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Donor found for toddler born without kidneys; Tyler Perry buys mother car

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was given a car on Tuesday — hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Carmellia Burgess of Gwinnett County brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

The family expected to wait for the news that his father, Anthony Dickerson, would be permitted to donate a kidney after a battle with the transplant team over his criminal history.

>> On AJC.com: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

AJ battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she posted on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gave Burgess a new car.

>> See her Facebook post here

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney will be given to AJ on Wednesday, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

>> Read more trending news 

“Father and mother are there excited and are being supported by Mr. Dickerson’s mentor, David Manuel, and Pastor Derrick Rice from Sankofa Church.

10 tips on shipping packages during the holiday season

Braving the crowds on Black Friday may be the easiest part of holiday shopping. Shipping packages to gift receivers around the country can be a huge challenge – both in getting the gifts there in one piece and in keeping your budget under control.

Here are 10 tips to help you ship your gifts:

>> Read more trending news

1. Buy something you can mail easily

This seems like you’re buying for you and not them, but odds are there is something on your recipient’s list that is easy to ship through the mail.

Even with the right packing precautions, it’s always safer to buy items you know can survive a bumpy trip through the mail. Apparel, shoes and most toys are a safe bet.

>> Start planning now for military holiday shipping deadlines

2. Know the rules

The United States Postal Service has restrictions on what can be shipped, both internationally and domestically. Some things, such as ammunition, are completely prohibited, while other things, such as nail polish and perfumes, have restrictions.

Find out more at usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm.

>> These are the best gift cards of the 2017 holiday season

3. Pay attention to the box

Make sure to use a new, sturdy box that’s a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of packing materials. Using that box that’s been in the basement all year can result in your gifts cascading out at the wrong moment.

The Postal Service estimates that a crease can reduce a box’s strength by as much as 70 percent.

>> 10 tips for Black Friday shopping

4. Buy good packing material

The Postal Service suggests using higher-performing cushioning materials made of polyethylene or polyurethane. Basic polystyrene cushioning can endure only one impact.

Using stronger, but thinner cushioning is better because you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs if the price is based on the package’s dimensions and weight.

Newspaper is not a great choice because it flattens, but it’s good for wrapping fragile items and separating them from other items in the box.

>> Oprah’s 2017 favorite things list is the ultimate holiday gift guide — Here are our 11 top picks

5. Shake it

You want your packing job to result in a tight fit. Use at least 1 inch of cushioning around the item—top, bottom and all four sides — to fill in any air spaces. There should be very little movement when you shake the box.

The key point is to keep the gift items as far away from the box’s walls as possible. When you have a very fragile item, use two boxes, and cushion around the inner box with at least 3 inches of packing peanuts.

>> Too much Christmas music is bad for your health

6. Know your deadlines

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the Postal Service. These are the dates they recommend shipping items in the contiguous United States to make sure they arrive on time.

  • USPS Retail Ground: Dec. 14
  • First Class Mail: Dec. 19 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 20 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail Express: Dec. 22 (Alaska Dec. 21; Hawaii Dec. 20)

For more information on shipping to the rest of the world, visit www.usps.com/holiday.

>> 7 tips for buying the best artificial Christmas tree this season

7. Flat-rate is your friend

FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service all offer flat-rate boxes, meaning that you can pack as much as you can into a box and ship it for one price. However, these do come with some limits – for example, UPS and the USPS only allows up to 70 pounds, while FedEx only allows 50 pounds.

>> PHOTOS: Rockefeller Center Plaza Christmas Tree arrives in New York

8. Look for deals

Do a little shopping around before you ship. Some places, such as PostNet stores, will help you compare shipping prices. You can also do this online at sites such as Shipgooder.com.

USPS, FedEx and UPS also have tools on their websites to estimate shipping costs.

>> 10 ways to save money during the holidays

9. Avoid missed packages

If you want to help your recipient avoid unwanted snooping from neighbors or children, consider sending the gift to their workplace. If it’s meant for kids, that’ll help keep it away from prying eyes. It will also help people from missing deliveries at home.

Keep your tracking numbers handy so you can pinpoint the package’s destination and lets its recipients know when to look out for it.

>> 10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

10. Consider insurance

Santa’s delivery service isn’t always perfect, so it’s worth considering insurance on whatever you’re shipping.

