• Chelsea Sylvaria(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- After a Rhode Island dad heard that his 6-year-old daughter, who has alopecia, said she didn't love herself because she didn't have hair, he decided to show her how unimportant hair really is.Dave Sylvaria's wife, Chelsea, told him last week about the troubling conversation she had with their oldest daughter, Riley.Riley was diagnosed with alopecia, a disorder in which a person's immune system attacks the hair follicles, at just 15 months old, her mother told ABC News.In a post on Facebook, Chelsea Sylvaria, 33, wrote, "Yesterday I was joking around with Riley and telling her everyone I loved.""Riley then looked at me and went, 'And do you love yourself???' I immediately said, 'Of course I do, you always have to love yourself! Do you love yourself???' And she responded very softly, 'No,'" the Bristol, Rhode Island nurse continued.Chelsea Sylvaria told ABC News she called her husband immediately to tell him what happened. And although they were about to head out to celebrate their wedding anniversary that night, Dave Sylvaria, 41, wanted to talk to his daughter about what she had said.In a video that has since gone viral on Facebook with more than 500,000 views, Dave Sylvaria asked his daughter, "How come you feel that way, huh?...You shouldn't say things like that kiddo. You're a very special girl.""Hair doesn't matter, OK?" he continued. "I love you the same no matter what."On the fly, Dave Sylvaria asked Riley if she wanted him to shave his head. Immediately, she began smiling. The father then shaved off all of his hair as Riley Sylvaria smiled at his side.The cruise ship captain told ABC News in a statement that he didn't put "a lot of thought" into offering to shave his head to cheer up his daughter."It was one of those moments as a parent, especially a parent with a child who has to deal with adversity for one reason or another, that you don’t think, you just do," he continued. "Words are a powerful thing but sometimes actions speak louder than words."Dave Sylvaria said hearing that his eldest daughter didn't love herself was particularly hard on him."You never want to hear the words 'I don’t love myself' from your child, especially at 6 years old," he said. "I could tell she was sad, I could see that she needed reassurance and in that moment I knew that the solidarity of shaving my head and being bald with her would make it OK."The father of four said it's important to show he cares for all of his children."The most important thing for me is to raise my kids in an environment that they all feel loved, [and] to do everything in my power to ensure, regardless of Riley’s alopecia, she knows that to us and so many others, she is the most wonderful little girl in the world," he said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Tara Martinez gave birth to her second child, she was able to watch the birth and have immediate skin-to-skin contact with her son, even though she had a cesarean section.“You're carrying this baby for nine months and the first thing you want to be able to do with this baby is hold them and that's what you're able to do,” Martinez told ABC News. “It definitely felt more of a childbirth then just having a surgery.”Martinez, of Fishkill, New York, was able to have a “gentle” C-section at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, in August after undergoing what she described as a “traumatic” emergency C-section with her first son.“It was amazing,” Martinez said of delivering her second son, Landon, via a "gentle" C-section. “With my first, I don't really remember being able to meet him the first time so this was totally different.”Dr. Angelo Cumello, a physician at Northern Westchester, described the difference between a traditional C-section and a “gentle” C-section as a “state of mind.”“We try to incorporate mom into the entire process,” he told ABC News.Options for women undergoing a “gentle” C-section include using music and aromatherapy during the surgery and minimizing conversations in the operating room so parents can hear their newborn’s first cries. Monitors are placed away from the woman’s chest in order to allow almost immediate skin-to-skin contact.The experts ABC News spoke with said women who opt for a “gentle” C-section do not incur additional charges because the changes are so simple. The goal of the “gentle” C-section is to give women who must have a C-section an experience that more closely mirrors a vaginal birth.Boston's Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been at the forefront of offering women a more mindful approach to C-sections.“The requests for this type of concept have absolutely increased over the years,” Dr. William Camann, director emeritus of Obstetric Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s, told ABC News.Brigham and Women’s pioneered the practice of using a see-through drape instead of the traditional blue drape to allow for greater visibility.Thirty-two percent of all deliveries in 2015 were by C-section, with around more than 1.3 million C-sections performed that year according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.A C-section is the “delivery of a baby through surgical cuts in a woman’s abdomen and uterus,” according to the National Institutes of Health. A cesarean delivery may be necessary if the pregnancy includes multiple fetuses, the baby is breech or too large, or the baby’s or mother’s health is in danger, among other factors.Doctors at Northern Westchester Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said a "gentle" C-section is meant as an alternative for women who must have a C-section, and that traditional birth is always recommended when possible.Martinez said opting for a "gentle" C-section gave her the chance to bond more immediately with her son, which doctors say can make a difference when it comes to breastfeeding and regulating a baby's body temperature.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(AMARILLO, Texas) -- Texas resident Rebecca Boening was driving on Dec. 8 when she felt her blood sugar level dropping. Boening, who is diabetic, began "sweating and shaking," she told ABC News. "My heart was racing, which are all symptoms for low blood sugar," she said. She immediately pulled off the highway in Amarillo, Texas, when she spotted a Burger King near the exit. "I pulled up to the drive-thru," she recalled, "and I was trying to figure out what I could eat that would bring my blood sugar up but not too far up. It’s a real balancing act." Boening, 61, remembered having difficulty ordering. She was slurring her words. Tina Hardy, who was working the drive-thru window that day, remembered too. "She ordered ice cream and a coke. I asked her if there was something wrong. She said that she was diabetic and that her blood sugar was getting low," Hardy told ABC News. Hardy, 32, told Boening she'd meet her at the window with the ice cream, knowing it was critical that Boening increase her blood sugar as soon as possible. Hardy's husband of nearly five years, Patrick Green, is diabetic too. "I learned how to help him and used my knowledge to help her," said Hardy, who's also a mother of three. Hardy then checked on Boening before she got back on the road, even willing to call 911 if necessary. "And about 30 minutes went by and when she got better she came back to my window," Hardy said. Boening said she couldn't leave without thanking Hardy. "Afterward, I appreciated what she had done for me. She went out of her way," she said. Boening told Hardy's manager what had happened and posted the account on Facebook where it quickly went viral with more than 400,000 likes. The two women have kept in touch. "We talk every day," Hardy said. "She's a very lovely lady." Boening is even attempting to pay Hardy back by buying her a car to get to and from work. "She's a mother of three," Boening said.