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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Little League season gets underway, experts are warning parents about a recent uptick in baseball-related injuries that have been appearing in younger and younger athletes.

Former Olympic softball player and current ESPN correspondent Jessica Mendoza spoke to one 13-year-old athlete and to sports medicine experts for ABC News' Good Morning America, and found that the number of baseball-related injuries have increased as more young players compete in the sport year-round.

Experts said they are now seeing an increase in some of the more severe overuse injuries in younger patients, including a sharp increase in the number of young athletes requiring a reconstructive elbow surgery commonly known as Tommy John surgery.

"When I started my practice 17 years ago, Tommy John surgery was really a college and pro phenomenon, with a couple of high school athletes," Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, an orthopedic surgeon at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Alabama, told ABC News, adding that now high school athletes make up more than 55 percent of his Tommy John surgery patients.

"The youngest one I've done is 13," Dugas said. "And that was something we just didn't see 20 years ago."

A recent survey found that 15- to 19-year-old athletes made up nearly 60 percent of all Tommy John surgeries in the U.S., according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Dugas told ABC News another trend he has been observing recently is that more young players come in with "Little League elbow," the painful precursor to the condition that leads to Tommy John surgery.

"The real shame in this is some of these kids end up not being able to continue," Dugas said, "And play a sport they love."

Little League elbow is caused by repetitive throwing, which can cause increased stress to the growth plate in the inner part of the elbow, resulting in inflammation. In some cases, the growth plate can even get separated from the bone, which may require surgery.

Jack Traffanstedt, 13, has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old. Recently, the pitcher tore part of the growth plate, in his throwing elbow, from the bone.

"He had pulled off a little bit of the growth plate where the Tommy John ligament attaches," Dugas said of Jack's injury.

Jack is one of the lucky ones who did not require surgery, but for Jodi Killen, Jack's mom, it was a wake-up call.

"We didn't expect the diagnosis," Killen told ABC News. "I was thinking tendinitis, inflammation. Take some aspirin, ice it, rest, you know ... I was shocked."

"It was very scary," Killen added. "I love watching him play the game. I love it, but ... my priority ... him being healthy."

Dugas said that although sports parents often get blamed for young athlete's injuries, it is not always their fault.

"The parents get hyper competitive, but the kids do too," he said.

Jack told ABC News that it was difficult for him to take time off from baseball, saying, "I love it," and that he misses being able to throw and play with his teammates.

Dugas said Jack should be able to play again in a few months, but meanwhile he has a message for all parents.

"I would say at all times, it should be fun," Dugas said. "And I think that's the thing that the parents have to get across, is that ... winning is not the only part of having fun. Playing the game is still having fun, and they have to enjoy just the playing of the game, not the winning of the game."

Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute, one of the country's leading experts on youth baseball injuries, shared his tips with ABC News for parents and coaches to help reduce injuries among young pitchers. Fleisig is also on the Advisory Committee of Pitch Smart, Major League Baseball's initiative to reduce arm injuries among youth pitchers.

Here are some tips for parents to avoid Little League injuries from the American Sports Medicine Institute:

  • Watch and respond to signs of fatigue. If an adolescent pitcher complains of fatigue or looks fatigued, let him rest from pitching and other throwing.
  • No overhead throwing of any kind for at least two to three months per year (four months is preferred). No competitive baseball pitching for at least four months per year.
  • Do not pitch more than 100 innings in games in any calendar year.
  • Follow limits for pitch counts and rest days.
  • Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons.
  • Learn good throwing mechanics as soon as possible. The first steps should be to learn, in order: 1) basic throwing, 2) fastball pitching, 3) change-up pitching.
  • Avoid pitching to impress the radar gun.
  • A pitcher should not also be a catcher for his team. The pitcher-catcher combination results in many throws and increased risk of injury.
  • If a pitcher complains of pain in his elbow or shoulder, discontinue pitching until evaluated by a sports medicine physician.
  • Inspire adolescent pitchers to have fun playing baseball and other sports. Participation and enjoyment of various physical activities will increase the player's athleticism and interest in sports.

