,700ft out the aircraft as it flew above Madagascar.

Ms Johnson is currently trying to come to terms with what she witnessed.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where she teaches at the £8,000-a-term Winchester House School, frantically tried to hold onto the teen for several minutes as half her body hung out the plane.

Tragically Alana, from Milton Keynes, slipped from her grasp.

Local police chief Spinola Nomenjanahary reportedly said the teacher had screamed "come back, come back" as she had tried to save her.

He is said to have added: "Ruth said it all happened so fast she was lucky to even catch hold of her leg in time".

The teen's body has not yet been found and her family believe she was hallucinating on prescription drugs and didn't intend to kill herself.

Ms Johnson's bravery has now been described as "stunning" by her husband Matthew Smith.

He told the Daily Mail:  "She's our Wonder Woman. We are all so proud of her.

"She has been through a harrowing, awful ordeal and she just needs time and space to recover. Ruth was going out of her way to chaperone the poor girl and tried with all of her strength to save her life.

"Ruth's bravery was stunning. But at the end of it all, a family has lost a daughter. That's foremost in all our minds."

Mr Smith added that everyone is "so proud of Ruth" but she is still coming to terms with what she witnessed, adding "it will stay with her for the rest of her life".

Ms Johnson had spent three weeks in Madagascar teaching in remote village schools and donating clothes, games, books and classroom equipment.

She was staying at the Anjajavy Le Lodge in the north of the island where she met Alana, whose mental health had reportedly started to deteriorate.

Alana was due to stay for 40 days while working on a conservation project investigating crabs in the nature reserve in the north of the island.

But the Biological Natural Sciences student decided to return home after just eight days after suffering a series of panic attacks.

At the request of Alana's parents, Ms Johnson was accompanying her home when the tragedy unfolded on July 25, just five minutes into the two hour and 20 minute flight.

It is understood Alana unbuckled her seatbelt, leaned forward and turned the door handle prompting the pilot to desperately try and close it.

Ms Johnson then tried to stop Alana from falling out, but was battling the wind and rocking of the plane.

Pilot Mahefa Tahina Rantoanina, 33, said the teenager stayed “completely silent" during the horrifying incident.

He told The Sun: “I had just taken off and I was still climbing when all of a sudden there was a rush of wind and Ruth started screaming. I turned round and saw Alana hanging out of my plane.

“I immediately levelled the aircraft to try and keep us on course, then I reached over and held the door.

“I was trying to pull it shut while Ruth was holding on to Alana’s leg. I was trying to fly and stop her from falling at the same time. I was absolutely terrified, we all were."

Extensive searches to try and locate Alana in an area which includes a lake, dense forest, woodland and swamps have so far proved fruitless.

As we previously reported, Alana was "mumbling" and "incoherent" in the days before her death, according to her uncle, Lester Riley.

He said she had became sick during her time in Madagascar, possibly due to prescription medication, although reports have claimed police are investigating her possible use of an anti-malaria drug.

He told MailOnline: "She had taken ill after being there for a few days and when she spoke to her mother on the phone two days before the accident she was mumbling and sounded pretty incoherent.

"We think she had suffered a severe reaction to some drugs but not anti-malaria ones because she had taken those on her trip last year to China without any side effects."

One of Alana's friends also claims the Brit sounded upset in a final phone call to her mum and said: "Me, plane, home."

A source claimed to the Sun: "Alana was taking a type of malaria drug and police are working on a theory that is what was sending her delirious.

"Her last phone call to her mum wasn't like her at all. It didn't make sense. She wasn't in the right frame of mind and it was unlike any normal conversation she would have had."

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, her family paid tribute saying: "Our daughter Alana was a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her.

"Alana grasped every opportunity that was offered to her with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, always seeking to extend her knowledge and experience in the best ways possible.

"She was particularly excited to be embarking on the next stage of her education, on an internship in Madagascar complementing her studies in natural sciences.

"We are heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there."

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 13:09

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Health care worker, 32, is found dead inside her home hours after sending her shattered family a baffling final text - as murder probe is launched and man is questioned by police

A woman found dead in a Perth home has been identified as a 32-year-old healthcare worker, as her shattered family reveal the baffling final text she sent.

A murder investigation is underway after Jessica Bairnsfather-Scott's body was found at a home on May Drive in Nollamara, in the north of the city, on Sunday morning.

A man known to Ms Bairnsfather-Scott was being questioned by police on Sunday night.


'There is no known ongoing risk to the public at this stage,' a police statement read. 

Earlier that day, Ms Bairnsfather-Scott's family said she had texted them photos showing a car crash, but when they tried to call her she didn't answer, according to Nine News

The woman's family later broke into the home through the roof, finding her body. 

A neighbour reported hearing screaming coming from the home on Friday night, but police were not called. 

Ms Bairnsfather-Scott's sister Alison Gibson told Nine: 'Just check on someone. Like look how close these houses are, they are literally wall to wall.

She was always smiling, she always made everyone happy around her. She was really kind, the life of the party,' Ms Gibson said.

'We are a really close family.'

The family stayed outside the family for 16 hours as police investigated.  

Distraught relatives were seen comforting each other outside the home on Sunday. 

'We are shattered. We are a really close family. She was so loved,' one said.

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 12:45

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Baby beats cancer after mum donates part of her liver

A mother saved the life of her baby daughter who had been diagnosed with cancer, by donating her own liver. Despite a one in 200 chance of not making it through the operation, Sophie Barr, 25, says she ‘didn’t think twice’ about putting herself forward when she found out her daughter needed a transplant. At just three and a half months old, doctors found a tumour in baby Patricia’s liver.

She began chemotherapy in January, but her condition deteriorated and she ended up in intensive care. Parents Sophie and Andrew, 38, were told the best course of action would be a transplant, and Patricia was put on an emergency donor list at Leeds Children’s Hospital. After an agonising wait for the family, a suitable liver was found in March – but doctors cancelled the operation in the theatre because it turned out to be damaged.

However, test results came through the same day showing Sophie, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, was a suitable match. She immediately agreed to donate 20 per cent of her liver. She said: ‘You don’t think about the risk to yourself, you just think that you could save your child’s life. I didn’t even think twice about it. I would do it again.’

Days later she underwent the six-hour surgery. She said: ‘I was put under anaesthetic at St James’s Hospital then part of my liver was transferred to Leeds Children’s Hospital to be given to Patricia.

‘Her operation began a couple of hours after mine. I couldn’t see her for three days but I think it was hardest on Andrew as he had us both in surgery at the same time.’ Patricia underwent her last round of chemotherapy in April – and a few months later her family were told she will need no further treatment. The youngster, who celebrated her first birthday last Tuesday, is now ‘loving life’. Sophie added: ‘We saw a difference in Patricia a week after her transplant. She was a different baby. ‘Our hope is she can go on now and live a normal, happy, healthy life.’

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 12:33

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4 Children Who Were Missing for 6 Weeks Found Dead Hours After Mom’s Body Was Discovered

Just hours after the body of 32-year-old Casei Jones was found near Brantley County in Georgia, police have located the remains of her four young children.

During a press conference on Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods confirmed that detectives had discovered Cameron Bowers, 10, Preston Bowers, 5, Mercalli Jones, 2, and Aiyana Jones, 1.

The children and their mother were last seen alive in Ocala, Florida about six weeks ago.

Woods explained they were able to locate the missing children after interviewing their father, who led them to the bodies. Woods, however, did not disclose where the bodies were found. A cause of death has also not been revealed to the public.

“As a father, as a parent, it breaks my heart,” Woods said. “As a sheriff, it angers me.”

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

On Sunday, Casei’s husband Michael Jones, 38, was stopped after a traffic incident. It was then that police found the remains of Casei in the very car he was driving, Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

Arrested on charges of driving with a suspended/revoked license, weaving over a roadway and being a fugitive of justice, per CNN, Michael is wanted on suspicion of second degree homicide.

“Casei Jones’ husband, Michael Waye Jones Jr. (DOB: 5/1/1981), has also been located in Georgia and is currently being questioned in connection to Casei’s death,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “At this time, a warrant has been issued for his arrest for 2nd Degree Homicide.”

It was not clear if Jones had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

Casei’s family grew worried after not hearing from her for several weeks and reported her and her children missing on Saturday, authorities said, after which authorities said they were all considered endangered.

Casei’s mother, Nikki Jones, pleaded for Casei’s safe return in an emotional interview with WOFL.

“I’ve never ever been so scared,” Nikki told the station. “They don’t know where she’s at. They went to the house and she’s gone. The house is empty.”

Nikki said she contacted police over the weekend after not seeing the family for so long. Authorities enlisted the help of the public in the search and shared a photo of Casei’s 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

Nikki spoke through tears about her daughter to WOFL.

“Casei’s my baby. She was my last one. I don’t want nothing to happen to her,” she told the station, calling her grandchildren “my whole world.”

“Just like my kids — I don’t know what I would do without any of them,” she added. “I want them home. I want them home safe. And if anybody knows anything please, please. I’m begging mothers all over the world, if you see my daughter and my grandkids to please be a mother and call the police.”

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 12:20

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Alabama cop, 40, who was also dad of two girls, is shot in the face and killed during a gunfight with a wanted felon

An Alabama police officer from Tuscaloosa was shot dead while pursuing a wanted felon.

Dornell Cousette, a 40-year-old who served 13 years with the department was killed during a gunfight between the suspect and the officer. 

'Heroes come in many different forms,' said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. 'Tonight, one of our heroes has died in the line of duty.' 

Tuscaloosa Interim Police Chief Mitt Tubbs said Cousette received a tip a wanted suspect wanted on outstanding warrants for failure to appear on felony crimes was at his home.

When Cousette arrived, he saw the suspect on the front porch at which point the suspect ran inside.

As the officer followed the suspect, gunshots rang out and both the unidentified suspect and officer were wounded. 

Cousette was fatally shot in the face and died a short time later on the way to hospital. 

The 20-year-old suspect left the home after the shooting and also ended up in a nearby hospital where he was arrested.

