Omaha pastor lost over 200 pounds and survived cancer in 3 years

iStock(OMAHA, Neb.) — When a faith-filled pastor from Omaha, Nebraska, had a health scare, she embarked on a weight loss journey and dropped nearly 250 pounds in three years — which helped her to survive cancer.

“The weight loss journey gets frustrating because you blow it sometimes – and you just kinda lose it,” Keasha Hawkins told ABC News of her 247-pound weight loss journey. “But every day is new, it’s a brand new day, begin again.”

Hawkins’ journey began in summer 2016, when she had trouble breathing walking to her car and thought, “I’m gonna die here.”

“I said a quick prayer, ‘Lord, please get me through this,'” Hawkins said. “I made it home, but struggled through the night, so I went to the emergency room.”

Hawkins said the doctors ran various tests, but she was concerned she wouldn’t meet the 500-pound limit for the ultrasound machine. When the nurse weighed her, she was 498 pounds.

“I literally said to myself, ‘If there’s a possible life saving test that I need to take and can’t because I’m too big, then that’s too damn big,’” the pastor at Sure Foundation Ministries recalled.

The tests revealed a blood clot in her left leg had made its way to her lungs.

“That’s the day I said ‘I can’t live like this anymore.’ I started my weight loss journey and I’ve never looked back. It’s been three years and I’ve lost almost 250 pounds,” she said.

Hawkins, now 44, tried various diets and workout apps, but a member at her church suggested MyFitnessPal, an app sponsored by Under Armour that tracks weight, diet and activity, which she credits for her continued success keeping the weight off.

She believes MyFitnessPal worked because “it wasn’t restrictive like most other diets.” The app’s calorie breakdown helped her decide what and how much to eat.

“I tried to put more good in and not focus on taking the bad out — so I added fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said. By default, she also eliminated more processed foods.

By the end of 2017, Hawkins lost nearly 125 pounds, but in January 2018, she went back to the emergency room with “a sharp pain” in her side. Hawkins said doctors “couldn’t find the source of the pain, but in the process they found a large fatty mass.”

The mass was biopsied and diagnosed as a cancerous well-differentiated liposarcoma, a rare cancer of connective tissues that resemble fat cells under a microscope.

Hawkins met with Dr. Jason Foster, an oncology surgeon at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Dr. Nathan Bennion, her radiologist, who explained she could do nothing and let it continue to grow or try to cut it out.

“I said, ‘I’ll take surgery for $200, Alex,'” Hawkins said. “I probably would’ve lost my mind if I didn’t have my faith in God and a positive spin on things.”

“The plan was radiation for three months, Monday through Friday, and then surgery to remove it,” she explained.

“Miracles happen all the time,” Hawkins told herself at the time. “I don’t care how insurmountable it looks.”

In September 2018, Foster’s team of surgeons successfully removed the 15-pound cancerous mass, which had wrapped around her pancreas, forcing the surgeons to remove it along with her left kidney, spleen, part of her diaphragm and both of her ovaries in a 10-hour surgery.

But on top of her own health struggles, Hawkins’ father was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer one week before her surgery. He was admitted to the same hospital, so she was able to see him the morning of her procedure.

Hawkins was discharged on Oct. 5 and is considered in remission with scheduled follow up appointments every six months. Just four days after she got home, however, her father died.

Getting back on a diet plan was difficult Hawkins said, “because my tummy was irritated with all the preventative medication — it was hard to eat and I was sensitive to smells.”

But she was determined to keep up with her weight loss more than ever, and her father’s death also served as “motivation.”

“It’s been quite a journey. She’s very thankful to God for getting her through and helping her grow,” Bishop Michael T. Moten, who’s known Hawkins since she was 14 and lived in their Boys Town community program home, told ABC News.

Moten ordained Hawkins as a pastor and has been like a second father figure for her and the two regularly meet up.

