• iStock/Thinkstock(BRECKENRIDGE, Co.) -- A 10-year-old double amputee who lost everything in the California wildfires learned how to snowboard from a Paralympic medalist who is also an amputee.Lilly Biagini, of Santa Rosa, California, spent last week hitting the slopes in Breckenridge, Colorado, with Keith Gabel, a U.S. Paralympian bronze medalist in snowboarding.Gabel said of his student, “I’ve never met anybody with the spirit that Lilly has.”“When I turned and I stopped without anybody’s help, it made me feel strong and proud of myself,” Lilly said. “I was really surprised that I did it by myself.”Lilly, a third-grader, chose to have her legs amputated in 2014 after being born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, a condition that prevented her joints from bending.Lilly and her mom, Jessica Biagini, had to evacuate their home within about five minutes in October when one of the fast-moving wildfires that devastated parts of the Sonoma County area swept through their neighborhood. Their home was destroyed by the fire, along with all of Lilly’s medical equipment.“Everything that makes Lilly a confident, spunky, sassy little girl she lost,” said Biagini. “She’s very, very proud of who she is and proud to be an amputee. She never wears pants because she wants people to see her prosthetic limbs.”A San Francisco-based prosthetic company stepped up to offer Lilly a new set of legs for free. Then she got an invitation to attend The Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, one of the nation’s largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities.Instead of skiing, Lilly decided to tackle snowboarding, something she hadn’t tried before.“When I was introduced to her, her jaw just dropped,” recalled Gabel, 33, who said Lilly picked up the essentials of snowboarding within one hour of lessons. “Her level of excitement for this whole thing and her gratitude, I don’t have the vocabulary to express those feelings.”Lilly said her favorite part of the experience was, “Being free and being with Keith.”“He told me to keep working hard and help yourself and be proud of yourself,” Lilly said of Keith. “I’m so amazed and very, very grateful … for being here with everybody and being alive.”During their time on and off the slopes, Lilly and Gabel had the chance to talk about the more serious near-death experience Lilly went through during the fire.“She has a very vivid memory of the whole thing and I think that’s going to stick with her for a long time,” Gabel said. “And to see how she’s handled it so far, it’s empowering. It really is.”Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A couple from New York are pleading for the public's help to raise awareness and funds in order to find a cure after two of their children were diagnosed with a rare and fatal genetic disease."They're beautiful babies, they're happy babies," Gary Landsman told ABC News of his two sons. "Josh, at about 4 months now, is starting to smile and starting to become happier.""Benny, at 17 months, should be doing more things, he should be crawling, he should be beginning to talk but he's not," he added. "But he's happy and smiling."Gary Landsman and his wife, Jennie Landsman, told ABC News that they first became concerned when their older son, Benny, seemed to be developing motor skills at a slower pace than most infants."Around six months he wasn't holding his head up, and he wasn't sitting by himself, which he should have started to do independently at that point," Jennie Landsman said.The couple took Benny to see countless specialists over the next few months, desperate for a diagnosis. Eventually, Jennie Landsman said that a geneticist told her that Benny was "missing an enzyme.""I said, 'OK, when can we start giving it to them?' Like, it seemed so simple," she added. "And she said, 'No, it's fatal,' and just like that ... it was like the world ended."The couple found out that Benny had Canavan disease, an extremely rare degenerative disorder. Canavan disease currently has no cure, and most children diagnosed with it do not live past 10 years old, according to the nonprofit advocacy group Canavan Foundation."Canavan disease is a rare genetic disease that affects the ability of the brain to send and receive messages," Dr. Joanne Stone, the director of maternal-fetal medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City told ABC News.At the same time that the Landsman family finally got a diagnosis for Benny, they had also just welcomed home their 2-week-old son Josh. The family was heartbroken to learn that Josh also tested positive for the Canavan disease."We're taking life day by day right now because when you think about the big picture, I don't want to go on," Gary Landsman told ABC News, "I don't."Jennie Landsman added that they are coping with the double diagnosis "minute by minute."Symptoms of Canavan disease begin appearing in children when they are between 3 and 5 months old, and the disease can affect a baby's ability to develop skills such as turning over, controlling head movement and sitting without support, according to the National Institutes of Health.While the disease is extremely rare, it is most common in people of Eastern European Jewish descent, and it can be predicted by genetic testing. The disease affects approximately 1 in 6,400 to 13,500 people in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, according to the National Institutes of Health, although the frequency of the disease in other populations is currently unknown.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(IPSWICH, Mass.) -- From selling shoelaces to lemonade stands and bake sales, the community of Ipswich, Massachusetts, has been rallying hard to raise $1 million by the end of 2017 for sixth-grader Talia Duff.Talia has Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type 4J (CMT4J), a rare, genetic disease that weakens the muscles. Talia's mother, Jocelyn Duff, told ABC News the $1 million was needed to take the science that researchers already have and approach the Food and Drug Administration in hopes of a clinical trial.Duff said missing the 2017 deadline would mean an additional $1 million to $2 million needed for 2018. Rewind to before Thanksgiving, when the math and science classes at Ipswich Middle School, Talia's school, began brainstorming a project, in which they incorporated math to fill jars with cookie mix.Kathleen Simms, a sixth-grade math teacher at Ipswich, said the previous year, the students had created 150 jars and sold them for a suggested donation of $12.This year, she said, the classes decided to make twice the number of jars - 300 - and donate the money to CMT4J research. But when the classes tallied how much they stood to donate with the jars, the teachers felt an urge to do more. "We were just sitting around the table, thinking 'OK, that's $3,600. Yes, that would be an amazing donation but we need to go big. We need to go much bigger than this,'" Simms said. "We realized to reach that end-of-the-year goal of $1 million -- if we were going to be a part of that -- we had to do something much bigger than selling cookie jars." So, the teachers and students decided to create a video. Simms said it has been shared many times over social media. So far, close to $500,000 has been raised and the donations continue to roll in. "Talia is just such an important part of our community," Simms said. "The video really speaks to that town, this grade, to these students with just how connected they are to her. ... They work with her on a daily basis. They are interacting with her."Amelia Mooradd, a sixth-grade student at Ipswich who has known Talia for three years, helped make the video."The video basically talks about what's going on with Talia," she said. "I'm so excited to finally be able to do something really big to help her because before I was just doing lemonade stands and bake sales and trying to find some ways to help her."Duff, Talia's mother, told ABC News that she felt positive about reaching the $1 million goal before Jan. 31."We have been so overwhelmed by the support and the love of our community," she said. "It was something that we never expected with this journey. ... It's really been our community and family and friends that's really gotten us to where we are now at almost half a million dollars." Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Virginia is now the latest state to start informing families enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that their coverage will be terminated unless Congress reauthorizes the popular health insurance program soon.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Can't find a way to get your children to eat their greens?Dawn Russell, the creator of the 8Greens, a tablet supplement packed with eight powerful green health foods including kale, spinach, chlorella, blue green algae, spirulina, aloe vera, wheatgrass and barley grass, appeared live on Good Morning America to share her expert tips for how parents can sneak nutrient-dense foods into their children's favorite foods.Russell is the author of a new cookbook, which she says is simply a collection of recipes that she makes for her family and that they love. In addition, they all contain her 8Greens superfood tablets for added nutrition.Russell, a mother of two, said she was inspired to re-prioritize her health and learn more about nutrition after she was diagnosed with Stage III lymphatic cancer at the age of 25.She said that she believes nutrition is the building block to true health."The 8Greens Cookbook: The Simple Way to Get Your Greens" is currently available in bookstores nationwide.Here are four of Russell's simple and kid-friendly recipes that are both delicious and good for your body:1. Turkey meatballs recipe: Russell said this healthy meatball variation is also a blast to make, especially for little kids.2. 8Greens red sauce recipe: This is a modified version of one of a red sauce recipe given to Russell by an Italian friend. She says it is one of her 3-year-old son's favorite foods and is perfect with pasta, meatballs and chicken.3. 8Greens banana bread: This family-favorite recipe that Russell said was given to her by "the cook in a beautiful English castle who is extremely private about her recipes." Adding the dissolved 8Greens tablets can help you feel less guilty about indulging in this delicious sweet loaf.4. 8Greens brownies, chocolate chip cookies or crepes recipes: While Russell admits that chefs "will growl" at her advocating the use of premade brownie, cookie, or pancake mix, she said this is a good option for busy moms. Adding the 8Greens to the mixes, however, can help give them a nutritional boost without children even suspecting.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An acclaimed trauma surgeon was found dead with a knife in his torso Sunday in his Park Avenue apartment, New York City police said.Dr. Dean Lorich, 54, was the associate director of the Orthopedic Trauma Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He was also a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. He treated Bono in 2014 after the U2 front man was badly injured in a cycling accident in Central Park.Police responding to a 911 call of an assault in a Park Avenue apartment at 1:05 p.m. Sunday found Lorich unconscious and unresponsive with a knife in his torso, according to NYPD. Emergency Medical Serice responders pronounced him dead.According to the NYPD, there are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine released a statement of sympathy Sunday evening."Dr. Lorich was a distinguished orthopedic trauma surgeon and teacher serving at Hospital for Special Surgery, New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. We mourn this tragic development and extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Lorich's family, friends and patients," the statement said.
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