The Inspirational Story of a Paralyzed Surgeon who Continues to Operate

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Dr. Ted Rummel thought his life was pretty much over when he was left paralyzed from the waist-down in 2010. The exceptional surgeon had been diagnosed with a cavernous hemangioma – a blood filled cyst – in the middle of his spinal cord a year earlier. Neurologists told him the cyst couldn’t be surgically removed, as the procedure would paralyze him instantly. Instead he was told to rest, wait, and pray the cyst never ruptured.

Unfortunately for Dr. Rummel, the cyst did burst in September 2010, just a week after he performed a rotator cuff surgery on his wife Kathy – his last surgery for the next two years. He suffered a terrible back ache, followed by numbness and weakness in his legs. Within days, “a wave crashed over his lower body and took all feeling and mobility with it.” Dr. Rummel was paralyzed for life.

It’s sad that something so terrible should have happened to him, after he cured thousands of people in St. Charles County of pain and stiffness in their joints. In his best days, he had practiced over 1,000 surgeries per year in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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China’s Best Mao Zedong Impersonator Is Actually a Woman

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57-year-old Chen Yan used to be an average, run-of-the-mill homemaker. The only noticeable thing about her: her striking resemblance to Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong. Chen was teased mercilessly for this as a child, reducing her to tears. But in 2006 she made a decision that would completely change her life –  to embrace herself and her appearance. Chen is now a full time Mao impersonator, an extremely popular one.

Impersonating Chairman Mao isn’t exactly a piece of cake. It’s a demanding and controversial job, because female impersonators of Mao aren’t very common in China. To look the part, Chen has to touch up her face, wear a Zhongshan suit and arrange her hair like Mao’s trademark style. She has to walk on specially made 26cm stilts, camouflaged to look like a larger shoe size. A typical performance is about 40 minutes long – Chen waves to the crowds, smokes and stares solemnly into the distance. I must say, she does a damn good job of it. It’s almost impossible to tell there’s a woman behind the costume.

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Concussion Turns Ordinary Man into Musical Genius, Overnight

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If getting hit on the head means that I’d get to be a kickass musician for the rest of my life, I think I would seriously consider it. It sounds impossible, but something of the sort happened to 41-year-old Derek Amato. He really didn’t have a choice about it, though.

Derek had no idea his life was about to change forever when he dove into the shallow end of a pool to catch a football at a party. He hit his head and had a concussion, resulting in Acquired Savant Syndrome – a rare condition where people display profound abilities (called savant skills) after suffering head trauma, abilities that they didn’t have at birth. In Derek’s case, the acquired ability is music.

Derek is one of only 30 people in the world with this rare condition and the only one to have acquired music as a savant skill. Before the fall, he just dabbled in guitar and had no idea how to read or write music. And now he can play eight different instruments with the ease of a professional musician. Watching him play on video, it’s pretty hard to believe this man has had no formal training in music at all.

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Living in the 18th Century – Woman Shuns Modern Technology for Victorian-era Lifestyle

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While some people want to make the most of technology by adding more and more fancy gadgets to their daily lives, others simply prefer going back to the basics. Meet Sarah Chrisman, a 33-year-old Seattle resident who decided to ditch almost every aspect of modern life, from cooking to clothing, and embrace a Victorian-era lifestyle.

Although she has liked the stories from the Victorian age ever since she was a little girl, the big change took place just 4 years ago, when Sarah received a unique birthday present from her husband. “I have always loved the Victorian era, ever since I was a little girl. My first corset was given to me by my husband on my 29th birthday, and unexpectedly, I really thoroughly enjoyed it.” The feeling she had when wearing the corset determined her to change her lifestyle entirely: Sarah now wears custom-made Victorian clothes, tries not to use any appliances that didn’t exist in the Victorian age (such as the now mundane washing machine), gave up her car for a 100-years-old bike, she uses old fashioned cleaning methods instead of modern detergents and cooks using the recipes found in 19th century women’s magazines. That’s right, this modern-day Victorian woman enjoys the 1889 edition of Cosmopolitan, and because she considers her lifestyle very exciting, she even wrote a book, “Victorian Secrets. What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present and Myself”.  She also studied the Victorian age etiquette.

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Alina Kovaleskaya – Ukraine’s Newest Real-Life Doll

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It’s official, Ukraine is the land of real-life Barbie dolls. After the now-famous Valeria Lukyanova and Anastasiya Shpagina, it’s now time for another Ukrainian real-life doll to take center stage – meet 20-year-old Alina Kovaleskaya.