Ask your shipper about insurance or a declared-value option. The post office includes $100 of insurance in its Priority Mail Express shipping and offers options for declaring a higher value, for a fee.

If your package ends up being damaged in transit, but the shipping company determines that you packed it improperly, or did not follow proper packing procedures, they may have grounds to deny your claim.

60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party

Some 1,800 people may have been exposed to a foodborne illness at a Thanksgiving dinner.

>> Watch the news report here

The catered sit-down event was at the Toyo Tire plant in Bartow County, Georgia.

WSB-TV's Berndt Petersen spoke with one of the employees who got sick. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said he dug into the meal and everything tasted fine.

>> Top Thanksgiving food safety tips

But he says later that day, he and a bunch of co-workers felt awful.

“I started getting really bad stomach cramps, and the only food I ate I threw up," the employee said.

“We know that a large number of people, about 60 that we've had reports of so far, possibly more, have gone to local emergency departments with symptoms of foodborne illness," said Logan Boss with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

>> Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

Boss told Petersen that two patients had to be admitted to Cartersville Medical Center.

The caterer for the event was Angelo's Pizza and Bistro, located about 20 minutes from the plant.

>> 56 stores confirm they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2017

The owner would not go on camera on the advice of his lawyer, but while Petersen was at the restaurant, he saw employees scrubbing the place from top to bottom.

In the meantime, the Toyo Tire worker said it was a Thanksgiving meal he'll never forget.

“Everything I ate for three days, I threw up. So, finally last night, my wife made me go to the hospital. When I did, they diagnosed me with salmonella," the employee told Petersen.

>> Read more trending news

The attorney for Angelo's Pizza said the owner and his family are heartbroken over this and offer deepest sympathies to those affected.

They have voluntarily closed the restaurant pending a health department inspection.

Calls to a Toyo Tire representative were not returned.

5-year-old seriously injured in restaurant bounce house

An Oklahoma boy is recovering after suffering a serious injury in a restaurant bounce house. 

>> Click here to watch the news report (WARNING: Linked video includes graphic images.)

A trip to an Incredible Pizza location in Warr Acres on Nov. 5 ended with the Lambert family’s 5-year-old son Bentley, who had been playing in a bounce house, asking if he was going to die.

>> Bounce house takes flight with children inside it

Incredible Pizza, known fully as America’s Incredible Pizza Co., shows on its website that it offers both food and entertainment at its restaurants, listing a bounce house among the number of attractions.

Shali Lambert spoke to KFOR about her son’s condition and said that, while he is on a long road to recovery, it was immediately clear to her and doctors how serious it was when a hook inside the bounce house came loose and tore into the child’s arm.

>> Read more trending news 

A hook inside of a padded wrecking ball came loose and seriously injured Bentley.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m stuck!' I just remember picking him up, and I had to unhook the clip and slide it out of his arm,” Lambert said. “He was asking if he was going to die. He saw all the blood in his arm, and so he was asking if he was going to die.”

>> 5 children hurt after bounce house goes airborne at church carnival

The child had to be rushed from the pizza place to the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency surgery. The boy’s arm has since been sewed up, but he may have to undergo physical therapy and additional surgeries in the future.

“No kid should have to go through that,” Bentley’s mother said.

It’s not clear at this time if the cost of the child’s surgery will be covered by the company, but its insurance company is involved.

On its website, Incredible Pizza says its mission is “to bring families and friends together through great food and fun,” adding that it operate its business “by Christian principles, delivering a positive family experience and a fair return to our company.”

The best Cyber Monday 2017 deals on tech, clothing, home and more

Black Friday is notorious for crowded shopping malls, long lines and total madness. But if the adrenaline rush of the post-Thanksgiving shopping day doesn’t appeal to you, Cyber Monday is another (almost) stress-free option for anyone looking to save big bucks on holiday gifts this year.

>> Read more trending news 

To get the best deals this Monday — and during Cyber Week — you’ll need quick fingers and a proper guide to the best discounts. 

After scouring ads from multiple retailers across a variety of categories, we picked some deals you just can’t miss this Cyber Monday.

» RELATED: All the Black Friday sales you should be jumping on now

Travel deals

The Cloister at Sea Island on the southern coast of Georgia is offering a Cyber Monday special for guests who book two or more nights between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28, 2018. In honor of their 90th birthday in 2018, the resort is giving guests 90 percent off their third night. Rates are typically $395 per night.

