Brother’s gift of bone marrow helps Durham boy get back on his feet

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DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — A Durham 7-year-old is on the road to becoming free of his sickle cell disease and getting back on the tennis courts all thanks to a bone-marrow transplant from his older brother.

After 44 days, Noah Royster is walking out of the hospital ready to get back to being a kid.

“I wanted Noah to be cured of his sickle cell,” said his older brother, Blake.

Blake, 10, and Noah are best friends, but because of Noah’s sickle cell disease, there were a lot of things he couldn’t do.

“Blake likes to ski and when we’ve gone on ski trips before, we had to leave Noah at home,” said Noah’s mother, Anitra Royster. “One of the things about sickle cell disease is that altitude and very cold weather can trigger pain crisis and other illnesses within his body, and so we would go solo. When asked once by doctors why (Blake) felt he wanted to do this, he said, ‘so Noah can go skiing with us.'”

While Noah had to stay home during the ski trips, he did find some therapy through tennis. It started with a camp in 2018.

“Sickle cell disease actually relates to red blood cells and taking oxygen to part of the body,” Anitra Royster said. “As an athlete playing any sport, a lot of oxygen is needed to various parts of the body, so he hasn’t been able to play sports in a way that maybe a typical 7-year-old would be able to play.”

And when it comes to playing sports, Noah has what’s sometimes described as a high motor.

“Noah is the type of kid who never saves anything for the run home,” said his father, Dorell Royster. “With sickle cell disease, that’s always been hard because he would give out of energy and he wouldn’t.”

Ultimately, a bone-marrow transplant is the only cure for young children. That’s where big brother Blake came in — there was a 1-in-4 chance he would be a match – and he was.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Anitra Royster said. “We refer to Blake as a superhero and definitely in his little brother’s eyes, he is. It was a really touching thing that Blake would agree to serve as a donor.”

The sibling love pulled at their father’s heartstrings.

“It brings a tear to my eye,” Dorell Royster said. “It’s a beautiful thing to see. They are each other’s best friends, and they really, the past month and a half has been really hard on them just from the perspective of being apart.”

For Blake, donating bone marrow involved outpatient surgery. Noah’s process was a bit more extensive – including three different chemos, platelets and blood transfusions, but it was tennis that got him back on his feet.

“it’s important that he get up and move around for his lungs and other parts of his body to recover and for him to be mobile,” Anitra Royster said. “He was hitting balls off the walls and


Meth ring was led by owner of Fort Worth clothing store Funky Town Swag, DEA alleges

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Inside the kitchen of a Fort Worth home were 27 coolers, three jugs of acetone and a bucket of a horse vitamin often used as an agent to cut methamphetamine.

Also in the attempted lab were zip-top baggies of crystal meth in a washing machine and a loaded revolver in the master bedroom, law enforcement authorities alleged on Thursday.

Investigators said they found eight kilograms of methamphetamine.

Johnny Rodriguez Jr. tried to build a conversion lab in the home with the help of his cousin, 31-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez, Jonathan’s girlfriend, 31-year-old Chelsea Ann Pineiro, and 33-year-old Yvette Gonzalez, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Dealers working for Rodriguez, the 30-year-old owner of Funky Town Swag, sold kilograms of crystal meth from the Fort Worth clothing store’s back office and from trap houses, a motel and a car wash, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday.

Thirty members of the Rodriguez-led methamphetamine distribution ring were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox said. Twenty-one were arrested on Wednesday. If convicted, each faces up to 40 years in prison.

The investigation is based on surveillance, wiretaps and interviews with cooperators and was led by DEA Dallas field division’s high intensity drug trafficking group.

During the arrests, investigators seized 16 kilograms of methamphetamine, nine ounces of heroin and nine firearms.

“Methamphetamine trafficking has no place in Tarrant County,” Eduardo Chavez, special agent in charge of the DEA Dallas field division, wrote in a statement. “Individuals and organizations who not only distribute this poison in our communities, but also endanger innocent lives by converting liquid meth to crystals in makeshift laboratories cannot be tolerated.”


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ThirdLove Creates TL Effect Program to Support Women Entrepreneurs of Color

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After protests broke out in late May in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, a number of companies felt it was time to lend their voices in support of the Black Lives Matter movement founded in 2014.

But like so many of them, direct-to-consumer brand ThirdLove wrestled with how best to respond.

“Back in June, when everything kind of started to heat up around Black Lives Matter, we were thinking as a company what we could do internally and what could we do externally to support the movement,” said Heidi Zak, co-founder and CEO of the intimates brand. “I thought what was really important was to do something aligned with our brand.”

