Secret Santa Visits Kmart

Santa Claus has been very kind.  He went to Kmart last week and paid off a bunch of bills for them.  This story was featured in the “Making a Difference” segment of “Nightly News with Brian Williams.”  There were other news stories on this segment of random acts of kindness.  The Secret Santa in Plainfield Township paid off Mary Chapin’s layaway last week and she was sincerely grateful, attributing it to the best gift she ever received, as it really was the “gift of believing in people,” showing her that there really is good in people, which one does not always see.

And as they say, one good deed often results in another.  After the initial donation of $500 was given, a couple of days later another special giver donated $2,000 anonymously, which settled an additional 13 layaway bills. The following day a further $1,000 was given for the same cause and within no time at all this trend spread across the country.  Indeed, in California thereafter, Kmart received $5,000 to pay off layaway tabs and then the same thing happened in Montana at the value of $1,000.

It really is the season for goodwill and charity.  Once one person shows generosity, it becomes a bug and lots of people want to do the same.  Giving makes people happy and receiving – when one is really in need – is the best present one can get over the holiday season.

Paralyzed US Woman Takes First Steps

Has medical technology really come that far? Is it really the case that those who are paralyzed from the waist down are going to be able to actually walk? Apparently so. This has been the case with Stephanie Sablan who was injured in a car accident 4 months ago and is now walking. Aided by the eLEGS exoskeleton Sablan was able to walk. In layman’s terms, the exoskeleton is a battery-powered pair of robotic legs in a backpack. Due to this incredible technological device, Sablan walked around a room in California at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. It’s not all about technology though. Salblan had to work hard. Her initial walking was aided by a physical therapist but it only took until the fourth session that she could move “on her own using crutches containing special sensors.”

Paralyzed Walking

So how does this actually work? The patient has to put the tool – weighing in at 45 lbs – on their legs and shoulders with Velcro straps. Given that the machine is so heavy though, wouldn’t that be problematic for the paralyzed patient? No, since the battery power is able to support the weight, thus not pressuring the individual. Moving the right hand forward with crutches renders a reaction from the device to move the left leg with the motors and then vice versa on the other side. Sablan commented, “my first steps were pretty incredible….I definitely had to hold back my tears. It filled that void that was taken away from me.” The hope of course is that ultimately the patient will no longer need the wheelchair and be able to “jump into the eLEGS and go take a shower.” That is the hope of the device manufacturers too. It was made at the Rehabilitation Research at the Valley Medical Center. There is still a way to go and researchers are currently looking into how long patients are able to stand and walk around using the device and the plan is to “test it on up to 10 people by the end of the year.”

Second Time Lucky for Witherspoon?

Witherspoon Weds Toth Amid Family and Friends

35-year old actress Reese Witherspoon – famous for her leading roles in Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama – married Jim Toth in her stunning Californian estate. The ceremony was attended by others in the entertainment business including Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey, Jr., and newly-single Renee Zellweger. It was a small intimate affair, with only 120 guests with Witherspoon’s nieces as flower girls and her best friend Heather Fosenfield as matron of honor. Much of the couple’s family were there for the wedding, including the bride’s children (Ava, 11 and Deacon, 7) as well as her parents John and Betty. As well, Nanci Ryder was in attendance, who accompanied Renee Zellweger and happens to be one of Witherspoon’s best friends.

But it wasn’t just the new Mrs. Toth who was getting a dose of romanticism. Witherspoon’s ex-husband Ryan Phillippe spontaneously took Amanda Seyfriend – his girlfriend less than 10 years his junior – away for a weekend. They ended up at the exquisite San Ysidro Ranch situated just outside Santa Barbara, California. While his ex was getting wed, Philippe and Seyfriend were out running with their dogs.