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Paralyzed Football Star Defies The Odds And Inspires Thousands

Chris Norton from Des Moines, Iowa was just your average football-loving kid growing. But then, one tackle changed everything.

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Chris Norton from Des Moines, Iowa was just your average sports-loving kid growing. He played them all and he loved them all. But his best and favorite sport was easily football. He shined as a starter for three years on his high school’s team and his hard work paid off in the form of a full ride to Luther College. Chris’ dreams were coming true and he couldn’t wait for what the future held. But his entire world was about to be flipped upside down.

Chris saw playing time early at Luther, and during their game on October 10th, 2010, Chris went for a big hit on a kickoff. But, as Chris said later, “I mistimed my jump, just by a split second.” And when he tried to push himself back up off the ground, he couldn’t. His arms and legs weren’t working. He was left motionless on the ground. His teammates, coaches, family and everyone watching the game that day looking on in fear. Worried that the unthinkable had happened.

Chris was quickly taken to the hospital. Doctors took X-rays and administered a series of tests. Chris and his family were so scared. They didn’t know what was wrong with Chris. Then, the doctor’s delivered the terrible news. Chris had broken his C3 and C4 vertebrae. It’s quite possibly the worst spinal chord injury he could have suffered. Chris was told that there was only a 3% chance that he would ever move anything below his neck again, and his football career was over. Chris and his family were devastated.

But before his family could even process the awful news, Chris had a thought. “I’m going to prove these doctors wrong.” And he set out to do just that. He went to work with physical therapists, trying to re-teach his broken body to work again. Four hours a day, sometimes even more. “If I wasn’t sleeping, I was working,” Chris said. It’s a work ethic he learned while playing football. And after a few brutal months of excruciating efforts, Chris got a sign. He wiggled his left toe. It was all the motivation he needed to keep going.

Meanwhile, Chris wasn’t going to let this terrible accident stop him from living his life. He returned to college and his friends. But he was worried he may never find a woman that would love him. But his friends were having none of that. They encouraged him to try online dating. That’s how he met Emily. She didn’t care about his limitations or his wheelchair. She saw the real Chris and they quickly fell in love.

Now, with the love of his life by his side, Chris continued to work towards his goal of proving the doctors wrong. And sure enough, by the time Chris was set to receive his diploma from Luther College, Chris had regained some mobility. And when his name was called, with the help of Emily herself, he walked across that stage to accept his diploma. It was truly a beautiful moment that no one there will ever forget.

And Chris wasn’t done there. There was another moment coming up that Chris was determined to walk during. His and Emily’s wedding. Chris set a specific goal: to walk 7 yards down the aisle. The ceremony was a beautiful one full of family, friends, and love. And once it was done, Emily helped her new husband out of his wheelchair and, under her arm, he walked those 7 yards. Chris had done was previously considered nearly impossible.

Chris and Emily have gone on to start the Chris Norton Foundation, which helps raise money to support other people that have suffered debilitating spinal injuries. They also have fostered an incredible five children. All while inspiring thousands every day.

It’s incredible stories like Chris and Emily’s that go to show there’s nothing you can’t achieve when you truly put your mind to it. We should all be so lucky to have the determination Chris has and the love of someone like Emily to help us along the way. Congratulations to both of them and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from them soon!

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Black Designers Celebrated During the Milan Fashion Week

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Five designers were part of the Black Lives Matter campaign in the Italian fashion group of the event. A name inspired by the international movement trending worldwide as a form of protest against racial injustice. However, due to the pandemic, the event was one of the first fashion week’s virtual shows. The digital event named We are made in Italy was filmed at Milan’s grand Palazzo Clerici and hosted the summer/spring 2021 collections of Joy Meribel, Karim Daoudi, Mokudu Fall, Claudia Gisele Ntsama, and Fabiola Manirakiza. As Manirakiza was initially from Burundi, Mokodu Fall and Claudia Giselle Ntsama grew up with a family of tailors from Cameroon. At the same time, Karim Daoudi was born in Morocco, and Joy Meribel grew up in Nigeria. The five designers were mentored by the only black member of the Italian fashion council, Stella Jean. The Italian-Haitian was also campaigning against racism in the industry. According to Jean, Made in Italy used to represent itself around the world as a white concept. However, now it is no longer like this as the new Italy doesn’t want to be part of it.

Going against the grain

According to the Italian high fashion black designers, they believe that it is essential to show the world that Made in Italy doesn’t correspond to any particular color.  They want to abolish the prejudice of being Italian means being white. They claim that this world we live in is a world that only a few know of its existence, and even fewer are able to enjoy it. 

However, since the show was dedicated to black Italian designers of Milan’s fashion week for the first time, it’s debut was the marking point in the official calendar. A strong move of the organizers in the hope of highlighting the lack of diversity in the industry. 

According to Stella Jean, it is quite depressing to think that most Italian brands enjoyed by worldwide attention have a mass amount of influence on billions of people who don’t even realize that an entire generation in Italy is asking for a voice and space.

Jean demands that the sector governing body support black designers and have called out Italian fashion houses to confront racism.

Making a permanent mark

Some may even say that predominantly, Italy has shown blindness to horrifying racing hiding underneath its skin. 

