All Threads

Toddler, two, spent a week in a coma and endured seizures after falling backwards off a SOFA and suffering a brain bleed which led to him being unable to see, speak or walk

A mother has revealed how her toddler spent a week in a coma and suffered seizures after falling backwards off the sofa.

Lee Alexander, 35, was inviting a friend over for a takeaway on Friday, September 28 last year while her son Henry was clambering on the couch next to her.

The youngster, who was a week away from turning two, went flying and landed with a thud. He quickly passed out before having multiple seizures in his mother's arms. 

Paramedics spent half-an-hour trying to stabilise Henry, from Suffolk, before they were forced for call an air ambulance. 

Once at hospital, Henry was diagnosed with a severe brain bleed from when he hit his head. Surgeons spent four hours treating the problem.

Although Henry pulled through, the youngster was put into a medically-induced coma to 'give his brain a rest'. 

When he woke a week later, he was a 'big baby again', unable to see, speak, walk or feed himself. Nearly a year on, Henry has made a remarkable recovery and is 'like any other two-year-old'.

Speaking of the ordeal, Miss Alexander said: 'I rushed out into the street with Henry in my arms shouting for help.

'We live in a new build close and I knew there were two nurses living close by and the other mums would also be home from the school run.'

A neighbour took Henry from Miss Alexander's arms and lay him on the floor in her home. Another dialled 999, while the youngster continued having seizures.

They noticed Henry's seizures bizarrely became worse if his mother was in the room. She therefore waited for the ambulance outside.  

Miss Alexander, who is also the mother of nine-year-old Olivia, said: 'I was outside thinking Henry was dead or dying. 

'I told my dad, 'Henry's not breathing'. He told me, 'Calm down Lee-Lee, just breathe'.'

When the paramedics were unable to stabilise him, Henry was flown to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, home to the region's top trauma centre.

Miss Alexander, who shares her children with her boyfriend Roy Delaney, 37, said: 'I knew from having worked as a carer that timing is everything when it comes to brain injuries.

'I also knew the fact there was no swelling where Henry had hit his head was not a good sign because a bruise should come out immediately and if it doesn't that means it has gone inside and is putting pressure on your brain.' 

Once at hospital and diagnosed, Henry was rushed into surgery were he went under the knife. 

By the time the surgeon came to speak to his parents, there was a crowd of 28 loved ones in the family room.

'The doctor who had operated came and said, 'Can we talk?',' Miss Alexander said.

'I told her she could say whatever she had to say in front of our families and friends, but she insisted on speaking to us privately.

'So, we went to her office where she said, 'Please sit down', at which point I just shouted at her, 'Is my son still alive?'.'

The surgeon confirmed Henry was alive, but had suffered major complications.   

'The doctor explained Henry would need to be put into a coma to give his brain a rest and all I could think was, 'How was this happening to us?', Miss Alexander said.

It was midnight by the time the couple saw Henry again.

'He was in a little cot and hooked up to four different machines, including a life support machine,' Miss Alexander said.

'His head was wrapped in bandages and he had these massive pads on his eyes. We were just heartbroken seeing him like that.' 

Rather than have to make the hour-and-a-half journey home, the couple were taken to the accommodation centre Acorn House, which gives the parents of children in hospital somewhere close by to stay.

'I would have stayed in a chair by Henry's bedside, but it was nice to be given somewhere so comfortable to spend the night,' Miss Alexander said. 

'It did feel strange that first night, but over the next few months, Acorn House became our family's safe haven.'

Henry was in a coma for a week but spent two months recovering in hospital. 

During the ordeal, the family spent as much time as they could at Henry's bedside. 

'When Henry was in a coma, the machine monitoring his brain activity showed it was more active if we were around him,' Miss Alexander said.

'That was bittersweet because it meant we knew he was in there and he was not brain dead.'

Miss Alexander was adamant there would be no crying in Henry's hospital room. 

'Children get their strength from their parents, so I had to be strong for Henry,' she said. 

After waking from the coma, his family set about teaching him everything he had once known all over again. 

'He was a big baby, he literally couldn't do anything,' Miss Alexander said. 'He couldn't talk and he couldn't see anything. He couldn't hold himself up or anything.' 

In the past year, Henry has made a remarkable recovery. 

'To look at him now you would never think anything had been wrong,' Miss Alexander said.

'He's looks like any other two-year-old. He can do everything he could do before. He used to have a neurological tremor, which caused shaking throughout his body.

'And the specialists have said it is possible he may have some issues like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or autism as he gets older because of the injury sustained and part of the brain that was damaged. 

'But the team that looked after him have promised they will stay in place until he starts school.' 

For Miss Alexander, a big challenge to overcome is not being overly anxious when it comes to parenting her children.

'It is hard, but I can't wrap Henry in cotton wool or stop him from being a child again,' she said.

'If we are somewhere with other children, I do say, 'Henry had a nasty bump to his head so please be careful with him,' and they always are.

'I always had faith Henry would recover, but I know we were the lucky ones. There were children dying in that hospital, and they never got to leave and go home.'

This Saturday, a year on from the ordeal, many of the hospital staff who treated Henry will be gathering at black-tie charity ball, organised by his family and their friends.

The money will be shared between The Sick Children's Trust, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital.  

'We want to try and raise some funds to show our gratitude for the incredible help we had,' Miss Alexander said.

Find out more about 'Henry's Ball' here and The Sick Children's Trust, which provided Acorn House for the family here

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Woman gives birth after spending £60,000 when she was told she can't have a baby

Victoria Andrews, 26, was shocked to learn she was pregnant after doctors told her she was infertile due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. But in May, she gave birth to a baby boy called Tobias.

To cope with being told that she wouldn’t have her own children, she started collecting dolls and at its peak she had over 100 dolls known as ‘reborns’. However, she sold 40 of them for £10,000 to buy necessities for Toby.