The suspect had been previously arrested in 2017 on charges of robbery and assault.  

Cousette was a veteran of the U.S. Army and joined the police force in 2006. 

He is the fourth police officer to be shot to death in the line of duty in Alabama this year.

'It's terribly difficult,'' Chief Tubbs said. 'Every time you hear the phone ring, you just hope it's not this call. And unfortunately today it was this call.'

'We are a family, and it's very difficult to take,'' he said.


Cousette had two daughters and was engaged to be married.

'He was a great officer. Everybody loved him,' Tubbs said. 'You can tell by the number of people who arrived at the hospital when we got the news. He was well thought of throughout the department and he was a hero. He was a hero.' 

'Alabama has already lost three police officers to hostile fire during 2019 - the greatest amount due to gunfire in a single year in our state since 2009,' Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall told

'The violence that law enforcement faces is a significant issue, but it is also a reflection of a rise in violent crime being felt across the nation.'

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 12:15

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Nurse, 51, has both legs and her left arm amputated after a chesty cough turned out to be deadly sepsis

A nurse has revealed how she lost both of her legs and an arm after a chesty cough turned into sepsis.

Jayne Carpenter, 51, began coughing up phlegm in April 2016 and within a few days she was short of breath and struggling to walk.

But despite getting increasingly ill she didn't go to the doctors because she 'didn't want to make a fuss'.

When she finally visited her GP at 9am on the morning of May 1 she was advised to go to A&E but they had no idea she had the early stages of deadly sepsis.

By 11am, Mrs Carpenter, from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, was diagnosed with pneumonia and severe sepsis and rushed to intensive care.

Her body had overreacted to the flu and started stacking its own organs and tissues. 

By midnight, she slipped into a coma when her organs started to fail due to septic shock.  

Her blood pressure had dropped to a dangerously low level because of the sepsis - a violent immune response to an infection. 

She'd developed small blood clots in her blood vessels, which prevented blood flowing to her fingers, hands, arms and legs. 

She spent the next nine weeks in a coma in hospital fighting for her life. Her husband Rob, 55, was told his wife would die unless she had a multiple amputations.

In total, she lost her left arm below the elbow, both of her legs and four of fingers on her right hand.

Mrs Carpenter said: 'It's been completely devastating and life-changing. Getting sepsis is something you never predict will happen to you. It turned my world upside down.

'I haven't let it defeat me but I do get my dark moments. I'd had quite bad cough and was coughing up dark coloured phlegm.

'I was getting worse and I just thought it was a virus. The following day I woke up and felt short of breath and couldn't walk anywhere.

'I thought it was a cough, as a nurse I thought it was something fairly trivial so didn't want to make a fuss.' 

Mrs Carpenter's life was turned upside down following her amputations as they robbed her of the ability to perform simple daily tasks.

The former nurse was plunged into depression and regularly considered suicide. 

But after battling through the last three years of recovery, she is now fundraising for a new set of artificial limbs that will give her more range of movement. 

While she says she is grateful for her current prosthetics, which were provided by the NHS, she claims they restrict her movements.

She said: 'Three years on and I've really struggled, I thought my life couldn't improve beyond what it's like at the moment.

'There were three points this year where I got close to ending my own life, it's been horrendous.

It's like a grieving process, I've grieved for the life I once had and the ability to do so many of the small things you take for granted such as being able to go for a swim.

'I can't put my own jewellery on, I rely on my husband to put my shoes on, it takes away my femininity.

'I try and do as much as I can but have to ask Robert to do lots of things, he's been a real rock.' 

Despite vaccinations being available, there are still around 700 reported cases of pneumonia in the under-fives in the UK every year. 

The disease claims the lives of around 30,000 people in the UK each year.

At least 46,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of sepsis, which occurs when the body reacts to an infection by attacking its own organs and tissues.

When someone has sepsis, the clotting mechanism begins to work overtime. Tiny blood clots form throughout the blood system, making it difficult for blood to get to the body’s organs and tissues. 

Mrs Carpenter revealed after the surgery she didn't feel good enough for her husband and told him to leave her. 'I told my husband, you can walk away,' she said.

'But he replied, "I married you not for your arms or legs but because I love you". We try to live life as normally as possible but life is not always the same as before.

'I divide my life into two parts; before and after I got sepsis. I lost half my life.'

Mrs Carpenter is now raising £265,000 on GoFundMe for ossiointergration surgery, which will see a pair of state-of-art prosthetic's fitted on each of her legs.

She said: 'It will completely and utterly change my life without a shadow of a doubt.

'It'll give my freedom and independence back. My life was stripped away and I just need to regain some of the normality that sepsis took away from me.'

stella Posted on September 18, 2019 12:05

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Mother whose toddler son was born with a cleft palate shares a snap of his beaming smile after operations to correct the condition

A young mother is celebrating her beautiful boy's winning smile, thanks to skilled surgery to repair a cleft palate.

Megan Thompson, 21, from Erdington, Birmingham, reveals how her son was diagnosed with a bilateral cleft lip and palate - a split in the upper lip and roof of the mouth on both sides - while in the womb.

He inherited the condition from Megan -  who was also born with it and has since had seven operations to correct it.

George had a wide hole under his nose, leaving him unable to breast feed and with hearing loss in one ear, when he was born on April 23rd last year.

Thankfully - now aged 16 months, George has had two successful surgeries, one at five months and a second at 11 months. 

Megan said: 'He's thriving now and seeing him smile for the first time after the surgery was amazing. He seemed so much happier. He was like a different baby. 

'I had my first operation when I was three months but I was still badly bullied for having a cleft palate as a child - to the point where I had to change schools - and I really didn't want that to happen to him.

'Most people would be friendly when they saw George before his operations, but I will always remember being in the doctor's surgery when an old man came up to me and said, 'When are you going to fix his face?'

'It was mortifying. I try not to be defensive because lots of people are not aware of cleft, so I explained that he was having his lip repaired but he did not need to be 'fixed' because he was never broken.

'Appearance is important, but the main consequence of leaving a cleft lip and palate like George's would be the effect on his speech and how he eats.'

Megan found out at her 20-week scan that George would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate - a condition which, according to the NHS, affects around one in 700 babies and occurs when the parts of the baby's face do not join together properly during development in the womb.

In around two to eight per cent of cases, as with George, it is hereditary.

'I was really upset when I found out, because I felt like it was my fault. I had never seen a cleft baby before, so was worried about whether I would be able to look after him too,' Megan said.

'But when he was born all my fears just disappeared. I thought he was the most beautiful thing. Tommy and I were really happy.

'Because it was a bilateral cleft palate, he could not breastfeed, which was upsetting because it was something I really wanted to do.

'I was able to express milk and used a special bottle, where you had to squeeze it into his mouth rather than him sucking it.'

George also had bad acid reflux, where the stomach acid travels up towards the throat, causing heartburn, until he was six or seven months old and, as he grew, some food like yoghurt would come back out of his nose, which he found uncomfortable.

He also suffered with glue ear on his left side - a build-up of fluid which can affect hearing - something which cleft palate babies are more prone to.

Megan said: 'Despite everything, George was such a happy baby, you would not think there was anything wrong with him. His smile was amazing even before his surgery.

'He had his first operation at Birmingham Children's Hospital at five months old.

'I had the operation when I was young, so I knew that George would have it too.

'I knew that if he didn't it would affect him later in life, not just in the way he looked, but with his feeding and speech.

'The first operation took about five hours. He was so small and had to have a general anaesthetic and obviously, babies don't understand what is going on, so he was trying to fight the anaesthetist.

'I was so used to his lip being split in two, but they pulled the two sides of his face together and the result was brilliant.'

George's face was swollen for about a week, following his first bout of surgery, and he needed liquid morphine and ibuprofen for the pain for two weeks.

But the results were incredible.

'He looked amazing. He looked so much more comfortable. The reflux was a lot better as well,' said Megan.

Then, at 11 months, George had a three-hour operation to repair his soft palate, where he had a gap in the roof of his mouth, which was stitched together.

'Two months after his second operation, he was able to drink out of a normal bottle,' continued Megan.

'When he is eight or nine years old, he will have to have a bone graft, where surgeons will take bone from his hip or knee to strengthen his palate on the roof of his mouth.

'I also had that surgery at eight years old, which is the first operation I can remember. I had seven or eight operations altogether.

'As he gets older, it will be up to him if he wants more operations to change his mouth cosmetically.

'But for now he's a happy boy, who likes climbing into everything. He was walking at nine months and he always wants to go in places he's not allowed to.

'He loves playing with his cars and loves Peppa Pig. Before the operation, I was scared to do baby led weaning, but now he can eat more finger foods than he did before.

'I worried he would get stuff stuck in his palate, because it happened to me at the age of 10, when I got a carrot stuck in my palate and my stepdad had to come down and dislodge it.'

Now Megan, who has previously raised £400 for CLAPA, a voluntary organisation helping those with and affected by cleft lip and palate, wants to raise awareness of the condition.

'CLAPA sent me some special bottles and also put George on their Christmas card,' said Megan, proudly.

'I want to raise awareness of cleft palate, because there is some negativity around it and people make out it is the worst condition ever, but it is not.

'George could do anything a normal baby could do. I just want people to know it is not the end of the world to have a cleft baby.'

stella Posted on September 17, 2019 09:48

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Botched bowel surgery left father disfigured and in agony for years

When Paul Hurley began suffering from stomach pains he thought he must have picked up a bug or an infection. The father-of-one was surprised when doctors told him he would need bowel surgery but reasoned that it was a routine operation, and that he would be back on his feet in no time at all. But, after needing further treatment, the formerly healthy 50-year-old was left disfigured and in chronic pain.

He still suffers both physically and mentally from the trauma of the botched procedure six years on and says his life will never be the same.

“I went in for what should have been a straightforward operation and came out looking like I’d been butchered,” he told i. “I ended up in a coma, almost died, and now have horrific scars and post traumatic stress disorder because of what happened to me.

“To this day I still don’t really know what went wrong or why.”

