Blog Posts by Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

  • The Inspiring Teenage Track Star Who's Changing the Face of MS

    Kayla Montgomery. Photo: FacebookKayla Montgomery, 18, is one of the country’s fastest young distance runners. The North Carolina high school student trains 50 miles a week and just won a coveted state title. She also has multiple sclerosis.

    More on Yahoo Shine: CoverGirl's New 'Girls Can' Campaign Is Surprisingly Inspiring

    “When she was diagnosed [at 15], she said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to run fast — don’t hold back,’” Patrick Cromwell, Montgomery’s coach at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, tells the New York Times in a profile of the resilient teenager that was published Monday. “That’s when I said, ‘Wow, who are you?’”

    Who Montgomery is, or was, is one of an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 children and adolescents in the country who are diagnosed with MS. But, as it turns out, she’s also part of a small subculture of high-performing athletes living with the disease—pushing herself to such limits when she runs that she ends each race by uncontrollably staggering and then

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  • We Now Have More Female Billionaires Than Ever

    Folorunsho Alakija. Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty ImagesThe world has more female billionaires than ever, according to Forbes—a fact that, depending on your worldview, might elicit anything from feminist pride to universal envy. Of the 268 newcomers to the 2014 Forbes Billionaires list, 42 are women—a single-year record, and the highest-ever percentage of women billionaires (172 out of 1,645) overall.  “That’s progress," writes Connie Guglielmo in Forbes, "But only a bit." She continues, "Only 32 billionaire women—or 1.9% of all the globe’s billionaires—had a meaningful hand in building their own fortunes, as opposed to inheriting one from a parent or husband.” (But as for the women who were just lucky? It’s a distinction I’m not entirely sure they mind.)

    Among some notable newbies on the wealthy list are:

    Folorunsho Alakija, 63, Nigeria
    Worth: $2.5 Billion, Self-Made
    Alakija is Nigeria’s first female billionaire, thanks to her own lucrative oil-producing asset. After being raised by a wealthy man who had eight wives and 52 children, she worked

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  • Teen Sues Parents for Cash, College Tuition. Does She Have a Case?

    Photo: Rachel Canning/FacebookA New Jersey teenager claiming that her mother and father tossed her out of their home and cut her off financially is suing them for immediate support, current private-school fees and future college tuition. The parents, meanwhile, say that daughter Rachel Canning, 18, moved out voluntarily after refusing to abide by their rules.

    More on Shine: Daughter's Facebook Brag Costs Her Family $80,000

    “We love our child and miss her. This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife,” Rachel's father, Sean Canning, a town administrator and retired police officer, tells the Daily Record. “We have a child we want home. We’re not Draconian and now we’re getting hauled into court. She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home, and she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules.’” The rules, he notes, include reconsidering her relationship with a boyfriend who may be a bad influence, being respectful, and abiding by her curfew. He and his wife, Elizabeth, who live in

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  • News Anchor Removes Wig for Postchemo Natural-Hair Reveal

    Pam McKelvy, still bewigged. Photo: WMC-TVA brave Tennessee news anchor who recently beat cancer decided to confront another big demon last week — vanity — by whipping off her wig for a live and emotional on-air reveal.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Cancer Survivor Documents Her Hair Growth After Chemo in Awesome Time-Lapse Video

    “I’m going natural. No more relaxers to straighten my hair,” announced Pam McKelvy of WMC-TV during a broadcast (see video below) on Wednesday, still wearing her smooth-haired wig and introducing a preproduced segment about women and their “crowns of glory,” in which she discusses how recent chemotherapy treatments caused her to go bald. After the segment, her wig was off, revealing her recently grown-in head of short, lovely curls. “All right, this is it. This is my new hair,” said the former beauty queen and 15-year TV news vet, tearing up as she thanked co-workers for being so supportive during her breast-cancer ordeal. (At the end of the broadcast, the spirited co-anchor seated next to her showed everyone

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  • Bus Driver Fired for Helping Hungry Student Fights Back With Lawsuit

    Johnny Cook, in a tribute photo for a public Facebook page. Photo: FacebookA school-bus driver in rural Georgia who was fired after sticking up for a hungry student last spring has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union to file a lawsuit against the school district on Thursday for “violating [his] free speech rights.” 