And while Victoria, from Newbury, Berkshire, sold many of them, Toby still has around 40 ‘brothers and sisters’. She’s even created one just like Toby, weighing 7lbs 2ozs – his weight when he was born – and who is wearing the same clothes he wore when he left hospital. It’s even called Tobias. Victoria said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was pregnant.

‘Obviously I love babies. I just thought I would only ever have the doll variety. ‘I was smitten with Toby right away. He’s got my eyes and my ‘bum’ chin. I haven’t even picked up a doll since he was born.’

Victoria learned she was pregnant when she went to the doctor after weeks of what she thought was a stomach ulcer. She said: ‘My blood tests came back. The doctor talked to me for a few minutes and then said “congratulations by the way, you’re at least seven weeks pregnant.”‘ The barmaid still didn’t believe it – so she paid for a private scan and saw him for the first time.

Last year Victoria took a drug to halt the facial hair growth polycystic ovary sufferers often have, and believes this is what caused a spike in her fertility. Victoria said: ‘I’d tried so many different things in the past that hadn’t worked it didn’t really occur to me that this one might. I wasn’t even taking it for my fertility. ‘Me and my partner at the time didn’t use protection – there was no need. ‘We split up before I even knew I was pregnant because I found out he was cheating. ‘Now he doesn’t want anything to do with the baby. It’s massively his loss – Toby is absolutely amazing.’

Although she has always buys and the sells the dolls in order to upgrade to better versions, she no longer has time to pay attention to the 40 she still has left. Victoria said: ‘Some of the ladies in the doll community take their collections quite seriously. They with feed and bathe their dolls and put them into pyjamas at night. ‘I mostly keep mine on a shelf. ‘Sometimes, before I had Toby, I would pick them up for a cuddle if I was feeling down. It’s really soothing. ‘But now I’ve got him I don’t need to do that. I don’t have time. I haven’t even picked one up since Toby came along. ‘I’ve kept my favourites though. Some of the best ones I paid £1,500 for.’

Victoria and Toby live at home with her bar manager mum Jane, 56, and gardener dad Dirk, 64. Victoria plans to keep her collection – and maybe even add to it when she goes back to work as a barmaid. She said: ‘I still love them. Not in the way I love Toby, of course. ‘I’d love to have more kids one day. Maybe four. For now I joke that I’ve got 41.

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Mum Claims Adopted Child Was Actually A 22-Year-Old Who Tried To Kill Her

It has all the elements of a horror movie: an unsuspecting Christian couple adopts an adorable little girl only to discover she is an adult sociopath masquerading as a child.

If the premise sounds familiar that's because it’s virtually the exact plot of 2009 big screen chiller 'Orphan', where a pig-tailed 'youngster' tries to murder her family when it's revealed she is 33.

But as far-fetched as it sounds, this is the astonishing defense put forward by a mom-of-three and parenting author shockingly accused of felony neglect for abandoning her adopted daughter.

Kristine Barnett, 45, and her ex-husband Michael Barnett, 43, are alleged to have dumped Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace at an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana in 2013 before moving to Canada one month later and breaking off contact.

Police say the girl was left to fend for herself for three years despite having a rare form of dwarfism that means she is 3ft tall and has problems walking.

But in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV at an undisclosed location, Kristine insists there's a major flaw in their case: Natalia was not a nine year old - as charging documents claim - she was actually 22.

Barnett claims the true victims are her and her family who were terrorized for years by the mysterious impostor who threatened to stab them in their sleep, pushed her towards an electric fence and poured bleach in her coffee.

'The movie 'Orphan' is exactly what happened.  

‘She would make statements and draw pictures saying she wanted to kill family members, roll them up in a blanket and put them in the backyard,’ she told DailyMailTV.

‘She was standing over people in the middle of the night. You couldn't go to sleep. We had to hide all the sharp objects.

‘I saw her putting chemicals, bleach, Windex something like that, in my coffee and I asked her, what are you doing? She said, "I am trying to poison you."

‘The media is painting me to be a child abuser but there is no child here,’ said Barnett.

‘Natalia was a woman. She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism.

'The doctors all confirmed she was suffering a severe psychological illness only diagnosed in adults.

‘She was jumping out of moving cars. She was smearing blood on mirrors. She was doing things you could never imagine a little child doing.’

Before criminal charges were leveled at them on September 11, Barnett and ex-husband Michael were hailed as exemplary parents who raised child 'genius' Jake Barnett.

Diagnosed with autism at age two, Jake nonetheless had his first academic paper published at 12 and by 15 was studying at a prestigious physics institute.

His story was featured in a 2012 episode of CBS 60 Minutes - but it was the shy girl who sat to his left at the family dinner table that would one day prompt altogether more sinister headlines.

The Barnetts, experienced foster parents who ran a children's day care from their Westfield, Indiana home, collected the curly-haired youngster from Florida in May 2010.

While living with the Barnetts, Natalia's adoption was completed in November that year.

In a frank and tearful interview with DailyMailTV, Kristine Barnett insisted she treated the new addition to her family as if she were her biological child.

She had no hesitation in accepting Natalia despite learning she had a bone growth disorder named spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia, which causes short stature, skeletal abnormalities and problems with vision.

‘I always wanted to have a larger family and I had very severe complications in my pregnancies and was unable to have more children,’ Barnett explained.

‘I also at that time had a very privileged life. I felt that if I had the ability to help another person in the world then I wanted to do it.’

Given just 24-hours to complete an emergency adoption, the couple raced to an adoption center in Florida to sign the paperwork and meet their ‘six-year-old’ daughter.

