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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you had your flu shot?

A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 40% of Americans haven't gotten theirs this year.

In a press release, the CDC said only 2 out of 5 Americans recieved the vaccine.

“We are glad to see that people are making the decision to protect themselves and their families from flu, but coverage is still low and we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven't yet,” said Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We have a tool that is proven to prevent flu illness and hospitalization but millions of people are not taking advantage of it. Too many people are unprotected.”

According to the press release, the percentage is based on survey data collected through early November 2016.

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Jay King(Money gram Music)/Facebook(MIAMI) -- A woman with a double amputation was left lying on the ground for several minutes after she fell off her wheelchair while being arrested at a gas station in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to videos captured by witnesses and a police officer's body camera.

The woman who was arrested -- 52-year-old Mary Brown of Homestead, Florida -- lost the lower half of her legs several years ago due to diabetes, according to her lawyer, Mark DiGowan. He told ABC News Friday that her arrest was "egregious, given the fact she is disabled."

Brown was arrested for allegedly trespassing and panhandling at a Chevron gas station in Homestead on Dec. 3, DiGowan said. Brown denies the allegations of trespassing and panhandling, according to DiGowan.

Brown's arrest first gained national attention earlier this week, when cellphone video taken by witnesses was shared on social media.

On Thursday, the Miami-Dade Police Department released longer videos of the incident that were recorded by a body camera worn by one of the officer's involved.

The police department wrote in a statement that the release of the body cam footage was part of its "commitment to openness and transparency."

In the first body cam video released by police, two officers can be seen arguing with Brown about her alleged panhandling and trespassing before they eventually push her in her wheelchair to their patrol car and ask her to get in.

Brown can be heard repeatedly saying, "I didn't do anything wrong" and "I'm not going in that car." She is then seen on the video slamming the patrol car door shut.

The two officers eventually try to handcuff Brown. She responds numerous time, "Stop hurting me."

At one point during the handcuffing attempt, an officer can be heard saying, "Whatchu gonna do? You’re gonna hit me? Are you gonna hit me?" The other officer replies, "I think that’s what she was trying to do."

Shortly after, Brown can be seen falling off her wheelchair to the ground.

"See what you did?" she says.

"You did that," one of the officers replies.

DiGowan said that Brown was left "laying on the ground in pain" for at least five minutes.

In a second video taken from the same body cam, Brown can be seen eventually being picked up off the ground and placed back into her wheelchair. She is later seen being put onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.

DiGowan said an ambulance took her to jail. He said that Brown was released of her own recognizance on Thursday.

According to DiGowan, police officers told Brown she was arrested for panhandling, but the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has not yet filed any formal charges against Brown.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, and the owner of the Chevron gas station where the arrest occurred, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

DiGowan said he plans to file a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County on behalf of Brown. On Thursday, he sent a statutorily required notice to the state and county of his intent to file a lawsuit.

In the notice obtained by ABC News, DiGowan wrote that the Miami-Dade police officers who arrested Brown "acted in a reckless, wanton and grossly negligent manner." He also said that Brown suffered "severe injuries" as a result of the arrest.

The Miami-Dade Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

However, the department's director, Juan Perez, did release a statement on Thursday, saying that he has "taken a personal interest in the video regarding the arrest of a disabled woman in South Miami-Dade."

"As a result, I've directed staff to contact organizations for disabled persons, to ensure our officers are utilizing current best practices when dealing with individuals requiring special assistance," Perez said. "Although this discretionary arrest was appropriate, it's important that we continue to work with our community and social service agencies in identifying alternatives to arrest that can provide meaningful assistance to those in need while addressing the quality of life concerns of our residents and businesses."

DiGowan criticized Perez's response.

"They certainly should not have waited to train their officers," he said. "Ms. Brown was stripped of her dignity. She has never experienced something like this in her entire life. This was obviously a living nightmare for her."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The opioid epidemic continues to worsen in the U.S., with more people dying from heroin overdoses than firearm homicides, melanoma or HIV-related causes, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015 at least 13,150 people died of heroin overdose, according to the CDC Wonder database, which houses public health data.

That number was higher than the number of people killed in firearm homicides in the same year, which was 12,974, or the number of deaths attributed to HIV, which was 6,465, according to the CDC database. It was also higher than the number of people killed by the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, which the American Cancer Society estimated caused 9,940 deaths in 2015.

