It all started with an 8-second video. No sound—just an image of 11-year-old Lizzie Velasquez.
When Velasquez found it on YouTube in 2006, that 8-second video had amassed four million views and thousands of comments. It was titled “The Ugliest Woman In The World.”
Then 17-year-old Lizzie, who weighs about 60 pounds because of a rare congenital disease that makes it impossible for her to gain weight, scrolled through comment after comment from perfect strangers calling her a monster, questioning why her parents kept her, and encouraging her to put a gun to her head and end her life.
Not a single comment was positive. So Velasquez decided to make it positive.
Now, she’s a recognized hero in the eyes of anyone who’s ever been bullied. A motivational speaker, activist, and author, she takes to the stage across the country encouraging everyone to spin negative comments into fuel to make their lives better.
“Am I going to let the people who called me a monster define me,” she says in a 2013 Ted Talk. “No. I’m going to let my goals, and my successes, and my accomplishments be the things that define me.”
And that’s exactly what she has done. In addition to finishing a degree in communications studies and writing three books, Velasquez is an executive producer of the award-winning documentary that chronicles her life, “A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.”
Although Velasquez’s goal was to become a motivational speaker, she has also stepped up as an impressive anti-bullying activist and is currently working with Congress in support of the first federal anti-bullying bill, the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
To date, her Ted Talk has gathered more than 9.5 million views and 11,000 comments—almost all of which recognize her for what she truly is, beautiful.
Come see Lizzie Velasquez and other inspiring health leaders speaking live at Prevention’s R3 Summit in Austin, TX, Jan. 15-16.
The Duggar family return to TV, almost two months after TLC cancelled series following reports of sexual abuse.
Family stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald, are back on the air with a series of new specials, E! News has confirmed.
Jessa and husband Ben Seewald are readying for their first baby, due in November, and Jill and husband Derick Dillard are preparing to move to El Salvador for missionary work. The specials will showcase both life changes, but older brother Josh Duggar, whose reports of past sexual abuse caused TLC to cancel the show over a month ago, is not expected to be making an appearance.
“We are looking forward to reconnecting with everyone with the new specials on TLC—many have asked about our mission work and about the challenges of taking our family to a different country, culture and learning a new language,” Derick wrote on Instagram.
“What we will be following in these specials is Jessa preparing for her first child,” TLC’s executive vice president and general manager Nancy Daniels told the Associated Press, by way of People. “And we’ll be watching Jill preparing to make a major move to Central America with her family, which we know is something our audience will be interested in.”
New of the possible spinoff surfaced while TLC weighed its options about what to do with the Duggar clan, before ultimately pulling the plug on the reality series after Josh Duggar admitted to fondling sisters, including Jessa and Jill. The family had been on the network since 2008, when it was then only 17 kids.
If we asked you to close your eyes, think about that big day when you say “I do,” and tell us what comes to mind, we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t think of wedding photos inspired by funerals and death.
You’d describe a couple holding hands and walking by a picturesque stream. Or gazing into each other’s eyes while a horse grazes nearby.
Not … coffins.
But that’s exactly what two funeral directors came up with.
Jenny Tay and Darren Cheng, who work at Direct Funeral Services Ltd. in Singapore, fell in love and decided they wanted a wedding theme that was truly meaningful to them. Not just “rustic chic” or “Bollywood BBQ.” The couple chose “‘Til Death Do Us Part.”
EA is no stranger to issues with the NCAA, and this time FIFA 16 women’s rosters are the culprit. The gaming studio announced today that following an NCAA notice, it would remove 13 players from the game that are currently on or “likely” to be on college rosters. “We believe this decision denies these 13 athletes the opportunity to represent their countries in the game, but we have removed them from FIFA 16 to ensure there is no risk to their eligibility,” EA said in a blog post. While EA didn’t compensate those players for appearing in the game, the NCAA says that including them would still jeopardize their ability to take the pitch for their respective schools. The group of players that won’t make the game includes six players from Canada, six from Mexico and one from Spain (detailed info here). All 12 women’s national teams are now playable with EA Access Play it First Trials.
McDonald’s is stirring up the egg industry in a big way: They’re going cage-free. As a purchaser of two billion eggs annually (representing 4% of the US egg market), McDonald’s decision will cause ripples among egg producers.
McDonald’s timeline indicates the company plants to be 100% cage-free within 10 years.
Senior vice president for supply chain management at McDonald’s, Marion Gross, told the New York Times, “We are a big purchaser of eggs in the U.S. and in Canada, and we have the scale behind us to be able to do these kinds of things. It’s not always easy, but it’s a challenge we can work through.”