Paul was rushed in for an emergency surgery at Croydon Hospital in Surrey in November 2013 after developing diverticulitis, an inflammation of the large intestine. He’d been suffering from stomach pain for two days when he went to a walk-in surgery and was given an X-ray and scan.

“It showed that my large intestine had perforated which could have led to sepsis if left untreated so I was taken to hospital straight away,” Paul recalled. “They didn’t know what had caused it but told me I’d have to use a colostomy bag for a while afterwards which could be reversed if I wanted it.

“They removed around eight inches of infected bowel but the stoma – the entrance created to attach to the colostomy bag on my abdomen – was too high which I wasn’t happy with.”

Paul said he struggled to wear clothing like jeans or trousers because they would cut across the stoma, which made him feel uncomfortable and self conscious. So when he was given the opportunity to have it removed and his bowel connected back together, he agreed.

“I went in for that operation in February 2014 and, when I came round, I just had a small scar where the stoma had been closed over and bruising so I thought everything was fine,” Paul said. “But a few days later, I became very ill and vomited continuously. I couldn’t even keep water down.”

Paul had a nasogastric tube fitted into his nose so doctors could direct fluids straight to his stomach and keep him hydrated.

“It took seven attempts for them to get it in because I couldn’t stop retching which was very distressing,” Paul remembered. “Nobody seemed to know why I was being sick. Then the pain started – it was excrutiating. I was doubled up in a foetal position it was so bad.”

A CT scan and other tests showed that contents from his bowel had aspirated into his abdomen, possibly caused by a perforation.

“I don’t know what had happened as nobody would explain anything to me,” he said.

Paul had to have a third operation to have part of his small intestine removed too and claimed the hospital should have sent a sample of it to a pathology laboratory for testing but didn’t.

“Why that didn’t happen I don’t know but things continued to go downhill for me from then on,” he added.

The procurement manager had to be put into an induced coma for several hours after the operation and was in intensive care and high dependancy for days afterwards.

“When I came round and saw what they had done to me I was really scared,” he said. “I had a huge gaping wound up my belly measuring 26cm long by 7cm wide, which they hadn’t closed over properly because they apparently wanted everything to settle down first. I was shocked when I looked at it.

“I looked like something out of a horror movie and would never have signed up for any of that had I know what was going to happen.”

Paul developed other complications including fluid on the lungs and sepsis as well as an infection of his wound and ended up in hospital for 76 days in total.

“My father Bernard came to visit me regularly but I didn’t want my daughter, Demi, to see me in that state as she was only 15 and would have been terrified,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe that what should have been a fairly straightforward operation had left me fighting for my life.

“I wasn’t in any fit state to ask questions but whenever my father asked the doctors why things kept going wrong they would just brush him off.

A healthy 73kg when he first went into hospital, Paul weighed just 55kg when he was finally discharged. His ordeal had left him in constant pain and he needed several painkillers a day.

“I had an awful scar all the way from my rib cage down to my groin and my belly button was in the wrong place. I had adhesional pain from my organs sticking to my abdominal wall too and it hurt to bend over.”

Paul says he also suffered from memory loss, which he believes was brought on by brain damage caused by the sepsis he suffered.

“I couldn’t remember important events I’d shared with my daughter like birthdays and days out,” he said. “It was heartbreaking. My ex-partner, Demi’s mother, would show me photographs but I just couldn’t remember.”

Suffering from post traumatic stress, depression and a hernia as a result of his botched surgery, Paul decided to take legal action against the hospital.

Paul contacted medical negligence and personal injury law firm Fletchers Solicitors to pursue a claim against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust earlier this year, and was advised to settle out of court and accept compensation, though the trust did not admit liability in the settlement.

“At least it means I will be able to pay for corrective surgery to repair my belly button and the hernia. I want to have both done privately as I no longer trust the NHS,” he explained.

Paul says he has been left “grossly disfigured” by what happened and has lost his confidence as a result

“I used to be fit and active before this,” he said. “I used to go to the gym three times a week and take part in arm wrestling competitions, even a powerlifting competition once, and played Badminton for Surrey but I can’t do any of those things any more.

“I am like a recluse now and only go out to work and back. I have been traumatised by this and am still in continuous pain.”

Hannah Smale, part of the legal team at Fletchers Solicitors said: “I am delighted that Paul achieved a fair settlement for the injuries he suffered, as they have had a significant impact on his life. He is keen for lessons to be learnt from his case, and that patient safety is improved within Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.”

Dr Nnenna Osuji, Medical Director at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We are very sorry for any additional stress or illness Mr Hurley experienced following his necessary surgery. We always strive to deliver the highest standards of care and the safety of our services is monitored continuously to ensure we meet these standards.”?

The Trust added that it did not admit liability and that the case with Paul was settled through mediation.

stella Posted on September 17, 2019 09:40

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'You don't need to cry mummy, I'll be home'... parents of girl who died at nursery on the emotional moment her brother started school

The parents of a baby girl who died after choking at nursery have shared the emotions over their son starting school for the first time.

While many mums and dads shed a tear over their little ones heading into the classroom, it's been a particularly heart-wrenching time for Dan and Joanne Thompson.

For as much as the couple are happy for their son Leo and the adventures that lie ahead for the youngster, they are weighed down with the sadness that their first child Millie never got to make that milestone.

She was only nine months old when she died after choking at nursery in 2012, leaving the pair facing every 'parent's worst nightmare' .

Joanne got a phone call to say Millie wasn't breathing properly and to make her way to hospital. But by the time she got there it was too late.

Now the mum-of-three, who has since had two boys, has shared an emotional post about her middle child, four-year-old Leo, starting school and what a bittersweet experience it is for her and Dan.

Writing on the Millie's Trust Facebook page - the charity they set up in their daughter's memory to help fund first aid courses for parents and carers - she said: "'You don’t need to cry mummy, I’ll be home after school' - words out of Leo’s mouth tonight as he felt me crying whilst I was hugging him, he hasn’t a clue how much those words mean.

"In less than 12 hours, Leo will be walking through the school gates for the first time before he walks through for over 3,500 times more before he decides which direction his life will take (or life might have already taken it for him).

"I don’t think I’m going to sleep much tonight as my head is in a million pieces but that’s OK, it’s something else we have to deal with.

"Leo has been spoilt rotten this week, we’ve just not been able to help it - it’s such a tough tough time for us, we need to do what we need to, to keep strong for him.

"He knows that we are sad because of Millie but he also knows that we are so happy for him because he is starting school. He keeps telling me that he has to go to school because he is a big boy and if he doesn’t go to school, he won’t grow up (secretly that is OK, he can stay this age, it’s a beautiful age - I’d be happy to groundhog today with our boys the ages that they are)."

Joanne, also mum to one-year-old Asher, says every moment with the boys is treasured because of how much they have lost with their precious daughter.

She added: "We will be counting down to the school holidays, when he is back with us all day every day for a while.

"I won’t be wanting to get him back to school, I won’t mind ironing the school shirts or making the art projects or telling him 15 times to get his school shoes on because we relish every moment with him because of every moment we lost for Millie.

"We are so, so proud of Leo already and we will be proud of whoever he becomes in life and whatever he chooses to do."

Speaking to the M.E.N, Joanne said: "Leaving Leo with people we don’t know was one of the hardest parts of the day for us - a few tears at the classroom door as Leo walked away from us, but it was when we were walking away from the school that it hit me hard and I broke down - the fear of leaving him in the unknown is overwhelming and both Dan and I have struggled with this."

Last year Jo and Dan, from Cheadle Hulme, relived the tragedy of what happened to Millie in a powerful video.

Dan spoke of how he took Millie to nursery on his shoulders on what was just her third day at the nursery.

He explained how they hadn't checked how many first aiders they had and said that since losing Millie they have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of paediatric first aid training.

Their Millie’s Trust charity launched the Millie's Mark for nurseries to show they offer the best standard in first aid for children.

They hold regular fundraising events, one of which, a James Bond-themed Charity Ball, takes place on Saturday, September 28 at Hallmark Hotel, Wilmslow, from 7.30pm.

stella Posted on September 17, 2019 09:22

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Guardian apologises for saying David Cameron only suffered 'privileged pain' over death of his profoundly disabled son Ivan at age of six

The Guardian newspaper was today branded 'inhumane' after claiming David Cameron's wealth and status meant he only suffered 'privileged pain' when his disabled son Ivan died aged six.

The former Prime Minister's new autobiography 'For The Record' says that he and his wife Samantha were plunged into 'darkness' when their eldest child passed away in 2009. 

Mr Cameron revealed that his son suffered near-constant seizures from birth - some lasting hours - before succumbing to organ failure shortly before his seventh birthday.

But in response to his memoirs, the Guardian's leader column, written by an unnamed senior editor, said today: 'Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain'.

It added: 'Had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done'.   

The opinion piece was published in the newspaper this morning before 'privileged pain' was deleted completely from later editions. It was also amended online after an uproar over the use of the phrase.

A spokesman for the newspaper has also issued an apology and said: 'The original version of this editorial posted online fell far short of our standards. It has now been amended, and we apologise completely' - but did not say sorry directly to Mr Cameron. 

The newspaper is under fire today and was accused of lacking 'humanity' and 'empathy' for the plight of Ivan Cameron and his bereft family.

Chancellor Sajid Javid wrote: 'Shameful thing to read, Guardian. Never has an editorial so lacked in empathy, while so righteously criticising others for lacking it'.

Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said: 'These aren't just the ugly thoughts of a maverick columnist. These are the words of the actual Guardian editorial. It is their corporate view.'   

New Lib Dem MP Angela Smith said the Guardian's words were 'entirely inappropriate' and 'must have been very hurtful to David Cameron'. 

While Piers Morgan tweeted: Disgusting & shameful by The Guardian. They owe Cameron a public apology'.

Comedian Jenny Eclair wrote: 'I am furious with David Cameron but to question his grief as the Guardian is doing is vile beyond vile - his 6 year old son died'.

Richard Johnson tweeted: 'I have no time for David Cameron, but this is an appalling thing to write about a man who lost a child with severe disabilities. To say perhaps he'd have experienced proper pain if it had been a parent rather than his child is disgusting'. 