“She’s very determined and really trying to stick with it,” he said of her healthy lifestyle.

“I wasn’t gonna lose the progress I made with that because of cancer, because I owe it to God, myself and my son [Kijuan, 8] not to throw it away,” she said, adding that now, she’s incorporating exercise.

As of July 2019, Hawkins dropped 247 pounds and currently weighs 260 pounds. She has continued to eat small meals with limited processed foods, learned to stop when she “feels full” and drinks plenty of water.

Hawkins shared some words of wisdom for others who may be going through weight loss or a health battle: “You have to rely on something stronger than you. For me that’s God.”

Hawkins prayed for God’s help as the cancer made her weak. Her mantra after cancer has become, “When I’m weak, then am I made strong.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Venezuelans take to streets on independence day with dueling rallies, military out in force

WORLD NEWS Venezuelans take to streets on independence day with dueling rallies, military out in force

iStock(CARACAS, Venezuela) — Opponents of Venezuela’s government took to the streets Friday after a United Nations report found that thousands of extrajudicial killings had taken place since the beginning of 2018.

Anti-government protesters wore white shirts and hats with the country’s flag, holding signs and chanting “liberty” as they walked through the Venezuelan capital Caracas, demanding respect a day after a report by the United Nations’ human rights chief said the government of President Nicolas Maduro had committed human rights violations, and days after a navy captain died in military custody.

But across Caracas, supporters of Maduro also rallied to mark the country’s independence day, as the country’s military massed in a strong show of support for the embattled regime.

Across the city, Patricia Moya, a 42-year-old public school teacher, told ABC News she drove three hours to support opposition leader Juan Guaido, who in January claimed to be the country’s interim president.

“I’m here to show the world that we have a crisis and they are stepping over our human rights,” she said. “I feel like I have no rights when at night I don’t know what to feed my children for dinner,” she said. “My salary should be enough.”

It was the first opposition protest to be held in Caracas in a month. The opposition was emboldened this week by a report by the UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet that said almost 7,000 extrajudicial killings have taken place in Venezuela since last year. The report also said that the government has inadequately addressed food and medicine scarcity.

Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the report presented “used selective and partialized information,” and Maduro’s government issued a lengthy list of “errors” it said the report had made.

Maduro, meanwhile, has continued to back dialogue with the opposition, although Guaido has dismissed the idea.

Guaido, who has been recognized by the U.S. and dozens of other countries as Venezuela’s interim leader, had called for protesters to walk to Venezuelan military intelligence headquarters to “demand the end of torture, murder and human rights violations,” but starting early this morning, pro-Maduro security forces blocked a route to their final destination.

Guaido’s call came after a Venezuelan navy captain died in military custody last week. The wife of Cpt. Rafael Acosta and rights groups accused the government of torturing him and refusing to clarify the circumstances of his death.

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor on Monday charged two intelligence officials with homicide in connection with Acosta’s death, but without explaining how he was allegedly killed.

“We are going to go to the place of torture, without fears,” Guaido said.

At the rally, Guaido climbed atop a statue with a megaphone to speak to a cheering crowd, after security forces blocked their route.

Protester Maria Espinoza, wearing an apron and hat with Venezuela’s flag on it, chanted with her group of friends against the government. The 56-year old said she felt immense pain.

“I feel like Venezuelans have their hearts broken because of the atrocities that are happening,” Espinoza, a manager at a factory that produces yogurt, told ABC News. “But I still have faith.”

While protesters marched in the streets, legislatures loyal to both the Maduro regime and the opposition also held dueling sessions. The president of the pro-Maduro National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, had organized the pro-Maduro rally to celebrate 208 years of independence.

Speaking outside the opposition-aligned National Assembly earlier this morning, Guaido said Maduro’s “regime is afraid of mobilizations,” adding that “Venezuelans know that there is no door to block freedom.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

Netflix to limit tobacco use in original programming following report on ‘Stranger Things’ smoking

Entertainment News  Netflix to limit tobacco use in original programming following report on 'Stranger Things' smoking


Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Netflix has announced that it will limit the amount of smoking in its original movies and TV shows following a report that found that the streaming giant depicts tobacco use in more of its shows than broadcast or cable does.

