The Walmart Diet – Man Loses Hundreds of Pounds by Walking to Walmart for Food

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A formerly-obese man from Arizona managed to shed 300 pounds of excess weight in three years after he challenged himself to walk to the nearest Wallmart every day to collect his food.

31-year-old Pasquale “Pat” Brocco used to weigh a whopping 605 pounds, but after his doctor warned him that his high blood pressure and high cholesterol were putting his life in serious danger, the Avondale man decided it was time to do something about his weight. He went home from his doctor’s appointment and took a photo of himself in the mirror. “My stomach was down to my thighs. My chest was hanging down here,” he told ABC News. “I was disgusted”.

Pat knew he needed to start exercising, but the gym was not an option. “I mean, at 600 pounds, I couldn’t even go to the gym,” he said. “I didn’t fit on the machines.” So instead, he decided that every time he was hungry, he would walk 1 mile to his closest Walmart to buy his food, then back home to eat the meal.

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The Amazing Story of a Blind Professional Photographer and Rock Climber

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Justin Salas was only 14 when he lost his sight almost completely and was declared legally blind. Now 22, the ambitious young man is a living example that nothing is impossible – even though he can’t see, Justin is a professional photographer and skilled rock climber.

Justin’s blindness wasn’t the result of an unfortunate accident or a sudden occurrence where he woke up one morning to find that he couldn’t see anymore. His eyesight had always been poor and he started wearing glasses when he was 5-years-old. But it wasn’t until his freshman year of high-school that his vision started deteriorating at a rapid pace. His glasses no longer helped and tests revealed that his optic nerves were dying, although the cause was a mystery for all the doctors he’d seen.

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The Inspiring Story of a Man Who Became a Top Bicycle Repairman after Losing Nine Fingers and Both Legs

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23 years ago, Yue Jin lost both his legs and nine of his fingers in a freak accident. He thought his life was over, but somehow found the strength to start over and today he is one of the most sought-after bicycle repairmen in Jilin City, northern China.

In 1993, while he was cutting firewood in the mountains of Jilin province, Yue Jin accidentally fell into a deep valley and almost died. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate both his legs and all but one of his ten fingers. For a man who made his living with his hands, it was almost a death sentence. And it was even more devastating considering Yue had also lost his wife just three days after childbirth, leaving him to take care of their daughter. After the accident, he couldn’t see any other way to do that than go out and beg for a few coins and some food, so he left his daughter in the care of some neighbors and ventured out on to the streets.

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Meet the Middle-Aged Cholitas Conquering the Highest Mountains in South America

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Most mountaineers wouldn’t venture out on an expedition without the proper gear and attire, but a group of Bolivian women have shocked the world by climbing some of South America’s highest mountains – all while wearing their traditional attire of colorful, layered skirts. Dressed in ‘cholita paceñas’ outfits complete with Andean ‘aguayo’ shawls and knitted cardigans, they look like typical grannies albeit on a serious mission.

These women, belonging to the indigenous Aymara people of the Andes, would normally stay at home while their husbands worked as mountain guides in the worst of conditions. They would cook at base camps or work as porters, never actually scaling the treacherous peaks themselves. But all that changed a couple of years ago, when Lydia Huayllas, wife of a mountain guide, wanted to know what it felt like to scale the steep, glacial slopes of the 19,974-foot Huayna Potosi mountain.

“What do you do up there, how does it feel?” she asked her husband, Eulalio Gonzalez. In response, he told her to find out for herself. So she did just that.

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For the Past 7 Years, 100% of Seniors at This School Have Been Admitted to College

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Urban Prep Academy, an all-male charter high school in Chicago, has set the bar really high for learning institutions in the US. Despite getting most of its students from the Windy City’s lowest income neighborhoods, it has managed to achieve and maintain a 100 percent graduation rate for nearly a decade. But even more impressive is the fact that every senior in the past seven years has gone on to attended college on a scholarship.

Most recently, the entire class of 2016 celebrated ‘College Signing Day’, with each student announcing the college or university he has chosen to attend. The class has collectively received over 1,500 college admissions, with over $15 million in scholarships and grants. “It’s a great day,” said senior Rudolph Long, speaking to CBS Chicago. “I feel great. We all made it. We all come from good environments so to see us all going to college is nice.”

The all-African-American, all-male charter high school’s unprecedented success has been attributed to its unique mission – to elevate the students’ self esteem while focusing on test scores as well. While most successful schools have stringent admission criteria, Urban Prep makes no distinction between applicants. Any Chicago resident is welcome to apply. A lottery selects 450 students out of approximately 1,500 applications each year, to attend Urban Prep’s three campuses in Englewood, West, and Bronzeville.

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Meet the Incredible Jake Olson – A Completely Blind College Football Player

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After years of cheering for his favorite college football team, University of Southern California student Jake Olson has achieved the impossible dream – despite being completely blind, he is now a part of the team, playing as long snapper for the USC Trojans, approaching the game based on feel rather than sight.