Charlie Beckett wrote: 'The irony of this ghastly Guardian editorial failure is that it demonstrates the lack of humanity and empathy of which it accuses Cameron. The logic is tortuous anyway, but the nastiness is quite breathtaking'. 

Mr Cameron wrote poignantly about their final moments with their eldest child, as they held him in hospital after medics stopped treatment while the six-year-old succumbed to organ failure.

He said: 'Nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for the reality of losing your darling boy in this way. It was as if the world stopped turning.'

The former Tory leader added: 'It was a torture that I can hardly bear to remember. For Samantha, the mother who bore him and who loved him so deeply, it was a torture that was tearing her apart.'

Ivan was born with Ohtahara syndrome, a rare condition which left him with severe epilepsy and development problems. He died in 2009.

Mr Cameron said the diagnosis had been an 'immense shock and challenge'. He admitted the difficulty of caring for a profoundly disabled child had taken his marriage 'near to breaking point'.

He wrote: 'My friends say that the experience of having Ivan and helping to care for him changed me a lot. I am sure they are right.'

He said he lacked 'the real patience and selflessness' needed to be a great carer, but said his wife never failed. Despite watching Ivan endure painful seizures, the parents found a 'resilience' and 'strong bonds of love'.

After Ivan's death, when Mr Cameron was leader of the Opposition, prime minister Gordon Brown led tributes and adjourned the Commons for the day. 

Mr Cameron said he had been moved by the gesture, but said the days before Ivan's funeral were a 'blur', adding: 'There was nothing but darkness for us.'

Mrs Cameron found an inscription by poet William Wordsworth for Ivan's headstone, which he said summed up their feelings.

It reads: 'I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me – yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it.' Mr Cameron said he and his family visit the grave at a church near their Cotswolds home frequently. He said: 'Having Ivan taught us so much. About unconditional love. About our total devotion to each other.'

stella Posted on September 17, 2019 09:08

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Thieves steal disabled toddler's lifesaving medical kit while family at hospital

A family are at ‘rock bottom’ after thieves ransacked their home and stole a life-saving medical pump used to keep their disabled three-year-old alive. Toddler Emily Anderson has cerebral palsy and cannot eat or drink, relying on the pump to get food into her stomach. Her parents say that without the back-up pump her life is now ‘at risk’ and they are pleading for its return. Paula Ratcliffe and John Anderson were at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital at the time of the break-in, caring for their baby daughter Mia, who is just seven weeks old and has a rare life-threatening condition herself. Speaking from Mia’s bedside, Paula said: ‘I’m just disgusted. Whoever did this is the lowest of the low and I just can’t believe someone would do this to us.

She said the family, from Doncaster, Yorkshire, are now ‘living on the edge’ as the pump they do have only has a 12-hour battery life which means they are terrified of it breaking down. Paula said: ‘If the person who did it has a heart then they’d return it. It doesn’t have any use to anyone else.’ The Sick Children’s Trust has funded the family’s stay at accommodation near to the hospital since Mia was born in August while they juggle caring for Emily and their two older children, Katie, 15 and Charlotte, 11, while being in hospital with their new baby.

Burglars raided their home some time between Tuesday and Thursday last week, when they returned to the family home to collect supplies and found the side window smashed and every cupboard emptied. Burglars also took £2,500 worth of technician Paula’s nail equipment, roofer John’s work tools, car keys, jewellery and even cash from Emily’s money box.

Paula said: ‘I’m absolutely heartbroken. We are going through enough as a family. To steal medical kit from a room that is clearly a disabled child’s room is absolutely disgusting. ‘They will have known that person is very ill and surely they could see they could be putting someone’s life at risk. ‘We have hit rock bottom now and I couldn’t imagine things getting any worse for us as a family. ‘I can’t believe someone is putting us through this and is trying to make a gain out of a child’s medical equipment. ‘We are constantly on edge with Emily now. What if something happens to her pump now? What if it fails? ‘Her life has been put at risk and it’s so unnecessary.’

She added: ‘They left the place in an absolute state. ‘They had really taken their time to search the house from top to bottom. Pretty much every cupboard had been searched. ‘They even took chocolate and crisps from the kitchen.’ Paula broke down in tears when she told the news to husband John, who has had to stop taking work while they juggle hospital trips and looking after their children. Little Mia is due to have surgery later this month as part of ongoing treatment for the bowel condition necrotising enterocolitis. Paula has contacted the NHS to get a replacement pump but said she faces a long wait.

stella Posted on September 17, 2019 08:58

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Doctors told parents of girl, six, who refused to eat she was 'a fussy eater' before she died of a deadly brain tumour that robbed her of appetite, energy and strength

A six-year-old girl who showed signs of a food phobia was killed by an aggressive cancer after doctors realised the symptoms were actually a brain tumour.

Sofia 'Fifi' Hagreen passed away at home in April, seven months after being diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). 

The terminal condition cruelly stole her sight and her mobility before she died in the arms of her devastated parents Julia and Darren. 

As a DIPG progresses, sufferers are robbed of their energy, strength, breathing and responsiveness. It can also cause patients to experience trouble chewing or swallowing.

It struck Mr and Mrs Hagreen as odd when Fifi lost her appetite, began refusing food and even choked on her favourite snack, a Babybel cheese, a month before her diagnosis.

After multiple trips to their GP, the couple, from Rastrick, West Yorkshire, were advised to seek counselling to get Fifi over her 'fussy eating'.

But when the youngster started slurring her speech and showed signs of confusion, her concerned parents took her to their doctor once more.

She collapsed in the surgery and was rushed to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, where a CT scan revealed the tumour in the back of her brain.

When the family were told Fifi had just nine to 12 months to live, they dedicated the final months of their daughter's life to making one of her wishes come true.

The couple decided to get married after 20 years and have Fifi as their wedding planner.

Mrs Hagreen said: 'We never wanted a big wedding, but we knew we would do it at some point and I couldn't do it without Fifi there.

'She was our wedding planner. She loved making lists while she was at home, of her favourite food and favourite songs, so she did the same for the wedding - deciding what everyone would wear.

'We got married in Calderdale Register Office, Halifax, in front of our close friends and family and stayed in a hotel. 

'It was not how we would have wanted to do it, but it was lovely to see Fifi's smiling face.'

The couple - who have two more children, Mollie, eight, and George, four - are now campaigning to raise awareness of DIPG and improve palliative care.  

Recalling her daughter's heartbreaking decline, Mrs Hagreen said she and husband Darren first noticed some subtle changes in August last year, when her speech was slightly slurred.

She said: 'Then there was an incident where she started choking on a Babybel cheese and I had to give her some thumps to the back to dislodge it.

'This started to develop into what we thought was a food phobia, and she would have trouble swallowing. Looking back now we realise this was probably caused by the cancer.

'She had lost weight but she was growing up, so we thought it was either down to the food phobia or she was just growing as children do. A couple of times she woke up crying and was sick in the morning.'

The mother took Fifi to the doctors and out of hours surgery on four occasions during August, as the youngster started to become increasingly confused and clumsy, and kept repeating, 'I love you Mummy'.

She added: 'At that stage, it could have been a sign of nerve damage or a virus. It sounds awful, but we were hoping it was a stroke, because at least then there was hope of treatment - anything but a brain tumour.'

Following an MRI scan at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, the couple could tell straight away it was bad news.

Mrs Hagreen said: 'The consultant could not look us in the eye. They took us back to the ward then said, 'We're really sorry but she has an aggressive cancer, a brain tumour.

'Darren screamed and walked out and I just sat staring at the floor. It was horrendous news.

'They said she had a large mass in the middle of the brain, which had entwined itself around her healthy cells.'

DIPG is an incredibly rare, inoperable tumor in the most sensitive part of the brain, which nobody has survived.

The tumour affects the brain stem, just at the top of the spinal cord, and it is 'diffuse' (spread), meaning there is no clear separation between the brain stem and the tumor.

That is why it's inoperable, and also very hard to biopsy - to remove even a morsel of cells from the tumor to study its biology under the microscope.

Damage to the brain stem can cause breathing difficulties or sleep apnoea, or, just as easily, a stroke, a coma, locked-in syndrome, or death.

Unable to remove it, doctors have been forced to rely on radiation therapy alone - shooting in the dark at an impervious target with blunts - which has thus far proven unsuccessful.

It strikes 150-300 people a year - predominantly children under the age of 10. There is no treatment, and patients generally are given a life expectancy of six to 16 months. 

Fifi was one of an average of 40 children a year to develop the cancer in the UK. 

Her mother said: 'When you realise you can't protect your child from this awful disease and that it's going to kill them, you just want to make them feel happy and safe and make sure they don't have that fear that you're feeling. That's for the parents to carry, not for them.'

Fifi was treated unsuccessfully with an experimental chemotherapy drug, followed by a six-week course of radiotherapy to try and prolong her life.

But she started to deteriorate soon after her diagnosis, losing feeling in her left side after the biopsy, which affected her mobility and ability to swallow.

After spending five weeks in hospital, she was allowed home to be with her family.

Her mother added: 'We had seven and a half months with her. At least we got that time, as a lot families do not get to come back home.

'Fifi hated being in hospital. Although she was unable to speak, she would write things down. At one point she wrote, 'I'm worried I'm going to live in the hospital,' and 'I do not want to die'.

'My aim then was to protect her from knowing the disease was going to kill her. '

Bringing her home, Fifi was unable to return to school full time but did manage to go in for a few hours a week, where her friends treated her like a celebrity.

She spent the rest of the time doing arts and crafts and playing with her pet guinea pigs and kitten Cupcake, as well as taking trips to see the Blackpool Illuminations, going to Center Parcs and to the Leicester Space Centre.

'Cupcake was so important, especially towards the end when Fifi had lost her sight. She could still stroke the kitten and hear it purr, which helped her to relax,' Mrs Hagreen explained.

The highlight was meeting Mister Maker from television channel CBeebies who came to her house because she was too poorly to travel to meet him. 