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

    Prostate cancer is diagnosed in about 180,000 men every year and leads to roughly 26,000 deaths annually. And now, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force has changed its recommendation for prostate cancer screening, specifically related to the blood test that measures PSA, which can indicate a growing cancer.

    The task force is advising men between the ages of 55 and 69 to start a conversation with their doctors about whether to have a PSA test based on each patient’s personal values and priorities.

    Here’s my take: Understand the concept of risk versus benefit when it comes to cancer screening in general. Know that not all cancers go on to kill someone and in some people, the testing or treatment may actually be worse than a cancer diagnosis itself.

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Dozens were hospitalized amid blazing temperatures during an electronic dance music festival in Florida, despite efforts by organizers to keep people cool and hydrated.

    Tampa Fire Rescue Department Public Information Officer Jason Penny told ABC News that a total of 32 people were transported to hospitals on Saturday from the 2017 Sunset Music Festival at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, nearly 10 more people than last year.

    Another 65 patients were treated on site Saturday, Penny said. Those who ended up at the hospital were treated for non-life-threatening issues, including dehydration and intoxication, he added.

    Authorities are awaiting final numbers of those hospitalized on Sunday.

    This year, organizers offered free water bottles and set up water stations, canopies and a cooling area at the two-day event, where more than 50,000 people were expected to attend. The additions were made after two people died last year from apparent overdoses while dozens of others were hospitalized, according to according to ABC affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa.

    Temperatures in Tampa reached a high of 91 degrees Fahrenheit over Memorial Day weekend, a few degrees hotter than last year, according to forecasters.

    In addition to hospitalizations, there were 30 felony arrests and 16 misdemeanor arrests at the festival, Tampa Police Department Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty told ABC News.

    That’s 13 more arrests than last year, WFTS-TV reported.

    There were also 47 ejections from the festival and five citations for possession of marijuana.

    But overall, there were no major criminal incidents on either day of the festival, Hegarty said.

    The lineup for this year’s Sunset Music Festival included electronic musical trios Major Lazer and Above & Beyond.

    "Obviously this is a rave scene, but not everybody does drugs," Rashad Arjomand, who attended the festival, told WFTS-TV. "Some of us like to come out here and party."

    Festival organizers did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

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    iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scientists are issuing a new warning about ticks, saying this year could mark a big jump in their population.

    In fact, it could be one of the worst years yet. The news comes as we approach summer and more Americans head outdoors.

    So why is this year in particular projected to be bad? Watch the ABC News report below to find out:

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

     



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    iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Could a vaccine prevent breast cancer?

    HeritX, a global research organization focused solely on preventing inherited cancers, says about 10 to 20 percent of cancer patients have inherited cancer and its using the BRCA gene as a key. The gene is hereditary and results in an 86 percent chance of getting breast cancer. It also puts carriers at risk for ovarian cancer.

    The group says they're not working on a cure but prevention, and it's hoping to create a vaccine in the next 10 years to prevent BRCA-positive breast cancer from ever occurring.

    For more on the potential vaccine, watch the report below from ABC News' Linsey Davis:

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

    It seems more young adults are dialing back on dairy -- and that may not be a good thing.

    The National Osteoporosis Society recently looked at nearly 300 patients under the age of 25 and found that 20 percent of them had been cutting back or completely eliminating dairy from their diet, in part because of advice they had read from bloggers.

    But if you’re going to eliminate milk and other dairy products from your diet, it’s important to supplement your diet with other calcium-rich foods.

    We still have a lot to learn about nutritional science but after getting a degree in nutrition, I’ve come to the opinion that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating, nutrition and the links to health and disease. Also, we can’t look at diet, health or disease in a vacuum. Dairy-free may be good for one thing but bad for another.

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    WBMA(NEW YORK) -- A set of quadruplets graduated high school in Alabama, making their mother's dream for them come true.

    Taylor, Tanner, Anniston and Thompson Payne -- known locally as the "Payne Quads" -- are actually the second set of quadruplets to graduate in Chilton County, Alabama. But they are the first in the county to graduate together, according to the school district.

