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Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Critics took aim at Nikki Reed's husband, Ian Somerhalder, this week after the actor admitted in an interview to throwing out the actress' birth control pills.

Somerhalder, 38, recounted the ordeal, which took place when the couple was vacationing in Barcelona last year.

"Unbeknownst to poor Nikki, she didn't realize I was going to go into her purse" to grab her birth control pills, he said Wednesday on the Informed Pregnancy podcast. "It was the beginning of the pack, so I had to pop all those suckers out."

Although Reed, 29, was initially "freaking out" -- as Somerhalder acknowledged -- the two later decided to expand their family. Last July, they welcomed a daughter named Bodhi.

Reed, who wed Somerhalder wed in 2015, also took to Twitter to quell the criticism, writing that fans shouldn't be alarmed by the story.

We should be talking about these things,but using a funny interview between married ppl &twisting it to perpetuate gossip is irresponsible

— Nikki Reed (@NikkiReed_I_Am) September 22, 2017

A note from us...

— Nikki Reed (@NikkiReed_I_Am) September 23, 2017

Reed's experience raises the question -- what is the best way to start a family?

Genevieve Brown, author of The Happiest Mommy You Know, said the discussion should preferably happen "way prior to marriage."

"It's natural that one person may be more ready than the other," she said. "But you can't make a person be ready before their time. Even if they end up going along with your time table, they'll likely resent you for it later."

"Be understanding to the fact that there are some fears associated with having a child," Sonya Frazier, a licensed mental health counselor, told ABC News. "Your partner could’ve had a difficult childhood, or have fears about divorce and raising a child as a single parent. So really try to understand your partner and their thoughts and fears."

Frazier admits that having this tough conversation can be difficult but not impossible. She gave foolproof tips on how to discuss starting a family without starting a fight.

1. Timing is everything
"Get your timing together," she said. "Don’t do it while someone is half asleep, and don’t do it at half- time. And you don’t want to do it when someone just walked through the door. You really don’t want to have any distractions around you so perhaps you'll need to schedule a time to talk."

2. Pick a neutral space to talk
"Or go for a walk or even out to a public space like a coffee shop so you can go there and really connect," Frazier said.

3. Break out the rule book

"I always tell people to set rules for communicating. So before the conversation gets uncomfortable, let’s agree to take 10 minutes to cool off and then come back and finish the conversation," she said. "And you definitely want everyone to feel free to express themselves, so no talking over each other."

4. It's OK to ask for help
"You can always go to counseling to have difficult conversations as a couple. If you can’t do it on your own, have a neutral party that’s a professional to help facilitate this conversation," Frazier said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News (ANZA, Calif.) --  Earlier this week, her story was featured on various news outlets, including ABC News' "World News Tonight," sparking interest within the Facebook group Pacific Crest Trail Class of 2017. Some members of the group raised questions among themselves, asking whether hikers who'd been on the trail during the same time period as Kozel remembered seeing her.

Kozel said she started receiving messages Wednesday, inquiring about details from the hike and accusing her of lying about completing the journey.

Donna L-Rod Saufley, who owns a hostel along the trail and was described by member and two-time Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker Mark Votapek as "the most famous trail angel on the PCT," started the group thread Wednesday, writing: "Did anyone in the Class of 2017 see Stacey Kozel on the trail this year?"

Saufley, responding to all the media attention the disabled hiker was getting, called Kozel's claim "unbelievable and frankly ridiculous."

Saufley and her husband have hosted Pacific Crest Trail hikers for more than 20 years at their Agua Dulce, California, home. Their home is situated at mile 454 and this year, she said, her two-acre hostel -- called Hiker Heaven -- had hosted more than 1,500 hikers on the trail.

She said the two are members of a "trail angels" group that communicates with each other and keeps tabs on the hikers. Saufley, who described herself as a trail section hiker, also completed the Pacific Crest Trail around the same time as Kozel. She said she had not heard of Kozel from other hikers and that had given her initial pause a few weeks ago.

