Ryan Newman Walks Out of Hospital With Daughters Two Days After Crash

Ryan Newman Walks out of Hospital
(Instagram/ryannewman1977)

If you were watching Monday night’s Daytona 500, you probably saw the fiery crash that ended Ryan Newman’s day just as he was about to win the race.

Claiming that trophy suddenly became the last thing in Newman and his family’s mind as they watched his car burst into flames and didn’t see the driver climb out, as they were surely hoping. Instead, Newman was rushed to the hospital, where it was reported that he was in serious, but non-life-threatening condition.

That was great news for Newman’s wife Krissie and his two daughters, Brooklyn and Ashlyn, whom he clearly adored, as evidenced by his doting social media posts.

NASCAR officials have been updating the public on their driver’s condition, sharing some good news on his progress.

Wednesday they released this statement: “Ryan Newman continues to show great improvement after Monday night’s last-lap accident at Daytona International Speedway. The veteran driver is fully alert and walking around Halifax Medical Center. True to his jovial nature, he has also been joking around with staff, friends, and family while spending time playing with his two daughters.”

And then, a few hours later, Newman posted this image on his Instagram, just two days removed from his harrowing wreck.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#Repost @roushfenway ・・・ Ryan Newman has been treated and released from Halifax Medical Center

A post shared by Ryan Newman (@ryannewman1977) on

That’s Newman, exiting the hospital with his two girls. That’s Newman walking out under his own power, a mere three days after the crash that had many viewers fearing the worst.

The caption reads: “Ryan Newman has been treated and released from Halifax Medical Center.”

NASCAR fans knew the man was fast, but this is remarkable. Even better that his girls were there to walk out with him.

Happy news all around!

Scott Bakula Discusses Potential Quantum Leap Reboot

Bakula Discusses Quantum Leap Reboot
(NBC Universal)

I spent a fair amount of time whining about the cavalcade of remakes and reboots and reimaginings that Hollywood keeps sending down the pike. From beloved animated movies being remade into pointless live-action spectacles to classic action movies being rebooted with a younger cast. Then there are 80s favorites and 90s sports flicks being converted into TV shows.

It never ends.

Of course, every once in a while, a project that deserves another chance actually benefits from this trend. No, I’m not talking about a new Back to the Future. I’m talking about a new Quantum Leap.

Oh boy.

If you’re unfamiliar with the 80s sci-fi TV series, it starred Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett, a scientist who becomes unstuck in time and keeps randomly leaping into new people, inhabiting their bodies and lives so he can set something right (the JFK assassination, his own brother’s death, something to do with Stephen King once?) before leaping out again. Every episode featured Sam in a new situation, in a new time (although he could only leap to a year that was within his own lifetime), and the show was incredibly entertaining and addictive. (And very wholesome. For years, I’ve been telling people that Quantum Leap should be remade for HBO and that a harder edge would make the premise even more enticing. But no one listens to me.)

Now there are rumors we might be getting a reboot or a sequel series to the show! Though those rumors don’t appear to be based on much.

Bakula appeared on The Talk and was asked about a potential reboot, to which he responded, “I don’t know, I don’t know. But I know the fans would love to have a reboot.”

He went on to speculate that the current era would offer plenty of fodder for Sam Beckett to tackle. “Well, there are so many things going on right now that need to be put right, that are currently going wrong, that he would be very, very busy. Lots to do.”

Which is true, but is also very far from saying, “We’re making it!” Unfortunately. It’s a little surprising that this isn’t already in motion, for HBO (fingers crossed!) or anywhere else. Quantum Leap had a great premise that seems easily replicable in all manner of ways. It’s one of the rare properties that is screaming out for a reboot.

Let’s make this happen!

Artist Turns Infant Medical Helmets Into Works of Art

(Facebook/Lazardo Art)

A Washington State woman has been using her artistic talents to brighten the lives of thousands of babies and their families.

Back in 1996, a friend approached Paula Lazardo with a unique request. Their child would need to wear a medial helmet due to plagiocephaly — a common disorder causing a baby’s head to have a flattened appearance. The helmet would need to be worn for several months, so Lazardo knew it needed to be something special.

Once completed, a doctor saw her first creation and knew Lazardo’s talents could help so many more. The condition impacts around 10% of newborns in America, so while this was her first encounter with the medical helmets, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Since 1996, Lazardo has hand-painted over 3,000 of the typically mundane medical devices, all thanks to that initial interest by the treating physician. “He saw value in having the helmet painted for his clients,” Lazardo told HeartThreads. “It was just one of those snowball things… and now it’s virtually 99 percent of what I do is paint for babies! Which is the best job ever.”

Beyond brightening the lives of the children and likely everyone they encounter, her creations are unique to the owner. From motorcycle helmets to Captain America gear, the artist has created some truly incredible works, often in just 48 hours due to the nature of the equipment and its immediate need. But for Lazardo, it’s all worth it. “That’s what I love about the art that I’ve been able to do in my life: It’s always been for other people. It’s been able to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve got the best job!”

She has even created smaller helmets so that a child’s doll can have a matching cap.

Custom painted baby helmets
(Facebook)

With so many satisfied little customers, it’s easy to see why so many parents have turned to her over the years.

To learn more about her incredible work, visit Lazardo’s Facebook page.

Families Are Opening Their Homes to Foster Ailing Senior Veterans

Families Open Homes to Veterans
(YouTube/CBS This Morning)

Enlisting in the military is one of the truest sacrifices and one that few families fully understand. On top of that, outside of the requisite “Thank you for your service” and maybe the occasional seat-swap on a plane, support can be limited. So it’s always heartwarming when people make the extra effort.

One strong example is how some families are stepping up to help aging and ailing veterans. Tens of thousands of United States vets live in nursing homes, and thousands more are homeless, but now hundreds of families have started to open their homes to foster an elderly veteran.

The Medical Foster Home program pairs senior veterans who can’t live on their own with a family willing to take in and care for those who have served. The program is now in 44 states and foster families can take in up to three veterans to provide them a more comfortable place to receive care.

A spokesman for the program said it’s a long-term commitment and usually a permanent one for many families. They try to match veterans with homes in their hometown to keep things as familiar as possible, and currently, the program has more than 700 families involved.

One family told The Washington Post that it was an honor to have a veteran living under their roof. And the veteran said he loved his new family and wanted to ‘be with them till the day I die.’ The program is among the higher-rated ones in the VA and a spokesman told Southern Living magazine the vets and new caregivers become family and even go on vacations together.

“These people really are angels,” he said. “They’re doing such amazing things. Every vet deserves the right to live in a home and remain where they thrive.”

The slogan for the program is a fitting one: “Where our heroes meet angels.”

If you are interested in participating, you can contact your local VA.

Toddler in Wheelchair Overwhelmed by Ad Featuring “Boy Like Him”

Oliver
(Ollie's World)

Inclusion is a powerful thing. The internet was reminded of this again last week when a photo featuring a sweet moment went viral. Oliver, a nearly two-year-old boy confined to a wheelchair, was at Target when he came across an ad featuring a boy in a wheelchair.

Oliver has caudal regression syndrome, which affects the development of the lower body. It affects less than 5 per 100,000 newborns.

When he saw the ad, he paused to take it all in.

“He just stared at it in awe!” his mom wrote in a post she shared on social media. “This was amazing! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing…he never gets to see kids like him.”


The photo was shared tens of thousands of times and his mom said the news of it even reached the family of the boy in the ad.

It was a powerful moment for the child, and it was one his mom hopes other parents of kids with disabilities get to experience.

“I am so happy that other kids that pass through here with their parents will see this,” she wrote. “There is a lot of focus on diversity, but representing people with disabilities is just as important.”

Inclusiveness has been a much bigger priority for companies in recent years – the American Girl Doll company made news in the fall for featuring a model with Down syndrome in their catalog.

104-Yr-Old WWII Veteran Gets More Than 70,000 Valentines

William White Gets 70k Valentine's Cards
(Fox61)

A World War Two veteran named William White is having the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever, one that’s been 104 years in the making. A fellow resident at his assisted living facility put together a social media campaign called, ‘Operation Valentine’ that quickly became a massive success. Even before the official holiday, he’d already received more than 70,000 Valentine’s Day cards.

Back in January, the 104-year-old Marine Corps veteran said he’d keep any Valentine’s Day card someone sent him. In fact, he said it would go on his keepsake shelf, alongside other markers of a life well-lived such as the Purple Heart he earned in the Battle of Iwo Jima. He’s a big scrapbooker, so he was interested in adding more things to his collection.

“I’ll save every one of them like I’ve been saving little things that have come up until right now and they’ll be a personal part of my history,” he told a local news outlet last month.

At least, that was the plan when he expected a couple of people to answer the call. Now that he has tens of thousands, he’ll have to reconsider.

White has received cards from every single U.S. state and from a number of countries around the world.

“It’s just too fantastic,” White said to Reuters, while surrounded by bricks of postal boxes filled with cards.

Many sent White cards as a way to honor their own relatives, now passed, who fought in World War Two. But overall, it’s been a cross-generational effort. White’s great-granddaughter even helped deliver a bundle, as her fourth-grade class all made Valentines for the elderly veteran.

While Operation Valentine has been a massive success, he’s going to have a pretty hard time topping it at 105.

Texas Restaurant Opens Early so 3-Yr-Old Cancer Patient can Have Brunch

Special brunch for cancer patient Adelaide Nguyen
(Facebook/Vanlam Nguyen)

Those with a serious disease will likely tell you it’s not always the condition that causes the most pain but instead missing out on the simple things in life. Not being able to attend events or travel, their lives instead revolve around regular hospital visits and doctors appointments. So when an opportunity to restore that sense of normalcy recently presented itself, one family was quick to seize the opportunity.

Three-year-old Adelaide Nguyen has a rare form of cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, that impacts her immune system. Diagnosed just a few months ago on her birthday, the toddler has been kept from the public for her own health. Her mother Vanlam telling 11ALIVE the diagnosis was a shock to the entire family. “I haven’t seen this in a very long time. To any parent who hears a doctor say that, your heart just stops.” For the last seven months, all she’s known is hospital rooms and the Nguyen household.

It makes something as simple as grabbing a bite to eat at a local restaurant nearly impossible. On a recent trip home, the family passed by J. Wilson’s in Beaumont, Texas — one of Adelaide’s favorites. “She recognized the sign and from the backseat she said, ‘Daddy, can we go eat there?’”. Unfortunately, her mother knew that wouldn’t be an option. “The isolation is very hard, not just for the kid themselves but a lot of your family functions you do come to a halt,” Nguyen said.

A family friend heard the story and immediately reached out to the restaurant. The staff was more than happy to oblige. So on January 26th, General manager Paula Breaux opened up J. Wilson’s an hour early.

The staff even decorating the interior in Pink, Adelaide’s favorite color. The family, thankful for the special attention. The staff at J. Wilson’s thankful to have such a loyal following. “We’re here to take care of our customers,” Breaux said, adding “Just the fact that we got to be a part of this means a lot to us. Always makes me happy to see the little ones enjoy our restaurant.”

Although Adelaide will remain isolated, the Nguyen family says that the memory of this experience will help her be strong through her ongoing treatment.

Dancing Dad Vows to Post Dancing Videos Daily Until Son is out of NICU

Chris Askew Dancing dad on TikTok
(TikTok/@skewu)

Parents know that learning to take things in stride is often the only way to deal with life’s never-ending barrage of complications. But when a father of four recently learned his newborn son would be stuck in the NICU, he decided to do the only thing he could: dance it out.

Chris Askew and his wife Danielle welcomed their son Dylan 10 weeks sooner than they were expecting. Due to a complication, doctors acted quickly to bring baby Dylan into the world, but it meant the next several weeks would be spent in the hospital as he slowly gained enough weight to go home. Entering the world weighing just four pounds, the family knew they were in for a long stay at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida. So Chris decided to find a unique way to cheer on both son Dylan and wife Danielle by posting daily videos to TikTok.

@skewuDoing laundry at the Ronald McDonald House. Staying here while son in NICU #adam_bam you inspire! #dance #danceto100k♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

The first was posted while the family stayed at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. Askew, doing laundry and just trying to keep a smile on. “I posted it and went to bed,” Askew recalled in an interview with TODAY. “I woke up and I had like 400,000 or 500,000 views. And then the messages started coming in — there’s been an outpouring of support for my family, and it’s also helping other people somehow. People are thanking me and sharing their NICU success stories … it’s helped some families who lost babies in the NICU get through a tough situation and smile. I figured as long as that’s happening, I’d keep dancing.”

@skewuIn honor of Dylan latching & +24g the people who work with my wife wanted to dance & send love #nicu #nicustrong #adambamdance #family #foryou #fyp♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

Almost immediately, the videos took off, spreading to evening newscasts and social sites in just days. Now a month later, Chris’ videos are racking up hundreds of thousands of views across his profile, spreading his positivity and message of support worldwide.

The dancing dad recently sharing “Dylan’s had a couple of bad days, but for the most part it’s been really positive. They haven’t set an exact date when he’ll be able to come home, but they’re projecting maybe another two to three weeks.”

Until that day, Chris vows to keep on dancing, giving his son not only encouragement, but enough embarrassing videos of his dad to last a lifetime.

@skewuNBC Nightly News 😳 & Dylan drank 30ml from mom! #dancing4dylan #babyaskewnicu #thejtway #adambamdance #nicu #nicu #nicu #nicubaby #foryou #dance♬ original sound – hamdisalahh

Here’s to the Askew family and everyone trying to stay positive, even during the most difficult of situations.

NFL Donates Over 30,000 Lbs of Super Bowl Leftovers to Florida Shelters

NFL and Local Organizations donate food to shelters
(Twitter/NFL Green)

The issues of food waste and food insecurity are major problems facing millions of people in the United States. Thankfully, individuals and organizations are working in communities around the country to address this often unnoticed epidemic.

Following the massive celebration at this year’s Super Bowl, over 30,000 pounds of food was left uneaten at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. In past years, that food likely would have ended up rotting away someplace, but thanks to a partnership between the NFL and several organizations battling food insecurity, that food never ended up in a landfill. Instead, thousands of Floridians in need were the beneficiaries via missions and food banks located around the state in a massive, coordinated effort.

Carol Shattuck, CEO of Food Rescue US, knows exactly how much a donation like this can mean to communities in the area. “We know food insecurity impacts one in seven people in the state of Florida. Through our work with Centerplate and NFL Green, we can make sure excess food from Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Beach Convention Center helps to feed individuals and families throughout Miami, while also not contributing to the growing food waste crisis in the U.S.”

All told, it’s estimated that the wings, ribs, and other food donated will help to feed an estimated 20,000 individuals over half a dozen different organizations including Lotus House, a shelter that feeds 500 women and children each and every day.

Emily Bowen, the Miami regional director for Food Rescue also highlights the impact individuals can have on fixing the problem, telling ESPN “It’s a full volunteer job for everyone. We just want to help people in need. It’s amazing to see how much food there is that otherwise would have been thrown in the trash that can now feed so many people.”

While the NFL has had food donation programs in place for years, Bowen says this is their first major operation at scale with the organization. Although it was a major success, the problems of food insecurity and food waste continue day in and day out. Thankfully, partners on-the-ground like Miami Rescue Mission, the Broward Outreach Center, and Camillus House continue to work to ensure those most in need are cared for on a regular basis.

While the story focuses on issues and solutions in Florida, the problems facing residents there exist in communities across the country. To make a donation or to find a local food bank in your area, visit Feeding America’s Food Bank Finder.

Actor Gary Sinise Recognized With Patriot Award for Supporting Veterans

Gary Sinise honored with Patriot Award
(Facebook/AFN)

We’ve written in the past about the incredible devotion actor Gary Sinise has when it comes to supporting our country’s veterans. From visits to the VA to taking thousands of military families on a dream vacation, he’s the definition of a class act.

Now Sinise is once again being recognized for his years of work with veterans, their families, and organizations supporting them. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society recently awarded Sinise in honor of his significant contributions over the past decade-plus.

Even before he established the Gary Sinise Foundation back in 2010, the actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, has time and again given his time and money to help those who bravely served our country as well as their families.

The Patriot Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s highest honor, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the American military services, something now universally synonymous with Sinise and his work. The ceremony, held on Monday at the Reagan Library in Semi Valley, California, sought to recognize the work of Sinise and many others who continually give of themselves.

Many veterans, celebrities and fellow supporters shared positive reactions to the news, with some saying it was long overdue.

However, Sinise has long maintained that focus should always be on the veterans and families, encouraging individuals to “Look within your own neighborhood, your town, your state.” In an interview with TIME back in 2019, the actor laid out the importance of localized efforts, saying you don’t need to be a celebrity to make a difference.

“I know that not everybody can get on an airplane and go over to a hospital in Germany or travel to war zones or do all the things that I’m doing,” he said. “[But] if everybody in every neighborhood, in every community, in every city, in every town and in every state took a little bit of responsibility to reach out to the military families and say, ‘What do you need? What can I do to help you?’, the problems that veterans have [would be] minimized.”