Zak wanted whatever they chose to do to have a long-lasting impact and be something that the company’s internal team could be directly involved in. “We’re about supporting women literally and figuratively,” she noted.

That process led to the creation of TL Effects, a program that supports female entrepreneurs of color by providing them with a $20,000 grant, dedicated office space at ThirdLove’s headquarters, amplification via the DTC brand’s social platforms, and access to business and financial advice from the company’s founders on subjects such as merchandising and producing content.

This October, ThirdLove announced that Arah Sims, founder and CEO of DTC nail glam brand Kyütee Beauty, was the inaugural recipient of the program, chosen from a pool of 650 applicants.

Arah Sims is the first recipient of ThirdLove’s program TL Effects, which provides supports to women entrepreneurs of color.

“To be totally frank, when we started the application process, I would have been happy to [have received] 100 applications,” Zak said.

Sims will be the first of many such recipients, as the company plans to select a founder per quarter to support, she said.

“For people who are saying there aren’t women of color to invest in, this proves something different,” Zak said of the number of women who showed interest.

As for the process itself, to rustle up applicants ThirdLove reached out to universities, startup incubators, partners, publications, chat groups and mentorship programs. A team of 18 judges then narrowed the field to 20 applicants.

The three judges included Zak, senior social manager Courtney Lake and vp of strategy and operations Veronique Powell, who each each selected their top three candidates, from whom Sims was ultimately chosen. “We were all aligned that Arah was the one,” Zak said.

Sims was chosen because she already had a full website up and running, was a solo founder who created a brand and product by herself, was someone who could really benefit from mentorship, and possessed a dynamic and passionate personality, Zak explained.

“I got really excited about the opportunity to be mentored by a female founder who’s walked the path,” Sims said of the program. “Times are changing. A lot of people and companies are coming out of the woodwork to say they want to help.”

Sims is already discussing with


The best online shopping deals this weekend: Apple AirPods, Le Creuset’s colorful cookware, early holiday sales

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Retailers are starting to shift into holiday mode, and that means we’ll be seeing a ton of online shopping sales throughout the next several weeks.

If you need your weekend shopping fix, we’ve got you covered.

The fall deals are in full force, even after Prime Day 2020, and there are still some big sales out there.

Some of the noteworthy deals include Coach bags for up to 70% off, Amazon holiday deals and Apple AirPods for 21% off.

Here’s a roundup of some of the bigger sales this weekend.


Members get 33% off site-wide through Oct. 20 when you use promo code “CREATE” at checkout. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here for free.


The online retail giant is already offering “Holiday Dash” deals.

Apple’s AirPods with a charging case are still being offered at a pretty good deal for $125, compared to $160.

If you looking to hold gatherings outdoors in the winter, this best-selling Stainless Steel Patio Heater for 20% off is a good buy.

You can also browse the following Amazon gift guides to get a head start on holiday shopping.


The designer handbag’s outlet just dropped a “Coach Reserve” collection, which are deals on styles straight from Coach retail stores.

Here are some of the noteworthy handbag deals:

New customers can also snag an extra 10% off orders over $100 with promo code COUPON10 at checkout.


The online sports fan shop is currently offering free shipping when you use promo code “19SHIP” at checkout.

Nike’s popular Air Zoom Pegasus 37 sneakers are $130 on Fanatics. This new batch features logos from 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams, including the Giants, Jets and Eagles.

Tons of NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, NBA and Nascar fan gear is also on clearance. You can also find face coverings in packs of three starting at $19.99 for MLB, NFL, NHL, NCAA, NBA, WNBA and MLS teams.


The department store is holding a home sale through Sunday on kitchen appliances, bedding, furniture, home decor and vacuums.

Kohl’s “hottest toys” for the 2020 holiday season also have been announced. Browse the entire selection here.

Le Creuset

You can save up to 45% on stainless steel cookware, along with specials on popular colorful cookware.

Here are some of the noteworthy cookware deals:

  • Round Wide Dutch Oven for $250, instead of $380
  • Sauteuse for $180, instead of $295
  • Toughened Nonstick Pro Square Grill Pan for $100, instead of $160
  • 16-Piece Dinnerware Set for $210, instead of $252


The popular athletic brand is still discounting leggings to as low as $59. Men’s items can also be found at a discount.

Here are some highlights among the sale:


You can find sneakers, hoodies, sweatpants and more for up to 40% off.