"The trail grapevine is incredibly robust, so even if she didn't stay at Hiker Heaven, surely I would have heard about her. I spent time on the trail this season too, and saw many hikers on my journey. I finished the trail at the northern terminus around the same time that Stacey claims to have been there. No mention of her at all from anyone," she said.
Chatter about Kozel took over the Facebook group's conversation.

Saufley shared some of the information and speculation that members of the group had put forth to discredit Kozel's hiking claims.

According to Saufley, snow levels, flooding and fires made it "nearly impossible for able-bodied" hikers to complete the trail this year. She said that not one trail angel along the Pacific Crest Trail had reported seeing, hosting or helping Kozel. The group also took issue with Kozel's hiking dates.

"The dates Stacey has provided do not add up. She says she is 'slow' but claims to have done a contiguous northbound thru-hike in what would be considered an extremely fast pace," Saufley said. "The dates are all over the place; she says she started on several different dates, and the same is true about her finishing date. ... There is one fact that most thru-hikers remember: the dates they started and finish the trail. No one is ambiguous about their dates. Except Stacey, who can't seem to decide when she started or finished."

"Rather than respond with facts, photos, or people that Stacey met along her journey, she instead took all her accounts offline after questions about her began to surface. Not one shred of evidence has been put forth that validate Stacey actually being on the trail, by Stacey or anyone else," Saufley said.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association today told ABC News that while it was aware of the controversy surrounding Kozel, it did not get involved in disputes over hikers or whether they hiked the trail. It said completion of the trail was based on an honor system.

"There is no requirement for anyone to report their hikes to us. … We don't validate or verify hikes in any way," said Scott Wilkinson, the association's director of communications and marketing.

When contacted by ABC News about the accusations, Kozel told ABC News that she was "heartbroken" over what was being said about her online.

"This was never about doing a thru-hike for me," she said. "It was more about 'not giving up.'"

She told ABC News that she had taken two trips off the trail, flying to speaking events in Ohio and then West Virginia. She maintained, however, that she'd returned twice to complete the trail end to end. She said she doesn't have witnesses to vouch every step of the way.

Addressing those who say she finished the hike too quickly, Kozel told ABC News that she "pushed through much of Washington at night" because she couldn't sleep well due to the cold temperatures, which gave her muscle spasms.

Many nights, instead of setting up her tent, she said she would sleep outside without overhead protection for a few hours at a time and then push through with more hiking to keep herself warm and free from spasms. Near the emerging fires, she says she quickened her pace to avoid them.

Kozel said that many of the people raising questions were trolling her and leaving nasty messages so she'd closed her social media pages. She said she couldn't read the messages because they were so hurtful. She also said she didn't want to respond to them because she felt that would only "add fuel to the fire."

Kozel has since deactivated her social media accounts and taken down her website.

She released a statement late today, saying: "Earlier this year I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. I hiked it to challenge myself, to push myself to the limits. I did it for myself, for no monetary gain, or media attention. I did it because I needed to do it. ... I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail."

In 2016, Kozel says she hiked the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail. She said that she had not faced any accusations about that hike. On the Appalachian Trail, she said people were looking for her along the route. On this trip, however, she said she wanted to be more low-key and not too noticeable.

"My reputation is on the line," she said about the accusations. "My integrity is on the line."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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tyncho/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Avoiding refined sugar may be a challenge for most Americans, but Byron Paidoussi and Whitney Cole, the owners of Fitness and Fuel LA, regularly look for alternatives. In the tenth and final episode of ABC News' "Healthy Living for Summer" series, we asked them for some tips.

"We try to avoid processed sugar as much as we can," said Paidoussi.

The couple has experimented with creating different recipes that exclude sugar. In the video above, they make spicy chocolate pumpkin squares with stevia, a sugar substitute, and dates.

"[It's] a really yummy thing we can have around the house, and it's a lot less sugary, a lot less impact on our blood sugar going up and down," Cole said.

Below is a list of advice Cole and Paidoussi gave ABC News.

