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  • Girl Scouts of Central Indiana(NEW YORK) -- Last April Melina Lakey was riding home from a movie with her parents when their SUV clipped a drainage ditch and rolled over six times, landing on its roof.The 9-year-old was pulled to safety by her dad, Jeff Lakey, who was driving. When Melina saw that her mom, Ashley McCollum-Lakey, was stuck in the passenger seat, she ran back to help.“When the airbags deploy you can’t see any of the doors, so she lifted them up so I could find my way out,” McCollum-Lakey told ABC News. “She said, ‘Mommy I’m right here. Come to me.’”She continued, “She lifted up five impact airbags to get me out, through glass and debris.”Melina, a Girl Scout from Pendleton, Indiana, was honored Thursday for her heroism by the Girl Scouts of the USA.She received the Medal of Honor, one of two Lifesaving Awards given by the Girl Scouts for “saving life or attempting to save life without risk to the candidate’s own life.”The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, the 45-county council that represents Melina’s troop, has awarded only one other Lifesaving Award in the past decade, according to a council spokeswoman.“It felt really good,” Melina, a fourth grader who has been a Girl Scout for the past five years, told ABC News. “It felt like everybody cared.”Melina, who was 8 at the time of the accident, took control after rescuing her mom by calling 911 on her parents' cellphone. She and her mom, who is her troop leader, had spent that April day at a local fire department with fellow Girl Scouts learning first aid skills and what to do in an emergency.“They said that if you’re ever in a big accident, always call 911,” Melina said.She added, "Even though you think [an accident] is not going to happen to you, it still will. They taught me everything I needed."Melina and her dad escaped the accident with no injuries. McCollum-Lakey suffered a shoulder injury and some bruising but credits her daughter with saving her life.“Melina didn’t think twice,” she said. “She knew there was glass and debris and she just wanted to make sure that she knew mommy and daddy were OK.”Melina, whose favorite Girl Scout activity is hiking, also received a congratulatory letter from Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo.“Your extraordinary courage, incredible confidence, and your willingness to take decisive action in the midst of an emergency has not only saved a life, but also serves as a shining example for Girl Scouts everywhere of fortitude and dedication,” the letter read in part. “Your heroism and sound judgment have earned you a place in the pantheon of heroes who have come before you, and left an indelible mark on the Girl Scouts.”Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- As if running a marathon weren't enough of a feat, one dad pushed a stroller the entire way.For Troy Austin, an Australian man who is an Ironman competitor and triathlete as well as a marathon runner, the exertion of pushing the stroller wasn't so much physical as emotional. Because the stroller he pushed was empty.Austin ran the Sunshine Coast Marathon with the empty stroller last month in honor of his late son, T.G. The boy was stillborn in 2016 at 27 weeks, three days after his parents had learned through a sonogram that he had no heartbeat."The day you find out about your child has passed isn't the day of labor -- well, not in our instance," Austin told ABC News. "The day after our devastating news, we had to go back and have a time of death recorded."Following the terrible news on the sonogram, Austin said his wife was given medication to help prepare her body to give up the baby."After a few emotionally painful days, you go to the hospital to give birth, knowing that your bub isn't coming home to his room," he said.T.G. would be more than 1 year old now."Three days after we heard those horrible words, 'No heartbeat,' we got to meet our boy. He is beautiful," Austin said."He is still and innocent. We smile through the heartache because we have our first child. We are a family. His grandparents came to meet our son and for a cuddle. We stayed with him all night. He was born too late for a photographer to come, so we held him 'til the sunrise only to have to say goodbye as a nurse wheeled him away.""Next time we saw T.G was at the funeral home, wrapped so innocently," he said.After the ordeal, Austin said he coped by throwing himself into physical fitness, which was already a major part of his life. His wife, Kelly, worked to handle the loss by preserving everything she could about T.G., he said.The stroller was one of the first purchases the couple had made when Kelly was pregnant. Until this marathon, it had been sitting in the garage unused.One of Austin's friends was running his first marathon to raise money and awareness for the Austin family charity Everyday Hero, which raises awareness and offers support to families who