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Soldier Does One Last Good Deed


Florida head coach Mike White poses for a photo with Florida guard Zach Hodskins (12) Sept. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. Hodskins plays basketball with only one arm. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida head coach Mike White poses for a photo with Florida guard Zach Hodskins (12) Sept. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. Hodskins plays basketball with only one arm. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


This is What’s Trending Today.

Army veteran donates organs

The video shows a long walk down a hospital hallway. A man on the hospital bed is unconscious. The sound of a machine is heard in the background. The machine is keeping him alive.

People line the hallway. A man in a uniform leads the group. Many salute the patient, Army Sergeant Matthew Whalen. Many cry. A woman says, “I love you,” before she chokes on her tears.

Whelan, 35, suffered a brain hemorrhage on Saturday.

That means an artery in his brain broke and flooded that area with blood. The blood killed his brain cells, and doctors said Whalen would never recover.

When this happens, a person is considered what is called “brain dead.” The body can no longer breathe on its own.

But other organs can be saved while the body is attached to a respirator. Whelan’s family decided to donate his organs to veterans who need them. Those organs will be transplanted into the bodies of veterans who would die without them.

Whelan served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His wife, Hannah, is also a veteran. They have three young children.

An honor guard led the walk down the hospital hallway to the operating room. Whalen’s story and the video of him being moved to surgery received more than 6 million views after it was posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

A friend posted the video on Facebook and said: “In his final act on Earth, it is only fitting that he gave his life and in return saved two others.”

Other people are trying to raise money to help the family. So far, they've raised more than $40,000 in donations in just the first day.

One-Armed college basketball player scores

Zach Hodskins is a basketball player at the University of Florida.

He is not a big star.

He probably won’t play in the NBA.

Florida guard Zach Hodskins (24) goes for two points with William & Mary forward Jack Whitman (41) trying to block his shot during the second half of NCAA College basketball in Gainesville, FL, Friday, Nov., 14, 2014.

Florida guard Zach Hodskins (24) goes for two points with William & Mary forward Jack Whitman (41) trying to block his shot during the second half of NCAA College basketball in Gainesville, FL, Friday, Nov., 14, 2014.

And most of the time, he does not get to play in games for the university’s team.

But on Tuesday night, the Gators had a big lead late in the game.

That is when the back-up players like Hodskins usually get into the game.

That is normal.

But what is different about Hodskins is that he was born without most of his lower arm on his left side.

Hodskins got into the game with less than 50 seconds to play.

With 35 seconds to go, he drove toward the basket and scored the first basket of his college career.

Today, everyone is trying to find out more about Zach Hodskins.

One Twitter post about Hodskins by the sports network ESPN received almost 40,000 tweets and favorites.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Kathleen Struck.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Did you see the video of the veteran being wheeled into surgery in the hospital? How did it make you feel? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

hemorrhage – n. a condition in which a person bleeds too much and cannot stop the flow of blood

artery – n. any one of the tubes that carry blood from the heart to all parts of the body

respirator – n. a medical device that helps people breathe

transplant – v. a medical operation in which an organ or other part is removed from the body of one person and put into the body of another person

unconscious – adj. not awake especially because of an injury, drug, etc.

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