Quick tips

•  Look at the ingredients to see how many grams of sugar the item contains

•  Check if sugar alternatives come in pure forms, which the couple recommends

•  You can use natural items like dates as alternatives to refined sugar

•  Experiment and get creative with recipes, such as the pumpkin squares pictured above

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Girl Scouts of Central Indiana(NEW YORK) -- Last April Melina Lakey was riding home from a movie with her parents when their SUV clipped a drainage ditch and rolled over six times, landing on its roof.

The 9-year-old was pulled to safety by her dad, Jeff Lakey, who was driving. When Melina saw that her mom, Ashley McCollum-Lakey, was stuck in the passenger seat, she ran back to help.

“When the airbags deploy you can’t see any of the doors, so she lifted them up so I could find my way out,” McCollum-Lakey told ABC News. “She said, ‘Mommy I’m right here. Come to me.’”

She continued, “She lifted up five impact airbags to get me out, through glass and debris.”

Melina, a Girl Scout from Pendleton, Indiana, was honored Thursday for her heroism by the Girl Scouts of the USA.

She received the Medal of Honor, one of two Lifesaving Awards given by the Girl Scouts for “saving life or attempting to save life without risk to the candidate’s own life.”

The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, the 45-county council that represents Melina’s troop, has awarded only one other Lifesaving Award in the past decade, according to a council spokeswoman.

“It felt really good,” Melina, a fourth grader who has been a Girl Scout for the past five years, told ABC News. “It felt like everybody cared.”

Melina, who was 8 at the time of the accident, took control after rescuing her mom by calling 911 on her parents' cellphone. She and her mom, who is her troop leader, had spent that April day at a local fire department with fellow Girl Scouts learning first aid skills and what to do in an emergency.

“They said that if you’re ever in a big accident, always call 911,” Melina said.

She added, "Even though you think [an accident] is not going to happen to you, it still will. They taught me everything I needed."

Melina and her dad escaped the accident with no injuries. McCollum-Lakey suffered a shoulder injury and some bruising but credits her daughter with saving her life.

“Melina didn’t think twice,” she said. “She knew there was glass and debris and she just wanted to make sure that she knew mommy and daddy were OK.”

Melina, whose favorite Girl Scout activity is hiking, also received a congratulatory letter from Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo.

“Your extraordinary courage, incredible confidence, and your willingness to take decisive action in the midst of an emergency has not only saved a life, but also serves as a shining example for Girl Scouts everywhere of fortitude and dedication,” the letter read in part. “Your heroism and sound judgment have earned you a place in the pantheon of heroes who have come before you, and left an indelible mark on the Girl Scouts.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- As if running a marathon weren't enough of a feat, one dad pushed a stroller the entire way.

For Troy Austin, an Australian man who is an Ironman competitor and triathlete as well as a marathon runner, the exertion of pushing the stroller wasn't so much physical as emotional. Because the stroller he pushed was empty.

Austin ran the Sunshine Coast Marathon with the empty stroller last month in honor of his late son, T.G. The boy was stillborn in 2016 at 27 weeks, three days after his parents had learned through a sonogram that he had no heartbeat.

"The day you find out about your child has passed isn't the day of labor -- well, not in our instance," Austin told ABC News. "The day after our devastating news, we had to go back and have a time of death recorded."

Following the terrible news on the sonogram, Austin said his wife was given medication to help prepare her body to give up the baby.

"After a few emotionally painful days, you go to the hospital to give birth, knowing that your bub isn't coming home to his room," he said.

T.G. would be more than 1 year old now.

"Three days after we heard those horrible words, 'No heartbeat,' we got to meet our boy. He is beautiful," Austin said.

"He is still and innocent. We smile through the heartache because we have our first child. We are a family. His grandparents came to meet our son and for a cuddle. We stayed with him all night. He was born too late for a photographer to come, so we held him 'til the sunrise only to have to say goodbye as a nurse wheeled him away."

"Next time we saw T.G was at the funeral home, wrapped so innocently," he said.