Under Armour

The clothing company’s outlet store has tons of products discounted, everything from hoodies to fleece pants.

Under Armour’s popular “Sportsmask” face covering is also now available in several new colors, although not


Get a First Look at Disney Plus’ ‘Black Beauty,’ Starring Kate Winslet (Exclusive)

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Get a First Look at Disney Plus’ ‘Black Beauty,’ Starring Kate Winslet (Exclusive)

Disney+ is ready to introduce a new generation of horse girls to Black Beauty. The timeless tale of one horse’s unbreakable bond with a special young person gets an update courtesy of director Ashley Avis, who first read 19th century author Anna Sewell’s novel when she was a child.

“Like so many people, it really impacted me. I just wanted to be part of the world of horses,” she tells ET. “I grew up on this book, and it very much influenced my entire life and the way everything has panned out with my love of horses.”

Kate Winslet voices the titular mare, who in Avis’ reimaging is born in the wild of the American West. Beauty is soon rounded up and taken to a stable, where she meets a spirited teenage girl (Mackenzie Foy) and both of their lives are forever changed.

Along with these new photos from the film, ET can exclusively announce that Black Beauty will debut on Disney+ on Nov. 27. Read on for a chat with Avis about paying homage to the original and how she hopes this movie will do good in the world.

What was the inspiration for wanting to tell your own version of Black Beauty?

I read Beauty and just became a horse crazy kid, like many other women do. [Laughs] The Black Stallion was another seminal novel for me. I asked my mom if I could take riding lessons and I competed until I went to college, [then] my life went a different direction. I wanted to go to the Olympics when I was younger, but that wasn’t the way fate was directing me at the time. About a decade passed before horses reentered my life, and the way this happened was really interestingly serendipitous.

I met [producer] Jeremy Bolt about three years ago. I knew him for the Resident Evil franchise, so I went into that meeting not quite sure what to pitch, because I don’t really write in that particular genre. But he’s such a kind, lovely person. We talked about stories that had inspired us to go into our line of business, and I mentioned The Black Stallion. The scene on the beach between Alec and Black, in the ’70s version of that film, it’s five minutes set to score and it’s the connection between a horse and a human. It’s just one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in cinema. If Black Beauty inspired my love of horses, The Black Stallion helped to inspire my love of film. And Jeremy said, “Well, that’s interesting you say that, because my partner and I have wanted to remake Black Beauty for 10 years.” The only things they knew that they wanted to do [were] they wanted to modernize the story and they wanted Beauty to be female. And then they left it up to me.

In telling this


Gang member attacked transgender women in MacArthur Park, prosecutors say

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A newly renovated entrance to MacArthur Park at the corner of 7th and Alvarado streets.
MacArthur Park in 2016. (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times )

A 25-year-old whom law enforcement officials say has gang ties was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder Friday in connection with the stabbings of two transgender women in MacArthur Park in recent months, authorities said.

Donoban Fonseca was charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with attacks spanning from late August to early October, the latter of which sparked widespread outrage in the LGBTQ community.

Fonseca will also face hate crime and gang enhancements, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Fonseca is a member of MS-13, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about the ongoing investigation.

On Oct. 4, a 42-year-old woman was seated on a park bench around 9:30 p.m. when she was surrounded by four of five men who said “something to the effect of, ‘We don’t want gays in the park,’” according to LAPD officials. The victim, identified by local activists as Daniela Hernandez, suffered a stab wound to the throat, police said.

Though gender identity and sexual orientation are completely different, LGBTQ rights activists say people who show hatred for one or the other often conflate the two.

Fonseca was also charged with participating in the stabbing of a transgender woman in the park on Aug. 21, prosecutors said. Authorities say he also took part in an attack on the same victim on Sept. 1.

Fonseca was scheduled to appear in a downtown courtroom Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Police arrested Fonseca late Wednesday night, and he was held in lieu of $1-million bail, jail records show.

Fonseca had also been arrested for carrying a “dirk or dagger” in early July, records show, but he was released after prosecutors had to decline a case against him because of an “inadmissible search,” according to Greg Risling, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Los Angeles police officials declined to respond to questions about Fonseca’s prior arrest.

It was not clear whether other suspects are being sought in any of the attacks.

Hernandez, who is expected to survive, immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador three years ago, according to Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO of the TransLatina Coalition advocacy group. She had been working as a housekeeper and volunteered with the advocacy group to serve hot meals out of their Wilshire Boulevard offices in recent months, friends said.