They gleaned precious few details of her background: Natalia had been in the US for two years, had a Ukrainian birth certificate reading September 4, 2003 and needed a home immediately because her previous adoptive parents suddenly gave her up - for undisclosed reasons.

‘Out of compassion for their situation I didn’t want to press them for information on what had gone wrong,’ the mom went on.

‘Natalia was extremely nervous. You could see she was going to need a lot of support and care. We did notice immediately in the parking lot that she couldn't walk. There was nothing in the paperwork stating that.’

Over the next few days the couple showered Natalia with attention, taking her to Disney World, enjoying ice creams, treats and playful pillow fights with her three brothers to slowly bring her out of her shell.

When they took Natalia to a beach for the first time, she did something that would leave the couple speechless.

‘The boys rushed into the water and Natalia wanted to be carried into the ocean. Michael and myself were physically exhausted so we asked her to wait just a few minutes,’ she said.

‘With that she just got up and ran into the ocean. I remember looking at Mike and thinking, what’s going on? She couldn’t walk a second ago and now she just got up and ran.’

Barnett grew more alarmed when she saw the little girl naked for the first time.

‘I was giving her a bath and I noticed that she had full pubic hair. I was so shocked. I had just been told she was a six year old and it was very apparent she wasn't,’ she added.

There were further clues to an apparent deception: Natalia shunned dolls and toys, sought the company of teenage girls and appeared to use sophisticated vocabulary way beyond someone her age.

She didn't have any trace of a foreign accent and when the family asked a Ukrainian friend to speak in their native language Natalia couldn't understand or describe her homeland.

‘At the time I ran a little school and I remember she said to me, these children are exhausting, I don't know how you do it,’ Barnett went on.

‘I was like, you're supposed to be a child yourself. It was like something another mom would say as she dropped her kids off.

‘It's very hard to decipher how old she is because she has such a unique look. But at that time I started to believe she was probably a teenager. 

‘But I didn’t have any regrets. This was what I wanted to do. I felt overwhelming love for her.’

Barnett says she soon began finding bloody clothing in the trash suggesting Natalia was having her period and trying to conceal the evidence.

She sought out the help of her family physician who ordered bone density tests to establish Natalia's age.

When the results suggested the little girl was indeed at least 14 or older, Barnett says she switched the princess outfits and pink dresses for more appropriate clothes.

But as questions swirled around her age and true identity, Natalia's behavior begun to deteriorate.

Barnett recalls watching aghast on a baby monitor as Natalia attacked a baby boy when she was out the room.

When they attended therapy together Natalia scoffed at the 'childish' bonding exercises.

By 2011 Barnett says that Natalia was smearing bodily fluid on walls, making death threats and hearing voices as her mental health broke down. 

Natalia would spend the next year or so being treated for various psychiatric disorders, spending days to weeks at a time at the St Vincent Indianapolis Stress Center.

When Barnett claims she tried to drag her on to an electric fence during a 2012 birthday outing, Natalia was placed long-term at a state-run psychiatric unit because she allegedly posed a risk to others.

It was during treatment that Barnett insists that Natalia confessed to being far older than she appeared.

Barnett  presented DailyMailTV with a trove of paperwork that appears to confirm her version of events – and that health care professionals shared her grave concerns.

One clinical therapist in January 2012 said Natalia claimed to them that she was 18.

Then, at Larue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis, in June 2012, staff said she had described how she had tried to kill family members and had no remorse about it, with Natalia going as far as to describe it as fun to staff.

Most revealing of all is perhaps a letter from the Barnetts' primary care physician Andrew McLaren MD, dated March 2012, in which he says Natalia's 2003 birth date was clearly inaccurate and that Natalia had made a career out of pretending to be a young child. He said Natalia fooled him, her parents and other physicians. 

It was also in 2012 that police first began asking questions, although correspondence reviewed by DailyMailTV suggests they were trying to establish whether an immigration fraud took place before the Barnetts had any involvement with Natalia.

Detective Scott Clouse of the Westfield City Police Department told them via email that he had referred the case to the FBI and ICE because he suspected there was 'false age reporting' prior to Natalia leaving Ukraine.

Clouse died of cancer four years ago but Captain James Lilly, a former colleague, told DailyMailTV that, while he vaguely remembered the case, he did not think the FBI pursued it further.

In June of 2012 the Barnetts successfully applied to Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, Indiana to have Natalia's age 'corrected' so she could receive the appropriate psychiatric treatment for an adult.

In documents seen by DailyMailTV, Judge Gerald S. Zore accepted the couple's allegations were 'true' and revised Natalia's date of birth to September 4, 1989 - changing her age from eight to 22.

At this stage, Barnett points out, Natalia was considered an adult by the state of Indiana and was legally responsible for herself.

Even so, Barnett says she and her husband rented an apartment for Natalia when she was discharged from secure psychiatric care in August 2012 and placed under the supervision of state healthcare provider, Aspire Indiana.

They further helped her get a social security number, apply for benefits, food stamps and an ID.

When Natalia caused problems at the property and was evicted they stepped in again to prevent her from being homeless, renting a new apartment for her in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County.

Barnett said she was communicating daily with Natalia and even came up with a plan for Natalia to enroll in college to get her high school diploma and study cosmetology.

'I said I've been taking care of you here as an adult, I will do one more year of financial aid, the exact same thing I am doing for all of my children,' she said.

'I co-signed the lease and paid for the rent up front for a year. I did everything you would do when you send your child off to college, I helped her with groceries and bought furniture at Target for her.

'I was optimistic, she had a concrete plan for her life. She had food stamps. She had social security income for the rest of her things. She had demonstrated she was able to live.’

By 2013 Barnett had published a memoir about Jacob, now aged 21, entitled 'The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism'.

That same year they moved to Canada so Jacob could attend the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, leaving Natalia behind at her rented apartment.