Hailing from Odessa, the same city as the above mentioned internet stars, Alina Kovaleskaya  has managed to attract a decent online following after uploading a series of photos of herself in doll form. That means laying on several layers of makeup, especially around the eyes, to make them look abnormally large and posing as a lifeless toy. It’s now a well-known recipe used by all of the seven (yes, seven) human barbie dolls in Odessa who all use the same tricks, hold photo-shoots at the same locations around the city and sometimes even appear in each other’s photos. Although accused of being yet another clone of the internationally-famous Valeria Lukyanova, Alina, however, claims to be different from all other Barbie imitators. She says she resembles the popular doll naturally, with her big eyes, small nose and small plump her lips. And yet it’s obvious she uses tons of makeup to enhance her features, just like every other human doll we’ve ever features, from KotaKoti to Vanilla Chamu. Although no self-respecting barbie wannabe would ever admit to it, there are some who accuse her of also using photo manipulation software like Photoshop.

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Taxi-Driving Pastor Offers Confessions on the Go

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Great news, you no longer have to go to church to confess your sins. Thanks to pastor Joseph Djan, who also happens to work as a cab driver, the confessional has been moved from the church into a New York taxi.

The 52-year-old taxi driver and Evangelical pastor sees cab-driving as running a “church on wheels”. Why? “It allows me to meet a lot of people and sometimes interact with them and it gives me the flexibility to attend to (the) ministry when it’s needed,” Djan says. He has Christian hip-hop playing in his cab and he sometimes lets his passengers know that he is a minister. Usually, after finding out about him being a man of Faith, people open up to him. This is what happened to one of his clients, a gay man who was afraid of coming out of the closet. “He heard my Christian hip-hop and while talking about it, it slipped out that I was a pastor. His mood changed instantly. He told me he wanted to tell me something that had never told anyone before”, the New York cabby says . The client confessed that he was feeling guilty about not telling the truth about his homosexuality, but Djan comforted him. “I told him that we all keep secrets. We all have to come out of the closet in some way or another. He was so relieved.” After stepping out of the cab, the passenger also stepped out of the closet and lived his life without hiding who he was.

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Meet Moffy, the Cross-eyed Model Challenging Fashion Beauty Standards

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Moffy is not like every other female supermodel. Sure, she is young, beautiful, talented and has the right body measurements, but there’s also something that tells her apart from all the other professional models. Moffy is cross-eyed.

Most girls are denied a career in the modelling industry because of their physical “flaws”, but in young Moffy’s case, her strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other, was exactly what helped her succeed in the fashion world. Before her now-famous photo-shoot for POP Magazine, Moffy had never been photographed for a fashion mag, but her pure, unconventional beauty seduced everyone, even the people at Storm, the model agency that discovered Kate Moss, who recently signed Moffy. Tyrone LeBon, the photographer who worked with her for POP, said: “Moffy is a girl who my girlfriend Adwoa suggested to Max [Pearmain] and I. We chose to shoot her because we had recently shot with models and wanted a change. Moffy had never been photographed for a magazine and it’s always exciting to work with someone where there is uncertainty about how it might work out.” I for one think it turned out pretty awesome.

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Woman Dedicates Her Life to Getting Her Picture Taken with Celebrities

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Vanessa Sky Ellis has dedicated her entire life to taking photos of herself with famous people. She spends up to 12 hours a day hunting for celebrities around her hometown of New York and has so far collected a whopping 10,000 photographs with stars like Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp and Cher.

The 26-year-old barmaid says her hobby of photographing herself with A-list celebrities is “the most important thing in her life” and spends hours on end stalking stars around the city just to take their picture. Among her many “victims” are famous actors and singers such as Jonny Depp, Brad Pitt, Sharon Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carrey, Al Pacino, Denzel Washingon. Her favorite picture is of “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Johnny Depp who she finds very attractive. “Johnny Depp is the most handsome man ever – he might be 50 but he’s beautiful,” she confesses. “I’ve never considered cheating on my boyfriend with a celebrity, but if you had the chance with Johnny Depp what girl wouldn’t?” Vanessa also likes Lady Gaga, as the “Bad Romance” singer is always nice enough to stop to chat and take pictures with her little monsters. Celebs like Bruce Willis, who never stops for the pleading admirers, are her least favorite.