After the ordeal, Austin said he coped by throwing himself into physical fitness, which was already a major part of his life. His wife, Kelly, worked to handle the loss by preserving everything she could about T.G., he said.

The stroller was one of the first purchases the couple had made when Kelly was pregnant. Until this marathon, it had been sitting in the garage unused.

One of Austin's friends was running his first marathon to raise money and awareness for the Austin family charity Everyday Hero, which raises awareness and offers support to families who had a stillborn child.

Austin paced himself to run with his friend, but while the race wasn't terribly difficult physically, it took an emotional toll.

There were people along the route who joked about getting a ride in the stroller, and an announcer who said over the loudspeaker, "'Here comes old mate, and it looks like he has lost his kid,'" Austin said. He estimates there were a hundred comments made about the empty stroller through the course of the race.

"They weren't trying to be mean; it was just the Aussie humor. Stillbirth was the furthest from their mind, and I understood that," he said. "I kept answering the onslaught of questions and shout-outs with, 'That's the point,' and, 'Yes, I have lost my son and I'm not getting him back.' "

He said he got a mixed response from people who understood the point of his pushing the empty stroller. "A fair few didn't get it," he said. But he said he's glad the event raised awareness of the issue of stillbirths.

The couple now have another son, Samuel, but still deeply miss T.G., Austin said. They honor his memory at family functions with a small giraffe and give photos of him to his grandparents. And T.G.'s stroller will race again, bringing more awareness to the issue of stillbirth.

"I just want to help. I want T.G to play with the other kids in heaven and know we are helping their parents down here," Austin said. "I would like to let the community know it's OK to talk about stillbirth, to mention the children we have lost. Parents that have lost a child want to hear their children's name. They want to know that they are counted."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tom Brady's claim that staying ultra-hydrated helps protect him from the sun's rays is raising eyebrows on social media.

"When I was growing up, and playing outside in the sun, I got sunburned a lot. I was a fair-skinned Irish boy, after all. These days, even if I get an adequate amount of sun, I won't get a sunburn, which I credit to the amount of water I drink," the New England Patriots quarterback writes in his new book "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance."

Brady writes that he drinks more than 150 ounces of water a day. On "active days," he says, he drinks "close to twice that."

The NFL star's comments quickly garnered backlash on social media, with many questioning the science behind his claims.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seeking shade, wearing long-sleeved clothing, using a hat, wearing sunglasses, and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen on in order to protect yourself from sun exposure. The group does not mention on its sun safety website that drinking water can in any way help prevent a sunburn.

The CDC does state, however, that men are more likely than women to develop skin cancer, partly because men are less likely to apply sunscreen.

"When outside on a sunny day for more than an hour, only about 14 percent of men use sunscreen on both their face and other exposed skin," the CDC writes on its website.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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vitapix/iStock/Thinkstock(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A 12-year-old girl has collected thousands of pairs of silly socks for her friends staying in the hospital where she receives chemotherapy.

Emma Becker has been a patient for 4 years at Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford for neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors in her optic nerves and brain.

To cheer up her fellow patients, Emma asked Facebook users to donate socks to her special fundraiser, in honor of her Aug. 11 birthday this year.

"She said giving back to the other kids makes her happy," Emma’s mom, Rebecca Donkor of Higganum, Connecticut, told ABC News. "She has a strong social media presence and thankfully people back her, and help her spread joy."

Donkor, a mother of two, said her duaghter Emma came up with the idea to host a sock drive in lieu of kids receiving the hospital-issued socks they typically handed out to new patients at CCMC.

Emma has collected more than 2,300 pairs of fun, silly socks for children ages infant to teenager.

“It’s something fun they can look down at, and smile,” Donkor said, adding that Emma still has two boxes of socks to open.

Monica Buchanan, director of corporate communications at CCMC, described Emma as a "thoughtful and caring young lady."

"It takes a special person to put the needs of others before their own," Buchanan wrote to ABC News in an email. "To see Emma give back to the patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center is the perfect illustration of everything that is right in the world. We can't thank her enough for her 'silly sock' donation!"