By then, however, Barnett says Natalia had vanished and stopped returning her calls.

Barnett told DailyMailTV she feared Natalia had stopped taking her medication and was probably posing as a child again for another unsuspecting family.

‘I had found a little pink dress in her closet and a little pink bicycle parked beside her house,’ she said.

‘I would have forced her back into treatment but I couldn’t do that any longer because she was an adult.

‘She discontinued communication with me. What I did get was a letter in the mail stating that she had changed Michael from the beneficiary of her social security income to someone else.


‘The last time we spoke on the phone, she told me she was cooking spaghetti for her new family.

‘I did not abandon anyone. I went to Canada to further my son's education. These accusations are absolutely devastating.’

The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department meanwhile presents a very different version of events.

A September 11 affidavit of probable cause obtained by DailyMailTV states that an expert at the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital named Dr. Riggs carried out bone density tests on Natalia in June 2010.

It concluded she was aged approximately eight years old.

A further skeletal test carried out two years later at the same facility concluded she was around 11 years old.

The affidavit reveals that it was Natalia herself who told police in 2014 that she had been 'left alone' when her adoptive parents moved to Canada, with cops concluding she was a 'reliable and credible' witness.

It does not explain, however, why detectives waited five years to put the allegations to Michael Barnett, who divorced Kristine in 2014, remarried and has settled back in Indiana.

The document says that when an officer spoke with Michael on September 5 he admitted he knew all along that Natalia was a minor child when she was allegedly abandoned.

Furthermore the affidavit adds: 'Michael Barnett admitted Kristine Barnett told Natalia to tell others Natalia looks young but was actually 22.’

However his Indianapolis-based attorney, Terrance Kinnard, denied that his client made any such admission of guilt.

'The police affidavit is not true. Michael never said he knew Natalia was a child,' he told DailyMailTV.

Police knocked on Michael’s door and he spoke to them, for three hours, without an attorney present. The statements he gave were clearly taken out of context.

'My client and I have absolutely no idea why the district attorney has chosen to level these accusations against my client and Kristine. The affidavit has been very selective in the medical reports it has chosen to cite.'

As for Natalia, neither the Barnetts, their attorneys, nor seemingly anyone else involved in this baffling case, appears to know her whereabouts.

And despite the possibility she is now 30 years old, Natalia's full court records will remain sealed until a court decides otherwise because adoption cases are treated as confidential.

She last saw her adoptive father was when the final chapter in their painful, confusing relationship played out at Tippecanoe Circuit Court in 2016.

There, a couple named Antwon and Cynthia Mans unexpectedly applied to become Natalia's guardians which meant proving she was a minor and restoring her original birth date.

The Barnetts filed an objection, claiming Natalia was an adult.

Records are not publicly available but DailyMailTV has established that a judge ordered a fresh hearing to establish Natalia's age, with Michael Barnett and a number of experts giving evidence.

‘Natalia was living on her own and a couple wanted to become her guardians. Thinking she was still a child, the couple tried to overturn the 2012 result,' explained Michael's attorney Kinnard.

'This time the hearing was even more in depth, not only did the judge look at medical reports and other documents, but witnesses came before the court to explain why they were certain Natalia had been 22.

'The judge upheld the original results and the couple dropped the guardianship petition.

'The most-disturbing thing about this is Michael has told me the police investigator who is heading the latest allegations against them was actually present.'

DailyMailTV asked the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office in Lafayette for comment.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jason J. Biss responded: 'Pursuant to Rule 3.6 and Rule 3.8 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, a Prosecutor is prohibited from making extrajudicial or out-of-court statements, including public comments, which would have a prejudicial impact on a case and/or defendant.

'I would defer you to the contents of the public court record, namely the filed Probable Cause Affidavit.'

With Kristine and Michael Barnett both vociferously proclaiming their innocence, it's a question that will likely not go away.

‘I have been cooperative the whole time. I have been truthful with people the whole time,’ said Kristine, choking back tears. 

‘I am being charged by the state of Indiana for crimes against a child when the state of Indiana has determined multiple times that Natalia was an adult,’ added Kristine, who asked for her location to remain confidential over threats her family have received.

‘From day one this was a mission of love. But when you bring a child into your home, you expect them to be a child. ‘To be accused of this is a unconscionable to me. It’s just horrifying.’

 Kristine Barnett surrendered to authorities on Thursday, September 19 and was released after posting a $5,500 bond.

Ex-husband Michael surrendered to Tippecanoe County Jail in Lafayette on September 18 and was immediately released after having his mugshot taken and posting $5,000 bail.

He is due to appear at hearing in Tippecanoe Superior Court in Lafayette on September 24.

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Couple hide baby's gender to prote

Hobbit Humphrey and Jake England-Johns have revealed that they’re not revealing the gender of their baby. They are so protective over Anoush’s gender that they did not even tell the 17-month-old’s grandparents. It was only when one of them changed the child’s nappy that they discovered what gender they are. The parents, circus performers and members of Extinction Rebellion living on a houseboat near Bath, use gender-neutral pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ and dress Anoush in both boy’s and girl’s clothes. Hobbit and Jake said that they took the decision not to reveal their baby’s identity because they don’t want people treating them differently. Instead Anoush, whose name was changed to Charlie for BBC One’s Inside Out last night, will be able to chose their own gender and pronouns when they’re older.

Hobbit said: ‘So much of gender bias is unconscious. When I got pregnant we then were having a discussion about how we were going to mitigate the unconscious bias. ‘And we figured that the only way we could do that was just not to tell people. ‘To use the they/them pronoun for as long as we can, and create this little bubble for our baby to be who they are. ‘Eventually they will get told by somebody that pink is only for girls and blue is only for boys, and you can’t play with that because you are a particular sex. ‘That’s still a thing that happens these days. We’re just trying to protect Anoush from that.’ Jake said: ‘Gender neutral refers to us trying to behave neutrally towards the child, rather than trying to make them neutral.