The staggering number of deaths related to heroin use is just a part of the toll of the opioid epidemic. In 2014, 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses -- which includes heroin overdoses -- and half were due to prescription drugs.

Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, said the heroin overdose numbers first highlighted by The Washington Post on Thursday, were "alarming" and showed the growing impact of opioid abuse in the U.S.

"Both heroin and illicit fentanyl are really complicating efforts to try and reduce opioid-related injuries and deaths," Alexander told ABC News Friday. Fentanyl is an opioid often made and sold illicitly that can be as much as 100 times more potent than heroin.

Alexander pointed out that what makes the problem more difficult is that addicts have multiple avenues to find and take opioids from prescription drugs to illicit substances like heroin or fentanyl or even veterinary opioids like carfentanil, which was designed to sedate elephants.

"There are a lot of different sources of this products," Alexander said. "The underlying things that fuel this is the vast number of Americans that is physically dependent or addicted to the product."

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iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) --  A 4-year-old California girl battling leukemia took over the city of Sacramento Friday as Make-A-Wish transformed her into a princess for a day.

Alyla Stamp, 4, of Yuba City, California, was surprised Friday morning with a trip to a Macy’s department store in Sacramento where she received her princess makeover, including a dress and shoes.

 Alylya was later picked up by a royal carriage to be escorted to her coronation and royal ball at the Golden 1 Center, the indoor arena home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Alyla’s mom, Savanna Stamp, said in the days leading to her princess day, Alyla had no idea what was in store. She first told wish granters from Make-A-Wish Sacramento that she wanted to be her aunt for a day, then changed her wish to being a princess.

“We call them the fairies,” Stamp said of the Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada wish granters. “We just tell her, ‘The fairies are working on your wish.’”

Stamp told ABC News her daughter was diagnosed in September 2015 with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Alyla was so weak at the time she was diagnosed that she could not even walk, her mom said. She has undergone multiple surgeries since her diagnosis and is still undergoing a maintenance regime of chemotherapy treatments.

Stamp said doctors have told the family that Alyla will need to continue treatments until November 2017 and then she will be in remission.

“She’s had a really good attitude,” Stamp said. “I think it’s made her not scared of anything, going through all of this.”

Alyla’s princess day will include one surprise that is very special to her family. The girl’s grandmother has flown in from Nebraska, where Alyla’s family lived until a few months ago, to surprise her.

The grandmother will be in costume as a queen and will crown Alyla as Sacramento’s Princess.

“Her grandmother Margaret would take care of her when her dad and I were working,” said Stamp. “This day is just going to be one surprise after another.”

Alyla’s special day is happening on National Believe Day, part of Make-A-Wish’s annual partnership with Macy’s. For every letter to Santa Claus received Friday online at or in store, Macy’s will donate $2 to Make-A-Wish.

During her royal ball Friday, Alyla will encourage her subjects to write letters to Santa to help Make-A-Wish make more children's wishes come true. There will also be a traditional waltz performance by dancers from the Sacramento Ballet and greetings from Sacramento Kings' president Chris Granger and his family.

"We just want the Grangers and Macy's to know we really appreciate them for making this special day happen," said Stamp. "It’s really cool what Make-A-Wish and their partners can do for these kids because they’re been through a lot and to put a really great memory on the not so great memories they’ve had in hospitals, it really makes a difference."

Saturday, Alyla and her family, including her younger brother and her dad, Damian, in addition to her mom, will take part in the Santa parade in downtown Sacramento.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida is now clear of locally-transmitted Zika for the first time since July. Since the Zika outbreak was announced in the state, four zones of ongoing Zika transmission had been identified and subsequently cleared in recent months.

day the last "Zika zone" in the state, located in the South Beach area of Miami Beach, was declared free of the Zika virus transmission.

"The South Beach area now does not have any local transmission of Zika and that's a very good day for our state," Scott told reporters.

The Zika outbreak in Florida was the first time the virus had spread via mosquitoes in the continental United States. Texas announced its first case of locally transmitted Zika virus last month.

Scott called the end of the outbreak an "outstanding day."

"We're going to make sure that everybody knows that this state is open for business," Scott said.

There have been 249 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The Zika virus is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and generally causes mild symptoms in adults. But when a pregnant woman is infected, it is associated with an increased risk of birth defects, including microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head or brain. It can result in diminished mental capacity or other developmental delays.
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Courtesy Tracey Blackmore (NEW YORK) -- An Indiana mother is hoping to preserve her son's memory by hiding his favorite toys, Hot Wheels cars, around the neighborhood for strangers to find.