“She came to this country running away from the violence she was experiencing in El Salvador, only to come to the United States to almost get killed,” Salcedo said.

The attack came just weeks after the violent robbery of three transgender women in Hollywood in what police also called a hate-driven assault.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Conductor’s Surprise Toy Train Gift Delights Beverly 3-Year-Old

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BEVERLY, MA — Noontime has long been a special time for Tan Tran and his son, Aidan, at the North Beverly commuter station.

That’s the time of day when two trains coming in opposite directions pass each other in a rush to 3-year-old Aidan’s delight. The father and son try to make it to the station to catch the magic moment in the eyes of Aidan each day they can.

“Our interaction was just waving at them,” Tan Tran told Patch. “That was about it. We just wave at the trains and he gets excited. He does a little excitement dance.”

Tran said a couple of weeks ago they noticed the conductor of the train started waving back.

“The conductor stuck out his head one day and said you guys make our day when we come by,” Tran said.

Then on Wednesday it was the commuter rail crew’s turn to make Aidan’s day as they got out of the train at the stop and handed Aidan a toy train set.

“He was shocked,” Tran said. “He really didn’t know how to react. He didn’t realize the gesture. He just took it and he gave them a high five.

“He didn’t fully express his excitement until he got home and brought it in the house. He immediately wanted to play with it.”

Three-year-old Aidan Tran plays with the toy train a commuter rail crew surprised him with this week. (Tan Tran)

Tran said now his son takes the train set everywhere he goes.

“He takes it on his naps,” he said. “When I put him down for his nap, he puts it on the table next to him and says: ‘train nap.'”

Tran posted the interaction on his Instagram page and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Facebook page re-posted the photos.

Tan Tran, Aidan’s father, said his son takes the toy train with him everywhere, including nap time. (Tan Tran)

Tran said he began to receive lots of messages thanking him for posting a feel-good story in a time when much of the news is filled with conflict.

“This is like a positive story,” he said. “With everything going on, it’s tough to find a positive light out there. This gesture reminded me there is kindness out there still. You have to look at everything in a positive way. Everything is so negative these days.

“This is the positivity everyone needed.”

Feel good story of the day from one of our smallest MBTA Commuter Rail fans: “For about a year + Aiden and I have been…
Posted by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Amazon Offers Discounts, Gift Card Bonuses

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Just a day after its annual Prime Day shopping extravaganza, which was moved to this week for 2020 instead of its usual spring calendar slot due to COVID-19, Inc. has fired up the promotions engine again.

The company launched its “Holiday Dash” event on Friday morning (Oct. 16), stating in a news release that it’s offering “Black Friday-worthy deals across the most giftable categories — from small businesses and top brands, including toys, fashion, electronics, home, kitchen, beauty and more.”

The company says: “Beat the holiday hustle with epic deals from brands including Levi’s, LEGO, SharkNinja, Marvel, Nintendo, Samsung and more.”

“With new deals dropping every day starting today, customers can shop early and with confidence that they are getting Black Friday-worthy deals and incredible savings on a huge selection of products —making it easy to check everyone off the gift list earlier than ever,” today’s release states. “Plus, Amazon will offer customers over a million deals worldwide throughout the season, in addition to the biggest-ever collection of Holiday Gift Guides and a wide selection of products at everyday low prices, making it truly a season of savings for customers all around the world.”

Amazon is deploying subscription services and gift cards as part of the sales push.

“Beginning Oct. 23, new Amazon Music Unlimited customers can get three months of the premium streaming tier free,” the release states, and “(beginning) Oct. 29, current Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can upgrade to the Family Plan free for three months, with access for up to six accounts.”

Amazon on Nov. 1 will begin a two-month promotion through which new Audible subscriptions will cost $4.95 per month for the first six months, which is a 40 percent discount. Certain Prime Video titles will come with 50 percent discounts for rental or purchase.

Starting on Friday, according to the release, customers who use Amazon Reload for the first time and add $100 or more to a card will receive a $10 bonus.

And starting Oct. 26, first-time buyers of Amazon gift cards will get $15 in promotional credits with purchases of $50 or more. Amazon also said it will give a $100 gift card to customers who get Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cards.

Among some of the conventional savings outlined in Friday’s announcement are 30 percent discounts for some children’s, men’s and women’s clothing from Amazon Essentials, Spotted Zebra, Simple Joys by Carter’s, Daily Ritual and Goodthreads.