    The Payne Quads made news on Oct. 13, 1998 when they became the first set of quadruplets delivered at Brookwood Women's Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Their mother, Christie Payne, said doctors told her the chances that she would carry all four babies to term were small. She prepared herself for the worst.

    "First they saw one and then they saw two, then we started to get excited," Christie Payne told ABC-affiliate WBMA. "And then they saw three. Then, we became a little nervous. And by the time we saw the fourth one, we were really nervous."

    Christie Payne and her husband Brian Payne said they rejoiced after all four babies were born and have celebrated their children's lives fully.

    "Every single year, we each got our own cake," Tanner Payne told WBMA. "We've never done just a single birthday."

    As high school graduation day approached, their father started to get nostalgic.

    "I've always told them [on] graduation night, your bags are going to be on the carport," Brian Payne said. "But the closer I get, the more I worry."

    "I just want them to know how much we love them, how hard we tried to get them here, and what miracles they really are," Christie Payne said. "And that they mean the world to us."

    The Isabella High School graduation ceremony took place on Thursday. Anniston and Thompson are going to college, while Tanner and Taylor plan to start working.

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    Ashley Larson(NICEVILLE, Florida) -- Ashley Larson was having such a hard time coping with her mother's cancer diagnosis that she stopped doing one of the things she loves most: photography.

    "I've been shooting since I was a kid," Larson, 27, told ABC News. "But when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was having a hard time coping with it. I stopped taking photography clients. My heart just wasn't in it anymore."

    Larson's mom, Diane Willoughby, was diagnosed with breast cancer last May.

    Willoughby, 57, who has four children including Larson, told ABC News that she "didn't really know what to think" after the diagnosis.

    "At first, everybody around me was reacting," she said, adding that even the technician at the doctor's office was "in tears." "I had to comfort her. ... It was kind of like that throughout the whole thing."

    Willoughby, who lives in Niceville, Florida, endured six rounds of intense chemotherapy over four months and underwent a double mastectomy.

    During Willoughby's treatment, Larson got an idea that she thought might help her deal with her mother's illness. She said she decided to photograph her own 3-year-old daughter, Scout, dressed up as "strong, fierce women" such as Adele, Frida Kahlo, Carrie Fisher, Betty White and Ellen DeGeneres.

    "I really wanted for me and Scout both to be reminded how strong women are," Larson said.

    Then when Willoughby was declared cancer-free earlier this month, Larson wanted to mark the occasion with her another photo shoot. Willoughby said she was immediately on board.

    "I thought it was a wonderful creative way to work through what she was having to do deal with," the mother said of her photographer daughter. "It seemed to be affecting everyone more than it did me."

    The 10-minute photo shoot, held earlier this month, featured Scout and Willoughby wearing almost-matching T-shirts. Willoughby's read, "I am cancer free. Let's party!" while Scout's declared, "Nonnie is cancer free."

    Willoughby said her daughter got wonderful photos in no time.

    "Ashley is an amazing photographer," Willoughby said. "It took her a matter of seconds."

    And for Larson, the photos were cathartic.

    "I was so happy that my mom let me do it because she does not like the spotlight. She’s so selfless," she said.

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    iStock/Thinkstock(MONTEREY, Calif.) -- A great white shark attacked a scuba diver's kayak 100 yards off the coast of Monterey, California, and lived to tell the tale.

    The shark is seen on video in March, chomping on the boat and circling kayaker Brian Correiar.

    Correiar used his GPS to call for help and began to swim to shore. A family in a sailboat was able to eventually rescue the diver.

    “It was like a horror movie,” Correiar said in a interview with National Geographic. “The shark came toward me, dropped the kayak, then dove straight down below me where I couldn’t see it.”

    Watch the encounter on video below.


    ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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    AJ Schalk(NEW YORK) -- One school made sure that a student's furry friend was remembered in the yearbook.

    Andrew "AJ" Schalk, 16, a junior at Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, goes to school every day with his service dog, Alpha.

    Schalk told ABC News that he and Alpha, a black Labrador, were paired Jan. 2, 2014, after Schalk was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on July 9, 2009.

    Getting Alpha was a community affair, as Schalk had to raise $25,000 to get his dog trained properly, and leaned on his classmates along with his parents' co-workers and friends.