But her big day was when her parents tied the knot on December 21.

Her mother said: 'She deteriorated pretty quickly after the diagnosis. She was wheelchair bound, unable to walk very far and she lost movement in her left side. 

'Towards the end, she started to have one or two seizures a day, which was really scary.

'We moved her bed downstairs and I would sleep down there with her. We just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.

'About six weeks before she died she started to lose her eyesight. She would say, 'Why is it so dark, Mummy?' She would love playing on the iPad and I think it just started to get darker and darker. But she seemed so calm about it.

'I told her it was to do with her 'head bug' and she accepted that. Children are so resilient and she coped with it better than her mum and dad did.'

Fifi died on April 12 this year, with her parents by her side.

'The nurses had told us her breathing would change, as that is one of the biggest signs that the body is starting to struggle,' her mother added. 

'That morning I told Mollie and George to give her a kiss goodbye, because I knew she did not have long.

We lay down next to her all day, playing her favourite songs, and then she just stopped breathing. It was really peaceful. I told her, "You sleep and Mummy will stay right here".'

Fifi's funeral was held at St Matthew's Church in Rastrick and she was buried in the cemetery across the road from her school.

Mrs Hagreen said: 'We go and see her every day when we drop the children off at school. It's so hard, every time we drop them off we think there should be three going in, not two and one in the cemetery.

'Fifi was clever, caring, kind natured and told the best bedtime stories to her sister.

'She was amazing, she was laughing until the end and handled everything with dignity. She did not feel sorry for herself at all.'

Now to honour Fifi's memory, the family is raising awareness of DIPG. 

Working with other families, including Fiona Govan who created the petition in honour of her three year old grandson Logan who died of DIPG, Mrs Hagreen is calling on the government to invest in more funding, research into the causes and to improve treatment options. To sign the petition click here.

The family is also raising money for non-profit charity Abbie's Army.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 23:06

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Mother whose twin sons weighed less than 3lb when they were born premature shares her heartache after one died at four months when his lungs collapsed

A mother, whose twin sons weighed less than 3lb when they were born premature, shared her heartache after one died at four months from collapsed lungs.

Katie Filewood, 37, from North Leeds, and her husband, Jonathan, had been trying to conceive for several years, via IVF, when at 35, Katie was thrilled to find out she was expecting twins.

However at 15 weeks Katie and Jonathan received some devastating news about one of their sons Archie - who they were told had a complete AVSD (a large hole in his heart).

The twins were both born prematurely at 29 weeks, with Archie only weighing 1lb 7 and Jack just 2lb 8. However, while Jack was discharged after seven weeks little Archie had to stay in hospital.

Doctors did all they could to save Archie, including operations, but his lungs were too weak, and at just four months old he passed away in Katie's arms. 

Katie, who will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October, in aid of the British Lung Foundation and in memory of Archie, explains her heartbreak when she found out how ill he was. 

'We learnt that Archie had a complete AVSD (a large hole in his heart) and that he would need major surgery at some stage during the first few months of his life to correct it. 

'We also found out that he had fluid on his lungs, that his placenta didn't seem to be working properly resulting in him being very small, and that he had polyhydramnios (excessive fluid) surrounding him. 

'Additionally, the consultants felt that Archie would almost certainly be born with Down's Syndrome.' 

Despite many obstacles, Archie, alongside his brother Jack, made it to 29 weeks and it was at this stage of the pregnancy that Katie was advised by their consultant that if they carried on with the pregnancy Archie would not survive.

'We felt that both of our boys were absolutely meant to be here and so I had a c-section the following afternoon (1st June 2018),' Katie reveals.

When they were born Archie weighed just 1lb 7 and Jack just 2lb 8, both severely premature.. Jack was discharged from hospital after seven weeks and although Archie surprised everyone by coming out crying and kicking, stronger than they thought he would be, they were never able to take him home with them. 

'I always wished that I would be able to take both of our boys home together. I imagined that we would decorate the house with "welcome home Archie and Jack" bunting, and that we would celebrate the boys coming home with our family,' Katie tells Femail. 

'It broke my heart that Archie couldn't come home with his brother and it still breaks my heart now. When Jack came home we still made sure we left the house by 8am every morning so that we could all be together with Archie every day. 

'It was a really sad mix of emotions not feeling able to celebrate Jack coming home and at the same time trying to come to terms with Archie still requiring so much support. At the end of the day they are twins and they were supposed to be together.'

Katie said that her friends and family rallied around them when they heard the news: 'We were lucky that our families supported us and helped us as much as they could. Friends and family went out of their way to try and communicate their support to us. You really learn who is truly there for you when it counts.'

After undergoing surgery that would hopefully improve Archie's condition, both of Archie's lungs unexpectedly collapsed, leaving him fighting for his life. 

'I will never forget the phone call that we received in the middle of the night and the immediate gut wrenching feeling that perhaps we had already lost our boy.

'During the following weeks there were many terrifying moments where we believed we were about to witness Archie die. I remember breaking down on one particularly bad day and saying to the nurse in charge that I can't live without him – I needed him to be okay,' Katie says.

Over the next few weeks Archie's condition slowly improved, however his lungs continued to malfunction and these occurrences became more and more frequent as time went on. 

'The cardiologist explained that they would be unable to perform the major heart surgery that Archie so desperately needed  - because his lungs were just too weak. Without the operation Archie would not survive so this new information felt crushing and was a lot to take in.'

On the 29th October Katie and Jonathan were informed that Archie would never get better and would soon pass away.

'Later that day I held Archie in my arms whilst he died. I wish with every fibre of my being that Archie had survived and that he could be our cheeky happy boy.'

'On the day that Archie died I desperately wanted to protect him. I wanted him to feel safe and for him to feel how loved he is. I can't find the words to describe how it felt to lose Archie. 

'I felt I'd failed him and I couldn't imagine what the rest of our lives would be like without him. We were devastated lost and empty. I still wanted to take care of him and I couldn't bear to leave him.'

Katie admitted that even though Jack is still too young, he turned one in June, to understand, they do talk about Archie a lot as a family and mention him to Jack. 

As Jack gets older we will explain to him that he is a twin and that this is a really special thing. 

'We want to make sure that Jack knows how loved he is and how special he is in his own right, but that also he has a twin brother who died and Archie will always be a part of our family - even though he can't be here with us.' 

This October will mark the first anniversary of Archie's death which is why Katie has chosen to run the Royal Parks Half marathon for the British Lung Foundation, as part of 'Team Breathe', in order to raise awareness of lung disease and the charity's work.

'If Archie had survived, he would undoubtedly have required oxygen for the first year or two of his life and may have experienced ongoing issues related to his lung disease.


'We met many premature babies on the neonatal unit, who also had lung disease, and I hope to help fund part of the British Lung Foundation's future research into the long-term implications of this illness and the best ways to treat it.'

Katie aims to raise at least £1000 for the foundation and would love to raise more. This is her first half marathon and she hopes to complete the run in under two hours.  

'Running for the British lung foundation means the world to me because ultimately Archie died because his lungs were just too weak for him to get better. I am running the royal parks half marathon to mark the first anniversary since Archie died and to raise awareness of lung disease and prematurity,'

Talking about how the memory of Jack's brother will live on forever, she said: 'I will remember Archie as being my gorgeous little boy with those huge brown eyes that melted all the nurses hearts. Jack also has those gorgeous big eyes and I see a flash of Archie every time I look at him. 

'Archie was already such a little character even though he was still so tiny. He loved to see what was going on around him and he was always so alert with such knowing eyes. Archie will always be our little boy and Jacks twin brother and we will love and miss him forever.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:58

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Man loses 130lb in a year, watch his parents' reactions when he returns home

For some people with obesity, the prospect of losing weight might seem quite dim. The longer it goes on, the less they feel they have control of their increasing weight and the more likely they are to give up.

But there is always a way to get healthier, and when people do, they’re not just doing something great for themselves; they’re doing for it everyone they love and hold dear. Lucas Irwin is a young man from Bayfield, Ontario, who lives and works in the United Kingdom. He only gets to see his parents a couple of times a year, once in summer and once over the Christmas holidays.

However, Irwin’s weight had suddenly gotten out of control and this once-slender kid had reached over 300 pounds (approx. 136 kg).

But when the New Year’s Eve rolled in, Lucas decided enough was enough. His New Year’s resolution was to change his life, one pound at a time. So how did he face such a massive challenge? He started by keeping a food diary, writing down everything he ate for the day, and setting a 1,350 calorie limit for each day.

For moral support, Lucas leaned on the Reddit “Lose It” community. As Irwin told TODAY, “you can post your progress and they would help with diet tips and that sort of thing.”

As for his family, one of the things that Lucas decided early on was to catch them off guard. Instead of returning home over the summer, he made up an excuse to stay in the United Kingdom, saving his visit for Christmas.

As the months passed by, Lucas began to shed his excess weight. As he wrote on Reddit, “after I lost 100 pounds I started walking to work (5 miles) for about 2 months until it got too cold outside,” but he attributes almost all of the weight loss to his diet.

“No foods were off limit, but I survived mostly on tuna salad, chicken with salsa, frozen vegetables, beans and rice, turkey/roast beef sandwiches, spinach, and eggs,” he posted on the “Lose It” forum


After losing an incredible 130 pounds (approx. 59 kg), it was finally time to reveal his miraculous progress to his parents and family. Irwin flew to Canada in 2013 and arrived at the house where the whole family would be spending Christmas ahead of their arrival. When they got to the house and he came down the stairs, the reunion definitely made all those months of hard work and determination worth it.

As Lucas padded down the stairs, “I was really nervous,” he told TODAY. “I was shaking and… it was very surreal.” His dad, Jeff Irwin, called up eagerly, “Hey buddy, how are you?” But then he saw the massive transformation and had to do a double-take. “Oh my God!” Then it’s Irwin’s mom’s turn, “Oh my God!”

His parents are clearly blown away by their son’s great new look. “I don’t even recognize you!” As his stepmom Susan Irwin said, “Doesn’t even look like Lucas. Sounds like Lucas!”