had a stillborn child.Austin paced himself to run with his friend, but while the race wasn't terribly difficult physically, it took an emotional toll.There were people along the route who joked about getting a ride in the stroller, and an announcer who said over the loudspeaker, "'Here comes old mate, and it looks like he has lost his kid,'" Austin said. He estimates there were a hundred comments made about the empty stroller through the course of the race."They weren't trying to be mean; it was just the Aussie humor. Stillbirth was the furthest from their mind, and I understood that," he said. "I kept answering the onslaught of questions and shout-outs with, 'That's the point,' and, 'Yes, I have lost my son and I'm not getting him back.' "He said he got a mixed response from people who understood the point of his pushing the empty stroller. "A fair few didn't get it," he said. But he said he's glad the event raised awareness of the issue of stillbirths.The couple now have another son, Samuel, but still deeply miss T.G., Austin said. They honor his memory at family functions with a small giraffe and give photos of him to his grandparents. And T.G.'s stroller will race again, bringing more awareness to the issue of stillbirth."I just want to help. I want T.G to play with the other kids in heaven and know we are helping their parents down here," Austin said. "I would like to let the community know it's OK to talk about stillbirth, to mention the children we have lost. Parents that have lost a child want to hear their children's name. They want to know that they are counted."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tom Brady's claim that staying ultra-hydrated helps protect him from the sun's rays is raising eyebrows on social media."When I was growing up, and playing outside in the sun, I got sunburned a lot. I was a fair-skinned Irish boy, after all. These days, even if I get an adequate amount of sun, I won't get a sunburn, which I credit to the amount of water I drink," the New England Patriots quarterback writes in his new book "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance."Brady writes that he drinks more than 150 ounces of water a day. On "active days," he says, he drinks "close to twice that."The NFL star's comments quickly garnered backlash on social media, with many questioning the science behind his claims.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seeking shade, wearing long-sleeved clothing, using a hat, wearing sunglasses, and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen on in order to protect yourself from sun exposure. The group does not mention on its sun safety website that drinking water can in any way help prevent a sunburn.The CDC does state, however, that men are more likely than women to develop skin cancer, partly because men are less likely to apply sunscreen."When outside on a sunny day for more than an hour, only about 14 percent of men use sunscreen on both their face and other exposed skin," the CDC writes on its website.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • vitapix/iStock/Thinkstock(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A 12-year-old girl has collected thousands of pairs of silly socks for her friends staying in the hospital where she receives chemotherapy.Emma Becker has been a patient for 4 years at Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford for neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors in her optic nerves and brain.To cheer up her fellow patients, Emma asked Facebook users to donate socks to her special fundraiser, in honor of her Aug. 11 birthday this year."She said giving back to the other kids makes her happy," Emma’s mom, Rebecca Donkor of Higganum, Connecticut, told ABC News. "She has a strong social media presence and thankfully people back her, and help her spread joy."Donkor, a mother of two, said her duaghter Emma came up with the idea to host a sock drive in lieu of kids receiving the hospital-issued socks they typically handed out to new patients at CCMC.Emma has collected more than 2,300 pairs of fun, silly socks for children ages infant to teenager.“It’s something fun they can look down at, and smile,” Donkor said, adding that Emma still has two boxes of socks to open.Monica Buchanan, director of corporate communications at CCMC, described Emma as a "thoughtful and caring young lady.""It takes a special person to put the needs of others before their own," Buchanan wrote to ABC News in an email. "To see Emma give back to the patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center is the perfect illustration of everything that is right in the world. We can't thank her enough for her 'silly sock' donation!"Despite battling her own illness, Emma's many good deeds for her friends have included collecting 10,000 cans of Play-Doh, hosting multiple toy drives and using money earned from a lemonade stand to buy $300 in iTunes gift cards."We try and turn this into a positive thing and tell her that she's been going through this journey to make a difference in the world, which she's been doing ever since," Donkor said.For her next project, Emma hopes to collect Halloween costumes for her friends at the hospital.