Guests at The Cloister will also receive 10 percent off all activities, free breakfast and complimentary wine tastings in January and February. (Forbes)

Intrepid Travel is also offering 15 percent off more than 1,000 trips in 120 countries for solo, family and culinary travel groups. Popular adventure tour group destinations include Vietnam, Machu Picchu, Morocco, India’s Golden Triangle and the Northern Lights.

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Get these Walmart deals on laptops, TVs and more now

The Intrepid Travel cyber sale launched Monday and will continue through Nov. 30 for travel between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30 of 2018. (Forbes)

Liberty Travel is holding a cyber sale beginning Friday through Monday with more than 500 deals with savings up to 66 percent off tours, cruises and several destinations.

See more travel deals at Forbes.com.

Tech deals

Google Home: Priced at $79 in Google’s online store from 12:01 a.m. EST Thanksgiving Day to 11:59 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday. Regular price: $129

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Best Buy ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Dell 15.6” Inspiron 15 3000 laptop with Intel Celeron: $199.99. Regular price: $299.99. Dell will have hourly doorbusters on Cyber Monday, and if you order online at Dell.com, you’ll receive free shipping on any order.

Samsung 65” Curved 4K Smart HDR Ultra HDTV: $999.99. Regular price: $1,499.99. At Dell.com.

GameStop has promised lots of deals on your favorite games, consoles, systems, electronics and more. The cyber sale begins Monday, Nov. 27 and ends Dec. 1. Offers will go live at GameStop.com.

Costco’s popular deals on laptops, TVs and more end Monday, Nov. 27, so catch them before they go. Save up to $250 on laptops from HP and Asus, up to $300 on 40- and 70-inch TVs from Vizio and enjoy bundle deals on the Playstation 4 and Xbox.

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Get these Macy’s deals on clothes, appliances and more now

Apparel and accessories deals

Ann Taylor’s Cyber Monday sale begins Sunday at 5 p.m. EST and ends Monday at 11:59 p.m. You’ll get 50 percent off your entire purchase and free shipping.

Banana Republic is also offering 50 percent off everything online on Cyber Monday.

H&M customers will receive 30 percent off online Monday.

JCPenney kicks off its Cyber Monday sale on Saturday, Nov. 25 and it doesn’t end until Wednesday, Nov. 29. The retailer is offering 25 percent off Nike shoes and apparel, 45-65 percent off fine jewelry and 60 percent off women’s sweaters. JCPenney cardholders will receive additional discounts.

»RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Costco ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked 

Nordstrom is offering an additional 20 percent off select sale items beginning at 12:01 a.m. PST on Cyber Monday until 11:59 p.m. PST.

Old Navy is offering 50 percent off everything online exclusively on Cyber Monday. The retailer is kicking off its 72-hour cyber sale on Saturday, Nov. 25. On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll receive 40 percent off everything at oldnavy.com.

Saks Off 5th is giving online customers 50 percent off select apparel and accessories, and an additional 60 percent off cold-weather items.

See more apparel and accessories Cyber Monday deals at Glamour.com.

Home and lifestyle deals

AncestryDNA is offering its kit for $59 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Regular price: $99.

HelloFresh: Enjoy 40 percent off your first HelloFresh box using code MONDAY40.

Crate & Barrel: Enjoy 15 percent off full price items using code SAVE15 and enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase.

Be sure to check other retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target and Kohl’s for ongoing online deals through next week.

» RELATED: AJC’s special edition Thanksgiving newspaper is a must-have for money-saving holiday deals

Dog owners less likely to die of heart attacks, study suggests

Owning a dog could quite literally save your life, a new study has revealed.

>> Read more trending news

Dog owners who live alone have a 36 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those without dogs. When it comes to dog owners who live with family members, the risk decreases by 15 percent.

"A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household," Mwenya Mubanga, a study author and PhD student at Uppsala University in Sweden, told CNN.

» RELATED: This Texas woman’s heart literally broke when her dog died, doctors say

Published in “Scientific Reports,” the study was conducted by researchers in Sweden who examined medical and pet ownership records of 3.4 million people. Those analyzed by the study were between 40 and 80 years old. Participants were followed for up to 12 years, with around 13 percent owning pet dogs.

Researchers also noted that individuals who owned dogs originally bred for hunting, such as terriers, retrievers and scent hounds, saw even greater benefits. It's unclear exactly why this is, but researchers suggest that these breeds require more exercise, meaning the owner is necessarily more active and healthier.

