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Donor found for toddler born without kidneys; Tyler Perry buys mother car

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was given a car on Tuesday — hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Carmellia Burgess of Gwinnett County brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

The family expected to wait for the news that his father, Anthony Dickerson, would be permitted to donate a kidney after a battle with the transplant team over his criminal history.

>> On AJC.com: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

AJ battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she posted on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gave Burgess a new car.

>> See her Facebook post here

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney will be given to AJ on Wednesday, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

>> Read more trending news 

“Father and mother are there excited and are being supported by Mr. Dickerson’s mentor, David Manuel, and Pastor Derrick Rice from Sankofa Church.

5-year-old seriously injured in restaurant bounce house

An Oklahoma boy is recovering after suffering a serious injury in a restaurant bounce house. 

>> Click here to watch the news report (WARNING: Linked video includes graphic images.)

A trip to an Incredible Pizza location in Warr Acres on Nov. 5 ended with the Lambert family’s 5-year-old son Bentley, who had been playing in a bounce house, asking if he was going to die.

>> Bounce house takes flight with children inside it

Incredible Pizza, known fully as America’s Incredible Pizza Co., shows on its website that it offers both food and entertainment at its restaurants, listing a bounce house among the number of attractions.

Shali Lambert spoke to KFOR about her son’s condition and said that, while he is on a long road to recovery, it was immediately clear to her and doctors how serious it was when a hook inside the bounce house came loose and tore into the child’s arm.

>> Read more trending news 

A hook inside of a padded wrecking ball came loose and seriously injured Bentley.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m stuck!' I just remember picking him up, and I had to unhook the clip and slide it out of his arm,” Lambert said. “He was asking if he was going to die. He saw all the blood in his arm, and so he was asking if he was going to die.”

>> 5 children hurt after bounce house goes airborne at church carnival

The child had to be rushed from the pizza place to the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency surgery. The boy’s arm has since been sewed up, but he may have to undergo physical therapy and additional surgeries in the future.

“No kid should have to go through that,” Bentley’s mother said.

It’s not clear at this time if the cost of the child’s surgery will be covered by the company, but its insurance company is involved.

On its website, Incredible Pizza says its mission is “to bring families and friends together through great food and fun,” adding that it operate its business “by Christian principles, delivering a positive family experience and a fair return to our company.”

Kevin Hart announces the birth of his son, Kenzo

Kevin Hart is a dad again. He and his wife, Eniko Parrish, welcomed baby Kenzo early Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

"God is truly amazing," Hart tweeted. "Kenzo Kash Hart was born at 1:45am ....He is Healthy & already smiling. Thank you all for your prayers!!!! We love & appreciate ya."

>> See the tweet here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Looks like mom was ready for her new bundle to get here!

>> See her Instagram post here

Girl Scouts say not to force your kids to hug relatives this holiday season

A parenting story on the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website is discouraging parents from forcing their daughters to hug relatives at holiday gatherings -- and any time during the year.

Titled, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the Nov. 2 article says encouraging young girls to go give a relative a hug or kiss as a greeting can lead to compromised views of consent.

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life,” the article said.

>> Read more trending news

Girl Scouts parenting expert and developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald explained the impact of telling young girls, “Go give your relative a big hug!” or “Give them a big kiss!”

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older,” Archibald said.

Archibald said that unfortunately, people who prey on children exist and young girls need to be taught at an early age what consent means and how to get help if their rights are violated.

Comments on the organization’s Facebook post of the article were mixed.

“No girl is going to seriously think she has to get physical with a guy to be polite, just because she had to give Aunt Betty a hug at Christmas when she was little,” one woman wrote.

“Our kids deserve to decide what they do with their own bodies,” one mother commented. “Forcing them to give hugs takes that away from them. Sure, teach kids to be respectful. But give them choices for how they show affection.”

“Please,You have gone overboard. One, no one MAKES a child gives a hug. Two, Don't assume physical affection leads to negative behavior,” a self-identified senior scout wrote.

“Of course we all want our kids to be loving and kind,” another mother wrote. “But doing something that doesn’t feel right to them just because an adult wants you to is wrong.”

“Boys don't owe hugs either. I only ‘made’ my kids hug and kiss my dad 1x...it was the day before he died...other than that, never have made them hug or kiss anyone if they weren’t wanting to,” another Facebook user commented.

The Girl Scouts story says that the placement of boundaries isn’t meant for children to be rude, but that a high-five, a wave, or a “hello” or “thank you” can be alternatives to hugs and kisses. The organization also says that if a child decides to show affection in a hug or kiss on their own accord, that’s fine -- as long as it’s her decision. 

Mom makes son do free yard work for neighbors as punishment for school suspension

A mother’s tough-love approach to her son’s bad behavior at school is getting a lot of praise online.

Shreveport, Louisiana, mom Demetris Payne shared a post on Facebook asking if anyone needed some free yard work, KSLA reports.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Grocery store employee goes above and beyond for boy going through tough time

“My son has been suspended for three days from school for discipline. He will do you lawn service, he will rake your yard, mow if you supply the mower, pick up trash or wash your car for free. Maximum three hours. If anyone has a rake they would like to donate will be awesome,” Payne wrote on Facebook.

Payne said she got a lot of responses to the post.

>> Read more trending news 

“He’s booked up for this weekend,” Payne wrote in the comments section of the post. Videos and photos shared on Facebook show her son working and cleaning up yards.

>> See the photos here

Another video showed Payne’s son mowing a second yard later that day.

>> See the video here

On Tuesday, Payne shared an update, saying her son was back at school.

“Look who’s back at school. Meeting with all his teachers and set up a plan so we can make sure he stays on track,” she wrote.

>> See the post here

People online praised the mom for teaching her son a valuable lesson.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“Raising children in this day and age is difficult,” wrote B Lori Watkins. “Great job young man… One day you will thank her for doing this.”

>> See the comment here

Servicemen help pregnant widow of fallen comrade with Veterans Day gender reveal

A military widow got some help from her late husband’s comrades in revealing the gender of the couple’s baby.

>> Watch the video here

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ryan Lohrey was killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi. The plane was heading from North Carolina to Arizona for a military training, WECT reports.

Ryan had tied the knot with his wife, Cassie, just one month before his death on July 10.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Soldiers help with gender reveal for widow of fallen comrade 

“Our wedding was June 3,” said Cassie. “Just to think your life had completely turned upside down in 24 hours, just nothing you would ever expect.”

Cassie found out she was pregnant just days after Ryan’s July 31 memorial service.

Though she was heartbroken over the loss of her husband, Cassie was excited to welcome a baby.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“I knew Ryan wouldn’t leave me alone,” Cassie told CNN. “He wanted me to have a piece of him forever.”

She asked his team members to visit on Veterans Day to help with a gender reveal.

“I wanted to honor her daddy on this special day,” Cassie said. “Veterans Day is a big deal for us every year, but this year it’s extra special.”

Photos and video shared by SaralynJ Photography on Facebook show at least 17 of Ryan’s comrades surrounding Cassie.

>> See the photos here

The Marine and Navy corpsmen released tubes of pink confetti, revealing the exciting news that Cassie was expecting a baby girl.

“There was a lot of crying, a lot of yelling and a lot of hugging,” said photographer Saralyn Johnson told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

CNN reports the baby girl will be named Ryan Jo Lohrey. She will arrive in March 2018.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the soon-to-be single mom. If you’d like to donate, click here.

>> Watch the news report here

Parents of twins find out they're expecting triplets

A father was shocked when he found out his wife was expecting triplets after welcoming a set of twins.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

In addition to the three bundles of joy on the way, Nia and Robert Tolbert of Waldorf, Maryland, have three sons, ABC News reports. The couple welcomed one son, Shai, six years ago. Twin boys Riley and Alexander came next. The twins are now 2 years old.

Nia surprised Robert with the news by placing the sonogram photos in a bag with three onesies.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Watching these twin babies dance will melt your heart

“I opened the bag and I saw a very, very long sonogram,” Robert told ABC News. “Then I saw three onesies in the bag … and they were numbered 1, 2, and 3.”