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taking cheat days, or breaks, while dieting may actually help aid weight loss, according to a new study from Australian researchers.The small study looked at two groups of obese men who participated in a four-month diet requiring them to restrict calorie intake by one-third.What to know about the ketogenic dietOne group of dieters maintained the diet for two weeks, then broke from the strict diet for two weeks, and continued to go on and off the diet in two-week cycles. During the two-week cycle off the strict diet, these dieters ate calories consistent with the number of calories they were burning, creating an “energy balance.”Meanwhile, the second group continuously maintained the diet during the entire four-month period.The group who alternated between adhering to the strict diet and having cheat weeks lost more weight during the study, researchers said in their findings, which were published Tuesday in the International Journal of Obesity. The group who took breaks from their diet also gained back less weight after the study was finished."While further investigations are needed around this intermittent dieting approach, findings from this study provide preliminary support for the model as a superior alternative to continuous dieting for weight loss," Nuala Byrne, the head of the University of Tasmania's School of Health Sciences and leader of the study, said in a statement announcing the findings.Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' senior medical contributor, said cheat days allow one's body and mind to get a rest from dieting. She said that although she is skeptical that taking cheat days can boost one's metabolism, as some claim, she does see the psychological benefits of taking cheat days while dieting.However, Ashton stressed the importance of consistency in building habits. Additionally, she said doing major damage to one's diet during cheat days may be negating some of the good work put in.Finally, Ashton shared her quick tips for those trying to lose weight:1. Don't drink your calories.2. Keep your food to as much lean protein, fruits and vegetables as possible.3. Eat from the farm, not the factory.4. Watch your sugar intake.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • (Credit: Shari Jackson Link / Shari Link Designs) Shari Jackson Link of Fayetteville, N.C., painted positive messages in the girls' bathrooms at Fayetteville Academy to "inspire them to be nice." (FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- These aren’t your ordinary middle school girls’ bathrooms.The colorful messages covering the walls at Fayetteville Academy in North Carolina are spreading positivity, inspiring the girls to “be kind always.”Shari Jackson Link, a local artist and mom of two, said she painted the motivational bathroom murals because of the “drama that comes with middle school.”“I thought to myself, if a little girl is coming into the bathroom, she needs to know to not be a bully, but also be OK if she is bullied. I wanted the murals to talk to both sets,” Link told ABC News. “It’s not only, ‘Hey, you’re beautiful on the inside,’ but I also wanted inspire them to be nice to others. It would be hard to leave those bathrooms and be mean to someone.”Link’s children don’t attend this school, but she was contacted by a parent of a current student who does.“She said, ‘I’d like to hire you to paint some motivational quotes,’” Link recalled. “She gave me the freedom to do whatever I want. I attached some pretty colorful visuals to the quotes which were inspiring.”Photos of her creative final product have garnered nearly 65,000 shares on Link’s Facebook page.The head of school, Ray Quesnel, said the paintings “strike a chord with everyone.”“We’ve all been through middle school, and I don’t care where you are or who you are, it doesn’t matter, that’s just a hard time of life,” Quesnel told ABC News. “Everybody can remember back to good stuff, but everyone remembers tough things too.”He was thrilled to have Link liven up the boring bathrooms by sending positive messages to his students.“We thought it would be a nice, pick-me-up, quaint thing, and it just resonated with virtually everybody,” he said of the school’s positive messages. “It’s been really cool.”Link is painting the middle school boys’ bathrooms and the elementary school bathrooms next week.“I hope it inspires them to be comfortable in their own skin, realize that there is always a reason to smile, and most importantly, to see the power in simple acts of kindness towards others,” she saidCopyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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