She Lost Her Legs in the Brussels Bombing. Now, She’s Competing in the Paralympics


When Beatrice de Lavalette was only 17-years-old, she got hit by the terrorist bombing at the Brussels airport.

De Lavalette had serious burns and a spinal cord injury from the tragic incident and also lost both her legs below the knee.

Despite the traumatic situation she was put in, the Paralympian says she wouldn’t be the person she is today if it weren’t for it. She wouldn’t be the person competing for the U.S. Para-Equestrian team in Tokyo.

De Lavalette has always had a passion for riding. She stared at the age of 3, and by 12, de Lavalette took up dressage. However, getting back in the saddle after sustaining her injuries was not an easy task. Yet, it didn’t stop her from going back to what she enjoyed doing most.

“I had no muscle, I was just skin and bones, so being back on the saddle with no sense of balance was really uncomfortable,” de Lavalette told CNN. “But with time, I was able to build up the muscle and work on my balance, and it got easier with time.”

With the encouragement and help from friends, family, and the doctors, she was once again able to ride her horse, DeeDee.

“DeeDee saved my life,” the Paralympian told The Doctors. “My mom had figured out a way to get…DeeDee into the hospital parking lot. I said, ‘Where’s my [wheel]chair?”

What she didn’t expect was to see her horse approaching her, taking away the pain she felt after trying to come to terms with her injuries.



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“She came towards me and put her head against my chest. That moment made me decide that I wasn’t going to give up on life.”

For De Lavalette, having to adjust to her new body felt like having to learn to ride all over again. She worked her way to now making her first appearance as part of the U.S. Para-Dressage team in Tokyo, where she will be riding 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood named Clarc.



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On the Paralympian’s website, she wrote, “I can’t change what happened, but I can succeed at being me,” she continued. “There are no ‘What ifs.’ I have a new life in front of me.”

“What’s important is that I’m alive and I feel that I will do something grand with my life.”

Watch the video about the U.S. Para-Equestrian story below.


Nurses Stayed Behind to Take Care for Babies in NICU during the Hurricane Ida Evacuation


While evacuations were happening in Louisiana due to Hurricane Ida, nurses in New Orleans volunteered to stay inside the NICU at Ochsner Health Hospital through the night, to help the babies who desperately needed them.

“My team pulls together, doesn’t matter what’s happening, they’re going to make sure the babies are taken care of,” nurse Paula Jean Simon told NBC News.

Watch below the story of the nurses who chose to stay behind.



Australian Farmer Draws Heart with Sheep in Tribute to Aunt


An Australian farmer is paying tribute to his aunt Debby who lost her two-year cancer battle.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in Australia, Ben Jackson wasn’t able to say goodbye to his aunt, who lived 400 km away from him.

To pay tribute, the young man scattered grains across the farm, in the shape of a heart, then released his flock, with thousands of sheep on their way to munch on the grains, filling up the heart.

“I felt hopeless, helpless – I didn’t really know what to do. But because I was doing a bit of feeding already, I just decided to do a massive heart in the ground, which in all earnest, pales in comparison to hers,” he told BBC News.

The results of the sheep coming together were captured through a drone on video, and since sharing it online, the video has gone viral. It was being shared across social media, and being played on Australian TV.

“She would be proud as a punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I’ve made for her. It’s just love. Love’s sensational.”

Watch the video of the flock coming together, shaping a heart.



New Study Shows a Pecan-Rich Diet Can Reduce Cholesterol


New research conducted by the University of Georgia shows that increasing pecans in your diet can dramatically improve a person’s cholesterol level.

The research was assigned to 52 adults between the ages of 30 and 75 who were at risk for cardiovascular disease eating pecans during an eight-week intervention, and based off the results shown, there was a significant improvement in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

“This dietary intervention, when put in the context of different intervention studies, was extremely successful,” said Jamie Cooper, one of the co-authors of this study. “We had some people who actually went from having high cholesterol at the start of the study to no longer being in that category after the intervention.”

Based on the research, there was an average of 5% drop in total cholesterol levels, and between 6-9 per cent of LDL levels among participants that consumed pecans. This is in reference to a previous meta-analysis of 51 exercise interventions designed to lower the total cholesterol as well as LDL.

“Some research shows that even a 1% reduction in LDL is associated with a small reduction of coronary artery disease risk, so these reductions are definitely clinically meaningful,” said Cooper, who is also a professor in the FACS department of nutritional sciences.

The participants were split into three groups for this research, with one group consuming 68 grams or about 470 calories of pecans a day, the second group substituting pecans for a similar number of calories from their regular diets, and the third group that consumed no pecans.

After eight weeks, the participants consumed a high-fat meal to determine the changes in blood lipids and the amount of glucose in the blood.

Based on the results, the experiment showed that there were improvements among the two pecan groups, while the third group that consumed no pecans had fewer improvements.

“Whether people added them or substituted other foods in the diet for them, we still saw improvements and pretty similar responses in total cholesterol in particular,” said Cooper.

The research can be read in this month’s The Journal of Nutrition.

This 17-Year-Old Swimmer and TikToker Just Won Gold at the Paralympics in Tokyo


As the U.S. Athletes continue to dominate the Tokyo Paralympics, a 17-year-old has also broken her own world record of 400-meter freestyle swimming at 4:54:49.

This New Yorker is in many ways, your typical teenager. She posts videos on TikTok and absolutely loves her dog. However, there is one thing that makes Anastasia Pagonis far from average. She just won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics for swimming, and just like any other teenager on TikTok, she used the platform to celebrate with her two-million supporters of the major win.


@anastasia_k_pnot sure how to feel♬ original sound – iwannatrypercs????


When Anastasia was 14-years-old, she rapidly lost her sight over the course of two months because of an autoimmune disease. The Paralympian has genetic autoimmune retinopathy, which means her immune system attacks her retinas. She told TODAY how losing her sight was a struggle, on top of being a teenage girl.

“Being a teenage girl is hard, so having that on top of it was just such a struggle for me,” she said. “It took me about eight months to kind of regroup myself, and then I got it in my head, ‘OK, I’m blind. Now what am I going to do with my life?’”

She told when she lost her vision, she dropped into a “dark depression.” She felt “extremely suicidal” but with her dog by her side, she was never alone.

That’s when she got into competitive swimming. Six months prior to losing her vision, Anastasia was a mid-distance freestyler who took swimming up as a sport and decided to return back to swimming afterward.

“It’s my happy place. It’s the place where I feel like I don’t have a disability and I feel like that’s the only place where I feel free. When I dive in the water, it’s just me in the pool and I feel such a connection with it,” she told TODAY.

Before making her Paralympic debut in Tokyo, the Paralympian swimmer won two gold medals at the World Para Swimming World Series in Australia just before the coronavirus pandemic shut things down. Now, according to Team USA, she’s broken the world record she set earlier in June at the US Paralympic Trials.

“If you told me this a few years ago, I wouldn’t even think I’d be alive, so just being here and being able to have this experience and this opportunity – unbelievable,” Anastasia said.

In addition to breaking world records, and winning gold at the Paralympics, Anastasia is using the social media app TikTok to educate her viewers about her disability. She pokes fun at some of the questions asked on the platform about her blindness and also attempts many popular TikTok dances with the help of her mom.


@anastasia_k_pFun times♬ original sound – Anastasia Pagonis


Yet, she tries to keep her videos educational for her viewers. She shows the viewers how she’s able to swim in the pool without bumping into the wall, with the help of someone standing outside the pool and tapping her on the head with a swimming ‘noodle’ so she knows when its time to turn, as well as how she does her makeup.

“I just want to teach people that this is blind, not just what you think is blind where you have to wear sunglasses and you can’t do anything,” she told Team USA. “This is blind.”


@anastasia_k_pI leave for Tokyo in three weeks!!!♬ original sound – Anastasia Pagonis


As the Paralympian continues to educate her viewers and break records, she’ll be competing again in Friday’s 50-meter freestyle, Monday’s 200-meter individual medley, and next Friday’s 100-meter freestyle, where she’ll have the chance to win even more medals for Team USA.


Polish Model Ditches the Catwalk to Teach Design and Sewing to Underprivileged Women


A Polish model has quit her job cat-walking to go to Kenya and teach underprivileged women sewing and design.

Maja Kotala decided to change her life in 2018, moving to Africa, to use her time to help others. As someone who’s lived in Australia and Paris, she says she found her place in Africa.

“Africa is beautiful, colorful, and open. I’ve never come across such a good attitude,” she said. “So I had the strength to fight for these talented girls.”

That’s when she created the Sewing Together project, providing free courses educating women on how to create a self-sustainable business, how to sew and start their own fashion line.

“I teach them how to create collections. I teach the basics of business, marketing, sales, bargaining skills, and how to behave towards a client,” Kotala said. “After six months they create and interpret drawings. At this time, I can create a workplace for them.”

She also gives opportunities to women to cut themselves from the stereotype of women staying home to look after children.

“One of my students comes from a Muslim family and she is not allowed to go to college,” she continued. “We had a single mother with a child who was kicked out by her family because she was pregnant before marriage and was banned for two years… We have girls who were forced by their parents to learn the so-called specific professions.”



Once the training is completed, educated women train new ones. Kotala’s project is funded through partnerships with other businesses as well as selling their own designs through the Charity Shop.

She says she doesn’t know how long she will stay in Africa, but Kotala “wants the girls to take over what I’m doing as soon as possible so that I can develop the idea of Sewing Together in another country.”

Watch below this short video of Sewing Together’s mission.



Furniture Store Owner is Sending Trucks Loaded with Relief Supplies to Families Impacted by Hurricane Ida


A furniture store owner has announced a massive disaster relief effort to help those who have been impacted by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.