Jean claims that it is unfair that some people remain invisible. Italian brands tend to pretend not to see them and give most of their attention in an inappropriate way towards the Black Lives Matter movements outside of Italy. Instead, they would focus on things happening in the United States while ignoring things happening in their own country. She believes that Italy has a serious racial problem, and if we don’t open the wound now to heal it, it will never heal. 

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Tabitha Brown and Other Black Personalities Focus On Joy Despite Crisis

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Happiness is an essential aspect of survival. For many Black influencers, promoting positivity among fans and followers, mainly during crises, is a must—that so-called reminder that there is still light at the end of the darkest tunnel.

Amid the ill effects of the present COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing debates regarding equality and racism, numerous Black celebrities and creators are offering the community a chance to laugh, reconnect, and heal. Tabitha Brown delights her audience with cooking expertise; Kerry Washington showcases yoga as a calming and reflective activity, and Rickey Thompson entrances followers with his dancing moves.

Brown and Her Cooking

The vegan actress provides both her Instagram and TikTok fans with motivational clips. She combines her southern cooking with inspirational narratives. She guides her millions of followers as she demonstrates how to cook a variety of dishes as she simultaneously calms her audience with her trademark expressions, including “’cause that’s our business” and “like so, like that.”

After her 2-year battle with chronic fatigue and pain, the actress turned to the web, posting motivational videos for fans. “I want to help people,” Brown shares in a recent interview. “I think my content has a responsibility to bring light every day, whether it’s in laughter, whether it’s in inspiration, whether it’s through food,” she adds.

Thompson and His Dancing Moves

Like Brown, Thompson has millions of followers on social media. He dazzles his fans with various dance clips coupled with relatable rants regarding relevant issues. His videos are bursts of color and gaiety, encouraging everyone to believe that things will soon be okay.

He shares that, after the terrible losses that he and his family encountered, he realized that he could use his voice to influence others. Nowadays, he provides his fans with comic relief through dancing, walking, and self-expression. “As a Black person, our whole journey is trying to keep all our emotions within because we’re supposed to be strong, we’re supposed to be these tough people,” Thompson explains. “But we’re also human… What’s important is letting other people know you’re not in this alone,” he continues.

Staying Positive amid Problems

Despite the current difficulties encountered by various Black and colored communities in the country, it is highly important to remain calm and steady. Laughter helps relieve the accumulated stress and pain brought on by the pandemic and increased racism, while motivational talks provide positive guidance on how to make the best of the situation.

Numerous Black influencers and personalities offer various stress relief options online, encouraging others in the community to hold on to each other, although virtually, as we all await the eventual cure to this present pandemic. “So that even if it’s for one minute, it’s an escape for whatever they have going on in life. They can laugh a little bit or cry if they need to, but they just feel like they have somebody at that moment,” Brown asserts.

Indeed, we may all be grappling with various issues at the moment, but hope must spring eternal as survival can only be possible for those who remain steadfast, strong, and happy.

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The Fur-Parent’s Guide to Caring for Your Dogs During and After a Lockdown

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The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the fundamental ways we live our lives. Gone are the days where we can travel freely, have a night out with friends, or even visit the beach! Nowadays, staying at home is considered a norm, and you are only advised to go out for essential travels.

While the human world has been busy adjusting during the lockdown period – fur parents may have forgotten one important aspect – their pets are adjusting to the lockdown period just as much as humans are. Let’s take a look at how you can help your pets cope during the lockdown period.

Ways to Help Pets Cope During Quarantine

Change Their Routine

With everything happening in your life while you work from home, your pet’s usual routine may be disrupted. Consider your dog’s eating habits, exercise, toilet breaks, playtime, training, rest period, sleep, and even the times you hang out together!

If you feel that you are spending more time working while you are at home and seldom have time to play with your pet, train, or feed them, make sure you have a timetable so your pets can have a normal or routine in their lives. Remember, they are adjusting to the change as much as you are; and like you, they also need to have a structure to be productive and engaged.

Exercise

Being cooped up at home can lessen the hours of exercise your pets have for each day, resulting in your pets having excess energy levels. Worry not for there are tons of fun stuff that you can play with your pets even inside the house.

Some games would utilize their sense of smell and their brains to find items for you. This can hit two birds with one stone as you are helping train your dogs at the same time, making sure they have their daily workout sessions.

Sleep

Having more people around the house can negatively affect your pet’s sleep and rest time as the place’s energy stimulates them. Make sure that your pet has its corner where it can relax and sleep. Make the corner more comfortable for them by putting a comfy bed, blankets, and pillows to help them relax even during the day.

Ways to Help Pets Cope after Quarantine

After quarantine restrictions ease up, you will observe that you are spending more time outside, whether for work, errands, or leisure. While being indoors has done wonders in terms of your bond with your pets, they may be used to you and other people in the house.

When you go out for prolonged periods, the distance may come as a shock to your pets. Make sure that they can cope with this change with the following tips:

Gradual Training

If you know that you will be gone for a long time, make sure to train your dog in advance by leaving him in another part of the house first, and then gradually increasing the ‘training’ until they get used to you being out of the house again. Remember, even dogs can get separation anxiety.

Entertain Your Pets

Another way to make sure your dog does not feel bad when you are away is to entertain them! Buy them with a new chew toy or anything that will keep them entertained for a long time so they will not miss you as much when you go out.

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