    He said of Alpha, "He can predict 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar goes low or high, and that saves me from huge blood sugar spikes and drops and also benefits my health overall."

    So when Alpha was finally able to accompany Schalk at Stafford High starting last year, he said, the students "were so excited to see him in the hallways," adding that students had been hearing about him for years, thanks to multiple fundraisers.

    The students took to Alpha so much, they wanted to include him in the 2017 yearbook.

    Schalk recalled the students "loved the idea of having him in there because he's been such a big part of the Stafford community. It was so easy to get him in."

    Principal Joseph Lewis said in a statement to ABC News that including Alpha in the yearbook "was just fun to do."

    "Beyond this, Alpha is just a part of everyday school life here at Stafford High School, as much as any student is," the statement continued.

    they put his service dog in the yearbook i'm CRYING pic.twitter.com/yU47kpKnwA

    — diana bloom (@nycstheplacetob) May 18, 2017

    Schalk said he loved the way Alpha's photo turned out, with his head barely in the box.

    "It's quite funny," he said. "I love it."

    Schalk said it's important for his community to know that not only is Alpha a "great companion" but also that "he's saved my life before."

    "Service dogs are very important, and Alpha has had a great benefit in my life," he said. "You wouldn't think that having a disability is a blessing ... but Alpha has turned a disability into a much more positive experience for me."

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    iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican health care bill currently making its way through Congress could have a major impact on how many people have access to health services through Medicaid --changes that would fall disproportionately on women.

    Today, more than 17 million women in the U.S. aged 18 to 64 have health insurance because of Medicaid, according to data from the National Women’s Law Center. Nearly a fourth of these women gained access to health insurance for the first time as a result of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that passed in 2010.

    Just within the first two years of expansion, nearly four million women were newly insured through Medicaid between 2013 and 2015 -- women who are now at risk of losing health care coverage.

    The Republican plan, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), could reverse these gains since the bill proposes drastic cuts to Medicaid. The safety-net program is projected to lose over $800 billion over 10 years, according to a newly released report from Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    Women, who are the primary beneficiaries of Medicaid, could be the hardest hit by these changes. In 2015 alone, nearly four million more women were using Medicaid than men according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    “Medicaid is a critical lifeline to health care services,” said Alina Salganicoff, vice president and director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Now, nearly one in five women have Medicaid coverage and anything you do to change Medicaid will impact women in this country, especially the women who have the fewest resources to get care.”

    Medicaid expansion under the ACA discarded "categorical" eligibility -- where low-income individuals only qualified if they were pregnant, a parent of a dependent child, over age 65, or had a disability—in favor of criteria solely based on income. For the first time, it allowed low income women without children to gain access to health insurance.

    Expansion was adopted by 31 states and the District of Columbia, and according to the National Women’s Law Center, these states saw the biggest leaps in Medicaid enrollment for women aged 18–64.

    The CBO estimates that under the AHCA, Medicaid expansion would no longer be sustainable, with states curtailing their programs or choosing not to expand eligibility due to the lack of funds. By 2018 the CBO estimates that 4 million people will lose coverage with that number steadily increasing to 14 million by 2026.

    The dramatic losses in insurance coverage are primarily driven by changes to Medicaid enrollment and funding under the legislation, according to the CBO. The AHCA would cut federal funds to match state budgets and place caps on the amount that can be spent for each Medicaid user.

    Instead, the new bill proposes a system of block grants in which fixed amounts of money are doled out to states, allowing them to tailor health care services offered to their local populations.

    “We believe that it's important to allow states to have that flexibility to fashion the program for their vulnerable population that actually responds to that population in a way that gives them the authority, them the choices, them the opportunity to gain coverage and the care that they believe most appropriate,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price during a White House press briefing in March.

    But Dr. Diane Cosper Horvath, a reproductive health advocacy fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health disagrees, saying that the cuts to Medicaid would be “catastrophic to health care in our country.”

    “When Medicaid gets cut, the people that are hurt the most are women,” she said. “Women who are heads of households, single mothers. People who are struggling to make ends meet, they lose insurance coverage and risk not being healthy enough to work and not being able to maintain their health well enough to care for their families.”