We’re not trying to make them be anything. We just want them to be themselves.’ Hobbit’s mum Camille, 64, said: ‘It was a struggle, but as with any learning over time it became embedded and they became “they’.’ Jake added: ‘We are quite good now at holding space for people’s discomfort in us saying, ”Actually, we don’t tell anyone, we’re not telling anyone for now”. We’re just letting Anoush be a baby. ‘Anoush is the most lovely little human. They’re into everything, they’re really active — just a delight.’ Hobbit said: ‘It was tricky at first when not only were we new parents, but also new parents who had the problem of people getting upset about our baby being gender neutral.

‘But in the end it has proven to be a really beautiful thing and we’ve had a lot of important conversations from it. ‘It has had the effect we wanted, of letting our baby develop its own interests regardless of gender. So, for example, while they love having a doll’s tea party every morning, they also are really fascinated by motorbikes and machinery. ‘Eventually once our baby is old enough, they can obviously decide for themselves what gender they want to be, but for now we just want them to be able to grow up in their own little bubble.’

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Ex-soldier pleads guilty to New York crash death of Irishman and his wife

A New York man, who served for 30 years in the US military, admited to the court that he was drunk when he plowed his truck into Mayo man John Heneghan and his wife Caitlyn Holtzman's car, last May, killing them instantly

A 59-year-old man who served in the US military for 30 years has pleaded guilty to drink driving and causing the crash the claimed the lives of Mayo man, John Heneghan and his wife in New York, in May 2019. 

Dickie Winn, from Cohoes, NY, admitted in court, in Saratoga County, New York, that he was drunk and driving his truck recklessly. The 59-year-old crashed his Dodge Ram pick-up truck into the couple's Cadillac car, killing them instantly.

Heneghan (33) and his new wife Caitlyn Holtzman (32), from Pennsylvania, were traveling to a wedding in New York when Winn's Dodge Ram truck crashed into their car. The couple's vehicle was stopped at a red light at the time of the accident. The couple died at the scene and the three other passengers who were in the car with the couple also sustained injuries. 

Winn's blood alcohol reading was twice the legal limit on the night of the incident. The police reported that Winn had a blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent at about 3:00 Saturday afternoon, May 25, when he lost control of his truck. 

In court, he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide. In return, he has been promised between six and 19 years in prison, as opposed to the maximum sentence of 25 he could have received. 

Winn, who is due to be sentenced in November, remains free on $300,000 (€270,000) bail bond. 

Winn, who served in the US Army for nearly 30 years and did several tours of duty, was ordered to surrender his driver’s license and will be on probation for three years on release. Winn is a decorated military veteran and according to published reports, is a recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor.

WNYT reported that Winn read a statement to the court admitting his actions on May 25. 

"I left my lane of travel and crashed the truck into the driver's side of a black Cadillac which was stopped at the intersection," Winn said. "

As a result of my intoxication and reckless driving, I caused the death of John Heneghan and Caitlin Holtzman. I also caused serious physical injury to Luke O'Doherty, and Julia Staples."

In court, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said: "These were people who were on their way to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends and isn't it tragic that the decision Mr. Winn made resulted in two of them losing their lives."

Friends and family of the victims were in court to witness the proceedings, it was reported. 

During an earlier court hearing, in May, Winn's lawyer had made an application for bail, pointing to the man's long military service. At the time John James Hughes responded refusing him bail and added: "There are two people dead".

John Heneghan, who had lived in the United States for a number of years, married Holtzman, from Pennsylvania, in 2016.

The Irish Independent reports that the other car passengers who suffered serious injuries were Julia Staples (24) and two other Irishmen Luke O’Doherty (25) and Enda Crowley (25).

Tragically the couple were cremated in June, following a service in Holtzman's native Pennsylvania. On June 30, in Henneghan's home town of Tourmakeady, in Mayo, a Mass was held in his honor. His family privately interred the ashes.

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'Bangcock' craze warning after A&E fight to save boy's testicles

A 12-year-old boy has had emergency surgery to save his testicles after he fell victim to a cruel 'Bangc**k' craze sweeping British schools.

Bailey Summers from Hartlepool was on the receiving end of an unprovoked punch which saw him taken into theatre without anaesthetic and given a wheelchair for two weeks after requiring four stitches to each testicle.

His mother Emmajayne, 32, had 'signed away his manhood' approving doctors to remove his testicles if necessary and feared the worst as the medical team raced against the clock.

The cruel prank involves a boy being asked to name the capital of Thailand before he is punched in the groin as a pun on the answer 'Bangkok'.

Bailey was rushed to A&E at James Cook University Hospital as a result of the injury after he had initially only been given paracetamol. 

Emmajayne said: 'They could not give him the right anesthetic and there was not enough time for numbing cream.

My son was crying, screaming and begging me to help him. It was a nightmare to see him so petrified and in so much pain. It was heartbreaking.'

She had skipped work and taken Bailey to hospital on Friday morning, a day after doctors had sent him home with paracetamol.

She said: 'Within 20 minutes, my son was laid on a bed sobbing his heart out getting ready to be wheeled down the theatre.

It was a sudden shock, the surgeon explained we were on limited time as testicle pain should be treated within four hours for no serious damage, or removal will be needed.

'I had a form to sign to say I approved both testicles to be removed if needed in theatre. I had to sign my son's manhood away.'

Bailey was punched at school on Thursday morning - and by 7pm was unable to sit down or sleep amid excruciating 'twinges'.

But luckily, after hours of suffering and an agonising operation, doctors were able to save both of his testicles.

'He was very very lucky,' said Emmajayne. 'They have been nipped and tucked, with four stitches to each testical.

