Blog Posts by Nadine Kalinauskas

  • Montreal teen invents $500 dialysis machine

    Anya Pogharian, 17, was volunteering at a hospital dialysis unit when she found the inspiration for a high school science project: A more efficient dialysis machine that would be easier on patients suffering from kidney failure.

    “It takes a lot of energy out of them,” Pogharian told CBC News of the traditional four-hour, multiple-visits-a-week procedure. “They’re very tired after a dialysis treatment.”

    After working on her invention for 300 hours, Pogharian created an affordable unit that could be used at home.

    "You wouldn’t have to make your way to the hospital, which is a problem for a lot of patients. It’s not necessarily easy to make your way to the hospital three times a week, especially it you have limited mobility," she said.

    Her dialysis machine prototype would cost around $500 to buy, compared to the $30,000 it currently costs to purchase a machine.

    Héma-Québec was so impressed with Pogharian’s invention and its potential to cut medical costs and hospitalization stays that

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  • Meet 'The Hulk,' a 173-pound pit bull

    This is one big puppy.

    A 17-month-old, 173-pound pit bull is making headlines today for being just that: A 17-month-old 173-pound pit bull.

    A video of the dog was uploaded to YouTube by canine breeders Dark Dynasty K9s, who specialize in large pit bulls.

    They hope the viral success of the video will soften people’s views of the oft-misunderstood breed.

    “They wanna use hulk all over the UK to promote positive message for the pit bull in all the largest newspapers!” Dark Dynasty K9s wrote on Facebook. “Anyone knows the U.K. has a very backwards look at these dogs so changing things like THIS is what it’s all about! Can’t express the joy this brings me! They wanted to use this video which couldn’t explain it all better! “

    The dog, nicknamed “The Hulk,” is being called the world’s biggest pit bull.

    See more of The Hulk in action below.

    In 2012, another large pit bull found fame online. Two-year-old Tank weighed in at an impressive 157 pounds.

    Watch Tank’s weigh-in below:

    When it comes

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  • Horse rescued from bathtub by firefighters

    Don’t dance too close to the bathtub: It’s a lesson a horse named Phantom had to learn the hard way.

    Last Wednesday, the 30-year-old Palomino/Appaloosa mix was dancing around her stall at a farm in Orangevale, California, protecting her food trough — which is a bathtub — when she fell into the trough and got stuck.

    For about 25 minutes, the horse was stuck with her feet in the air, unable to wiggle free.

    Phantom’s owners, Charles Campbell and his wife, called 911.

    (At first, the dispatcher misunderstood the call and thought Mrs. Campbell was calling about her husband getting stuck in the tub. Honest mistake.)

    The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District worked with the family to tilt the bathtub on its side and pull the horse out of the tub and onto her feet.

    “She was totally stuck, legs up in the air and all!” the Fire District wrote on Facebook, describing the rescue.

    “Working closely with the family, many hands (and a few tools) got her back on her feet in just a few minutes. Now

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  • Dying veteran giving away everything he owns

    Karlstrand packs his belongings so he can pass them on to someone else who needs them. (KARE11)Karlstrand packs his belongings so he can pass them on to someone else who needs them. (KARE11)

    Bob Karlstrand knows he’s dying.

    Before he does, the 65-year-old Maple Grove, Minnesota, veteran plans on giving away everything he owns.

    "Most of the things I can remember having. Maybe some pictures I’ll keep but in the end it’s only material things," he told KARE 11.

    So far, he’s given away most of his possessions — including his living room carpet — and has made arrangements to donate his home to a veteran’s family through Habitat for Humanity.

    “I wanted to give back to the veterans if I could,” Karlstrand said.

    Even the carpet in Karlstrand's home is being used to help others. (KARE11)Even the carpet in Karlstrand's home is being used to help others. (KARE11)

    He’s giving the University of Minnesota’s nursing program his $1 million retirement fund, which will provide six scholarships.

    "Over the years I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of nurses. Well, maybe not so fortunate to know a lot of nurses," he said.

    "The fact that I know they are going to be helped is good enough for me.”

    Karlstrand has colon cancer and terminal lung disease. He’s not sure he’ll live to see 66.

    An only child who never married or had children, he’s

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  • Healthy food for the hungry: Toronto gets its first vegetarian food bank

    It’s easy to assume there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options at local food banks: white pasta, peanut butter and canned beans are popular donation items.

    But Matthew Noble, a vegan, wanted to make sure the city’s needy had access to healthier meat-free options — especially fresh fruits and vegetables.

    Noble, 32, who does custom millwork for a living, and other volunteers recently launched the monthly pop-up Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank, based out of Yonge Street Mission, intent on providing fresh food to those who can’t afford it.

    “I don’t want to give people any unhealthy food. I want to give them something I can eat,” Noble told Metro News.

    Following the model of the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank, which closed after the death of its founder in 2013, the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank is making sure that at least half of what it offers to citizens is fresh, whole foods.