But most of all, as his parents told TODAY, they were proud of their son. “He looked just fantastic. I was more stunned than anything else,” his dad said. “Inside, I was just beaming. I was just… I was over the moon.”

Since then, Lucas has kept up the good habits and started gaining weight back, but in muscle not in fat. His online community and parents remain incredibly supportive of his healthy lifestyle.

“Just picturing it in my mind again, it brings back tears to my eyes again,” his stepmother said. An amazing year for this young man, whose simple decision to change his eating habits changed his life forever.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:51

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NFL Star Chris Smith Breaks His Silence After Girlfriend's Tragic Death: 'She's in a Better Place'

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith's girlfriend Petara Cordero died in a car accident on Wednesday

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith dedicated a touching message to honor his girlfriend Petara Cordero, who died in a car accident on Wednesday, weeks after the couple welcomed daughter Haven Harris Smith.

Alongside a slideshow of images highlighting some of the couple’s happy memories together, Smith shared that while he might not understand why Cordero was taken from him, he understands she’s “in a better place now.”

“God has a plan for all of us we can’t understand but she is in a better place now and she can rest easy,” he wrote, calling Cordero “my wifey, my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter.”

“Love you baby,” he added, including the hashtag “stay strong,” which appeared to be a reference to a tattoo Cordero had inked on her chest.

Smith also revealed on his Instagram Story that he had gotten the same words inked on himself along with several of their loved ones.

Cordero was a passenger in Smith’s Lamborghini when a tire blew out, causing their vehicle to swerve and hit a median on I-90 West in Cleveland, according to a statement from the Cleveland Browns.

Cordero got out of the car “without significant injuries,” only to be struck by an oncoming vehicle. After being taken to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, she was pronounced dead, local station News 5 reported.

The driver of the oncoming vehicle admitted to drinking before the accident, and a toxicology report is pending, Cleveland police told CNN. Smith was not impaired, both the Browns’ statement and CNN reported.

Freddie Kitchens, the head coach of the Browns, has said that the team is “going to support Chris,” who will be excused from team activities to grieve “as he sees best fit.”

“This goes beyond football. This was a 26-year-old young lady at the highlight of her life. Not to get too personal about it … Chris is a good dude. She was a good girl. We just want to support him in any way we can,” Kitchens said at a press conference on Thursday.

Smith and Cordero had announced their daughter Haven’s arrival on social media less than a month before her sudden and tragic death.

On Aug. 27, Smith shared photos of the new mom and baby, writing in the caption, “I’m so thankful to have another beautiful gift in this world my daughter Haven Harris Smith. You are such a blessing to me and your mother!! Love you Petara and Baby Haven??????.”

Cordero also shared photos of their baby on Instagram, writing, “This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!! Haven Harris Smith.”

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:45

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Woman who married man in prison for 23 years celebrates ten years together

Two teenagers felt an instant romantic connection after meeting at a Wendy’s in 2006, but with one of them soon heading to prison, they didn’t take it any further. Personal trainer Nina Hoffler from Phoenix, Arizona, took a shining to Michael Hoffler when she was 16 and he 17. But with a likely prison charge looming over assault, Michael, now 30 didn’t think to ask her out. However, Nina, now 29, decided she would write to him, a promise she stuck to when he eventually ended up in prison. Michael got involved in an armed robbery in northern California which led to him being sentenced to 23 years. During the first three years of his sentence, their relationship blossomed and Nina knew she was in love. Although she feared judgement from others she continued writing daily letters to him. It wasn’t until 2012 that they kissed for the first time during their first in-person prison visit. After this, they became even closer and Nina started to visit Michael more regularly. Michael proposed to Nina on in the summer of 2016 and the couple tied the knot at Ironwood State Prison in January the following year, consummating their marriage in prison after ten years together.

Although he was the youngest out of the group who committed the crime, Michael was given the harshest sentence due to being tried as an adult. He is now 13 years into his sentence and hoping to have his sentence examined since a law passed in California reevaluating youth offenders. It took Nina some time to accept her feelings at first but now she documents their journey together on Instagram. She explained: ‘Michael had clearly made significant emotional and behavioural changes and it was clear to me that he was becoming the man I always believed he would be. ‘On May 4, 2017 we were able to consummate our marriage, and this meant for the very first time ever we could have conjugal visits and be intimate with each other, after a decade of correspondence. ‘This was incredible for both of us.’

Married couples can request conjugal visits and enjoy unsupervised visits in units that have two small bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen has a sink, fridge/freezer, toaster oven, microwave and cabinets. The living room has a small couch, TV and a small music player for radio or CDs. There’s also a small dining table and a few chairs. There is a shower and a bathtub in the bathroom. The main bedroom has a queen-size bed and the other room has two twin beds. Nina added: ‘I have to bring my marriage license every time I visit and can bring a small canvas duffle bag with clothes for three days.

‘I can bring most toiletries which has to be ready and open for inspection. I also have to bring all bedding. I can even bring some nice lingerie so long as it doesn’t have any underwire in it.’ In 2014, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, a non-profit organisation helped to pass a new law which allows youth offenders in California to appear before a Youth Parole Board on their fifteenth year served. This is giving the couple renewed hope of being together on the outside. ‘This brought new hope to me and Michael and many others who were locked up as children. We are patiently waiting for his date of hearing.

Nina is incredibly excited about Michael coming home and whether it’s sooner or later, she says she’s in this for the long haul. ‘A huge sense of relief will completely consume me when I see him take his first steps as a free man. It will be like I am living in a dream I have been locked into since I was just 16 years old, She also added that the U.S justice system needs to address its attitude to young offenders. ‘We need to stop locking up children and throwing away the key. Children have a greater capacity for change when given appropriate rehabilitation.’ ‘I don’t know yet when Michael will be coming out. Either way, I’m here and we will always be fighting this together. I signed up for better or for worse, not always roses and daises.’

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:39

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A WOMAN told she was in the menopause and that her partner had a low sperm count gave birth naturally – to twins.

Michelle Murray had been desperate to start a family with her car mechanic partner Michael Locker, 45. Her only hope was a fertility clinic, but just three weeks before going Michelle, 43, found out she was pregnant naturally. She gave birth to miracle babies Jackson and Melissa in June 2016. 

Michelle, a full-time mum, said: “Michael and I had thought there was no hope at all.

"I was in the menopause and he had a low sperm count, and the doctors told us it was not going to be possible for me to fall pregnant naturally. 

“Michael had come from a large family and we were both desperate to have a baby together, but it looked like it was never going to happen.

“When I found out I had fallen pregnant naturally, just before my appointment at the fertility clinic we were amazed.Then to find out it was twins, it was a real double miracle.” 

Michelle, who has sons Harry, 10, and Charlie, eight, from a previous relationship, wanted to start a family with Michael after meeting five years ago.

But after a few months of trying the couple from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, went for tests and doctors discovered their fertility problems. 

Her twins were delivered by emergency caesarian at 32 weeks. “It was an amazing feeling to bring them home.

They have done really well since, and we feel like the luckiest parents in the world. Every day I look at them and feel so blessed. To think that I had twins when in the menopause is remarkable.”

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:33

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Woman desperate to become a mother reveals she lost 3st and underwent SIX rounds of IVF to realise her dream of starting a family

A woman has finally realised her dream of starting a family after losing 3st and going through six rounds of IVF treatment.

Marie Hooper, 33, from Sheffield, was devastated when doctors told her she would never have children, and that her weight was stopping her from being eligible for IVF.  

Despite having already lost three stone, taking her weight from 18st to 15st, doctors said she would need to lose another three in order to have IVF treatment. 

The determined Marie managed to lose the weight, dropping her weight to 12st, and went through six rounds of IVF to welcome two children  and completing her dream family-of-four. 

The couple were brokenhearted six years ago when, after nine months of trying, doctors said they wouldn't be able to conceive naturally.

The couple describe being 'shocked' to hear the 'devastating' news they'd 'never have kids', which is what some experts told them.

The 33-year-old former hairdresser was then advised by someone at work to look into IVF treatment and she booked a consultation in September 2013.

But Marie's renewed hope turned to heartache once again when a doctor said her weight would prevent her from undergoing the treatment.

Marie had already gone from 18 stone to 15 stone since the start of the year but she was told to lose another three before being eligible for an NHS IVF. 

'It was so frustrating to hear I needed to do more, especially because exercising wasn't something I enjoyed doing,' she said.

'But I was really motivated, I knew it was what I had to do in order to give me and my husband a baby, which is all we wanted.'

Marie continued to swap pizzas for peanuts and kebabs for kale, as well as using an exercise bike at home, to eventually reach her target weight of 12 stone at the start of 2015.

She credits much of her success to Slimming World, which she joined in 2013 when her weight loss journey begun.

The couple had their first attempt at IVF treatment in March that year but tragically it failed.

Marie said: ' That was a really awful thing to go through but I knew it was a possibility so we decided to try again really soon.'

Just two months later she found out she was pregnant following a second attempt at treatment.

In February 2016 the couple's first child, James, was born in their hometown of Sheffield, South Yorks.

Marie and Steve, a 35-year-old bus driver, say James's arrival was a 'dream come true' following three years of suffering.

Marie said: 'We had both been through so much to get to that point so to finally have had a baby felt amazing.'

'It was the end of a really long and difficult journey but I knew that I wanted to give it another go and try for a second.

'I wanted James to have a sibling. A sibling is like your best friend and I wanted to have that for him.'

But the process second time round proved to be even more painful than the first.

On Marie's third and fourth attempts at treatment her body failed to respond to the drugs and her fifth, in 2017, resulted in a miscarriage.

She said: 'After the fifth attempt, that was the worst month of my life. I was devastated. I felt so depressed I didn't want to be with anybody.

But after a few days, I decided I wanted to do it again. I was determined.'

The couple had already spent £9,000 on IVF and didn't have any money left so crowdfunded for financial support.

To their surprise the public donated a whopping £6,000, which enabled them to give treatment another go.

In March 2018, Marie got the brilliant news she was pregnant again and that December her youngest son Jack was born.