In fact, Humane Socieity of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle believes this could mean the end of caged chickens, saying, “This is a watershed moment in a decades-long effort to eliminate the cruelest confinement from our food supply. McDonald’s admirable move makes clear that egg production’s future is cage-free.”
One reason for the long timeline is that only 10% of chickens are currently cage-free. However, Pacelle is optimistic that McDonald’s shift will happen quicker than planned.
McDonald’s has been the poster child for factory farming, but lately has taken some bold stands for safer food, such as refusing to serve GMo potatoes, banning certain antibiotics from some meat, and phasing out gestation crates for pigs.
As an example of the power of McDonald’s decisions, a few weeks after the company announced that it would no longer serve chicken without medically-relevant antibiotics, Tyson Foods made a similar pledge.
Other companies who have gone cage-free include Burger King, General Mills, Krispy Kreme, an Aramark.
The benefit of cage-free eggs is that chickens are able to display their natural behaviors better—such as walking, flapping their wings, and laying eggs in nests—because they aren’t confined to drawer-sized cages. It does not necessarily mean that chickens are outside living the good life or eating high-quality grain; however it is certainly a step in the right direction.
“When 90 percent of the activities your kid takes part in involve water, they really need to be able to recognize a problem and know how to deal with it.”
A brave little boy has been praised the world over for saving the life of his aunt.
Mason Farr, 7, was visiting a local amusement park with his mum, Karen and aunt, Jenny, when they decided to take a turn on a water slide attraction.
After going down the slide, Mason immediately knew that something was wrong.
Aunt Jenny had come out of the tunnel without her tube and floating face down, so Mason leapt into action.
Using the knowledge he learnt in swimming lessons, Mason knew that his aunt was unable to breath.
The brave 7-year-old then flipped his aunt and held her head above the water until someone was able to help him get her out of the pool.
Aunt Jenny was then transferred to a local hospital, where they were able to treat her injuries.
“His instincts kicked in and he used what he learned from taking swim lessons,” his mum told Today.com.
“When 90 percent of the activities your kid takes part in involve water, they really need to be able to recognize a problem and know how to deal with it,” she explained. Mason had begun his swimming lessons at just 6 months.
To show their appreciation for Mason’s heroic work, his local fire department made him Fire Chief for the day, where he was able to ride firetrucks, speak to firefighters and was given the grand tour of the department.
“We’re really proud of him. He’s been so humble throughout this whole process, but what he did was really life-changing,” said his proud mum.
Well done, Mason!
An orphaned rhino in South Africa is cuddling up to cars, mistaking them for his dead mother.
In recent weeks we’ve seen the devastation that hunting can cause for endangered animals, and this little guy is just another heartbreaking example.
A baby rhino, named “Donnie” by wildlife rangers, was orphaned after hunters killed his mother near the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Since then, Donnie has been trying build his family anew again, in the most harrowing way.
In an effort to find a parent who will adopt and take care of him, Donnie has been mistaking passing cars for adult rhinos and attempting to imprint on them.
Donnie has been trailing after cars driving through the park and nuzzling up against them: something that baby rhinos sometimes do to get another rhino to ‘adopt’ them into their family.
It was during one of these efforts that vets, Debbie and Don English, came by little Donnie and recognised that he had to be taken to a sanctuary.
Since Donnie is only two months old, the veterinarians had to have him tranquilized and airlifted out.
Although he flatlined during his trip, he was able to be resuscitated and is now doing well.
Here’s hoping the little guy finds a family soon.
“I couldn’t be any happier! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!”
As the killing of Cecil the Lion outraged millions all over the globe last week – causing personalities like Jimmy Kimmel to broadcast their disgust- it brought the morality around hunting into the limelight and caused some to question whether their hobby was one worth keeping.
But not Sabrina Corgatelli.
The university accountant from Boise, Idaho, has outraged thousands online after she posted photos of her latest catch – a beautiful giraffe – on Facebook.
The American hunter posted the photos of her South African hunting “trophy” with the caption:
“Day #2 I got a amazing old Giraffe. Such a [sic] amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!”
Sparking fury, Corgatelli was called a “disgrace to humanity” and “deranged”.
One outraged user wrote: “Unbelieveable that human garbage like you exists.”
The university accountant has since responded with more photos of animals she’s shot and a couple of quotes from the bible, for good measure.
“Genesis 9:3 says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything,” Corgatelli wrote.
“Genesis 27:3 says, “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.””
Cecil the Lion was baited out of a national park and killed by an American hunter and dentist in Zimbabwe.
The Minnesota dentist – who had to temporarily close his office following the controversy – paid $US 75,000 to arrange the killing.
Beijing has become the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympic Games after beating Kazakhstan’s Almaty to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics.