This woman’s story shows how one organ donor could change the lives of a whole family.

Lauren was in her middle school gym jumping rope when suddenly, she went into cardiac arrest.

“I remember waking up in the ambulance,” she says.

Lauren has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic condition that prevents the heart from pumping enough blood. This condition has no cure and while many people with HCM can live active lives with very few symptoms or even no symptoms at all, others live with chest pains, heart palpitations, and dizziness during exercise. It can also increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.


Lauren at 29 years old. Image via LiveOnNY.

Lauren had been living with the condition since she was diagnosed at 12 years old — and it had already changed her life. Growing up, she had tried just about every sport and softball was her passion. HCM had meant that Lauren couldn't be as active and sporty as she once had been, but she had been reluctant to give up on softball entirely.

"I remember crying, begging the doctor, please just let me play softball. Let me at least have that," she says. So her doctor cleared her for some play — pitching and playing outfield — but not for running the bases. She also had been told to watch from the sidelines during certain gym class activities, like kickball.

This was really hard for Lauren. She hated being on the sidelines. So, even though she knew it was dangerous, she continued to test her limits — that is until that day when jumping rope landed her in the hospital.

"From that point, I understood," she says. "I got the message that I can't push myself."

Eventually she gave up sports altogether and focused on her education and graduating from high school.

During her late teens and early 20s, she continued having medical appointments to check on her HCM, and things were going relatively well for a while. Also in her 20s, she got married and gave birth to her daughter, Sophia.

Lauren, her husband, and her daughter Sophia.  Image via LiveOnNY.

Everything changed again, though, when she was 28 and learned from a doctor that her heart medication wasn't working. She would need a heart transplant to survive.

The news hit her and her family hard. They never expected her condition to get this bad. "Honestly, the transplant was … never even on the radar," Lauren says.

"I just remember my dad leaving the room," she continues. "He never cries, and I remember him crying."

Lauren and her family have no idea when — or if — she'll get the heart she needs.

Lauren and Sophia. Image by Meraki Photo, Inc via Lauren, used with permission.

She is one of more than 116,000 people waiting for organ transplants nationwide and one of 4,000 waiting for a new heart.

"The doctors tell me it could be tomorrow, or it could be a couple years," she says. "I just hope that it comes in time."

Meanwhile, Lauren's health is declining. She now has to stop and rest after even the simplest tasks, like wiping down her kitchen counter or helping Sophia tie her shoes.

But while she waits, she still finds ways to remain optimistic.

Lauren has decided to share her story with the organization LiveOnNY in order to help spread the word about organ donation because if she can inspire even one person to register as a donor, it could save up to eight lives.

Sophia is 5 years old now, and her bubbly personality is a big help to Lauren.

"She helps me realize that there is an after and that life will be better," Lauren says.

Lauren and Sophia. Image via LiveOnNY

Every evening, Sophia likes to do what she calls "cuddle bugging," where she and her mom watch a movie or play a game together to wind down from the day.

Sophia also knows that Lauren needs the transplant, and she's eagerly waiting for it.

"Every time I go to the doctor, she'll always run up to me [saying], 'Mommy, Mommy, did you get your new heart?'" Lauren says. "And I tell her, 'No, not yet.'"

Sophia can't wait for Lauren to join her and her dad on their Sunday bike rides after the transplant. And after seeing old photos of Lauren playing softball, she wants her mom to teach her how to play.

Image via LiveOnNY

"The transplant would mean life," she says. "I think when people think about organ donation they think of death, but in fact a big part of it is life … giving life to other people."

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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