Marie said: 'Going through IVF is like going through the world's longest labour. It's so, so difficult because of the dramatic ups and downs.

'We'd hear good news one day then have it taken away the next, so it was hard to ever be happy.

'I felt like I had been cheated because all I wanted to do in life was to be a mum and I had to fight for it.'

She added: 'Looking at the family I have now makes me so, so happy.

'It's taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears but in the end it's all been worth it.

'My family are my everything, as long as my two sons and my husband are happy then I am too.'

Despite the immense toll the process has taken Marie wants her story to inspire other women to stick with IVF.

She said: 'I had so many setbacks but I stuck with it because I was so desperate for a family.

'I hope other people going through the same difficulties can see what's happened to me and be encouraged.'

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:26

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'I thought I'd be ready': Father mourns son's sudden death 10 years after attack put him in coma

Ken and Sue Diviney and their son, Ryan, were spending Labor Day weekend at their peaceful cabin in West Virginia.

The family often retreated there to enjoy some fresh air.

At 29 years old, Ryan depended on his parents to interpret his needs. In 2009, a savage beating left him in a minimally conscious coma. He could breathe on his own but was unable to communicate or move his body. 

That morning, Sue woke Ryan up to do muscle-building exercises with his dad. After, the three of them sat on the front porch, chatting and basking in the warm summer sun.

They watched Ryan's favorite college football team win, the West Virginia Mountaineers. When they played "Country Roads" after the game, the entire crowd sang along. Ryan loved when they did that. 

“It was such a great day,” Ken recounted.

But around 6 p.m., Ken looked over at his son and felt that something was off. He took Ryan’s blood pressure and discovered it was in the 165 range.

Knowing an ambulance would take too long, Ken decided to drive Ryan to the hospital, and Sue followed in the truck. He kept a close eye on Ryan through a makeshift mirror, his eyes darting between the road and Ryan, back at the road and to Ryan again.

All of a sudden, he saw his son sit upright with a heavy breath in and then drop.

“I looked back and I knew he was dead,” Ken said with a deep sigh. 

Still driving, Ken started giving Ryan CPR with one hand as he tried to find a place to pull over. 

But it was too late.

The Divineys spent a decade fighting for Ryan’s life. And Ken thought he’d be ready – he'd watched his son die and be revived three times before. 

“This is so hard,” Ken said a few days after his son's death. “It was a great day until that. A lot of great days …”

In 2009, Ryan was a sophomore in his fall semester at West Virginia University when he was attacked by a group of men outside a convenience store.

Ryan was sucker-punched in the head by a student. As he lay on the ground, another teen kicked his head as if he were punting a football, The Washington Post reported a witness saying.

Ryan barely survived and never fully recovered.

Although he was able to breathe on his own without life support, the attack left him in a minimally conscious coma – what some refer to a vegetative state – for the rest of his life.

His father left his job at a sports consulting company to be his primary caretaker.

The news of the attack devastated the community, who Ken said rushed to the family’s aid and donated whatever was needed to make Ryan’s care more comfortable.

The entire basement of the house was remodeled to accommodate Ryan's needs, including a giant bathroom that fit his chair, which was done free of charge by local companies. 

“There were times when my knees buckled and just people were there,” Ken said. “Whatever we needed, and we couldn’t get through any other means, people did it. And they loved doing it for him.”

Every day for almost 10 years, Ken woke his son up around 6 a.m. to start their routine of exercises: passive cycling for the legs and hands, vibration machines, audio stimulation and more.

He made sure Ryan was never bored – Ken spoke to him all day, took him outside when it was nice and made sure someone was always there with him. 

At the end of the day, Ken would give Ryan a shower and put him to bed. 

The family’s decision to do this every day, to care for their son while he fought to recover, was actually made by Ryan himself.

Three months before the attack, Ken said, they had a conversation while soaking in the hot tub about people who were living in comatose conditions.

“If anything like that ever happens to me, you do everything you can for me,” Ken recalled Ryan saying.

“And we did. Relentlessly.”

Ken says most people would describe his son as the all-American boy.

Ryan loved watching sports, but his favorite to play was baseball, and he was one of the hardest hitters anyone had ever seen.

“I would throw buckets and buckets of balls for him to hit,” Ken recalled. At one point, Ryan began hitting the balls so hard that Ken was afraid to stand on the mound.

To honor his athletic legacy, Ryan’s high school baseball team retired his jersey, something Ken had never heard of any high school doing before.

As a sophomore, he was picked as one of Virginia’s top 50 college prospects. However, Ryan earned his spot at WVU with a partial academic scholarship to major in pre-law with his sights set on being a senator or judge. He received the presidential award for his 4.0 GPA after the first semester of his freshman year.

He had a 3.81 GPA the night of the attack.

But Ken says it’s not just Ryan’s academic and athletic achievements that has made him a proud father. He loved the way Ryan inspired his younger sister, Kari, who applied to WVU after visiting Ryan on campus. She received her acceptance letter when her brother was in the ICU.

“I’m doing everything to remember my brother,” Ken remembers his daughter saying

Ryan was a shining example for Kari, but his reach extended beyond the family as well.

Ken recalled receiving numerous letters after his son’s attack detailing the small things he did for people every day. Even 10 years later, Ken is still hearing new stories about his son – whether it was defending an unpopular kid at school or being there for a friend whose father was terminally ill.  

At Ryan's funeral, his school friend Tommy Meier recalled in his eulogy how the two met. Their friendship was solidified in the eighth grade when Ryan stood up to bullies who said they wanted to beat up his best friend. 

"From that day on, I felt secure and fearless whenever I was with you," Meier wrote. "You brought out the best in me."

The medical bed in Ryan's room sits empty. And there's no longer a need for the exercise machine at the other end of his room. But his presence is still everywhere in the Virginia home.

The first game of the NFL season was marked by Ryan's favorite spread, a concoction of nachos, cheese, chili and smokies loaded with brown sugar. Before the attack, the family would sit on the couch around the ottoman to share the family delicacy while watching football games.

But no double dipping, Ken said. That was Ryan’s rule

According to the family’s Facebook page, where they kept the community updated with his condition, services to celebrate Ryan’s life were held Sept. 6 and 7.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked for attendees to donate to the making of their documentary “Storming,” which followed the daily lives of Ken and Sue Diviney as they cared for Ryan for a decade.

Ken said he's grateful for the community's help. He'll pay forward their kindness and donate Ryan's equipment – it's what Ryan would've wanted. 

“There’s a lesson to be learned here,” Ken said. “Treat people well. We’re all interconnected.”

Ken wants to take everything Ryan has taught him, before and after the attack, and apply that to his next venture in life. 

He’s not sure what that will be yet, or when there will be better days ahead. But he knows that whatever he’ll do, it will involve sharing his story in Ryan's name.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:18

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'I thought he was going to kill me': Grandmother relives horror moment she was set upon by a stranger armed with a metal baseball bat in a carpark

She said she owed her survival to a hero couple who rushed to her aid and stopped the man from beating her to death.  

Ms Thorning used her arm to protect herself and her camera gear, which she had been carrying.  

'It was so hard I actually heard the metal hitting my bone and bouncing off,' she said.

'He was just swinging it and swinging it. I thought ''Oh my God, my camera gear. It's going to go".'  

She was taken to Royal Perth Hospital and now faces a long road to recovery.  

Ms Thorning was heading towards the park's nature trail to take photographs, when a man in a car pulled up beside her.

The thug jumped out of the car and started beating her. 

Jimmy Hinch, one of the heroes, said he saw a man dragging Ms Thorning by her leg while she was holding her camera equipment. 

'I ran around the side of me car and grabbed me a stick ... and Kim sort of got Heather away,' the 32-year-old said. 

The attacker sped off after Mr Hinch and his partner came to save Ms Thorning.  

The man police are looking for in relation to the attack is described to be aged between 34-45 years old, 180cm tall with an Australian accent. 

He was unshaven, wore khaki coloured pants and sped off in a red four-door sedan, similar to a Subaru Impreza. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:09

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Hoarder jailed and fined £50,000 for leaving 100 dogs in utter squalor

A woman who left more than 100 dogs to suffer in crowded cages and no fresh drinking water has been ordered to pay £50,000. Lynn Stoker, 62, was breeding dogs but struggled to sell them on and ended up with a house full of animals. She initially asked for help re-homing the pets but began behaving ‘evasively’ and ‘aggressively’ so a search warrant was issued in May 2018. RSPCA inspectors found the dogs were found in shocking conditions at he home in Byrness Village, Northumberland.

During her trial, the court heard how two dogs had fractured jaws and many had obvious disease symptoms and were being kept in crowded cages. The animals didn’t have fresh drinking water and some animals were in such a bad state they needed to be put down.

Many of the dogs hadn’t had veterinary treatment in years and some were ‘at an advanced stage of suffering’, the court heard. Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, told South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court Stoker had refused to co-operate with the RSPCA. She accused them of a ‘conspiracy’ to remove the dogs in order to make a profit for themselves. Paul Blanchard, defending, said: ‘It’s fair to say circumstances had got beyond my client. ‘She has the traits of a hoarder, which is a personality disorder. This wasn’t a deliberate act, it’s a reckless act.

She was not dealing with matters as she could have done, she closed her eyes to the reality of the situation.’ Sentencing, District Judge Bernard Begley said Stoker had ‘not a shred of remorse’ and repeatedly denied any fault. He added: ‘I really can’t find any redeeming features in your case.’ Stoker was led away in handcuffs after being handed a 21-week prison sentence. She was also disqualified from keeping or breeding animals for at least 15 years. The judge ordered her to pay £50,000 in costs after an initial application from the RSPCA asking for her to pay more than £290,000.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:05

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Tomer Frankfurter, 18, was on a two-month tour of the US from Israel when the tragedy occurred in Yosemite National Park, last summer

The final moments of an Israeli traveler who plunged more than 800 feet to his death while attempting to take a selfie on a Yosemite cliff have been revealed.

Tomer Frankfurter, 18, was on a two-month tour of the US from Israel when the tragedy occurred in Yosemite National Park, California, last summer.