» RELATED: Research shows why kids feel the loss of a pet so deeply

However, while the study clearly shows correlation between dog ownership and better heart health, it may not necessarily prove causation.

"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease," Tove Fall, a professor at Uppsala University and senior author of the study, told the BBC.

» RELATED: Research shows why kids feel the loss of a pet so deeply

"There might also be differences between owners and non-owners already before buying a dog, which could have influenced our results, such as those people choosing to get a dog tending to be more active and of better health."

At the same time, previous research has also pointed to the positive health benefits of owning dogs. For example, one study showed that children with dogs at home had a 15 percent reduced risk of asthma. Authors of that study suggested this was due to the "hygiene hypothesis," which posits that too clean of an environment actually increases an individual's susceptibility to allergies.

» RELATED: Sheriff: Toddler’s dog stayed with him while he was missing

In fact, the authors of the new study also said a possible reason for the positive effect of dogs on the heart may be connected to bacteria. According to the researchers, dogs actually change the dirt in their owners’ environment, meaning they may also influence their owner's bacterial microbiome. This collection of microscopic species lives in the gut and may benefit cardiovascular health.

But perhaps the biggest factor the research points to is the social aspect of owning a dog.

» RELATED: Ever wonder why dogs are so darn friendly? Science says it’s in their genes

"[Dog ownership] may encourage owners to improve their social life, and that in itself will reduce their stress level, which we know absolutely is a primary cause for cardiovascular disease and cardiac events," Dr. Rachel Bond, associate director of women's heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CNN.

And of course, dogs definitely increase an individual's overall happiness.

» RELATED: 7 dog hacks for pet parents in the city 

"As many dog owners may agree, the main reason for owning a dog is the sheer joy," Dr. Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation told BBC.

"Dog ownership has many benefits, and we may now be able to count better heart health as one of them,” she said.

» RELATED: Do people care more about suffering dogs than suffering humans?

Kevin Hart announces the birth of his son, Kenzo

Kevin Hart is a dad again. He and his wife, Eniko Parrish, welcomed baby Kenzo early Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

"God is truly amazing," Hart tweeted. "Kenzo Kash Hart was born at 1:45am ....He is Healthy & already smiling. Thank you all for your prayers!!!! We love & appreciate ya."

>> See the tweet here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Looks like mom was ready for her new bundle to get here!

>> See her Instagram post here

Energy drinks pose serious and scary health risks, scientific review shows

Although energy drinks may provide the boost you need to make it through a long day, that extra push may come with far more negative side effects than you realized.

» RELATED: Coroner: Caffeine overdose from soda, coffee and energy drink led to death of S.C. teen

Mental health problems, risk-seeking behavior, increased blood pressure, obesity, tooth erosion, adverse cardiovascular effect and kidney damage are some of the many negative health consequences linked to energy drinks, a recently published review of scientific articles on the topic has revealed. Furthermore, these risks are often hidden by clever marketing and a lack of regulation.

"The negative health effects associated with energy drinks (ED) are compounded by a lack of regulatory oversight and aggressive marketing by the industry toward adolescents," authors wrote in the article published in “Frontiers in Public Health.”

» RELATED: How dangerous are energy drinks, really? Study finds link to serious heart problems

According to one of the review's coauthors, the problems associated with the drinks are so numerous, even the researchers were surprised.

"The wide range of conditions that energy drinks can negatively impact was quite astounding," study author Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Men's Health.

Energy drinks contain excessive amounts of several key ingredients that lead to adverse effects, according to the review. The drinks' high amounts of sugar, caffeine and stimulants such as guarana all can cause a variety of negative health consequences.

» RELATED: The truth about the dangers of dietary supplements

"The excess caffeine may contribute to cardiovascular outcomes, such as increased blood pressure," Mattei told Yahoo News.

Whereas caffeine has also been linked to health benefits, a recommended daily limit is 400 milligrams for adults. Energy drinks may contain more than 200 milligrams per ounce.

» RELATED: World’s strongest coffee finally available in U.S., but beware of health risks 

Just as alarming as the high concentration of caffeine is energy drinks' high sugar content. The average 16.9 ounce energy drinks contains about 54 grams of sugar, significantly more than the recommended limit of 36 grams per day for men and 25 grams for women.

As the American Heart Association points out, "added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health."