'But he is in a wheelchair for two weeks and can't do strenuous activity for up to six weeks. He is going to be missing out on school and a trip to Blackpool all because of a stupid craze.

'Further issues may arise in the future but right now we need to concentrate on his recovery.'

Emmajayne said Bangc**k attacks are happening in schools on a daily basis and must be stopped.

It has been a prank for many years with media reports on the violent joke dating back to 2004. 

The mother said: 'This is a craze that has come back into trend that boys randomly punch their target in the balls to cause intense pain.

'My son had that done to him that day and must be the cause. It's been a nightmare. I am in pieces.

'I don't want to share my private business but this "Bangc**king" has been going on for a while in school and has come back as a stupid phase.

'My poor son is a example of what can happen. This needs to be brought to the attention of the kids.'

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Mother breaks down as she meets the bereaved father who paid for her daughter's birthday cake in memory of his own little girl - after This Morning answered her plea to be introduced

A bereaved father who paid for a child's birthday cake in memory of his baby daughter has met with the family he helped for the first time, during an emotional segment on This Morning.  

Léá Ní Bhríaín, from Northern Ireland, last week launched an appeal to find the stranger who had paid for her niece's first birthday cake, and left a note explaining his own daughter had died when she was eight days old. 

Today Léá, her sister Shannon and her niece appeared on This Morning, where they were finally introduced to kind-hearted stranger Gareth Bronte and his wife Kirsty. 

Shannon broke down in tears as she spoke to Gareth, whose 'random act of kindness' had touched her heart. 

Speaking on the ITV daytime show, Gareth explained how he came to pay for the birthday cake. 

 'In the lead up to what would have been Hannah's birthday my wife and I wanted to do something to mark it,' he said.

'Our little boy [Khalid] came up with the idea of letting a balloon go. He thought it would make it's way up to heaven.

'I had said to Kirsty I wanted to do something different, just a random act of kindness.'

Kirsty added: 'He just mentioned it in passing, and I said, "I don't think so".' 

Despite his wife's hesitation, Gareth went ahead with his plan. 

'I just wanted to buy a cake and I thought it would be nice for someone,' he continued. 

'I asked at the bakery if there were any cakes, preferably a girl. They said it's a little girl's first birthday and I said that's perfect I'll pay for that.'

When Shannon and Léá arrived at Windsor Bakery, in Banbridge, to collect the Peppa Pig cake, they were handed a card from Gareth and told the cake had been paid for. 

The card read: 'In honour of what would have been my little girl's 1st birthday, I have chosen to pay for your birthday cake. I am unable to buy my daughter a cake of her own today, but I hope you enjoy this one and have a fantastic birthday.'

The card was signed 'God bless, Hannah's Daddy.'

Speaking on This Morning, Gareth said putting pen to paper was the hardest part.

He said: 'It was hard writing the card knowing I wasn't going to buy a birthday cake for my daughter again ... or walk her down the aisle. I signed it Hannah's daddy because I don't often get called that.'

Léá was so touched by the stranger's act of kindness that she took to Facebook to share a post of the card and the cake - and asked for help meeting the man behind it all. 

Her post received 20,000 comments and more than 8,400 shares, as people tried to find the bereaved father. 

Gareth continued: 'Later that day a friend Whatsapped me a picture of the post and said "That is you, isn't it". He outed me. Then we were found.'

Aunt Léá told how Gareth's act of kindness prompted her to do the same and she spent the same amount of money on another child's first birthday cake.  

ITV decided to return the good deed for Gareth and his family. 

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby revealed they were treating the Brontes to a trip to the UK, as well as tickets to watch their favourite football team Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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Abusive thug fractured girlfriend's face by smashing her head through car window

A victim of domestic abuse has bravely decided to share pictures of the horrific injuries she was left with at the hands of her violent ex-boyfriend. Leon Thompson, 39, viciously attacked girlfriend of two years Danielle Perry, 27, outside his home, smashing her head through his car windscreen. As she lay on the ground bleeding from multiple facial fractures, Thompson continued to pummel her in the head by kicking and stamping on her. Hours before the violent attack in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, in the early hours of 17 February, Thompson had told friends: ‘I’d never hit a woman.’ After his arrest he told police her injuries were ‘self-harm’. The couple had gone to a friend’s house earlier in the evening when the conversation turned to domestic violence. Danielle reminded Thompson how he had previously slapped her in the face − almost breaking her nose − to the shock of others in the group. During the drive home, Thompson flew into a rage over the disclosure in front of their friends.

Once outside his home, he punched his girlfriend in the face before grabbing her head and shoving it through the back window of his Peugeot 207. Danielle later told hospital staff how she had been injured, who alerted police. Thompson was arrested by West Midlands Police at Heartlands Hospital on the same morning. In interview, unemployed Thompson claimed Danielle had broken the window with her bag and could offer no explanation for her injuries, even claiming she might have self-harmed. Police charged him with wounding and on Friday he was jailed for eight years having been found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court. Danielle bravely chose to release disturbing images of her injuries in the hope it will encourage other survivors of domestic abuse to seek help. She said: ‘He’d hit me about eight or nine times before. ‘I’d been given a fat lip and bruises but each time the following day he’d always plead for forgiveness, cook me a meal and say how it’d never happen again. But it always did. ‘Looking back I wish I’d left after the first time but my head was all over the place with mixed emotions. I wanted to believe in his promises and that he’d change. 

But there were times he’d also threaten me and even said he’d blow up my house if I ever told anyone about the abuse. ‘Even on the night he told me to tell hospital staff that I’d been attacked from behind by a group of people. ‘I couldn’t maintain the lie any longer, though, and realised I had to get help and get out of the relationship. ‘In my experience the abuse and the violence will get worse. He has ruined my life, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and rarely leave the house now; it’ll be a long road to recovery. ‘My advice to anyone suffering domestic abuse is to seek help at an early stage… don’t wait like I did or there is a risk you could be seriously injured or worse. ‘There are lots of support groups and charities you can speak to, plus the police.