Certain Calvin Klein and Levi’s items will come at 40 percent discounts. Wag dog food is selling at a puppy-friendly 40 percent discount, and Star Wars toys are getting 40 percent discounts.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying


Opinion/Kerr: Past four years have been a glorious gift for Putin – Opinion –

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Trust me, by now I’m as tired of writing about elections as you are reading about them. But with little more than two weeks left before we choose our president for the next four years, now’s the time for people to say what they want to say.

And it’s occurred to me the past four years since our last election has just been the gift that keeps on giving for Vladimir Putin.

Chaos, confusion, crisis and incompetence – these were no doubt the ingredients Putin saw when he first laid eyes on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But I’m guessing even he couldn’t have foreseen such a payoff when his cronies took an active role in helping to ensure Trump’s election that year.

Now look around – America is literally on fire, we’re shooting each other in the streets, our institutions are being undermined, our election process is being slandered by our own White House and we’re getting battered by the 21st-century equivalent of the plague. I can almost picture Putin reclining in his lair, gleefully rubbing his hands together like a James Bond villain and crowing, “Imagine what that fool could do in another four years?”

Two recent instances really emphasize this point for me. The first occurred last week when more than a dozen men were charged with federal and state crimes related to a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan and violently overthrow the state government, including attacks on police. They allegedly planned to try Gov. Meg Whitman for treason, and also considered kidnapping the governor of Virginia as well.

These men were reportedly upset about lockdown orders issued in these states to protect residents from the spread of the coronavirus. You’ll recall Trump back in April tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE VIRGINA!” – exactly one day after issuing guidelines for states to follow to protect residents from the spread of the coronavirus.

Now, if these guys had been associated with antifa groups and targeted Republican governors, you can be sure Trump would be calling for their scalps the way he once demanded the execution of the Central Park Five (who were later found innocent, by the way.) But you won’t hear him go after white nationalists or, frankly, anyone who supports him. And under Trump, these guys are feeling emboldened.

Just this past week, a self-acknowledged white nationalist in Colorado pleaded guilty to planning the bombing of a synagogue there in Pueblo. In August, a dumb teenage Trump supporter from Illinois went to Wisconsin and shot three protesters, killing two. Two years ago, another Trump supporter sent homemade pipe bombs to Barack Obama and other Democrats and Trump critics.

But in the meantime, he attempts to lump in racial justice protesters with “thugs” who destroy property and attack people. He tries to woo suburban women by saying they’re under attack. He doesn’t seem to explain who’s out to destroy them, though.

The second incident was just this past week, when Trump attended a packed rally


Rihanna Just Launched Her Fenty Beauty Friends + Family Sale

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Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand rarely goes on sale, but that’s changing this weekend with the Fenty Beauty Friends + Family Sale. The deal gets you 25% off sitewide on, making it a great chance to snag Rihanna’s covet-worthy makeup palettes, lip glosses, foundation and bronzers. Right now, use the promo code EXTRA10 for an additional 10% off your purchase.

Fenty Beauty launched in 2017 with a promise of inclusion for all women and all skin tones. Rihanna, who named the company after her legal surname, says she developed the line after having trouble finding makeup that fit her complexion. Fenty Beauty now has products available in more than 50 shades. The company has also diversified their outreach, with products that target men and gender-neutral customers.

The Fenty Friends + Family sale lets you apply the 35% off total savings to already-discounted items, like the popular Match Stix trio, which lets you build you own trio of products for $54 (regularly $75). You get two MATTE Skinsticks to conceal and contour, and one Match Stix SHIMMER Skinstick to highlight. With the F&F discounts all-in, you get all three items for just $35.

We also like the Complexion Essentials trio, which gets you a concealer, powder and makeup setting spray for just $44 after discount (regularly $88). Other online exclusives include Rihanna’s “Stunna Boss” lip color trio, a five-piece “Gentleman’s Fenty Face Set” (now just $70, regularly $132), and a slew of makeup and skincare accessories, from mirrors to brushes to pouches.

Many of these products were used by makeup artists for Rihanna’s recent Savage X Fenty show on Amazon Prime. The superstar singer and mogul teased some of the products from the show on Twitter this week, along with a pic of her layering a bold lip gloss (also available as part of the sale).

The Fenty Beauty Friends + Family sale is on now at and gets you 25% off almost everything on the site, plus an extra 10% off with the promo code EXTRA10 at checkout. Plus, get free shipping on any orders in the U.S.

The combined 35% discount gets you the lowest price we’ve seen on Fenty Beauty products anywhere online, making them even cheaper than on The Fenty Friends + Family sale ends on Monday, October 19 at 11:59 pm PST. See more on on

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