"Since he passed, it's hard dealing with your grief," Tracey Blackmore of Carmel, Indiana told ABC News. "You can be sad and feel sorry for yourself or you could do something about it. I just wanted to to spread his love and his story and also help raise money for childhood cancer research."

On June 13, 2015, Brooks Blackmore, 6, was diagnosed with two astrocytomas, which are cancerous tumors of the brain. He underwent several bouts of radiation to fight the inoperable, stage 4 tumors. But in March 2016 another tumor developed and on May 21, 2016, Brooks died.

"I just miss his laugh and the joy he would bring to our lives," Blackmore said of her son. "He was such a silly boy always making little fart jokes or butt jokes. He has younger siblings. They are now 3 years old. They're boy-girl twins and I miss the love that he would share with them."

To add to the more than $20,000 Brooks' family has raised for childhood cancer research, Blackmore began assembling bags labeled "Finders Keepers, #BeBrooksBrave."

Each bag contains Brooks' story, statistics on childhood cancer, a copy of Brooks' painting, a link to his St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraising page and a packaged Hot Wheels car donated by the Mattel toy company.

"Brooks has always loved Hot Wheels," Blackmore said. "Whenever he was home and sick he would always ask to go out and get a Hot Wheel. This kid would remember every Hot Wheel he had, where he got it, where he got it from. We probably went out four to five times a week when he was undergoing treatment."

December 20 would have been Brooks' 7th birthday. In an effort to remember him on that day and during the holidays, Blackmore began scattering 200-plus Hot Wheels cars in some of Brooks' favorite places including Target, his old preschool, the Chick-fil-A play area and his favorite restaurant, Panera.

"We have a very emotional month here, so I wanted to bring it joy and happiness instead of sadness," Blackmore said. "I wanted to inspire others to keep fighting, be brave and hopefully do something good for somebody else too."

Blackmore hopes the cars will cheer someone up just as they did for Brooks. She has mailed some Hot Wheels across the country so out-of-state family can hide them as well.

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

Some people suffer from the winter blues. Shorter, colder days come with the winter months and, for some, so does seasonal affective disorder.

Many people start to develop the telltale signs after falling back with the clock. Symptoms include irritability, excessive sleeping, and loss of interest. Some may notice lethargy and weight gain.

So here are some things you can do to combat the winter blues: See the light. Even though we have less daylight time, being outside in the sun for just 10 to 15 minutes everyday is important. Some people find those light boxes also help. And if your budget allows, head south for even a short vacation. It might be just what the doctor ordered.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  The mother of twin girls born conjoined at the abdomen and chest it said it was "surreal" to see her daughters separated.

Speaking to reporters alongside doctors Thursday, Aida Sandoval, and her husband, Arturo Sandoval, were brought to tears as they recounted their daughters' operation earlier this week.

Erika and Eva Sandoval, 2, of Antelope, California, were born joined at the lower chest and upper abdomen, referred to as omphalo-ischiopagus twins. While they were born with their heart and lungs separate, they shared some lower anatomical structures, including a liver, bladder and two kidneys.

"It has been a long journey to get here. It's really been a dream come true," Aida Sandoval told reporters. "We want to get them to this place where they can still have an individual life and still be together."

 It took at least 50 doctors and other medical staff 18 hours to safely separate the girls at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California. They remain in recovery at the hospital after undergoing surgery on Tuesday.

Prior to the surgery, the hospital estimated there was a 70 percent chance that both girls would survive the arduous procedure.

To take on the difficult surgery, the medical team created a 3-D model of the girls' shared abdomen to help guide them through the surgery. They also had their MRI and CT scans available.

The girls' mother said today when she first saw them in the hospital it was surreal to see them separate for the first time in their lives.

"It still seems very surreal to see one on one side and one on the other side," Aida Sandoval said. "It brings us all joy."

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Erik Gaines(NEW YORK) -- A crew of firefighters in Washington state helped save Christmas for the family of a man who fell nearly six feet off a ladder while trying to hang Christmas lights at his home.

Erik Gaines, 35, was home alone with his three young children Sunday decorating the outside of the family’s Puyallup, Washington, home for the holidays. He had just hung the first string of lights on his two-story home when the base of the ladder kicked out from underneath him and he crashed down.

Gaines’ left leg got caught in one of the rungs of the ladder as he crashed onto the ground. His 11- and 7-year-old daughters called 911 for their dad while Gaines’ 1-year-old son slept in his crib.