I don’t think I’d have been able to get through everything had it not been for Clive (the investigating officer) and the support from his team.’ Det Con Clive Leftwich said: ‘The judge described Thompson as a danger to women. The horrific injuries suffered by Danielle are the culmination of a long suffering and violent relationship with Thompson. ‘Danielle showed great bravery in speaking out against him and his eight-year jail sentence reflects the anguish and physical pain she’s endured. ‘She is still suffering from the physical and psychological effects of the attacks. We all wish her well in her recovery.’

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Mum of girl, 16, 'who had womb removed by doctors after she died' confronts doctors

This is the moment a grieving mum attempted to confront doctors whom she accuses of removing the womb of her 16-year-old daughter after she died.

Sofya Lanshakova died of suspected peritonitis after suffering excruciating pain in her tummy during a holiday in Turkey.

Since then, her heartbroken mother Tatiana has alleged "organs", including the womb, were removed illegally and sold on the black market.

But new footage shows Tatiana was detained by police as she sought to confront medics at Ya?am Hastanesi, a hospital in Ankara, Turkey, this week.

She was reportedly held for 12 hours.

The mother, from Russia, was told by a hospital representative: "We did not take any organs.

"It was (done by) police at the autopsy."

Journalists accompanying Tatiana were told to stop filming, it is said, and the police were called.

"I could never think that I would stand at my daughter's grave," Tatiana said after her ordeal.

"She had so many plans.

"This wound will never heal.

"Exhumation - we are ready to go to the end, however painful.

"We we need the truth."

Speaking about the teenager's case, Alexey Erkhov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, said: "We deeply sympathise with the grief of the mother who lost her daughter.

"Russian diplomats will continue to assist in resolving this issue."

A representative of Siedra clinic - where the girl was initially taken - strongly denied any wrongdoing and blamed the mother.

"I believe that the mother is to blame - she did not sound alarm on the first or second day (when the girl felt abdominal pains)," said Asya Batcheva.

"What proof do they have that something was done wrong? Or some organs taken?

"Yes, the girl was dissected here (in Turkey), checked and (her body) sent home.

"If something was missing, any crimes committed against that girl, I think that the criminal case would be initiated."

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The booming frog business in Kaduna

MUHAMMAD SABIU writes on a market in Kaduna where frogs are now attracting buyers from far and near, an item that is now a delicacy in most part of the North and a clear departure from what it used to be years back.

MANY Nigerians who were in secondary school in the 70s and 80s would easily remember the novel authored by Chukwuemeka Ike entitled Toads for Supper. However, it is a delicacy that many people would not touch even with a long spoon much less having it for supper.

Long time ago, in the Northern part of the country frogs were only seen during the rainy season. Whenever it rained, just like everywhere surrounded by ponds, cacophonic sound of frogs dominated the space at night. It is most often not pleasant to the ears.

When residents wake up in the morning, they sometimes find out that some of the frogs had entered their house. It is also not uncommon to hear housewives and children raising the alarm and asking the man of the house to come and remove the amphibians from their doorstep and other parts of the compound.

A housewife, Hajiya Rabi Abdulsalam recalled to Arewa Live how as a child she and her siblings used to jump at the mere sight of a frog. “It was our father who usually removed the frog before we could continue with the house chores,” she said.

However, today, the story is different. There is a booming frog market in the Northern part of the country.

Located at Unguwar Gwari, Kaduna North area of Kaduna State, the frog market is often besieged by hundreds of youths bringing the frogs they had caught from surroundings ponds.

Investigations by Arewa Live indicated that the soaring number of the unemployed people in the country had contributed to the booming trade in frogs. It has also been discovered that some parts of the frog are medicinal and traditional healers come to the market to obtain them for their clients.

Some of the frog traders whose ages range between 26 and 34 in an interview with Arewa Live attributed their interest in the frog business to poverty.

One of the frog traders who pleaded for anonymity remarked that he was idle and having nothing to do, hence he decided to join others in the business.

“We are five in the family and we were finding it difficult to have three square meals per day,” he said adding: “when one of my siblings fell sick and nobody could pay for his medical bills it dawned on me to look for something to support my dad’s income.”

Today, according to him, the story has changed because on a daily basis, he smiles home with at least N8,000 which he uses to support his age parents.

For Felix Peter, one of those who ply their trade at the Unguwan Gwari frog market gave a graphic account on how he started the business three years ago.

According to him, “it was lack of employment that made me to start this business, and I have enjoyed it because there is big market for it all over the 19 northern states including Abuja.

“It was a difficult business for me in the beginning, but now I have become very versed in the business, because every day, I usually go to the pond to catch some frogs which I normally bring home and preserve for sale.

“After catching them from various places, we dissect and roast them, and then we package them inside the carton. We put some in some bags for sale to our marketers who usually come from various states.

“I was a mechanic before I abandoned it and joined this one. Our customers told us that frog meat is delicious and that is why we like eating it always. We sell each frog at the rate of N100, but we sell three for N200.”

Felix also told Arewa Live that through the business he has become a more responsible man by being able to take care of his wife and children. He added that he makes at least N5,000 daily and that makes him happy.

Felix however expresses fear over the issue of insecurity in the state as it indirectly affects those in the business because they are always in the bush. He therefore called on the state government to provide all the needed security in the bush.

Abubakar Shelang is also one of the frog traders. He was also into another vocation before changing to his present business.  He said he had to switch business because the frog business was booming and that means more income.