Along with a group of tourists, Frankfurter had been trekking the revered 5.4 mile Mist Trail route through the stunning Nevada Falls cliffs on September 4, and decided he wanted to capture a memorable photo of the trip.

Handing his cell phone to a woman in the group, Frankfurter is then said to have started climbing over the cliff edge as other hikers tried to persuade the teenager to come back because it wasn’t safe.

However, Frankfurter continued over the rock-face and, suspending himself with his arms, he dangled himself above the falls below.

For a few moments everything went as planned for Frankfurter, who posed for pictures with the rest of the group watching on.

However, suddenly the teen’s grip began to slip and he called out ‘I need help’ in desperation.

According to reports, a number of tourists ran over and tried to hoist Frankfurter back to safety, grabbing on to his arms and wrists.

But as it was a warm summer afternoon, Frankfurter began to tire and his would-be rescuers were struggling to get a firm grip on his arms, which were slippery with sweat.

Slowly, the adventurer, from Jerusalem, began to slip from their grasp. Then suddenly, he fell – plunging 820 ft to the ground below.

‘Frankfurter fell in a tragic accident, in circumstances that he was entirely in control of until the point of the fall,’ wrote Jesse McGahey, the Yosemite ranger who filed the report on the investigation into the death.

‘The witnesses that attempted to render aid were heroic in their actions,’ McGahey said. ‘But once Frankfurter descended to hang from the edge of the cliff face, there was nothing they could have done to prevent his fall with the equipment available.’

Frankfurter’s death came as an addition to the fast-growing number of young people who’ve died as part of the so-called ‘Selfie Epidemic’, in search of the most impressive photos for Instagram or Facebook.

‘Today people are trying to prove that they did something,’ said Michael Ghiglieri, co-author of ‘Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite’, to Mercury News. ‘In the old days people went out to have an experience. Now they go out to record that they had that experience.’

A student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Frankfurter was on a two month trip of the United States and had been staying with a family friend in Fresno.

The two visited Yosemite together but were separated into different tour groups prior to the fatal accident.

Friends of Frankfurter recalled how he said he wanted to replicate a photo he’d seen of a tourist in Brazil at Telegraph Rock, showing the individual hanging from a rocky platform and appearing to be thousands of feet above the ground.

In reality, the photo is actually an optical illusion, with the rock hanging just three-feet above a pathway below.

But no such trickery exists at the Nevada Falls.

‘I thought [Frankfurter] was joking,’ one witness told investigators, according to documents obtained exclusively by Mercury News. ‘I turned around because I couldn’t watch, but he was hanging off the rock. Then he started to struggle.’

Others reveal how they watched on in horror as the teenager clung on for dear life by the tips of his fingers.

‘I heard some of my friends screaming “come quickly, everyone, hurry!”’ one witness recalled.

‘Help! We need help! He’s falling!’ another person shouted out, as three hikers scrambled to pull Frankfurter back to safety.

‘People started running toward him,’ one witness said. ‘But he just couldn’t hang on anymore.’

As he fell, hikers turned away in horror, with screams and crying breaking out among members of the group.

Frankfurter died instantly on impact, investigators say. He landed on a rocky patch by the side of a river.

In an investigation conducted by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, at least 259 people have died in selfie-related incidents, between 2011 and 2017.

The average age of the victims was 23, three-quarters of whom were male.

Most people will say, “I want the photo, but it’s too dangerous,”’ said Ghiglieri to Mercury News. ‘Some people — and it’s almost always guys — recognize it’s dangerous, but they don’t internalize it as dangerous. They perceive it like a Hollywood movie set. It’s a disconnect.’

The Vietnam veteran suggests the National park updates its safety warnings for a younger generation, but insists evening building miles of fencing wouldn’t stop social media enthusiasts, as ‘someone would climb over it.’

In the month after Frankfurter’s death, travel blogging newlyweds Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, died after falling from Taft Point in Yosemite.

A tri-pod and camera was found set-up where they fell.

‘A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs and skyscrapers, but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL?? Is our life just worth one photo?’ Moorthy wrote just months before the fall, on their blog ‘Holidays and Happily Ever After’.

At least 1,004 people have died at Yosemite since 1851. 300 of them died falling from a great height.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 22:01

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Toddler almost bled to death after falling over with glass in his hand

Sonny Noble, aged 15 months, tripped on an outside step and then fell down on one of the shards, cutting a three-inch gash in his throat. His mum Tasha, 31, heard the smash on August 23 and ran out to find the youngster back on his feet but covered in blood. The mum-of-three grabbed a tea towel and used it to stem the bleeding, calling for her eldest child Izzy, nine, to get help while Eva, four, watched on. They ran out of the house on to their street in York, and frantically called for someone to help. A neighbour spoke to a 999 call handler and six minutes later an ambulance arrived and took hold of Sonny, whose skin was pale and lips were blue.

The child was rushed to A&E, where doctors managed to stem the bleeding before placing him into an induced coma and fitting a tracheostomy tube to breathe through. His condition was touch and go for some time but the brave youngster started recovering at a remarkably fast rate within days of his admission to hospital. He’s now in a stable condition and is expected to be discharged within the next week before making a full recovery, although he’ll probably be scarred for life. Mike and Tasha say they don’t know how Sonny got his hands on a glass, saying they make a conscious effort to keep them out of reach from the children. They haven’t been able to identify exactly what happened but do want to use their ordeal to warn other parents about the danger of freak accidents like the one they have fallen victim to.

Mike said: ‘This is one of those tragedies that could happen to almost anyone. ‘Every parent is guilty of leaving a glass out when they go to bed or something like that. ‘Tasha and I just want to warn and remind people to be extra careful. ‘Hopefully if people hear about what happened to Sonny they can prevent it from ever happening to their child. ‘What’s happened to us has been so traumatic and painful.’ Electrician Mike was working when the accident happened and was told something had happened over the phone by a neighbour. Recalling the moment, he said: ‘It was absolutely sickening, I instantly felt physically ill. ‘I dropped the phone out of my hands and had to sit down to collect myself. Mike added: ‘When I got home there were police officers everywhere and a crime scene investigation team. ‘The area was taped off because it was being treated as a crime scene.

Lots of neighbours were out on the street crying and hugging each other. ‘That’s when I really processed the severity of the situation, it hadn’t sunk in until then.’ After arriving at his house Mike was taken by police to York Hospital to meet Tasha, who he said was devastated and blaming herself for the accident. Soon after he was invited into the emergency room where Sonny was being treated. Mike said: ‘He was just lying there on the bed in his nappy surrounded by 20 or 25 doctors and nurses. ‘There was blood everywhere because his throat was still bleeding.’ After undergoing surgery to have the tracheostomy tube fitted Sonny was placed into an induced coma for two days. Within a week the youngster was able to breathe on his own and doctors began gradually decreasing the amount of medication he was on. Sonny is now able to sit up, play and eat and drink properly. The family are fundraising through crowdfunding site GoFundMe to for financial support, as Mike has had to take unpaid leave from work to be with his family.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 21:53

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British father is ROBBED while lying in the road with horrific injuries after being run over TWICE in Spain

A British dad is in hospital in Spain after he broke 26 bones when he was twice hit by a car on his way to the supermarket. Dean Millers, 29, was left fighting for his life, in a coma and on a ventilator after he popped to the shop to get juice and biscuits for his daughters. Partner Emily Clarke, 24, heard a huge smash, and ran out to the balcony to see Dean lying injured in the road. The construction worker had been hit by a car while using the zebra crossing, thrown through the air, and was then run over by another vehicle – before thieves stole his wallet. The dad-of-two was airlifted to hospital for life-saving surgery to repair two broken legs, 13 rib fractures, a smashed pelvis, broken nose and arm and fractured elbow.

He also lost his bottom teeth, broke his fingers, and suffered kidney damage, and Emily was only able to recognise him from his tattoos. He was put in an induced coma and on a ventilator – but five days later Emily was forced to leave him and return to England with their kids, Ava-Rae, three and Halleé-Rae, two.

She has since flown back and forth to sign consent form for endless operations – and fears Dean could be in hospital in Spain for months. Emily, from Gorton, Manchester, said: ‘All I could see was a man in the road and while I couldn’t tell it was Dean, I knew it was him. ‘The hotel phone started ringing and they asked if I could come down. It was absolutely awful. ‘When I first saw him after the operation I was only allowed to see him for two minutes. ‘It was horrible. At that stage I was still in disbelief that it was him. And when I saw him, he was a mess. I burst into tears. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. ‘I didn’t expect someone to survive it. It was horrendous.

It didn’t look like him at all but the only way I knew it was him was from the tattoos on his arm.’ The family, including grandma Pamela, 69, flew to Lloret de Mar to an all inclusive hotel resort on May 21, for Dean’s first ever holiday abroad.

He went to the supermarket at 6pm for Vimto and biscuits for the little ones and when Emily went to investigate the smashing sound she said she knew Dean had been hurt. He had been hit on the zebra crossing by a woman in a car – before a second car ran over him, she said. The first driver ran into a nearby police station and by the time Emily got to the scene, he was being looked after by emergency workers, and she was held back. Dean was airlifted to hospital in Girona while Emily followed in a taxi and waited for eight agonising hours with her three-year-old daughter for him to come out of surgery. The following day her dad came out to join her, and Emily remained by his bedside until she had to get her flight home on May 29, to bring her children back. Dean has since had two more operations to fix more broken bones, and came off the breathing machine this week, but can still barely move. Emily said: ‘Miraculously he has no brain or spinal injuries. ‘I had a chance to speak to him when I went back. He knows he is in Spain, he remembers being at the beach, but that’s about it.

‘It’s heartbreaking to have to leave him there, but I have to think of the kids. They need me.’ The family has travel insurance for Dean’s care, but it doesn’t cover Emily’s flights to see him to sign the forms, or her accommodation and transport while she’s there. She has launched a crowdfunding page asking for £3,000, and has so far raised £1,155.

stella Posted on September 16, 2019 21:42

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