The report, conducted by the Truth Initiative tobacco control organization, measured shows that aired during the 2016-2017 season, and singled out the Netflix hit Stranger Things, which just premiered its third season on July 4, for including “at least one tobacco depiction” in 100 percent of its episodes.

“That exposure is a significant public health concern because viewing tobacco use in on-screen entertainment media is a critical factor associated with young people starting to smoke,” the report reads.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, a Netflix spokesperson says that while the company “strongly supports artistic expression,” it still “recognize[s] that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people.”

The spokesperson adds that, from now on, all Netflix TV shows and movies with ratings of or below TV-14 and PG-13, respectively, will not include any smoking or e-cigarette use, “except for reasons of historical or factual accuracy.”

“For new projects with higher ratings, there’ll be no smoking or e-cigarettes unless it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it’s character-defining (historically or culturally important),” the statement continues. “In addition, starting later this year, smoking information will be included as part of our ratings on the Netflix service so our members can make informed choices about what they watch.”

Stranger Things season three is streaming on Netflix now.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

Coco Gauff stages comeback at Wimbledon, defeats Polona Hercog to advance to Round of 16

Sports News Coco Gauff stages comeback at Wimbledon, defeats Polona Hercog to advance to Round of 16

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images(LONDON) — Coco Gauff has gotten her ticket to Wimbledon’s second week after a comeback win Friday, on the game’s most storied and famed court.

The 15-year-old phenom won her third round match, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5, against Polona Hercog of Slovenia on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Gauff staged a remarkable comeback, saving two match points in the second set, leading to a tiebreak.

In her post-match interview with the BBC, Gauff said that she is not thinking about the tournament’s second week yet because of her mixed doubles’ match on Saturday.

Gauff also joked about her comfort level on the Wimbledon courts.

“People say Court 1 is my court,” she said. “But I guess Centre can be my court as well.”

Gauff has taken the sports world by storm after defeating Venus Williams earlier this week.

“I remember before I played Venus,” Gauff recalled at her post-match press conference, “one little kid asked for a picture and then after the next day, after I played Venus, everyone was screaming my name so it’s just pretty surreal how life changes in a matter of seconds.”

Gauff said she does not find her wins to be a flash in the pan.

“I mean, I have won 3 matches now, so I think I have proved my own,” she said. “This moment is an incredible moment.”

She will be the youngest player to advance to Wimbledon’s Round of 16 since 1991. The Florida teen will face off against Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open winner, on Monday.

So far, Gauff has won over $200,000 for advancing to the fourth round. When asked what she would do with the money, the teen poked fun at her age.

“I mean, I can’t buy a car because I can’t drive,” adding that she might be buying some hoodies from Jaden Smith’s fashion line.

The Florida teen will face off against Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open winner, on Monday. The two have never played before.

“I watch her a lot, obviously,” Gauff said of her opponent. “I have never hit with her or anything, or practice with her, so I don’t know how the ball will feel when I actually play.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

It’s a…Power Ranger? Shay Mitchell has a Mighty Morphin’ baby gender reveal

Entertainment News  It's a...Power Ranger? Shay Mitchell has a Mighty Morphin’ baby gender reveal


Presley Ann/Getty Images for Patrick Ta Beauty(LOS ANGELES) — After announcing her pregnancy with a YouTube video earlier this week, Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell revealed the baby’s gender with the help of some Power Rangers.

In a new YouTube video, Shay and boyfriend Matte Babel poll their family members to see if they predict it will be a boy or a girl. Shay and Matte are convinced it’s a boy, while most of their family guesses girl.