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A 4-year-old Chicago boy is inspiring others to share the gift of reading after thousands watched him read 100 books in one day on Facebook Live. Caleb Green committed himself to reading 100 different books last Saturday, including his favorites about Ninja turtles and dogs. When ABC Chicago station WLS-TV asked him why he wanted to read so many books, Caleb’s response was simple. “I like to read and I want to read more like my sister,” he said. Taken aback by the young boy’s request, Caleb’s father, Sylus Green, told the television station he initially had the “gut reaction to talk him down a little bit” but Caleb pushed and said, “’No, I want to read 100.’” Empowered by his son’s passion and ambition, Green said, “I learned to just dream bigger and I am going to set unrealistic goals for myself this coming year and I’m going to be inspired by Caleb to not quit on him and just push through it.” Since Caleb’s online marathon, the Green family has received an overwhelmingly heartfelt response from the community. Several organizations, including local children’s book publisher Albert Whitman and Co., have donated books to both Caleb and his 7-year-old sister, Jael, and have pledged to donate books to other children in the Chicago area. Wanting as many children as possible to benefit from his son’s latest endeavor, Green reached out to local author Candace Edwards about finding books for Chicago’s depleted school libraries. Edwards, who said she was happy to help, donated 500 copies of her children’s book, “I Love My Skin,” which will be distributed throughout Chicago’s South Side. “Not everybody can afford to fill up their child’s bookshelves ... even teachers need help filling up their bookshelves, so why not help?” Edwards said to WLS. Impressed by the efforts Caleb and his family have made to make reading a core part of their lives and the lives of hundreds of children throughout Chicago, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White invited the Green family to be honored at an African-American heritage event next month, WLS reported. Caleb continues to read several books a day. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Caleb told the station, “I want to be a basketball player. When I am 22, I want to be an astronaut and when I’m 23, I want to be a Ninja Turtle.”Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- Banning cellphones in French schools was one of the promises made by Emmanuel Macron during his campaign to become president of France last spring. Six months after he won the election, the French president and his government are trying to enact the new measure for the start of the next school year in September 2018.Last Sunday, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer discussed the issue on French radio station RTL radio."We are working on this issue, and it can take different forms," Blanquer said. "You may need a mobile phone, for example, for educational purposes, for emergency situations, so perhaps the phones can be confined somewhere inside the school."The measure will apply to all French students from the time they start school at age of 6, up to roughly 15 years of age, when they go into high school."Public health issue"According to French law, pupils are already barred from using their phones in the classroom, but the new restrictions will forbid them from using phones at any point during the school day -- breaks, lunch and between lessons.The French education minister said it is a matter of "public health," and believes that "children should not be too often, or even at all, in front of a screen before the age of 7." A 2015 study published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics found that students had almost 7 percent higher test scores following a phone ban.However, the number of children who own a cellphone has drastically increased in the past few years, according to a 2015 study from the French Research Institute for the Monitoring of Living Standards. More than eight in 10 teenagers in France had smartphones in 2015, compared to two out of 10 in 2011.Logistical problemsFrench teaching unions said the amount of student cellphone use in schools is a problem. But they are skeptical about the implementation of the proposed law, citing logistical problems."Can you imagine school supervisors having to check the pockets of about 400 students every morning?" said Valérie Sipahimalani, spokesperson for the French teacher union Snes, in an interview with French radio France Info. She said she believes the measure won't be possible to enforce.Speaking to French magazine l’Express earlier this year, the education minister suggested that schools could install lockers for phones.But Sipahimalani said, “Many schools located in city center have no space to install lockers."Other logistical questions about the implementation of a cellphone ban in French schools remain unanswered, as well.The education minister said he believes this is an important societal debate that needs to be addressed."Together with schools principals, teachers and parents, we need to find ways to protect our children from spending hours on their cellphones," he said.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning against consuming raw cookie dough as Christmas cookie season gets underway.While the potential risks of consuming raw eggs have are widely known, the FDA's new warning highlights the potential risks of consuming flour raw."Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” Dr. Leslie Smoot, a senior adviser in the FDA's Office of Food Safety, said in a statement.The warning comes after an FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation that linked an E. coli outbreak to contaminated flour and resulted in the recall of 10 million pounds of flour, including unbleached, all-purpose and self-rising varieties, according to the FDA."The concern is that the specific flour came from a grain that was contaminated with the bacteria E. coli, and that flour has the potential to cause human illness," Dr. Michael Levine, an associate professor at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, told ABC News.Levine added that one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to discard any flour in your home that may be contaminated."The first thing is to look at any flour you have in the house and see if it's on the FDA's list of recalled flour," Levin said. "If it was, I'd throw that flour away. If you have flour that you subsequently transferred out of that bag into a container, for example, and you don't know, probably the safest thing is to throw it away."The FDA advises on its website to not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter or other products that are intended to be baked or cooked, and to follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at the temperature and time specified.For those looking for an alternative means of consuming raw dough, some experts recommend using recipes that don't include any eggs, and baking the flour in the oven prior to adding it to the mixture.
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