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December 27, 2002

Medical Stories That Brought Tears in 2002

From: ABC News - 27 Dec 2002

Dec. 27 — Scientific advances in medicine can change lives, amaze even the non-scientific among us, and in some cases, bring us to tears.

This year, among the stories that ABCNEWS' Medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson covered on Good Morning America, many pulled on our heartstrings, even as they shed light on valuable medical information.

Here are three of the most emotional stories of the year.

Former Deaf Miss America Hears: When Heather Whitestone McCallum won the Miss America title in 1995, she didn't hear the announcer say she won, but non-verbal cues allowed her to realize she was the winner. Now 29, she has become a wife and a mother of two little boys. And in September, thanks to cochlear implant technology, she became something else — a hearing person who loves the sound of her children's voices.

Stop the Stuttering: Mark Babcock, 22, has stuttered since he was a toddler, but a new piece of equipment called the "Speech Easy Device," has him speaking fluently. Invented by speech therapist Joe Kalinowsy, a former stutterer, it fits in the ear canal, and delays and alters voice feedback to the stutterer, tricking the brain into thinking that the stutterer is speaking in unison with someone else.

Children Walk Again: Doctor after doctor saw the Colegroves and their children, but none had a name for the disease that day-by-day was robbing, Harrison, 4, and Gracie, 2, of their mobility, confining them to wheelchairs and taking away their bodies, while their minds struggled with the loss. The tiny details of their childhoods slipped away. The wrapping on the children's Christmas presents became too hard to maneuver. Playing with their toys was difficult as well. During therapeutic riding classes, it took three people to keep the children up on a horse. But then a doctor discovered that they were suffering from a rare disease called Dopa-Responsive Dystonia.

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