The couple told WUSA the babies were conceived naturally. Nia learned she hyperovulates, which means her body releases more than one egg during ovulation.

After getting over the initial shock, they said they are excited to welcome the newest members of their family.

>> Read more trending news 

“We live by the mantra of being impeccable with our words. Words have power. The more positivity you speak into your life, the more positivity you’ll get out of it. So we don’t have time to be negative or woe is me or be nervous,” Robert said.

The couple told Inside Edition they’re officially done having kids. They found out in an exciting gender reveal that they are expecting three baby girls, bringing perfect balance to their home — three boys and three girls.

4-year-old best friends believe they're twins, melt hearts: 'They don't see color'

A pair of 4-year-olds who are convinced they’re twins are stealing millions of hearts across the country.

Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland of Miami met at school and became fast friends. Their June birthdays are days apart, and this year, they celebrated with a combined party. Now, they proudly proclaim they’re twins.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Biracial twins who went viral for their looks celebrate a very big milestone 

“They have very strong personalities and are both super outgoing, well-spoken, intelligent and not afraid to tell you what they want. They hit it off right away,” Jia’s mom, Ashley Riggs Sarnicola, told ABC News.

Zuri’s mom agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“It is unbelievable. They connected very well immediately,” mom Valencia Copeland said. “It was amazing how they’ve gelled together.”

Jia is blonde and white, and Zuri has black hair and is African-American.

“They don’t see color. We’ve never talked to them about it, period,” Sarnicola said.

Photos shared to Instagram show both girls’ families enjoying outings together, such as concerts and playdates.

On Facebook, Sarnicola shared a story about an incident that happened at a recent birthday party that proved the strength of the girls’ bond.

Sarnicola explained that Jia started crying because a little girl told her that she and Zuri weren’t really twins.

>> Read more trending news

Jia quickly told her, “You don’t know anything because we have the same birthday and the same soul,” Sarnicola wrote on Facebook. “When she said that, it took me aback. It was so sweet.”

How to explain gun violence to children after the Texas church shooting

Last month, Jane Ripperger-Suhler, a child psychiatrist at the Texas Child Study Center in Seton, had this advice for parents about how much they should say about a deadly mass shooting, such as the one in Las Vegas or the one in Sutherland Springs.

Be careful about who is watching with TV with you and how you explain it, she advises.

>> PHOTOS: Dozens dead, wounded in Texas church shooting

“It really depends on the developmental level of the kids,” she says. Consider how you think your children will take what they see on TV, she says. “I wouldn’t watch a lot with preschooler.”

For kids already in school, you can watch some with them, but be prepared to talk about it and answer their questions. You can ask things like: “What do you think about this?” “What questions do you have?” Gage if they want to talk about it, but, she says, “I wouldn’t force them to talk about this.”

>> Mass shooting at Texas church: Live updates

Explain things in the simplest yet factual way you can. You could say, “A man shot some people at a concert. I guess he was upset about something,” she says. Or in this case: “A man walked into a church and shot people.”

You can focus on how you are feeling, that you’re upset and that you also don’t understand why this happened, but be careful about how you are reacting. “If a parent swoons or becomes frantic, a child is going to do likewise.”

>> Devin Patrick Kelley: What we know about the alleged Sutherland Springs Baptist Church shooter

Most importantly, remind kids that they are safe; that you will keep them safe, and when they are at school, their teachers will keep them safe.

If your child seems to be fixated on what happened in these shootings, you could encourage them to draw, build something or act something out if they don’t want to talk about it.

>> On Statesman.com: Complete coverage of the Sutherland Springs church shooting

If they don’t seem to be able to move on after a few days, are afraid to go to school, are too scared to go to bed, are having physical symptoms of stress or behavior problems, get them help sooner rather than later, Ripperger-Suhler says.

Be especially aware if a child has experience a trauma before. Watching this scene on TV will not cause post-traumatic stress disorder, she says, but it can be more traumatic and disturbing to some kids.

>> Read more trending news 

Ripperger-Suhler says it’s important to go about normal life. And for many families, that normal life may mean going to church on a Sunday.