Despite battling her own illness, Emma's many good deeds for her friends have included collecting 10,000 cans of Play-Doh, hosting multiple toy drives and using money earned from a lemonade stand to buy $300 in iTunes gift cards.

"We try and turn this into a positive thing and tell her that she's been going through this journey to make a difference in the world, which she's been doing ever since," Donkor said.

For her next project, Emma hopes to collect Halloween costumes for her friends at the hospital.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taking cheat days, or breaks, while dieting may actually help aid weight loss, according to a new study from Australian researchers.

The small study looked at two groups of obese men who participated in a four-month diet requiring them to restrict calorie intake by one-third.

What to know about the ketogenic diet

One group of dieters maintained the diet for two weeks, then broke from the strict diet for two weeks, and continued to go on and off the diet in two-week cycles. During the two-week cycle off the strict diet, these dieters ate calories consistent with the number of calories they were burning, creating an “energy balance.”

Meanwhile, the second group continuously maintained the diet during the entire four-month period.

The group who alternated between adhering to the strict diet and having cheat weeks lost more weight during the study, researchers said in their findings, which were published Tuesday in the International Journal of Obesity. The group who took breaks from their diet also gained back less weight after the study was finished.

"While further investigations are needed around this intermittent dieting approach, findings from this study provide preliminary support for the model as a superior alternative to continuous dieting for weight loss," Nuala Byrne, the head of the University of Tasmania's School of Health Sciences and leader of the study, said in a statement announcing the findings.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' senior medical contributor, said cheat days allow one's body and mind to get a rest from dieting. She said that although she is skeptical that taking cheat days can boost one's metabolism, as some claim, she does see the psychological benefits of taking cheat days while dieting.

However, Ashton stressed the importance of consistency in building habits. Additionally, she said doing major damage to one's diet during cheat days may be negating some of the good work put in.

Finally, Ashton shared her quick tips for those trying to lose weight:
1. Don't drink your calories.
2. Keep your food to as much lean protein, fruits and vegetables as possible.
3. Eat from the farm, not the factory.
4. Watch your sugar intake.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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(Credit: Shari Jackson Link / Shari Link Designs) Shari Jackson Link of Fayetteville, N.C., painted positive messages in the girls' bathrooms at Fayetteville Academy to "inspire them to be nice." (FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- These aren’t your ordinary middle school girls’ bathrooms.

The colorful messages covering the walls at Fayetteville Academy in North Carolina are spreading positivity, inspiring the girls to “be kind always.”

Shari Jackson Link, a local artist and mom of two, said she painted the motivational bathroom murals because of the “drama that comes with middle school.”

“I thought to myself, if a little girl is coming into the bathroom, she needs to know to not be a bully, but also be OK if she is bullied. I wanted the murals to talk to both sets,” Link told ABC News. “It’s not only, ‘Hey, you’re beautiful on the inside,’ but I also wanted inspire them to be nice to others. It would be hard to leave those bathrooms and be mean to someone.”

Link’s children don’t attend this school, but she was contacted by a parent of a current student who does.

“She said, ‘I’d like to hire you to paint some motivational quotes,’” Link recalled. “She gave me the freedom to do whatever I want. I attached some pretty colorful visuals to the quotes which were inspiring.”

Photos of her creative final product have garnered nearly 65,000 shares on Link’s Facebook page.

The head of school, Ray Quesnel, said the paintings “strike a chord with everyone.”

“We’ve all been through middle school, and I don’t care where you are or who you are, it doesn’t matter, that’s just a hard time of life,” Quesnel told ABC News. “Everybody can remember back to good stuff, but everyone remembers tough things too.”

He was thrilled to have Link liven up the boring bathrooms by sending positive messages to his students.

“We thought it would be a nice, pick-me-up, quaint thing, and it just resonated with virtually everybody,” he said of the school’s positive messages. “It’s been really cool.”

Link is painting the middle school boys’ bathrooms and the elementary school bathrooms next week.