    Since its inception in 1965, Medicaid has become a linchpin in America’s health safety net, especially for low-income women. The program is an important protection for vulnerable populations, providing coverage for nearly half of reproductive aged women living below the federal poverty line according to the Guttmacher Institute. Women of color are also more likely to rely on Medicaid -- the Kaiser Family Foundation found that one in four African American and Latina women using the program.

    Medicaid provides access to a broad range of services integral to a women's health across her lifespan, including reproductive health care, maternity care, family planning, mental health, preventive cancer screenings, and treatment services.

    Horvath, a practicing physician, has personally witnessed how health insurance can be the difference between life or death for many women. She recalls a patient from her early days of training: a young woman in her early forties who came to the hospital with advanced cervical cancer— a cancer that had progressed so far that not even a year later, she died, leaving three children behind.

    Years ago, this woman had an abnormal Pap smear, but “she was too poor to buy insurance through work, but made too much to qualify for Medicaid,” said Horvath. Her patient would likely have been eligible for Medicaid under the current law.

    Without insurance, this woman never sought out more medical care and succumbed to an illness that is eminently preventable, Horvath said.

    “I think about how life would’ve been different for her if she was able to come in and get routine health care, it would have saved her life," Horvath said.

    With millions of women at risk of losing access to health care, Horvath views the cuts to Medicaid as a part of a larger trend to disadvantage women.

    “It’s a clear pattern of de-prioritizing women's health, reproductive health, and health and well-being of families,” she said. “This is really an assault on families in this country, low-income individuals, people of color. It’s terrifying.”

    Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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    iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With Memorial Day signaling the unofficial kick-off to summer, everyone may be ready to enjoy some fun. But the season can also mean increased risk for a few health hazards like sunburns, spoiled foods and insect bites.

    Here's a rundown of the top summer hazards and how to avoid them.

    Sunburns

    One of the best parts of the summer is finally being able to bask in the sun. But too much sun can obviously lead to an uncomfortable and unsightly sunburn.

    To enjoy the sun safely, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher.

    Experts also advise seeking shade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.

    Water can amplify the sun's rays, so be extra careful at the beach or the pool. And be sure to reapply sun block every two hours or after taking a dip.

    Spoiled Food

    The start of summer means the start of outdoor dining season, including barbecues and picnics. But, food that sits in the sun can go bad quickly.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a handy guide on how to keep food safe from spoilage. Any perishable foods should not sit outside for more than two hours. If the temperature creeps up over 90 degrees, food should be put back in the fridge or cooler after one hour.

    Grilled meats should be checked with a meat thermometer to ensure they've reached a safe temperature.

    Insect-Born Diseases

    Insect bites aren't just a nuisance anymore. The rise of the Zika virus last year and the ongoing spread of Lyme disease have drawn attention to real health risks from insect-born diseases in the U.S.

    In the northeast, deer ticks can spread Lyme disease via bites. The disease can cause serious symptoms like fever, rash or infection of the heart and nervous system if untreated. The tiny insects are also known to spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and an extremely rare disease called Powassan virus that can cause neurological symptoms including brain swelling.

    In addition to ticks, mosquitoes have been known to spread a few dangerous illnesses including the Zika virus. This year there has been no local spread of the Zika virus in the U.S. yet, but people traveling to areas where the virus was spread previously may want to take extra precautions.

    To avoid bites from ticks, mosquitoes and other insects, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise wearing long sleeves and pants when in the wilderness. Additionally, the agency recommends using bug spray with ingredients such as DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. The Environmental Protection Agency has a database of insect repellents to help consumers choose the best bug spray for their situations.

    More information on avoiding bug bites can be found here.

    Safety on the Road


    Summer means plenty of travel, including road trips for many families. The AAA estimates that as many as 39 million Americans may take to the road on Memorial Day weekend.

    Because of increased traffic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises taking extra care when getting behind the wheel during the summer months.

    Before hitting the road, make sure the vehicle is in good working order. Check for recalls on vehicles and their parts, have a tune-up and check tires and car batteries.