“I was a bricklayer and I also repair bread mixing machines, but the business was not moving, that is why I left it and joined this one.

“We take our roasted frog meat to many places across the entire North because the demand for it is high and we are making money every day through this business. Every day I go to catch frogs. I make good money and that takes care of all my needs,” Shelang said.

He, however, called on youth to shun idleness and embrace skill acquisition and other forms of creative vocations so as to reduce dependency on their parents and guardians.

Felix also appealed to government to help them with modern equipment for catching frogs so as to overcome the challenges they face when catching big frogs and other aquatics animals in the river.

“There are millions of youths that are wasting their time looking for white-collar-jobs, but I am advising them to be creative and fight poverty,” he said.

A woman, Madam Mercy John trades in frogs. She buys them from the youths and transports them to many places across the entire north.

She has the youths to thank for the business she is into. They not only make the product available they also link her with customers from many places including some from neighbouring countries. The business of frog trading is so good for mercy such that she has built her own house in Abuja.

She is of the opinion that government should support the youth with capital so as to enlarge the business and make it more profitable. She also advocated for frog farming just like we have fish farming.

“I am calling on women like me to come and start this business so as to stop disturbing their husbands,” she said.

For many people eating frogs may sound unsavoury but for Musa Dan Auta who buys frogs from those catching them for food at home it is a familiar delicacy that he has come to love including other members of his family.

According to him, eating frog is not strange to him because he has been eating them since he was a youngster. He would like others to try it too

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Mother, 25, gives birth in a COMA after suffering a catastrophic brain bleed at 32 weeks pregnant

A woman has given birth while in a coma after she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed while she was 32 weeks pregnant.

Caitlin Stubbs was rushed to Royal Brisbane Hospital on July 23 when she suffered the bleed as a result of an Arteriovenous Malformation in her brain, meaning her blood vessels had become tangled. 

The 25-year-old fell into a coma, so a day later doctors had no option but to remove the baby via caesarean.

Ms Stubbs is yet to find out that she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Quinn, as she continues to fight for her life.

Quinn spent the first three weeks of her life in intensive care but Ms Stubbs' fiance, Jonathon Welsh is caring for the newborn while staying by his partner's side.

The young mother first suffered a smaller brain bleed in November with plans to undergo radiation treatment to help with her condition.

The radiation had to be put off as Ms Stubbs then realised that she had fallen pregnant. 

But on July 23 the young mother began to feel unwell, vomiting and complaining of a neck ache. 

When her condition worsened, Mr Welsh called an ambulance for his partner who fell into a coma before she even made it to the hospital.

Mr Welsh had gotten down on one knee and proposed just weeks prior.

When Ms Stubbs got to the hospital, doctors made the decision to perform the emergency c-section as they held grave fears neither her or the baby would make it through the night.

Luckily, Quinn is now a healthy baby and her mother is also making slow progress.

'They said they didn't think she'd make it through the night, and everything was pretty negative but I knew she would make it,' Mr Welsh told Nine News.

She is slowly regaining consciousness, but doctors say she has a long road of recovery ahead of her.

When he visits, Mr Welsh often puts Quinn on her mother's chest in the hopes the two can bond. 

Mr Welsh said the biggest issue is his fiance's memory as some days are better than others.

'I bring the baby to the hospital every day and sometimes she whispers to me that she wants Quinn, and sometimes she asks whose baby it is,' he said. 

GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family, which states that Ms Stubbs has been making slow but significant progress.  

Caitlin's beloved fiancé Jonathon has been by her side watching hopelessly and trying to find moments when baby and mother could spend some time together,' the page reads.  

'She will require intensive Physiotherapy, OT and Speech Therapy among other remedial therapies.'

'Caitlin’s family have started this Go Fund me page in the hope that kind and generous donations will help ease the pressure on this young devastated family.'  

'Funds will be used to cover medical costs, treatments, a wheelchair and home modifications needed to get her home eventually.'

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Teacher unexpectedly gives birth on sidewalk outside middle school, principal coaches her through it

A Denver middle school teacher kicked off the new year in dramatic fashion by giving birth on a campus sidewalk. 

Lindsay Agbalokwu, 33, welcomed her daughter Zara on Tuesday outside DSST: Conservatory Green in Stapleton, Colorado.  

She had woken up that morning with cramps but wrote them off as Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor pains, because she wasn't due until September 17. 

Unfazed by the pain, the sixth grade reading teacher went to work at DSST: Conservatory Green in Stapleton, Colorado, and carried on with her busy day.   

Agbalokwu made it through an awards assembly before the cramps worsened to the point that she realized she was in labor.  

'In the classroom, the pain went from zero to 100,' the mother told Yahoo

Fellow teacher Marissa Kast stepped in to cover Agbalokwu's classroom as Principal Natalie Lewis and Dean of Students Chris Earls escorted her outside.

They put a sleeping bag on the ground for Agbalokwu to lie on while she waited for an ambulance arrived, but her newborn daughter wasn't in the mood to wait. 

A 911 dispatcher gave delivery instructions to Lewis and Earls, who coached her through several 'terribly painful minutes' as baby Zara came into the world.  

'I was in so much pain, I didn't care that these people are my bosses — they are both parents,' Agbalokwu said. 'They were my support people.'  

Lewis and Earls were relieved of their duties a few minutes later when first responders arrived to finish the unusual delivery and bring Agbalokwu and Zara to the hospital.  

The pair are now back at home with Agbalokwu's husband and their 17-month-old son. 

The mother said she believes the dramatic birth is a sign of Zara's feisty spirit. 

'When she was ready, she just said: "Boom. I'm coming out,"' Agbalokwu told The Denver Channel.

'I think it will be indicative of her personality to come. That she will be a firecracker. She's going to do great things.'

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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.'

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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.

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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.'

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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.’

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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.

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