    More on Yahoo Shine: Bus Driver Takes Weapon From Kid and Loses Job

    The bumpy ride for the driver, Johnny Cook of Tallapoosa, began last May, when he posted a Facebook message expressing concern for a middle-school student who told him he was hungry after being denied a school lunch for not having the necessary 40 cents on his account. “This child is already on reduced lunch and we can't let him eat. Are you kidding me?” he had written in part, quickly galvanizing concern about school-lunch policies in the district, where 62 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced meals. He also angered Haralson County superintendent Brett Stanton, who, according to the suit, gave Cook a choice two days later: recant and apologize, or

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  • The Ethics of Having Children Today

    Photo: Getty ImagesThe concept of baby-making as something inherently simple — get pregnant, wait, hope for the best — is long outdated. But this week the act is feeling downright futuristic, thanks to news of two advances in reproductive technology: the FDA’s examination of a fertility procedure that combines the genes of three people to create a defect-free baby, and a study on existing prenatal DNA testing that has the method poised to replace other less-reliable ones, bringing prospective parents more information about their child-to-be than they’d ever imagined possible. The bits of news are just part of an expanding prenatal landscape — which now regularly includes everything from in vitro fertilization to gestational surrogacy — that’s changing our approach to having kids.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Baby Born After 19 Years as Embryo

    “Even 10 years ago, this would have seemed very science fiction,” Dr. Steve Joffe, a bioethicist with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, tells Yahoo

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  • Breastfeeding Just Might Be Overrated, Study Finds

    Bottle feeding: is it really so bad? Photo: Paul Bradbury/Getty ImagesThough breastfeeding has been declared the gold standard by everyone from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the World Health Organization, a new study has suggested that its benefits might actually not be all that. The research, out of Ohio State University, found that when siblings raised in the same family were fed differently—one breastfed, the other not—the long-term health results were virtually the same.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Breastfeeding Now Mandatory in United Arab Emirates: Does the Law Go Too Far?

    “I do think a lot of the effects of breastfeeding have been overstated,” lead researcher Cynthia Colen, assistant professor of sociology, tells Yahoo Shine. Because it’s been well-established, including by the Centers for Disease Control, that the rate of breastfeeding differs substantially by demographic—with non-white, poorer women among the least likely to nurse—Colen was curious about how other factors played into negative health benefits usually blamed on formula feeding.

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  • The Girl Who Fought Her School's Antigay Actions (And Won)

     

    (Photo via Facebook)When Skye Wyatt, 21, was a high school student in Kilgore, Texas, she had a secret: She was a lesbian, and she had a girlfriend. Only 16, she hadn’t come out to her mom. So it was all the more painful when her softball coaches, who found out about the relationship (and were disdainful of it), took care of that for her. But in a surprise twist, their breach of trust led Wyatt’s mother, Barbara Wyatt, to sue the school for violating the girl’s right to privacy — and on Monday, six years later, the school settled for $77,000. National experts in LGBT rights are calling it a rare and encouraging outcome, with lawyer Jennifer Doan deeming it a “positive story” at the end of what was, for her client, “a horrific experience.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: Transgender Teen Takes School to Court Over Homecoming Rule

    “It sends a really important message,” Texas Civil Rights Project legal director Wayne Krause Yang, who also worked on the case, tells Yahoo Shine. “In this day and age, we have athletes

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  • Death to the Faux-Lesbian Pop-Star Kiss

    Memo to Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and the music industry at large: That planned fake-lesbian pop-star kiss thing? Totally over. Like, OVER. At least it needs to be. Because not only is it really not shocking anymore, it’s just a cheap and tired ol’ publicity stunt — one that empowers no one, while exploiting many.

    It wasn’t always this way, of course.

    More than a decade before Cyrus and Perry locked lips at the edge of the stage during Cyrus’s concert Saturday, Madonna, as everyone on Earth knows, famously made out with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during the 2003 Video Music Awards. And that make-out session? It was fierce and radical and totally hot — and it actually meant something. As Ann Powers so perfectly summed up for NPR: “The trio couldn't have devised a more blatant metaphor for the transmission of an inheritance: here was the madam of pop's brothel going in lips first, to show

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  • 335 Hours a Year Primping? Here's How to Speed Up Your Morning Ritual

    Photo: Trunk ArchiveHere’s a wakeup call for you: Women spend an average of 55 minutes getting ready every morning — frittering away the equivalent of 6.4 hours a week, or 335 hours a year, on looks alone, a new survey finds. Men, by comparison, spend 4.5 hours a week working on their appearance, while teenage girls, the worst offenders, use up 7.7 hours a week on the task. And much of that time, note experts, is spent battling the negative voices in our heads.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Gwen Stefani's Comments on Her 'Chunky' Body Make Us Sad

    “Beauty isn’t about being perfect,” says Ann Kearney-Cooke, a Cincinnati-based psychologist and eating disorder expert who helped develop the Today/AOL Ideal to Real Body Image Survey, the results of which were released on Monday. What it’s about, she tells Yahoo Shine, is “doing the best with what you have and focusing on your signature strengths.”

    The survey of 2,059 adults and 200 teens also found that 60 percent of women have negative thoughts about themselves weekly;

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