Then, the reveal commences and much to the surprise of Shay and Matte, it involves two of their friends dressed as the pink and blue Power Rangers.

The pink and blue Rangers begin a battle to see which color will win. They eventually end up in the pool, where they struggle to breathe with their masks on. Eventually, the pink Ranger gets out and runs to the couple, confirming they’re having a girl!

“Oh my god, everybody freaking knew!” Shay said upon learning the gender.

She added that while she’s shocked it wasn’t a boy, she is “obviously” happy to be expecting a girl.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

Kevin Spacey sexual assault accuser drops civil lawsuit against actor

Entertainment News  Kevin Spacey sexual assault accuser drops civil lawsuit against actor


Nicole Harnishfeger-Pool/Getty Images(NANTUCKET) — The man accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual assault and battery has dropped his civil lawsuit against the actor, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.


The accuser’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, offered no explanation for the dismissal, saying, “Respectfully, because of the pending criminal action I have no further comment at this time.”

The young man alleged that Spacey groped him in a Nantucket bar in 2016. He had filed the lawsuit against Spacey last month. The suit was separate from the Nantucket criminal case against the actor for the same incident. That case is ongoing.

Spacey pleaded not guilty to the criminal case. The criminal trial is expected to begin this fall.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas share first official wedding pic

Entertainment News  Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas share first official wedding pic


Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(FRANCE) — Official pictures were finally released from Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas’ second wedding, which took place in France last weekend.

The Game of Thrones actress and Jonas Brothers singer both shared the first professional pic on their Instagram pages late Wednesday.

“Mr and Mrs Jonas,” they captioned the black-and-white image.

In the picture, you see the two of them as they walk down the aisle as husband and wife with beaming smiles on their faces. Sophie wears a long-sleeved lace wedding gown with a deep v-neck designed by Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquiere, while Joe is dressed in a black tux and bow tie.

The famed duo arrived in Paris last week amid wedding rumors. Instagram pictures showed the couple kissing in the romantic Parisian city.

They tied the knot at Chateau de Tourreau Saturday. It was their second ceremony, following their more casual U.S. wedding in Las Vegas on May 1.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019

Duchess Kate reveals Prince George received lesson from favorite tennis player Roger Federer

WORLD NEWS Duchess Kate reveals Prince George received lesson from favorite tennis player Roger Federer

Karwai Tang/Getty Images(LONDON) — Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited Wimbledon Tuesday, but she may attending the famed tournament in the future to watch her son, Prince George, play.

Duchess Kate told friends Katie Boulter and Anne Keothavong that eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer is Prince George’s favorite player, according to Wimbledon’s Coffee Morning show.

She also said the superstar has even played tennis with George at the royals’ home in Norfolk.

The hosts noted Duchess Kate’s family “loves tennis.” In fact, Kate, 37, is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC).

She took over the patronage of the AELTC from Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.

During Tuesday’s outing, Kate sported a chic collared white midi dress with black buttons down the front by British designer Suzannah as she took her seat in the royal box on Tuesday, her second match of the day.

Earlier, she had visited an outside court and cheered on the British tennis player Harriet Dart with Boulter and Keothavong.

Kate grew up as an avid tennis player and huge fan. In 2017, she shared in a BBC One documentary on Wimbledon that tennis was a huge part of her life growing up and that watching Wimbledon matches made her want to be a tennis star.

“I was really taken by [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras, [Goran] Ivanisevic and Steffi Graf,” Kate recalled of a childhood spent watching Wimbledon. “That, for me, was my first memories.”

“It inspires young people, including myself,” she continued. “Every time Wimbledon is on I am thinking, ‘Yes, I could do the same’ and get out the racket. Sadly, not the same results.”

Kate and William have also been known to have a fierce rivalry on the court, with her saying in 2017 that she and William are pretty “even.”

The couple has been courtside, often joined by her family, including her sister, Pippa, at the All England Club through the years cheering on players like British favorite Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and more.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jul 2019