The owner of the furniture store in Houston, Jim McIngvale, is sending about 30 trucks full of relief supplies to the city. In addition, he’s welcoming residents that have evacuated to Houston to sleeping at his furniture store for free.

Starting Monday, volunteers will be assisting his north Houston store to collect donations from Monday through Wednesday.

“Our hearts go out for the residents of Louisiana, especially in New Orleans residents are getting hit by this terrible hurricane,” said McIngvale, who is also known as “Mattress Mack.”



“So on Monday at Gallery Furniture from eight to five in the afternoon, we’re gonna have a giant drive. Looking for people to bring non-perishable foods, diapers, all the normal things for hurricanes and we’re gonna get about 30 trucks and take them to Louisiana to help the people out and be doing that as long as the need’s there. And we’re also having Louisiana residents that evacuated to Houston sleep here free,” he told KPRC 2 Click2Houston.

Watch below the video of ‘Mattress Mack’ preparing to send his trucks full of relief supplies.



This Woman Collected Over 8000 Books and Fulfilled Her Dream of Opening a Bookstore While Recovering from a Diagnosis


A 65-year-old woman has fulfilled her life-long dream of opening a bookstore. Carole-Ann Warburton dreamt of opening her very own bookstore, but this was a dream she has never spoken of aloud.

After collapsing at home in 2010, vomiting, experiencing disorientation to later on getting diagnosed with an inner-ear infection, Warburton thought of what she would do moving forward. Her daughter brought some real estate listings for her mom to see if one of them might be a home she’d think her mom might want to spend her golden years in, and coincidentally, amongst those listings, Warburton noticed a small barbershop with an above-stairs apartment.

Although Warburton admitted “the place was awful,” she saw potential in the apartment-shop, and felt like it was love at first sight. She saw it as the perfect opportunity to do something she’d always wanted to do, work in a bookshop.

Within three months, she handed over her retirement notice, bought the store, sold her house, and after collecting between 8,000 to 9,000 books from her personal inventory, she launched ‘The Book Rest.’

For Warburton, she admits letting go of her books has been an adjustment, but it’s one she feels the better for making.

“It still feels, when a special book goes out, like a bit of a loss – as if some little part of me has been taken away,” she told The Guardian. “And then I make common sense come back to me and say ‘Let someone else learn from it.’ It’s a growing up, if you like, an acceptance.”

The Book Rest has now celebrated its 10th anniversary, and although the pandemic has slowed foot traffic, she says she has no plans to close up the shop. In fact, she hopes to stay around for as long as she can. Warburton says she believes the bookstore is an opportunity to help others realize their dreams as well.

“All the dreams are in the books,” she says. “They are all there waiting to be picked up… Someone can walk in tomorrow and say, ‘I have been looking for that for an awfully long time!”

This Four-Year-Old has Become a Skateboarding Success


A four-year-old has already built an online presence, gaining more than 130,000 followers on Instagram for her skateboarding success.

Autumn California Bailey says she’s been inspired by the Olympian skateboarder Sky Brown and has made it her goal to compete in future games.



In an interview with the BBC, she says she wants to become a pro skater or a ballerina, adding “Skateboarding is my favorite thing on the planet because it makes me feel like I’m flying.”

Watch the video below to see some of Autumn’s sick moves on the board.


Studies Show Doing Physical Activity During Depression Reduces Symptoms and Increases Brain’s Ability to Change


Doing any sort of physical activity helps our brain and body in positive ways. Now, a new study shows that doing physical activities while depressed can reduce its symptoms, as well as help the brain to change and adapt.

This is being reported by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, following a study, that analyzed 41 people, all of whom were undergoing treatment at the hospital.

“The results show how important seemingly simple things like physical activity are in treating and preventing illnesses such as depression,” said the study leader associate professor Karin Rosenkranz.

The study had two groups, each assigned with its own task. One of the groups completed a three-week exercise program, the other, that did a program without physical activity.

“This specifically promoted motivation and social togetherness while breaking down a fear of challenges and negative experiences with physical activity – such as school PE lessons,” said Rosenkranz.

The team investigated the severity of the depressive symptoms, such as a loss of drive and interest, the lack of motivation, and negative feelings, both before and after the program. Based on the research, the team reported that for those who previously did no physical activity, their brain’s ability to change was lower compared to those who are healthy. In fact, after the program was complete, they saw a significant change to the brains and reported that it had achieved the same values as healthy people. It also decreased depressive symptoms for the group.

However, those that did no physical activity saw that there were not many changes to the brain or the symptoms.

In the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, Rosenkranz noted that although physical activity did have an effect on the symptoms and the ability to change, it wasn’t yet confirmed to what extent the changes are linked.

“It is known that physical activity does the brain well, as it, for instance, promotes the formation of neuron connections,” said Rosenkranz.

Regardless, if you’re feeling under the weather, try to move your body, and do some physical activity as this might help your brain change and adapt.