» RELATED: Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack by one-third, new study finds 

In addition to weight gain, excessive sugar intake can lead to range of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Over time, consistent high blood pressure may damage blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to heart disease and kidney problems. 

On top of energy drinks' own negative effect, they are often combined with alcohol, compounding the health risks. The article pointed out that this trend also appears to lead to higher levels of alcohol consumption, especially among young people.

» RELATED: Half of US adults now have high blood pressure, based on new guidelines

"Researchers attribute this to the fact that consumption of ED masks the signs of alcohol inebriation, enabling an individual to believe they can still safely consume more alcohol, leading to 'awake drunkenness,'" researchers wrote. "As a result of this increased alcohol consumption, those who drink alcohol-mixed ED are more likely to experience severe dehydration and alcohol poisoning."

Despite the numerous health risks, aggressive marketing has led to rapid growth and popularity of energy drinks throughout the world. Sales have increased in the U.S. by more than 240 percent since 2004, and the industry is expected to reach $21 billion in the country by this year. As a result, the article's authors argued that more regulation and oversight is necessary to address energy drinks as a public health challenge.

» RELATED: Here’s how much caffeine it takes to kill you

"Public health and policy action must be taken to mitigate the negative health effects and public health challenges associated with ED," researches noted, outlining specific steps the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) should take to properly label energy drinks. The authors also suggested that marketing should be regulated, specifically as it targets minors.

Pointing to the growing evidence reviewed in the article, the authors argued that energy drinks "should be considered a significant public health problem that warrants attention." 

Read the full study at frontiersin.org.

'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53

Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, known as Wendy Pepper, has died at the age of 53, Page Six reports.

The “Project Runway” first season contestant “died peacefully" Nov. 12 while "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary. The news comes just one month after the death of fellow contestant Mychael Knight, who appeared on Season 3 of the fashion competition series, at age 39. In addition to Pepper coming in third place on the series, she “designed and hand-sewed exceptionally beautiful clothes for children and adults," her obituary said.

>> Designer Mychael Knight, ‘Project Runway’ alum, dead at 39

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of another member of the 'Project Runway' family, designer Wendy Pepper, this year,” a spokesperson for Lifetime, which began airing “Project Runway” after the show left Bravo, said on Friday. “Wendy was one of the original designers that sent creations down the catwalk, paving the way for other designers to come. We wish her family and friends peace during this difficult time.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“She was an artist who proudly forged her own path in life,” her family wrote of her in her obituary. “She was a chef, a writer and a lifelong entrepreneur. Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit.”

Pepper, of Washington, D.C., is survived by her daughter, Finley M. Stewart, as well as her parents, three brothers, one sister and many nieces and nephews. Her cause of death is currently unclear. A funeral service will be held for her on Dec. 1 in Georgetown.

>> Read more trending news

Following her passing, many fans took to social media to share their condolences, with one appearing to quote “Project Runway,” writing, “If you really want to succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to throw yourself into the arena. #wendypepper you will be remembered for being a talented designer and a witty and humorous lady and mother.”

J. Crew apologizes after photo of black model with messy hair sparks controversy

J. Crew is facing criticism after a photo of one of its models and her seemingly unkempt hair surfaced online.

>> On MyAJC.com: Bad makeover of black woman's hair on Today Show points to bigger issues in haircare industry

The black woman, dressed in a Madewell dress, was photographed with her natural hair messily pulled back in a ponytail. But everyone wasn’t impressed with the look.

>> Read more trending news 

One Twitter user took to the platform to express her disapproval. She uploaded the picture of the model with the caption, “J. Crew..... girl.... y’all wrong.”

Many seemed to agree with her sentiment, because the post soon went viral, racking up more than 11,000 retweets and 20,000 likes. 

>> See the tweet here

Several chimed in, accusing the fashion brand of prepping the model for the shoot without using the proper practices needed to style African-American hair. 

>> Shea Moisture commercial: Ad receives backlash from black women

Others, including the model, Marihenny Pasible, thought the look was in line with J. Crew’s relaxed and natural campaign.

Some challenged the critics, asking them to embrace the care-free look for all cultures.

>> On AJC.com: #BlackHairChallenge: A celebration of black hair on Twitter

After the barrage of comments, J. Crew released a statement on Twitter.

“J.Crew strives to represent every race, gender, and background. We sincerely apologize for the styling of this model and the offense that was caused,” the company wrote. 

>> Read the full response here

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