    Take an emergency roadside kit, complete with cellphone and charger, in case of distress.

    On the drive, make sure everyone is buckled properly, share the road with other drivers and stay alert.

    As always, don't drink and drive. The NHTSA estimated that in 2015 there was one fatality related to drunk driving every 51 minutes.

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    Robert Selby(FALLOT, Va.) -- One Virginia dad has a touching tradition with his son, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

    When Robert Selby became a first-time dad in October 2013 he told ABC News he wasn't prepared when they diagnosed his son Chase with Tetralogy of Fallot, or a congenital heart defect, the same day he was set to go home.

    Tetralogy of Fallot is a very rare heart defect, affecting 5 out of every 10,000 babies, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It's also the same defect late night host Jimmy Kimmel's son was diagnosed with earlier this month.

    "I was devastated because ... you never prepare for the what ifs," he continued. "You prepare for the gender, the baby shower, everything positive. But you never prepare for that what if, like what if my child has this type of defect or something is really wrong with him?"

    The Woodbridge, Virginia, dad, who co-parents with Chase's mother, said his son had to undergo heart surgery at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He also had other complications. Chase, who was born at 5 pounds and 2 ounces, had to spend more than three months in the hospital because of his size.

    When Chase was strong enough to go home he needed to be outfitted with a gastrostomy tube, or G-tube, for feeding since he had been in the hospital for months and hadn't yet learned how to eat orally.

    After he turned six months, a milestone for him, Robert Selby, 33, decided to show solidarity with his son by gluing a g tube to his own stomach and posing for photos. He continued this tradition every year, including this year.

    This year's photo has gone viral on Facebook with 27,000 people liking or loving it.

    The tradition has also served as a teaching moment for Chase Selby, who can now eat orally during the day and relies on his g tube at night.

    "Last year, he asked, 'Dad, why do I have a g tube and you don't? I said, 'Well son, only superheroes have a g tube. This is your special power. You're my super baby,'" Selby said.

    Not only has the experience empowered his now 3-year-old son, but Selby said it also appears to have inspired thousands of parents online.

    "When Chase was diagnosed, I didn't have anybody to go to. But when I went online and saw other parents ... that gave me the inspiration. It gave me comfort," he recalled.

    "So I'm just trying to be a light to somebody that's going through the same situation to let them know everything will be alright," Robert Selby added.

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    iStock/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — Two high school sweethearts finally got their chance to say “I do,” but their wedding didn’t happen the way they expected.

    Ronda Mager was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, one year ago. Doctors recently told her she only had days to live.

    “I ask God every day, why,” her husband Matthew Mager said to ABC affiliate WATE-TV.

    Ronda and Matthew, who live in Knoxville, Tennessee, have been together for 10 years and have two children. A big wedding was always something the couple dreamed of, but it wasn’t financially possible.

    “I brought her home and I fulfilled what I promised to her, that we’re getting married,” Matthew told WATE.

    The family continues to pray for a miracle but are grateful for the time they have left with Ronda. “If it’s a week or a year or the rest of her life, I’m thankful for that time,” Matthew said.

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    iStock/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) — A couple who tried nearly two decades to conceive has welcomed a set of sextuplets in Richmond, Virginia.

    Adeboye and Ajibola Taiwo tried for 17 years to have children. In January, they learned they were expecting six.

    “I was excited,” said dad Adeboye Taiwo. “For the very first time we were expecting.”

    The babies, three boys and three girls, range in weight from 1 pound, 10 ounces, to 2 pounds, 15 ounces, according to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia.

    “We’re going through this extraordinary journey together with the family,” Ronald Ramus, M.D., director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center, said in the hospital's press release. “It’s not every day that parents bring home sextuplets. Mrs. Taiwo was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important, and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team.”

    In 2015, there were close to 4 million live births in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 24 of those births were quintuplets or other higher-order births.

    “I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say, ‘I was so small, and look at me now,’” said Ajibola Taiwo. “I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family.”

    Ajibola Taiwo was discharged from the hospital May 18, but the sextuplets remain in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. All six babies are "doing well and continue to thrive" in the NICU, according to VCU.

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