Just as Gaines’ wife pulled up to the house, rescue crews from Central Pierce Fire & Rescue arrived to take Gaines to the hospital.

As Gaines was treated at the hospital for injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, broken leg and a chipped bone on his shoulder, he received good news. The same firefighters who rescued him were planning to come back to his house on their day off to finish hanging his Christmas lights.

"They were so upset, so we thought let’s just give back and spread a little joy," Sean Irwin, one of the four firefighters who put up the lights on Tuesday, told ABC News. "We thought it’d be cool if they pulled in home from the hospital and they had their lights up."

Irwin said the firefighters had a relatively easy job to do because Gaines had so carefully laid out the lights for his home. The completed the job in about one hour.

"Putting up lights was pushed to the back burner after my fall," Gaines said. "But when I heard they offered, it definitely got me emotional to know that they had thought to do that."

The firefighters also told Gaines they will be back in January to finish the job.

"They called when we got home from the hospital and made sure the timers were all working for the lights to go on and off and offered to come back after the first of the year to take the lights down," Gaines said.

Gaines is now home from the hospital as he awaits at least one more surgery to repair his injuries.

"My family and friends have taken pictures for me and put them on social media so I can see them," said Gaines, who is now mostly immobile. "It’s really comforting to know that they're up and that my family gets to continue to celebrate as normal."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A 7-year-old girl got her Christmas wish early this year when Santa surprised her with a puppy during a holiday photo shoot.

"She was shocked because she really had no idea," mom Carman Richison of Westland, Michigan, told ABC News. "She was happy and surprised, but a little bit scared too. Santa had to leave and right when Santa left, she didn't know she was really taking this dog home."

"I said, 'What do you mean? Santa doesn't take gifts back honey.' As soon as she knew this was our dog, she was ecstatic," Richison added.

Makaela Mongo, 7, has been battling bone cancer since August 2015. On Oct. 13, Makaela had to have her left leg amputated due to her illness. She is still undergoing chemotherapy, her mother said.

"She stayed pretty positive throughout all of it," Richison said. "She understands stand that this is what needed to happen in order for her to live a long quality life, for her to be here. She's never once ever cried or been sad, 'woe is me' ... never once. Even the day of her surgery, I think we were more nervous than she was."

In February, Mary Rosecrans, owner of Rosecrans Picture Perfect Photography, met Makaela and her mother during a photo session.

Rosecrans, 47, offers free pictures for families who are touched by cancer, she told ABC News.

"What I noticed about Makaela was she always worried about her mom," Rosecrans said. "She's always so concerned how her mom's going to handle the next surgery, the next bout with chemo. At 7 years old, she's selfless, which I think is pretty rare."

On Dec. 3, Rosecrans and Richison organized for Makaela to have a special visit with Santa at a photography studio. There, Makaela asked him for a puppy for Christmas.

"Talking to her mom, it just occurred to me that a little puppy might make her healing process better," Rosecrans said. "We ended up finding a really neat Yorkie puppy in Indiana."

Moments after Makaela sat on his lap, Santa Claus, portrayed by Rosecrans' boyfriend, Ted Doute, revealed the Yorkie from his toy bag.

Rosecrans captured the moment Makaela's face lit up on camera.

"She's been wanting to have that companionship, wanting that responsibility and saying, 'Mommy, I can do it. I can be responsible.' So, I was really happy for her," Richison said.

Makaela began chemo again on Dec. 6 and is excited to get home to her new dog, whom she's named Jaxon.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Americans will spend more than $60 billion this year on cosmetics, but have you ever thought about all the chemicals that may be in your favorite products?

You may think the United States government reviews the safety of all the lotions, creams, sprays and makeup you use, but that is not the case. Now lawmakers are raising concerns and asking questions about possible risks, and calling for the FDA to step in.

The last legislation passed to regulate safety of cosmetics was passed nearly 80-years-ago, and now the cosmetics industry could face increased scrutiny by the U.S. government, as a new bill that would give the FDA more teeth is gaining traction in Congress.

“I don’t really think about the products I use in my bathroom,” Ally Cao, 18, of Berkeley, California, told ABC News, adding, however, she does “have some worries.”

Only 11 chemicals have ever been regulated by the FDA for use in cosmetics. And no safety tests are required before beauty products hit store shelves.