“I hope it inspires them to be comfortable in their own skin, realize that there is always a reason to smile, and most importantly, to see the power in simple acts of kindness towards others,” she said

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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luchschen/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A United Nations report warns that there aren't enough new antibiotics under development to ward off the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The report, released by the World Health Organization, says most drugs currently in the pipeline are modifications of existing antibiotics, which only represent short-term solutions. As a result, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom called the current situation "a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine."

The WHO says drug-resistant tuberculosis kills about 250,000 people each year around the world.

The report identifies more than 50 new medications in clinical development to treat resistant pathogens. Only eight, however, are considered "innovative" by the WHO.

Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines at WHO says that "pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days because we have no line of defense."

"If we are to end tuberculosis," Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Global Tuberculosis Program says, "more than $800 million per year is urgently needed to fund research for new...medicines."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Good Morning America(NEW YORK) -- An 8-year-old cancer survivor met the stranger who donated her bone marrow to him for the very first time on Good Morning America on Wednesday.

“Thank you for saving my life,” A.J. told his donor, Alex Momany, during the emotional meeting.

“It was my pleasure,” Momany, 24, replied.

A.J. was connected with Momany through the Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry.

Until this point, A.J.’s family and Momany had only communicated on the phone, but now they’re “looking forward to sharing life with her,” A.J.’s mom, Alexa, said on Good Morning America.

“It’s overwhelming,” A.J.’s father, Jeff, said while fighting back tears. “We’ve thought a lot about meeting you and getting to know you more, and we’re so excited and so thankful.”

Such a touching moment as bone marrow recipient meets bone marrow donor.

What an inspiring morning.

— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 20, 2017

A.J.’s battle against leukemia

A.J. was diagnosed with leukemia on his fourth birthday, Alexa told ABC News. The family asked to only be identified by their first names for privacy reasons.

Alexa said A.J. "was a really healthy boy," and "all of a sudden, in the middle of the night, he woke up with leg pain. The following day, the leg pain was so excruciating that we had to take him to the ER."

Alexa added that in 2013, when they found out it was leukemia, the family was living overseas because A.J.'s father, Jeff, was serving in the military. They came back to the U.S. for treatment following the diagnosis.

"A.J. was so sick. The treatment was so intense," Jeff told ABC News. "Alexa and I were shifting each other out at the hospital."

A.J. eventually went into remission, his mother said. But in the summer of 2015, he relapsed.

"It came back in two locations," Jeff said of his son's cancer, adding that it was a "clear indication" that the treatment wasn't working.

Alexa added that this was when they knew that "a transplant was really his only option."

"The first step was for all of us to be tested,” she added of her; her husband; and her two older children, Sophia and Nate. "None of us were a match."

The mother said she then turned to Be the Match, a national bone marrow donation organization that helps patients connect with lifesaving donors. To date, Be the Match has facilitated more than 80,000 marrow and core blood transplants.

Through the organization, A.J. was matched with Momany, then a 22-year-old college student from Ohio, who offered to donate her bone marrow to save his life. At the time, the family only knew her age and that she was a woman.

"It felt like a very long road leading up to his transplant day," Alexa said. "He went through a lot of heavy-duty chemotherapy."

Despite going through the grueling treatments, parents said A.J. was still a typical kid who enjoyed dancing and playing with his toys.

Alexa said she wrote an emotional Facebook post to her son’s anonymous donor on the day of her surgery: "I'm thinking of you as you head to the hospital today for your procedure, and I thank you from the very depths of my heart for what you've done for my little boy."

Several days after the surgery, unbeknownst to A.J.’s family, Momany had also written a letter explaining why she chose to donate.

“This boy may somebody be someone’s husband, someone’s father, grandfather, son-in-law,” she wrote of her donor recipient. “Maybe he will take the world by storm and find the cure for cancer. … Or maybe he won’t. The point is, he is important.”

The transplant ended up being successful, and after 270 days in the hospital, A.J. found out he was cancer-free.