After decades spent fighting for military families, it’s a quote on his foundation website that sums up his feelings best:

“While we can never do enough for our defenders and their loved ones, we can always do a little more.”

Teacher Becomes U.S. Citizen as Courtroom Full of Her Students Cheer Her On

Annmarie Small Becomes US Citizen
(YouTube/NBC News)

Teaching can be one of the most emotionally taxing jobs to undertake. As parents, it’s easy to sympathize with teachers, since we know what it’s like to deal with our kids (now imagine 25 of them at a time, without even having a reality TV show). And for teachers, it must be extra gratifying when you can see the connection you’ve made with students.

One elementary teacher in Florida got to witness that on a big scale recently, as she finally became an American citizen and got to do it with an overwhelming amount of support from students current and former in the courtroom to cheer her on.

Annmarie Small is a native of Jamaica and moved to the U.S. nearly two decades ago with her son to try and create a better life.

“I was struggling financially in Jamaica and even having a master’s degree, I wasn’t able to make ends meet,” she told NBC.

When given the chance to speak in the courtroom, she said it was her community and their love for her that showed her what being an American was all about.

“America is more than a place of glamour, fancy cars, red carpets, ball gowns and stillettos,” she said. “America is beyond just the material things.”

She told Good Morning America the experience was a ‘bag of emotion.’

“When everything was quiet after the ceremony and I went home, I cried, and it was tears of joy…It’s so special to me because it’s not just one particular group, every year, I’ve had students and teachers and parents rooting for me.”

The school supported her in full force, with most of her fourth-grade students in attendance, along with many of the higher grades as well. There were so many students there, some of them had to wait outside, and they gave her a standing ovation while waving tiny American flags after she came out. The school also threw an “American” celebration in her honor.

Gamer Dad Creates Custom Controller so His Daughter With a Disability Can Play

Rory Steel Builds Adaptive Controller
(Twtitter/JerseyITGuy)

Few things can truly bring together a dad and his kids like video games. Playing video games with your daughter can even be healthy for her. And one gamer dad recently went viral for the extra effort he took to make sure his daughter could experience the joys gaming has brought to many.

Rory Steel’s 9-year-old daughter has hereditary spastic paraplegia, which affects her motor function and speech. That makes it pretty hard to manipulate a video game controller. So her dad tracked down some parts to create a custom controller for her Nintendo Switch, so she could play Zelda just like all of her friends.

Steel’s controller has the vintage Nintendo look and can hook up to an adaptive Xbox controller. Featuring dual joysticks and easy to punch buttons, the entire concoction was completed for less than $200.

Her reaction is more than worth it:

Her joy at being able to play has racked up more than a million views and has earned Rory plenty of admirers in the process, including Microsoft’s inclusive devices lead.

Rory isn’t going to hoard his design, either. He’s continued to improve on it and share the DIY instructions so other parents of disabled kids can help their kids get in the game.

To get more of your gaming fix, join The Dad Gaming group on Facebook. It’s one of the most robust, and supportive, gaming groups online, so come play with us.

Newborn Baby Smiles Upon Recognizing Her Dad’s Voice

Baby Smiles When She Hears Dad's Voice
(Instagram/antonella.vilela)

Any prenatal care physician will tell you that it’s of the utmost importance you talk to your baby while it’s still in the womb. In the final stages of pregnancy, a fetus gains the ability to hear, and in many cases is able to distinguish between voices.

Don’t believe us? Let us introduce you to little Antonella.

(Instagram/antonella.vilela)

In the months leading to baby Antonella’s birth, her father Flávio Dantas spent a fair amount of time in close proximity to his wife Tarsila’s pregnant belly, chatting up his yet-to-be-born daughter. And if the photos from her delivery are any indication, little Antonella heard every word of it.

“Every day I talked to my daughter in her mother’s womb,” Flávio wrote in an Instagram post. “I always told her that I loved her. That Dad was there and that I was going to be the best father in the world! When she was born, how did she repay me? With the sweetest smile ever.

(Instagram/antonella.vilela)

Talking to a baby in utero can make it feel secure. And folks, that sure looks like a baby who feels secure.

The Brazilian couple is ecstatic about the birth of Antonella. As Tarsila put it in another Instagram post: “If wealth were measured in words, I would sum it up in just one: you. My rare jewel cut by the hands of God.”

(Instagram/antonella.vilela)