Born with retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina, Jake lost his left eye when he was only eight months old. “When the doctors found my cancer, it was completely taking over my left eye,” he said. “The greatest fear is the cancer spreading through the optic nerve to the brain.” So the eye had to be removed entirely, followed by several rounds of chemotherapy and laser treatment to prevent the cancer from spreading to the right eye. Sadly, it kept coming back.  At age 12, Jake received news that he would have to lose his right eye as well. “Realizing what I was going to be confronting… a life without sight, it was difficult. I didn’t feel completely hopeless, but there was this sense of ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna do anything anymore.’”

Being a lifelong Trojan fan, one of Jake’s last wishes before he lost his eye was to watch them play at Notre Dame and also to witness a practice session the night before the surgery. “There were nights of crying and stressful times when I couldn’t get the thought of going blind out of my psyche,” he said, speaking to the LA Times. “But every time I was up at USC or talking to one of the players or just being around, it was just pure fun. And truthfully, peace.”

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The Amazing Story of a Gambler-Turned-Conservationist Who Spent $90 Million Saving Nature

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Former gambler and businessman M.C. Davis placed the biggest bet of his life about 20 years ago when he decided to spend a considerable chunk of his fortune on nature. Over the past two decades, he spent $90 million purchasing thousands of acres of land all over Florida. And the risk paid off – he managed to revive forests and swamps across the state, saving several wildlife species in the process. Although he tried to do his conservation work without attracting too much attention, the positive effects of Davis’ efforts could not go unnoticed forever. Last year, he was featured in Smithsonian Magazine and on the National Public Radio website, and his story went viral.

Having grown up in a cramped trailer on a dirt road in the Florida Panhandle, Davis set out to make a fortune at a very young age, becoming a self-proclaimed gambler and hustler. He made hundreds of millions of dollars, but it took a simple traffic jam to bring about the epiphanic moment that would change the course of his life forever. “It’s drizzling rain, and I was just sort of frantic with exasperation,” he told NPR. “Stuck in traffic, and I looked up, and I saw on the marquee of the high school, ‘Black Bear Presentation’. Intrigued, he decided to pull over and attend the event.

At the time, Davis didn’t even know that Florida had black bears, but the lecture made by two women of the Defenders of Wildlife piqued his interest – the very next day he donated enough money to keep the Defenders campaign alive for two years. He also began to read more books written by environmentalists, and kept in touch with Laurice MacDonald, one of the Defenders that had oipened his eyes. “He had the steepest learning curve,” MacDonald later said. “We would begin with little debates. They were a little testy but fascinating.”  

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The Inspirational Story of a 545-Pound Man Running 5K Races Like There’s No Tomorrow

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Meet Derek Mitchell, an inspiring 35-year-old race runner who weighs a whopping 545 pounds. Despite his heavy frame, he’s spent the past year walking and running a total of 21 5k races and two 10k events. He even made it halfway through a muddy, 10-mile obstacle course!

Mitchell, a Kansas City native, was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor on his pituitary gland five years ago, a condition that slows down his metabolism and is the primary cause for his obesity. Although he was put on medication to shrink the tumor, Mitchell felt that “at one point, I was using that condition as a crutch, telling myself, ‘I’ll wait for the pills to start working before I start working out or change my eating habits.’”

But he realised that wasn’t a very good plan in November 2014, when his body weight reached an all-time high of 625 pounds. “That’s when I knew I needed to make a change, and decided to start with a new year’s resolution.” So in the beginning of 2015, he cut soda from his diet, switched to more nutritious food options, and tried switching to a healthier lifestyle.

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Man in a Wheelchair Travels 2,800 Km in Epic Journey Across China

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While most people view wheelchairs as a symbol of disability and confinement, this young man from China is proving the opposite – over the past couple of years he has been using his wheelchair to fulfill his lifelong dream of backpacking across the country.

29-year-old Quan Peng began his epic journey from Beijing on August 31, 2014, spending a whopping 566 days on the road before reaching Fuzhou city last Thursday. So far he’s traveled a total of 2,800 km spanning the length and breadth of the nation, but his trip is far from over. He still plans to cover another 1,700 km to Sanya, in China’s southernmost province of Hainan, before calling it a day.

“This is the fifth province and 22nd city I’ve passed through during my trip,” Quan told local media after reaching Fuzhou. “My fate deprived me of my freedom. I have to get it back by any means necessary. Along with wanting to see the world with my own eyes, I also am making this trip so that people will see the importance of having barrier-free facilities.” In each of the cities he has visited, Quan made it a point to document the type of facilities available for disabled people like himself. Sadly, he reports that in most places such conveniences are non-existent.

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How India’s “Menstruation Man” Changed the Lives of Millions of Women

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Meet Arunachalam Muruganantham, an award-winning social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, India, better known as the nation’s ‘Menstruation Man’. Deeply disturbed by the unhygienic menstruation practices among women in rural India, Muruganantham took it upon himself to find a solution to the problem. After several years of hard work, he invented a machine that women can use to produce their own sanitary napkins, at less than a third of the cost of commercial ones.

Born in 1962 to handloom weavers in Coimbatore, Muruganantham was forced to drop out of school at age 14 to provide for his family after his father’s death. For years he lived in poverty, working a number of jobs – machine tool operator, farm laborer, welder, and sales agent – just to make ends meet. But things were about to change soon after his marriage to a woman named Shanthi, in 1998. He discovered that his wife used filthy rags during her menstrual cycle because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary pads, and this troubled him greatly.