"Saying 'thank you' never really feels like enough when someone saves your child's life," Alexa said.

Momany, who is getting married on Saturday, invited A.J. and his family to her wedding.

On Wednesday, Momany shared her message for anyone contemplating becoming a donor: “It’s the right thing to do.”

“Don’t be afraid to donate. Don’t be afraid to join,” she said. “You’re never going to regret saving someone. There’s nothing bad that can come out of donating. It’s all positives.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- First daughter Ivanka Trump has revealed that she struggled with postpartum depression after giving birth to each of her three children in a new interview.

"With each of my three children I had some level of postpartum ... depression," Trump said in an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz during a taping of The Dr. Oz Show. "It was a very challenging emotional time for me."

"I felt like I was not living up to my potential as a parent, or as an entrepreneur, or as an executive," Trump said. "I had had such easy pregnancies that in some ways the juxtaposition hit me even harder."

"When asked why she decided to speak out now, Trump said that she had not been planning to, but believes "it's incredibly important," and added that postpartum depression affects new parents indiscriminately.

"I consider myself a very hard-charging person, I'm ambitious, I'm passionate, I'm driven. But this is something that affects parents all over the country," she said.

Approximately one in nine women experiences postpartum depression, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Postpartum depression can start anytime after the baby's birth and can last up to a year, according to ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

"This can be a life-threatening medical emergency so anti-depression medication is key," Ashton said of postpartum depression on Good Morning America earlier this month. "Peer support, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are all very important."

Dr. Sue Varma, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told ABC News earlier this year that women should de-stigmatize postpartum depression and not be afraid to seek treatment.

"Look, you would get help for any other medical problem, right?" Varma said. "And postpartum depression is a medical problem and should be treated like one.

"It's a very common disorder and we really don't give it the proper sort of detection and screening and appreciation that it deserves," Varma added, saying that part of the reason for this may be because people tend to focus all their energy on the new baby, "and women end up neglecting their own needs."

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ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A California woman responded to an attempted mugging on a train by "faking a medical problem to attract attention from her fellow riders," according to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department.

Julie Dragland told local ABC News affiliate KGO-TV of the San Francisco Bay Area that someone dropped a note in her lap while she was on the train on Saturday, which demanded that she hand over her wallet and phone.

"Somebody dropped a note into my lap, I didn't see them, or like a hand or anything," Dragland told KGO-TV. "The note said that there were two guns pointed at my head, which logistically, doesn't really make sense, cause they dropped the note."

Dragland said she initially tried to make eye contact with someone standing in front of her, and mouthed "help," but the stranger ended up getting off at the next stop.

"I wasn't sure that they ... actually had guns," Dragland added of the suspect, but said she still worried for her safety. "So, I was like, 'If I fake a seizure, or fake that I'm passing out ... they could just think that I'm scared and reacting.'"

"So I slumped over to the left and started shaking, and people started to notice, and they were like, 'Are you OK?" Dragland said, adding that a few people came over to her, and that her actions "caused a commotion, and then the person got off at the next stop."

BART police said in a statement today that surveillance video taken on her train corroborates her report. "There is no indication from the video the suspect was armed with any weapons," the police added. Authorities released still images of the suspect, who is believed to be a white female.

Dragland said she got off the train and she reported the incident to police but said she did not want to press charges. "At the time, I wasn't robbed, so I feel like there wasn't damages," she said.

When asked where she got the idea to fake having a seizure, Dragland said, "It might have been 'Law and Order,' I don't know why I did it."

She adds that she was surprised by the fact that even as she made a scene, "the majority of the people on the train had no reaction."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- While some women credit using at-home fertility testing kits with helping them start their families, one expert says the popular kits should not be viewed as replacements for seeing a doctor when struggling to conceive.

"I was 23 when I started to try having a baby," Melissa Holmes, 30, a blogger and stay-at-home mom from Utah told ABC News. "We were young and in my fertile years, and so I assumed ... it was going to happen right away."

