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Hyd Child Receives a Super Expensive Medicine to Survive

There have been multiple stories of how expensive pharmaceuticals can be for modern health. While some of them produce great miracles in solving health problems that previously would kill patients without a solution, they come with a big price tag. For example, when a botulism cure for babies was created, the average cost of the drug was over $21,000 a dose.

Social Media to the Rescue

In the case of Zolgensma, a drug created by Novartis, a similar price tag applies. And for a small Hyderabad boy named Ayaansh, it was a life-changing treatment. Ayaansh suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, a condition that essentially weakens nerve cells in the back and spinal connection to the brain. Zolgensma has been identified as a viable pharmaceutical option for children under 2 years of age with SMA. Using gene therapy, the drug essentially helps the body replace a faulty SNM1 gene with a normal one. It’s delivered intravenously one time, so the treatment can only be applied in a medical setting by a physician. Doctors identified Zolegensma as an effective treatment for Ayaansh, but the price of the drug was going to total some 16 million rupees. Ayaansh’s parents didn’t have that kind of money, nor did their family.

However, with a bit of awareness and the Internet through social media, Ayaansh’s parents were able to garner the financial help needed from 65,000 donations via crowd-funding. Almost four months later, the charity drive pulled together the necessary funds to cover the cost of the Zolgensma treatment, giving Ayaansh a real chance at recovery and a longer life than he would have without the drug.

Ayaansh is Given a Real Chance

With the financial matters squared away, Ayaansh was provided the treatment at the Rainbow Children’s Hospital, located in Secunderabad. Doctors monitored the reaction in the child for a given period, and ultimately Ayaansh was released without ill side effects. Currently age three, Ayaansh, may now have the ability to enjoy a better life outlook, thanks to the help provided by many donors across India working together via the power of crowd-funding. Some of the more notable donors for Ayaansh included Virat Kohli and spouse, Anushka Sharma, as well as other famous names like Sara Ali Khan and Dia Miza. Even the government helped things along by disregarding the normal import regulations and duty taxes as well as expediting the drug delivery from Novartis. Normally, the import duty tax would have equaled 6 million rupees before the drug could even be used in-country.

Expensive Cures Are Always Paid By Someone

The cost of drugs like Zolgensma continue to create controversy, but the fact remains that the research and science that goes into their creation is expensive. The market approach to allowing drug companies to profit from their efforts remains one of the most effective ways to bring new medical technology into being, but someone, somewhere has to pay for the related cost. Historically, drug companies have relied on developed nations’ economies like those in the West to pay for the initial cost of bringing a new, effective drug to market, meaning many other countries had to wait until the drug became affordable as patents expired. However, crowd-funding and the Internet are obviously changing the dynamics of drug access, as was seen in the case of Ayaansh above.

Amazing

Itchy Hand Leads to $30,000 Lottery Prize

Kevin Wells

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A woman from South Carolina won $30,000 in the lottery, thanks to an old superstition about itchy palms.

The woman, from the Midlands, told officials from the South Carolina Education Lottery that she stopped at the Walmart Fuel Station on Pinewood Road in Sumter because her hand was itching a lot. According to the superstition, an itchy palm means good luck is coming, especially with money.

Believing in this, she bought a $2 “20X The Cash” scratch-off ticket. She scratched the ticket in her car and discovered she had won $30,000.

Now, the woman is deciding what to do with her winnings. “I don’t have any plans for it yet,” she said.

Superstitions about itchy palms aren’t new. There have been other times in history when people believed these kinds of signs led to good luck. For example, in many cultures, an itchy right palm means you will receive money, while an itchy left palm means you will lose money. While it might just be a fun belief, sometimes it seems to pay off, like it did for this South Carolina woman.

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Tired Deer Rescued from Beach

Renee Yates

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A very tired roe deer was rescued from Cleethorpes beach, according to a wildlife group.

Emergency services were called on Monday evening by people worried the deer was stuck in the mud.

Volunteers from Cleethorpes Wildlife Rescue (CWR) found the scared deer with its face in a fence near the water’s edge. They used a deer net to catch the animal, which was then treated by a vet and later released in a safer place, CWR said.

Earlier, the deer had been seen swimming in the estuary, which is usually normal, CWR explained on Facebook. However, they later got reports – not confirmed – that the deer had been chased by dogs on the beach.

Volunteers watched the deer and saw that its condition was getting worse. They quickly planned a rescue and were able to capture the deer in just a few seconds with good teamwork.

The deer was taken to Medivet in Swanland, East Yorkshire. After treatment, the deer became much more alert, and its condition improved a lot on the way back to Cleethorpes, CWR said.

The wildlife group thanked the volunteers, vets, and emergency services who helped with the successful rescue.

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Chicago Teen Earns Doctorate at 17

Kelly Taylor

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By age 14, Dorothy Jean Tillman had already earned her associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Despite these remarkable accomplishments, she confided to her mother, Jimalita Tillman, “I think I want to pursue a doctorate.”

Her mother was initially taken aback. It was the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Dorothy was busy with her newly launched STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) camp startup, seeking funding for the organization. “I was just like, ‘why?’ I thought you were done,” Jimalita recounted to CNN.

Dorothy’s goal was to make a positive impact on young people’s mental health, and with that explanation, her mother fully supported her.

Two years later, Dorothy, at 17, successfully defended her dissertation. Now 18, she graduated from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions on May 8, officially becoming Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman.