Now lawmakers and celebrities are hoping to change that with legislation that would require the FDA to evaluate the safety of at least five chemicals a year and give the FDA the power to recall dangerous products.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the bipartisan legislation titled "Personal Care Products Safety Act," to protect consumers and streamline industry compliance, they said in a statement about the bill.

“From shampoo to lotion, the use of personal care products is widespread, however, there are very few protections in place to ensure their safety,” said Senator Feinstein. “Europe has a robust system, which includes consumer protections like product registration and ingredient reviews. I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins that will require FDA to review chemicals used in these products and provide clear guidance on their safety.”

It also has the endorsement of nearly two dozen beauty brands and stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, who said in an email rallying support, “Consumers deserve to know the products they use every day are safe.”

ABC News wanted to see if our bodies are actually absorbing the chemicals that we’re putting on each day. We looked at two common chemicals: parabens, which can act as preservatives, and phthalates, controversial chemicals often used to make fragrances last longer. The CDC says the health effects of low-level exposure to these chemicals are “unknown.”

"Human health effects from environmental exposure to low levels of parabens are unknown," according to the CDC website.

After getting a baseline measurement of the chemicals in ABC News' correspondent Mary Bruce's system, for three days, she used only beauty products containing the two chemicals, parabens and phthalates. Then, for five days, she cut them out completely, using only products excluding those chemicals for her daily routine.

ABC News took urine samples at each stage of the experiment and sent them to the California Department of Health for review, then met with University of California-Berkeley researcher Kim Harley for the results.

When Bruce switched to using only products with the chemicals, the level of parabens in her system went off the charts, going up to 386 ug/g, from her baseline of 38 ug/g. The average American woman, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has 23 ug/g.

When she changed to the low-chemical products, the “levels basically plummeted,” said Harley. “You went down to 6 [ug/g].”

The same thing happened with phthalates, going from her baseline of 87 ug/g, up to 284 ug/g, and back down to 45 ug/g. The average for women is 43 ug/g.

The Personal Care Products Council told ABC News families "can feel confident they are protected" and that manufacturers use "the best science and latest available research" to ensure safety before products hit store shelves.

“Families who use cosmetics and personal care products can feel confident that they are protected by a combination of federal safety regulations by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a strong commitment by manufacturers to utilize the best science and latest available research data to substantiate the safety of a cosmetic product before it is marketed," Beth Jonas, Ph.D., the Chief Scientist for the Personal Care Products Council told ABC News in a statement. "This commitment to safety is the industry’s cornerstone with companies employing thousands of scientific and medical experts who are devoted to studying the safety of human health in relation to products and the ingredients used in them."

The FDA recently came out in support of independent review and stronger safety rules in a letter to Senator Feinstein, saying, the "FDA has much less legal authority to protect consumers from unsafe cosmetics than it does for other products the Agency regulates."

If you’re concerned about the chemicals that may be in your system from all these products, the good news, as our own tests showed, is that a few small changes can have a big impact in a short amount of time.

Harley visited with Cao to check the chemicals in the products she’s using every day.

“One thing I would tell you to look for first is fragrance,” said Harley. “Look for products that have shorter ingredients lists and fewer chemicals, that have names you can actually pronounce. That would be a good start.”

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

If you want to be taken seriously and you don’t want to be taken advantage of, new research suggests that you wipe that smile off your face.

A review of six studies titled “Bliss Is Ignorance” found that people perceived as very happy were judged to be more naive and ripe for rip offs. Others believed they shelter themselves from negative information and would be more easily manipulated.

Researchers concluded that it’s all about magnitude.

Here's my take: I believe in the saying be idealistic but realistic at the same time. However, I also believe in the placebo effect and the power of positive thinking. Bottomline: Go for a happy medium.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Jaunita Rodenhiser(NEW YORK) --  A mother in Canada is asking for Christmas cards to lift the spirits of her 9-year-old daughter with cancer, who relied on the comfort of get-well cards to cheer her up while receiving treatment in the hospital.

Hailey Rodenhiser spent Christmas 2014 in the hospital after she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia earlier that month, her mother, Jaunita Rodenhiser, told ABC News. While doctors estimated that she would be in remission within a month of treatment, it actually took six months, and Hailey continues to receive chemotherapy to this day.

At times, the maintenance treatment can be brutal, Rodenhiser said. Over the last couple of months, Rodenhiser said she noticed her daughter seemed depressed due to her health complications. Rodenhiser said she wanted to try and "change the tone" of the holiday season for Hailey and "get her energized about the holidays."