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The Epic Tale of a Refugee Cat from Iraq That Got Lost in Greece and Reunited with His Family in Norway

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In a miraculous turn of events, a refugee cat that got separated from his family while fleeing Iraq has not only survived the treacherous sea voyage to Lesbos, but has also been reunited with his owners, now living in Norway.

Kindness towards animals is not new to the people of Lesbos – we’d previously written about a café in the Greek island that opens its doors to stray dogs at night. So when volunteers found the poor, frightened cat all alone in November last year, they took him in, naming him Dias and deciding to care for him until his real owners could be found.

A few volunteers recalled that there had been a refugee family that was separated from their pet cat on reaching Lesbos a week earlier, so they began their hunt by putting up posters at reception centers all over the island. They also set up a Facebook page called ‘Reunite Dias’ to help spread the word. In the meantime, Dias was left in the care of volunteers Amy Shrodes and Ashley Anderson, who had been working with refugees on the island.

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Hiware Bazar – India’s Miracle Village

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The residents of Hiware Bazar, a remote village in the Ahmednagar district of the state of Maharashtra, India have managed to turn their fortune around in the span of just a few years – they’ve gone from being a drought-stricken populace in the mid-1990s to the richest village in the nation today. Their story is a truly inspiring one.

Hiware Bazar currently boasts of having the highest GDP among all the villages in India. Its 1,250-strong population enjoys an average income of INR 30,000 ($450) per month, also highest in the nation, up from a paltry INR 830 in 1995. 60 of the 235 families in the village are millionaires. Every year, their fields yield bountiful crops of millets, onions, and potatoes that make it hard to imagine that only a few years ago they were barren stretches of land that no one cared about.

Yet, up until the mid 90’s, Hiware Bazar was indeed a poverty-stricken village reeling in the aftermath of a severe drought in 1972. “The peace was shattered,” recalls Raosaheb Rauji Panwar, an 82-year-old villager. “People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger-off bitter quarrels, as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin.”

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4-Foot-5, 95-Pound Football Player Doesn’t Let Size Stand in the Way of His Dreams

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Meet Adam Reed, a 17-year-old, 4-foot-5, 95-pound high school senior who despite his short stature made his high school’s varsity football team. Adam may be only the fifth-string running back for Plantation American Heritage school’s nationally ranked football team, but he’s actually their star player, with fans always lining up to take photographs with him at the end of every game.

At 4-5 and 95 pounds, Reed isn’t exactly the poster boy for American football. The biggest player on his team, in comparison, is Tedarrell Slaton, who stands at 6-6 and a whopping 338 pounds. In fact, Reed is nowhere close to the second smallest player in the team, Jason Heinstkill, who measures 5-8 and weighs 146 pounds. But he’s got more grit and determination in him than most players twice his size. “I’m a little undersized,” he said, nonchalantly. “But it’s whatever. I don’t let my size stop me from doing anything.”

According to Reed’s mother Lisa, he’s been passionate about football since childhood. “He started playing flag football at 5 years old, but it was no big deal back then because there was no tackling. He was always a strong and fast kid, but I never realised how good he was. When he said he wanted to continue playing, I said go for it.” Reed ended up playing on middle school and junior varsity teams at Heritage since the sixth grade, and got on the JV squad in high school as well. But making the high-school varsity cut proved challenging.

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Chinese Widow Spends Seventeen Years Putting Four of Her Husband’s Five Killers in Prison

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Seventeen long years after witnessing the brutal murder of her husband Li Guiying’s struggles have finally borne fruit – she has managed to track down four of his five killer and provide enough evidence to have them locked up. 58-year-old Li doesn’t plan on stopping until she finds the last killer as well.

The determined widow’s sad story began in the winter of 1998. Li, her husband Qi Yuande, and their five children were a happy family living in Xiangcheng city, China’s Henan province. But things went wrong when an argument broke out with a neighbor named Qi Xueshan, who feared that she might start complaining about him to the local authorities. To ensure this wouldn’t happen, he invited the couple to his house under pretext of having a civilized conversation, but attacked them as soon as they arrived.

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Meet Fray Tormenta, the Wrestling Priest Who Inspired Nacho Libre

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It’s a little known fact that Nacho Libre, a character played by Jack Black in the 2006 eponymous movie, is actually based on a legendary real-life Mexican wrestling priest. In the film, Nacho Libre is the undercover identity adopted by Black, a monastery cook, in order become a luchador, a masked lucha libre wrestler. The idea of a priest donning a lucha libre mask is rather outlandish, but Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, a.k.a Fray Tormenta, actually did that in real life!

Born in 1945, Benitez is a Catholic priest who runs a home for orphans. As he struggled to support the kids, he decided on a rather radical means of raising money – becoming a wrestler. He designed his own red-and-yellow lucha libre mask (yellow for liveliness he must display in the ring, and red for the blood he must spill on behalf of the orphanage), and adopted the name ‘Fray Tormenta’.

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