If your children express some fear about it, reassure them that you will keep them safe.

The quiet crisis among African-Americans: Pregnancy and childbirth are killing women at inexplicable rates

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Three weeks after Cassaundra Lynn Perkins gave birth to premature twins, she returned to the hospital, feeling unwell. She phoned her mother from her hospital bed at 3:30 in the morning.

“I’m just not feeling good,” she said.

Surely it was just another bout of the mysterious illness her daughter had been suffering from for most of her pregnancy, Cheryl Givens-Perkins thought as she rushed over to San Antonio’s North Central Baptist Hospital.

When Givens-Perkins walked into the room, her 21-year-old daughter looked exhausted. She begged her mother to comb her hair.

“I need to get ready,” she said. “Please get my hair in order.”

“She may have known she was dying,” Givens-Perkins said.

Every year, around 700 women in the United States die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. As many as 60,000 expectant mothers suffer problems that come close to costing them their lives.

America is one of the most developed nations in the world. Average life expectancy has been generally increasing over at least the last five decades, and deaths from illnesses that were once widely fatal, including polio, small pox, tuberculosis and AIDS, are sharply falling.

» Strangers help grieving father recover songs from wife who died during childbirth

Yet when it comes to the natural process of childbearing, women in the U.S. die in much higher numbers than those in most developed nations, where maternal deaths are generally declining.

A woman in the U.S., where the maternal death ratio more than doubled between 1987 and 2013, is more likely to die as a result of pregnancy-related causes than in 31 industrialized countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aside from Mexico.

There are various theories why — persistent poverty, large numbers of women without adequate health insurance, risk factors related to stress and discrimination. All come together here in Texas, with a twist that has become one of America’s most confounding public health problems: African-American women are dying of pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes here at stunningly high rates.

The maternal death rate in Texas after 2010 reached “levels not seen in other U.S. states,” according to a report compiled for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, based on figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Black women in Texas are dying at the highest rates of all. A 2016 joint report by Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services found that black mothers accounted for 11.4 percent of Texas births in 2011 and 2012, but 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

“This is a crisis,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of the Afiya Center, a Dallas-based nonprofit that has taken on the issue. In May, the center published its first report: “We Can’t Watch Black Women Die.”

Perkins, who already had a 2-year-old, worked at Great Clips salon and hoped to one day open her own salon. Her pregnancy with twins in 2014 was challenging.

“She was sick to where she could not keep anything down,” Givens-Perkins said.

Doctors said it was an infection. Then six months into her pregnancy, Perkins’ liver started to fail, and doctors decided to induce labor.

The babies arrived on Aug. 13, 2014, each weighing about 2 pounds. They were rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Perkins was discharged from the hospital after three or four days. But something seemed wrong, her mother recalled: “She was never 100 percent.”

Doctors and researchers are struggling to make sense of the rise in maternal mortality in Texas.

» Rate of pregnancy-related deaths doubles in Texas

“There isn’t a single thing that explains it,” said Lisa Hollier, an obstetrician-gynecologist who heads the state-appointed Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. “There are so many different factors.”

The task force compared the health of a group of women who died during pregnancy, childbirth or in the immediate aftermath to those who survived in 2011 and 2012.

Cardiac events, drug overdoses and disorders associated with hypertension were the leading causes of those maternal deaths, the task force found.

Nationally, problems such as obesity, diabetes, caesarean births and delayed prenatal care are among the risk factors commonly seen, Hollier said. Such factors are particularly prevalent among black women.

“So we have a population of women that is less healthy when they are entering pregnancy,” Hollier said.

Black women also had the highest rate of being hospitalized for hemorrhaging and blood transfusions, which are commonly seen in maternal deaths in Texas.

Texas has the largest number of uninsured people in the U.S., and there have been substantial cuts to women’s health programs that offer family planning and other routine services to low-income women, including screening for diabetes, hypertension and cervical cancer, which if left untreated could play a role in maternal deaths. Many of the dozens of clinics shuttered in recent years due to slashed state funding also offered prenatal care.