    Most food banks struggle to reach the 50-per-cent-fresh mark. Even then, that number often includes meat and

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  • Couple's 'Blank Space' parody announces pending birth of third baby

    We’ve seen plenty of creative pregnancy announcement videos, but this one might be the catchiest. (Good luck getting the tune out of your head.)

    When Kimmy and Tandy Baker of Idaho discovered they were expecting their third child – a complete surprise – the parents to two young daughters decided to share the news with a fun video.

    “I was really not happy about the pregnancy at first and making the video kind of helped pull me out of that funk,” Kimmy told TODAY Parents. “It made it more real and more of a fun thing that we are having a third baby.” 

    The Bakers, who started a video production company last year, wrote lyrics to a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” titled “A Name” – another production company produced the song for them – then filmed the announcement in their home.

    “I was listening to ‘Blank Space’ while cleaning the house one day and when I heard ‘name’ I knew that was the song,” Kimmy told ABC News. “So we just had to build it around naming the baby and boom! We

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  • Could Quebec’s ‘scary cat’ become the next Grumpy Cat?

    Move over, Grumpy Cat, there’s a new celebrity feline in town.

    Nine-month-old Atchoum, translated as “Sneezy” in English, lives in Quebec, and, according to the Internet, “might actually be an evil wizard.”

    The unique-looking cat has become quite the star online, thanks to his piercing golden eyes — his death stare is rumoured to “devour your soul” — and abnormally long, disheveled, mad-scientist mane, due to a hormonal disorder that causes rapid hair growth.

    (And, no, Atchoum is not a strange breed of dog disguised as a cat. He is 100 per cent cat.)

    His owner, Nathalie, chronicles Atchoum’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram, where he’s gained thousands of followers in just two weeks. 

    Check out some of Atchoum’s most memorable moments. We’re especially partial to the shot of him helping load the dishwasher. All pets should pitch in around the house more. 

    (Photos via Facebook)

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  • In New Brunswick, 'snow train' dashes through the snow

    It’s a winter wonderland out there.

    And while some of us would rather hibernate until the snow melts, others are dealing with the blanket of white stuff the best they can.

    In New Brunswick, where snow storms have hit hard in the last few weeks, CN Trains weren’t going to let covered tracks stop them.

    A video of a train ploughing through the deep snow, half-visible in a cloud of white as it clears the tracks — and covers the cameraman as it zooms by — is going viral.

    Moncton has been hit with a whopping 201 centimetres of snow in 2015 alone. New Brunswick remains under an extreme cold alert

    A train might dash through the deep snow, but this dog prefers to just accept whatever’s coming. 

    A husky named Atlas has a pretty “chill” attitude about the snow: go with it — even if that means getting buried in a snowbank.

    And Rudiger the cat is taking a more

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  • 911 dispatcher breaks the rules, saves Virginia toddler’s life

    Tim Webb, a 911 dispatcher in Galax, Virginia, knew the rules: because the local police department does not have emergency medical dispatch (EMD) certification, dispatchers are not allowed to give CPR instructions over the phone.

    One day in December, he decided to break the rules. In doing so, he saved a toddler’s life.

    Aiden Walker, 17 months, had been feeling ill and was taking a nap with his grandmother, Cheri Grable, when he had a seizure. He stopped breathing.

    “I scooped him up in my arms, at that point he was lifeless. And I yelled out to her, ‘Dial 911, dial 911, dial it now!’” Cheri Grable told WTVR.

    Aiden’s mother, Melissa Grable, was getting him medicine elsewhere in the house. She heard her mother’s screaming and called 911.

    Tim Webb answered the phone. 

    When Webb asked Melissa if anyone knew CPR – she said no – he had a decision to make: should he play by the rules and wait for an ambulance to arrive, or should he give Melissa CPR instructions over the phone?

    Knowing an

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  • Frugal Vermont man leaves surprise multimillion-dollar donation to hospital, library

    In this 2011 photo, Connie Howe pours coffee for Ronald Read, left, and Dave Smith. (AP Photo/Brattleboro Reformer, File)In this 2011 photo, Connie Howe pours coffee for Ronald Read, left, and Dave Smith. (AP Photo/Brattleboro Reformer, File)

    Ronald Read died in June at the age of 92.

    Known for his frugal lifestyle – including his frequent foraging for firewood – no one knew that he was also passionate about picking stocks.

    Over the years, the modest World War II veteran, who worked at a gas station for 25 years and as a janitor for another 17, accumulated a fortune worth $8 million.

    After his death, Read bequeathed $4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the Brooks Memorial Library. His donations are the largest each institution has ever received.

    "This is a substantial amount of money for the hospital to receive," Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Director of Development and Marketing, Gina Pattison told the Brattleboro Reformer. “We are very appreciative of what Mr. Read left. It’s pretty incredible. This is not something that happens on a regular basis.”

    "This bequest is incredible. It’s transformative," Brooks Memorial Library Executive Director Jerry Carbone said. “It’s going to really

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