At first, Rodenhiser considered counseling to help her daughter feel better, but knowing how much her daughter loves getting mail, she decided to try a simpler alternative first, turning to Facebook for help, she said.

"This year I would like to show Hailey how much she is loved and cared about..." Rodenhiser wrote on Facebook. "Knowing how much Hailey loves getting mail, cards, and letters, one way that I know of to show her the spirit of Christmas is to request everyone [to] send her a Christmas card and/or letter of inspiration."

 Recieving the cards is the highlight of Hailey's day, Rodenhiser said. The first thing she says when they pull into the driveway after school is, "Mail!" according to her mother.

"She absolutely goes over the moon when she gets a letter or a card," Rodenhiser said, adding that Hailey is in the "best spirits" she's seen her in recentlu.

 So far, Hailey has received dozens of cards, and Rodenhiser has noticed she's beginning to get her smile back. She's happier and is actually looking forward to the holidays, Rodenhiser said. The mail makes her realize she's cared for and gets her out of funky moods when she's wondering why she can't "be like everyone else," Rodenhiser said.

Hailey's favorite type of cards to receive are ones that feature animals, especially dogs, cats and horses, Rodenhiser said. Hailey's dream is to become a veterinarian one day, and she's "always" watching funny cat videos.

Rodenhiser said that although she belives the art of writing letters and sending cards has been "lost with technology," she's happy use to social media to her advantage if it'll mean increasing the joy Hailey will receive every day this holiday season.

If you would like to send a Christmas card, send it to this address:

Hailey Rodenhiser
151 Hirtle Road
Dayspring, Nova Scotia
B4V 5R1

Keep in mind that postage to Canada from the U.S. is $1.15 for a letter weighing less than 2 ounces.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Twin girls born conjoined at the chest and abdomen were successfully separated after an 18-hour surgery that involved 50 physicians and other medical staff.

Erika and Eva Sandoval of Antelope, California, were born joined at the lower chest and upper abdomen, referred to as omphalo-ischiopagus twins. While they were born with their heart and lungs separate, they shared some lower some anatomical structures including a liver, bladder and two kidneys.

"The twins did very well," Dr. Gary Hartman, lead surgeon and Division Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford said in statement today. "I’m very pleased; this is as good as we could have asked for."

Eva was in the operating room for 17 hours, while her sister Erika was there for an additional hour. The twin girls are now recovering in the intensive-care unit.

Prior to the surgery, the hospital estimated there was a 70 percent chance that both girls would survive the arduous procedure.

To take on the difficult surgery, the medical team created a 3D model of the girls' shared abdomen to help guide them through the surgery. They also had their their MRI and CT scans available.

Conjoined twins are exceedingly rare and occur between every 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 200,000 live births, according to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Four more infants have been born with birth defects related to the Zika virus in New York City, the city's Health Department announced Wednesday.

The four cases occurred after a previous reported case in July, where an infant was born with Zika-related microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head or brain, often leading to significant developmental problems.

These four infants were born with "congenital Zika virus syndrome," which encompasses variety of birth defects, including microcephaly, brain and eye abnormalities, shortened or hardened muscles and tendons and neurologic impairment, according to the health department.

In addition to these five cases where infants were born with health problems related to the Zika virus, eight other infants tested positive for the virus but have shown no symptoms of impairment or birth defects related to the virus, the health department said. Health officials said they will continue to monitor the children for at least a year to see if and how their symptoms progress as they get older.

In total, more than 200 infants have been born to women with a Zika virus infection in New York City, according to the health department.

“Today’s news is a reminder that Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women and their babies," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement Wednesday.

"As we enter the holiday season, we urge all pregnant women in New York City, those who might become pregnant, and their male sexual partners not to visit places where there is active Zika virus transmission,” Bassett added. “We are closely following all babies born to mothers who test positive for Zika infection and will connect parents to available services to improve their child’s quality of life.”

As of Dec. 2, at least 8,000 people in New York City have been tested for the Zika virus with 962 people testing positive, according to the health department, which also noted that of those who tested positive, 325 were pregnant women. All of the Zika infections reported in New York City were acquired while traveling to areas where the virus was more prevalent, except in six cases that were spread through sexual contact, the agency said.

A Zika infection in adults often includes mild symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 1 in 5 people infected with the virus shows symptoms. Severe complications from Zika that require hospitalization are rare, and most people are over the worst of the symptoms after a week, according to the CDC.

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