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64-Year-Old Ripped Grandfather Proves It’s Never Too Late to Get Fit

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Robert – a grandfather from Kentucky, is living proof that it’s never too late to start exercising and get fit. He started working out intensely at the age of 56 when he was overweight and unable to walk without a cane. Now, he’s got amazingly toned muscles and and is in the best shape of his life.

“At 56 years old, I was overweight, couldn’t really walk, had braces and was walking on canes and walkers. I wasn’t really happy with my life and the way things was going,” Robert explains. He decided to change all of this so he joined a gym despite everyone being very skeptical of his abilities. The man was very determined to prove everyone wrong and went to the gym regularly. But it wasn’t until he discovered a group of training enthusiasts on YouTube – who exercise anywhere, without using any kind of specialized equipment – that his passion for training really took off. “I discovered calisthenics watching BarStarzz on YouTube about a year and a half ago and I decided I would give it a whirl and fell in love with it,” the ripped grandfather says. This type of exercise can be done anywhere and is incredibly good for improving flexibility and strength.

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Real-Life Aquaman Can Hold His Breath Underwater for 22 Minutes

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In 2010, Danish freediver Stig Severinsen  jumped into a pool filled with sharks and held his breath for 20 minutes and 10 seconds, breaking the previous Guinness World Record for the longest time breath held voluntarily. Two years later, the fearless Stig did it again, somehow breaking his own remarkable record by holding his breath for a staggering 22 minutes. If there’s such a thing as a real-life Aquaman, it’s this guy.

Severinsen – who has a Ph. D. in medicine and a master’s degree in biology, is known for participating in the most extreme challenges, including swimming in freezing water. Before setting his first breath holding world record, he swam 236 feet – about 72 meters (14.5 more meters than Wim Hof, the previous record holder), in the below-zero waters of the North Sea. After taking a few breaths of air, he dived feet first through a hole carved in the ice. As soon as he was in the water, he started swimming to the next hole wearing only in his signature blue Speedos. The triangle-shaped hole was 72 meters away and there wasn’t another escape route mid-way, which made the challenge extremely dangerous. After reaching his destination in just 96 seconds, the 40-year-old daredevil lingered in the freezing hole a little longer, as if to prove the cold didn’t affect him very much. You’d think that after swimming that distance in heart-stopping water he immediately jumped out to find some warm clothes, but our hero just stood there with his elbows on the ice, smiling and thanking everyone as if he was in a hot tub or somewhere in the Bahamas.

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Steroids Turn Female Bodybuilder into a Man

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Unsatisfied with her looks, Candice Armstrong, a former barmaid from London, started going to the gym and working out for three hours a day. After two years, Candice still wasn’t getting the results she wanted, so she began taking steroids and ultimately became addicted to them. Today, the young body-building enthusiast has virtually transformed into a man, with unusually broad shoulders, noticeable stubble and developing male sexual organs.

Candice, who suffers from body dysmorphia, has always been dissatisfied with her womanly looks, especially her upper body which she thought was too thin. “I hated my body. My hips and legs were too big and my arms and torso too skinny. I thought I was out of proportion and not attractive. I’d never had a proper relationship with a man,” Candice says. She soon found herself at the gym, lifting weights and doing push-ups to improve her physique, but after a couple of years of hard work, she still wasn’t ripped enough. Candice stepped up her game becoming obsessed with the way she looked and working out for three hours a day.  Without giving it too much thought, she also started taking daily doses of Trenbolone – a steroid normally used by veterinarians to increase muscle growth in animals. She thought the steroids would finally help her have the bulky upper-body she had always wanted. “After a year, everyone said I had Madonna arms but I wanted them bigger. I heard about steroids and bought them online,” she explains. “When I started taking them I trained very hard. It enabled me to build more muscle and I was making gains I could see.”

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Meet Boomer the Dog, a Canine Stuck in a Human Body

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Roll over and shake paws with Boomer the Dog – a man with a canine soul, who often roams the streets of Pittsburgh in a large dog costume, barking at every passing car and digging holes in the backyard. Boomer takes his persona very seriously and wishes everyone would treat him like a real dog.

Born Gary Matthews, Boomer is now a 50-something unemployed computer technician who lives by himself. He wears ears made from his long hair and a collar with a dog tag with his adopted name, Boomer the Dog. He rarely dresses as a human as he loves wearing his full size paper dog costume and getting on all fours. He eats dog food with his snout from a special bowl on the floor, barks, chases cars and digs for bones in the backyard like any other canine would. The guy even sleeps in his own indoor doghouse which, according to him, is much more comfortable than a human bed. Boomer, who resides in Pennsylvania, adopted his canine persona after watching the NBC hit show “Here’s Boomer” when he was only a child. The popular TV series was about a mixed-breed stray called Boomer who travels around helping people in trouble. This idea appealed to Mathews and soon, his fascination with dogs in general as well as with the star of the show took a life of its own and became his ultimate obsession.