“In an ideal world, a woman would have the opportunity to have a visit with a physician before she becomes pregnant to identify any potential risk factors before she gets pregnant,” said Hollier. “Then a woman would enter prenatal in her first trimester. Unfortunately, African-American women are the least likely to have that first trimester of prenatal care.”

Texas public health officials say they are concerned about the state’s high maternal mortality rate but they don’t believe cuts to women’s health clinics are to blame, noting that the decrease in funding did not take effect until after the increase in maternal mortality had been reported.

“There’s not any evidence that suggests a link,” said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the State Health Services Department. “The timing doesn’t really match up to demonstrate that there’s any connection.”

Manda Hall, associate commissioner for community health improvement at the agency, said several initiatives are underway to address the maternal mortality crisis. They include a program that encourages women planning to become pregnant to make wholesome lifestyle choices and another targeting historically black academic institutions that offers training focused on preconception health, the importance of fathers, health disparities and reproductive life planning.

» 911 dispatcher helps couple deliver their baby

Researchers say such programs might have an effect, but given that low-income white women fare better than black women, the causes may run deeper.

“Just being a black woman in America comes with its own level of stress,” said Jones, the Afiya Center executive director.

Some studies have shown that chronic stress triggered by racism and discrimination can lead to health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and these in turn can lead to preterm births, low birth weights and life-threatening complications.

A 2009 study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine by researchers from USC and Harvard examined the differences in the self-reported racism experiences of U.S.-born and foreign-born black pregnant women, and found that “chronic exposure to racial prejudice and discrimination could … contribute to physiological wear and tear, thereby increasing health risk.”

African-American women also say that health care professionals are often dismissive of their concerns if they are poor, have health problems or already have several children, said Deneen Robinson, a researcher and program director for the Afiya Center.

“We go into facilities and they speak condescendingly to us,” Jones said. “They rush us through the process. They downplay when we talk about what our symptoms are.”

In Perkins’ case, her mother recalls that health providers seemed to disapprove when her daughter got pregnant with the twins and was feeling sick.

“Oh, you’re pregnant again,” was the reaction of the first doctor they consulted, Perkins recalled. “They think that we’re all just trying to get on the system and get what we can get.”

Shawn Thierry, a Democrat who represents Houston’s 146th District in the Texas House of Representatives, says this is a common experience for African-American women.

“We know there are instances where (African-American mothers) are not given the proper level of attention and care because of assumptions that doctors and hospitals are making about them,” she said. “The bias — we see it on all sides.”

Thierry has introduced legislation that would require an investigation into whether socioeconomic and educational backgrounds play a role when African-American mothers die during pregnancy and childbirth.

A little more than four years ago, Thierry almost died giving birth to her daughter after a routine epidural triggered a violent reaction. She felt excruciating pain, her heart began to race, and she was “fighting for every breath,” she said. Doctors performed an emergency C-section. Unlike many poor and minority women, she says, she had good health insurance that allowed her to remain in the hospital several days after giving birth.

As for Perkins, who died three days after being readmitted to the hospital, doctors told her mother that an infection had killed her daughter. A preliminary autopsy report cited an accumulation of fluid in Perkins’ abdominal cavity and around her lungs and heart. It also said placental tissue had been retained in her uterus.

Givens-Perkins was plagued with questions. Was that what proved fatal? Did it have anything to do with the illness she suffered during her pregnancy? Why was her daughter most often seen during her pregnancy by low-level medical practitioners, even when she was so frequently sick?

(Hospital officials declined to comment for this article, citing patient privacy laws.)

Baby Camille came home in time for Christmas 2014, almost four months after her birth. Her brother Catreyal was released the following month after several surgeries and near-death episodes.

He remains physically and mentally impaired. While his sister is running and trying to form words, he can’t walk or talk. Givens-Perkins is left to start another generation of child-rearing, this one much harder than the first.

“That first year was a year from pure hell,” Givens-Perkins said. “I didn’t know what to do. I was calling people. Do they still boil bottles? I was sure a lot had changed. It was 20 years since I had had a baby. I had to relearn how to do this.”

(This story was reported with a grant from the United Nations Foundation.)

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