Seeing her daughter’s accomplishments has been a humbling experience for Jimalita. “I knew what it took for her to go through that. She had to sacrifice a lot. A lot of her fears and going through different things during the pandemic,” she said. “She emerged as a leader without fear, showing them how to navigate online schooling.”

Dorothy’s academic prowess was evident from a young age. By 7, she was doing high school work and soon began taking college-level exams to earn credits toward higher education.

Reflecting on her journey, Dorothy said, “It was always a very hard thing to kind of stomach mentally being so young. When you get out of college, you’re thinking, ‘what do I do next?’ Now I am able to sit in the comfortability of being a teenager and being OK with the fact that I don’t have to figure out what comes next.”

At Arizona State University, she studied integrated behavioral health. Her dissertation examined the stigma preventing university students from seeking mental health treatment.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Dorothy runs the Dorothy Jeanius STEAM Leadership Institute. This program encourages hundreds of underserved young people in Chicago and internationally, in countries like Ghana and South Africa, to explore STEAM careers. The institute offers guest speakers and open discussions in each STEAM field. “We just want to provide them with all the resources possible and the best foundation to be able to start walking on that pathway to their dreams,” she explained.

Despite her extraordinary achievements, Dorothy remains a typical teenager, enjoying time with family and friends. She credits her mother as her biggest supporter. “I definitely couldn’t have gotten this far without her; she’s the best teammate, the best supporter,” she said.

Another significant influence is her grandmother, former Chicago alderwoman Dorothy Tillman, who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement.

After completing her degree at ASU, Dorothy aims to expand her camps and integrate her studies on behavioral health into her work. She envisions franchising the camps to reach more children and plans to engage more with youth in Africa.

“I’ve been focusing on my studies a lot and I don’t go nearly as much as I should,” Dorothy remarked. “Now I’m glad to have the time for things like that.”

Dorothy emphasizes the importance of a supportive family in her success. “It’s teamwork that makes the dream work,” she said. “It is a village that builds the land. It’s having those people there with you that is going to, you know, uphold you at the end of the day.”

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106-Year-Old Texan Sets Record as World’s Oldest Skydiver

Renee Yates

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At 106 years old, Alfred “Al” Blaschke from Georgetown, Texas, has reclaimed the title of the world’s oldest skydiver. This remarkable feat was achieved when he jumped out of an airplane at 9,000 feet last November. Blaschke, who initially set the record at 103, continues to prove that age is just a number.

Blaschke’s latest skydive was not just for thrill; it was a powerful message about overcoming doubts. “If you think you can’t, you’re just underestimating yourself,” he said, encouraging people to step beyond their comfort zones.

This achievement was covered by the Guinness World Records, which tracks over 40,000 world records. Blaschke’s record had been briefly surpassed by Dorothy Hoffner of Chicago, who made her skydive at 104. Unfortunately, Hoffner passed away before her record could be officially recognized.

On November 27, 2023, Blaschke embarked on his third tandem skydive. He and his instructor leaped from 9,000 feet above Fentress, Texas, and parachuted safely to the ground, greeted by his family, journalists, and officials.

Blaschke’s journey into skydiving began at the age of 100, and he broke his first record at 103 to celebrate his twin grandsons’ college graduation. He was inspired to take up skydiving not just for fun but to mark significant life events in a truly memorable way.

The record was previously held by Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden, who skydived at 103 years and 259 days old in 2022. Motivated by Larsson’s feat, Blaschke was determined to reclaim his title.

Now 107, Blaschke has lived a full life, from his early years in a farming family in Janesville, Wisconsin, to a 40-year career in the tool-and-die industry where he built aircraft parts during World War II. He moved to Texas in 2004 with his wife, Eleanor, who passed away in 2010.

Skydiving for Blaschke is more than just a sport; it’s a way to celebrate milestones and make every moment count. As he put it, each dive has to be for “something extra special.”

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Twin Hero Receives Royal Award for Bravery

Kevin Wells

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Three years ago, an ordinary vacation in Mexico turned into a scene from a movie when a crocodile attacked two sisters while swimming in a river. Georgia and Melissa, twins who were enjoying their time in the water, suddenly found themselves in a terrifying situation. Georgia reached safety, but as Melissa was being helped onto the bank, the crocodile struck again, pulling her underwater.

In a brave and daring move, Georgia, who is now 31 years old, didn’t hesitate. She jumped back into the water, not once but twice, to fight off the massive reptile and save her sister. This incredible act of courage has earned Georgia the King’s Gallantry Medal, a prestigious award given by King Charles III. This medal is a tribute to civilians who risk their own lives to save others.

Georgia shared with the UK’s PA Media news agency that receiving this award brings a “silver lining” to their horrifying experience. She said it somewhat eases the trauma they went through.

Melissa’s ordeal was severe. She suffered from multiple injuries including a complicated wrist fracture, deep puncture wounds to her stomach, and bites on her leg, foot, and glutes. She had to undergo emergency surgery and was even placed in a medically induced coma to fight off a life-threatening infection known as sepsis. Thankfully, she fully recovered after a tough battle in the hospital.

Now, with the nightmare behind them, Georgia and Melissa are channeling their experience into something positive. They are planning to swim 13 kilometers in the Thames Marathon this August. Their goal is to raise money for PTSD UK and Compañeros En Salud, a charity in Mexico that helps provide medical training and aid to communities in need.

Reflecting on the incident, Georgia admits that it sometimes feels like a distant, unreal memory. “It sounds like something out of a horror movie,” she says. But for them, it’s a part of their life story, a dramatic chapter in their personal tapestry.

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