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Morbidly Obese Man Loses 115 Kilograms, Becomes Professional Fitness Trainer

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By working out and kicking his drinking habit, 31-year-old Mike Waudby, a former morbidly obese man from Kingston upon Hull, England, lost a staggering 18st – about 115kg, in just 18 months Excited about his accomplishment and determined to maintain his new physique Mike weighed 33st (209kg) has become a professional fitness trainer.

Mike’s weight problems started in his young adulthood and by the time he was 21, he weighted about 140kg. He worked various jobs including as a car valet and security guard for a supermarket but as he kept putting on weight, he soon found himself unable to fulfill his job duties. With no employment prospects in sight, he barely left his room, eating whatever his mom cooked for him and drinking alcohol he ordered online. He says it was the booze that made him fat, as he used to drink a whole bottle of whisky and 6 cans of beer every night. Feeling lonely, he decided to go out one night out but was disappointed to discover how judgmental some people could be of his appearance. “I used to go out but, one night, a girl came up to me and asked me to leave the bar I was in. I asked why and she told me I was making her and her friends feel sick,” he relates. This incident left him even more bitter than before and drove him to an attempted suicide. “One night, while listening to Guns N’ Roses, I thought to myself, “What kind of a life is this?” he explains. Tired of being laughed at, he was prepared to end it all. “I had terrible pains but I was too scared to go to the gym and do anything about my weight, as people pointed and laughed at me in the street,” he told reporters. After describing how he ingested two bottles of whisky, eight cans of Stella and as many tablets as he could find, Mike remembers waking up with no headache, no pains, just a sickening feeling that he was still there and not dead.

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Controversial Singer Has Had 13 Different Plastic Surgeries by the Age of 25

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Alyona Piskun is considered a victim of plastic surgery. Although she is only 25 years old, the controversial Russian singer and internet celebrity has completely changed her appearance by going through 13 different cosmetic procedures.

Alyona is one of the most controversial artists in Russia. Her music and performances are viewed by many as obscene, and she has recently gotten in trouble with the law after a scandalous photo-shoot at one of the most sacred places in the country, the Mamayev Kurgan monument. But the most shocking thing about the 25-year old is her addiction to plastic surgery. After going through 13 major cosmetic procedures, including four rhinoplasty surgeries, a mentoplasty (chin defining), blepharoplasty and cheek liposuction, the Russian singer has completely changed her appearance. Comparing photos of her from just three years ago with her most recent one, it’s hard to believe we’re talking about the same person. The only things that give her away are the tattoos.

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Martha Mason – The Woman Who Spent 61 Years Immobilized in an Iron Lung

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Martha Mason was an extraordinary human being who spent over 60 years of her life in immobilized in an Iron Lung after becoming paralyzed in her childhood years as a result of polio. Despite her seemingly desperate situation, Martha lived a fulfilling life, graduating from high-school and college with the highest honors, hosting many dinner parties and even writing a book called  “Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung”, in which she portrayed the challenges and joys of her life.

Martha was born on May 31, 1937, in Lattimore, a small town about 50 miles from Charlotte. Her story took a tragic urn when she was only 11 years old, after the death of her brother Gaston who had suffered from a terrible condition which left him paralyzed before eventually killing him. After his burial, young Martha realized she had also contracted the dangerous viral illness but kept it to herself as not to distress her parents even more. “I knew that I had polio. I didn’t want anyone else to know,” she wrote in her book. “The day before I had heard Mother talking to a friend about the iron lung Gaston had been in. . . . I knew I wouldn’t have that difficulty because I had excellent lungs.” But soon she  too found herself  immobilized in the iron lung, dependent on it to do the breathing for her. “Iron lung” is only a colloquial term used to describe a pressure ventilator, a type of medical device which helps paralyzed people breathe by decreasing and increasing air pressure inside of a large iron tank. Ms. Mason has lived almost her entire life in such a tank with the pressure contracting and expanding her lungs when her weak muscles couldn’t. Doctors told Martha’s parents to take her home and make her happy for a year, as that was how long she had left to live. She outlived them both thanks to an avid curiosity and a desire to learn about the world.

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