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Dad Records Messages for Kids to Be Played After He Dies


Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York dad who thought he had only two months to live recorded heartfelt video messages to be sent to his kids long after he’s gone.

Entrepreneur Jon Loew, who lives with his family on Long Island, suffered a violent reaction to an antibiotic in 2010, baffling doctors and causing permanent damage to his central nervous system.

“I was told, 'We can’t explain why this is happening, but you’re deteriorating very quickly,'” Loew told ABCNews.com. “It affected every part of my body and brain.”

The 43-year-old’s first thought was of what would happen to his son and daughter if he died.

“I was sitting there saying, 'I’m going to be dead in two months and my kids are 8 and 6,'” Loew said. “'Who’s going to guide them? What questions will they have when they’re older?'”

So Loew, an attorney, began recording videos he wanted his kids to see in the future -- answering questions he thought they might one day have about life, work, marriage and parenting.

“Of course, I was concerned about missing my daughter’s wedding and my kids’ high school graduations,” he said. “But most of my concern was about what they would miss -- who would be there when they’re down in the dumps.”

Luckily, Loew survived. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic finally linked his symptoms to the antibiotic and prescribed medication and physical therapy to revitalize him, he said.

But Loew continued to make the videos for his wife and two children, Sammy and Coby, and launched KeepTree, which allows other people to make videos they want to send to someone later in life.

The company has patents pending for technology that allows users' videos to be sent automatically after they die or after a natural disaster.

“It started as a sad idea, but people have come up with the craziest uses for it,” said Loew, who has filmed more than 100 videos for his family.

He cited users who want to get the last word in with an enemy after they’re dead or employees who record themselves doing something their boss wouldn’t approve at work, with plans not to reveal the act until they've quit.

Videos can be sent to a recipient’s email at any time -- whether it’s 10 days in the future or 10 years. Until then, KeepTree stores them so they remain private.

His kids have gotten in on the fun, too.

“My son recorded a video saying, ‘Hello me, it’s me. Remember, always hate Sammy,’” Loew said. “He’s reminding himself to hate his sister in 30 years.”

Loew called his collection of videos a “family archive.”

“I’m fascinated by communication through generations,” he said. “When you look at your photo albums, do you really know what your great-grandparents were like? Imagine if you could hear their voices. I’m guessing that there is someone who looked like you and acted like you 100 years ago. Wouldn’t it be cool to see that?”

KeepTree is free for users who want to send videos within a year. Users who want KeepTree to store their clips for longer than a year pay $2 a month. The company has about 25,000 users.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Michigan Man Gets ‘Bionic Eye’


iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Roger Pontz, from Michigan, is the fourth person to be fitted with a kind of bionic eye. He suffers from a degenerative disease.

Doctors spent four and a half hours implanting electrodes on his eye. Electrical impulses are transmitted from the retina to the optic nerve and then the brain, allowing him to see shadows and light.

There’s no sharp focus yet but doctors are calling this a game changer.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scientists Announced the Discovery of HIV 30 Years Ago


ABC(NEW YORK) -- It’s been 30 years since scientists announced the cause of AIDS: a shifty retrovirus that would come to be known as HIV.

More than 1,750 Americans had already died from the rare infections and cancers caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, health officials said at the time, and another 2,300 people were living with AIDS.

“The probable cause of AIDS has been found,” Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler said in the April 23, 1984 press conference alongside scientist Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute. “Not only has the agent been identified but a new process has been developed to mass produce this virus.”

The new process led to a blood test that could “identify AIDS victims with 100 percent certainty,” Heckler said. At least 80 Americans had already died from HIV-tainted blood transfusions since AIDS cases emerged in 1981.

The ability to produce large quantities of the virus also raised hopes for a vaccine, which government officials said could take at least two years to design.

“If a man thinks that he has eight months to a year to live and you tell him that it’s going to be two or three years before the vaccine comes out, you know, it doesn’t give him a hell of a lot to hold onto,” Bob Cecchi, assistant director of the New York City-based organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis, said at the time.

Researchers today are still trying to find a vaccine to prevent HIV, but advances in treating the infection have led to a steep decline in AIDS deaths.

An estimated 1,148,200 Americans are living with HIV, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, more than 636,000 Americans had died from AIDS since 1981.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Most Bizarre Baby Name...Ever?


iStock 360/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How far would you go to ensure your baby’s name stands out?

At least five babies in the United States have been named Zzyzx, pronounced “Zay-Zix,” according to a check of Social Security Administration records by the website eBabyNames.com.

Participants in eBabyNames.com's informal survey of 1,500 people agreed it was the strangest name they’d heard of in the last 15 years -- and the competition wasn’t easy. The voters’ Top 10 included names like Nimrod, Lucifer and Jealousy.

While those names may make phonetic sense, Zzyzx wins the alphabetical game -- if the alphabet were reversed, that is.

But the name is not quite as unique as you might think. A town and a road in San Bernardino County, Calif., carry the same name, according to eBabyNames.com. The site said the place name is rumored to mean “the last place on earth” -- just as the baby name likely would be last on an alphabetically organized list.

Parents playing the alphabet game may not be unheard of. Survey respondents told eBabyNames.com they had heard of babies named Abcde, pronounced AB-sid-ee, according to the website.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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