"We began actively trying, and we got pregnant the first month we tried, and had a miscarriage," Holmes said. "So we assumed we could get pregnant, but after almost a year of trying again ... we weren't able to get pregnant."

The nonprofit group Resolve: The National Infertility Association estimates that one in eight couples in America struggle to get pregnant.

Some of the most common options available at most drugstores include ovulation trackers, fertility monitors and ovarian reserve tests for women. There are also some fertility tests available for men.

After struggling to conceive, Holmes said she decided to use ovulation test sticks, one of the most commonly used at-home fertility tests. The sticks detect hormones that show when women are ovulating, thus indicating the days of the month when they are most fertile.

"It was pretty easy to do, and I did it every day to track my cycle and learned how my cycle worked and what days were best," Holmes said. "After five months of using the sticks ... we found out we were pregnant, and that pregnancy went to term, and she is now six years old."

Jennifer Brenna, 42, an IT specialist, blogger and mother of three from Virginia, says she also used ovulation test sticks at home to help her become pregnant for the first time at age 35.

"It took a few months, but they worked," Brenna said. "For me, it was worth it. It just helped knowing that I was ovulating and even able to get pregnant."

Using at-home fertility testing methods can be significantly more affordable than going into a clinic for testing. According to some estimates, the average cost of an at-home fertility test is about $40 per month, while at the doctor, a round of testing costs $150 on average.

"These at-home tests saved us, I would say, thousands of dollars," Holmes told ABC News. "It saved us thousands of dollars, when we were newly married, we were pinching every penny."

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' Senior Medical Contributor and an OB-GYN, said that at-home fertility kits should not be viewed as an alternative to going to the doctor, but should be used just as a starting-off point, as they are often not able to test for many other factors that may contribute to infertility.

Ashton added that it is important to note that sperm is responsible for approximately 30 percent of infertility cases, which kits marketed towards women do not address. Age is also not the only determining factor for infertility, as is often a misconception, according to Ashton.

Finally, Ashton said her concerns about at-home fertility tests and apps are that many women might not fully understand the implications, or the results, of tests they self-administer, which is what makes an experienced and credentialed professional vitally important.

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ABC News(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Laura Stegenga arrived at her Minneapolis home last week after undergoing a chemotherapy treatment to a sight she described as “glorious.”

Stegenga, a 47-year-old mother of two who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in July, saw 101 red heart balloons planted in her front yard.

The balloons were placed there by Stegenga’s neighbors in a surprise orchestrated by the neighborhood’s mail carrier, Michele Slack, who lives in the neighborhood and is also battling cancer.

“I bawled. I just stood there and cried,” Stegenga said of her reaction. “I feel so connected and so loved and so cared for. People really do care, they really do.”

In addition to the 101 balloons, Stegenga also received dozens of cards containing donations totaling $2,000 from her neighbors. Stegenga plans to use the money to help pay for treatment expenses and everyday tasks like feeding her husband and two young daughters when she is too tired to cook.

Slack, who was not available for comment, has been the mail carrier for Stegenga’s neighborhood for the majority of the nearly 14 years Stegenga and her family have lived there. She is always one to stop and ask about the residents’ families and how they’re doing, according to Stegenga.

“She is my hero. She represents who I want to be,” she said of Slack. “She wants me to have hope. She wants me to know so deeply how much people care and how available they are to me when I need help, any time.”

Stegenga's husband, John Fisher, said the balloons are still "very colorful" in the yard and a reminder of the love that surrounds their family as they face Stegenga's health struggle.

"The generosity and care is just really overwhelming," Fisher said. "It’s hard to fathom that people have been so generous and supportive."

Stegenga was diagnosed with breast cancer just eight weeks after she underwent a mammogram and got a clean bill of health from her doctors.

She said she is making it her mission now to inform women that they need to know their rights and demand further testing, including the ultrasound exam that ultimately led to Stegenga’s diagnosis.

“I have terminal cancer when I did everything I was told to,” she said. “Women need to know what their rights are. It’s not acceptable that we’re not being told about and offered different options.”

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