Tag: Real Life

How a trip across the border inspired a doctor to fight for health care equality.

How a trip across the border inspired a doctor to fight for health care equality.

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When Dr. Paula Aristizabal first started working in pediatric oncology, she was a little uneasy. "I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect," Aristizabal explains. Even though cancer specialists have to assume they'll be treating people with a lower than average survival rate, knowing that all her patients would be children made it somewhat more daunting. Fortunately, however, that was far from the experience Aristizabal ended up having. Aristizabal. Photo via Northwestern Mutual. "I learned pediatric cancer is highly curable, so it was very rewarding because I would be able to make a difference in [my patients'] lives," Aristizabal says. Little did she know treating cancer in children wouldn't be the only way she'd make a positive impact on health care. After completi...
Here’s why this boy has a kidney that’s 3 times older than he is.

Here’s why this boy has a kidney that’s 3 times older than he is.

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Meet Tony Salerno. He's 13. Well, most of him is 13. "If someone asks me how old I am, I can tell them, ‘Well, part of me is 50, and the other part of me is 13,'" jokes Tony. Tony just got a new kidney from his dad, so while he's really a 13-year-old boy, his new kidney's almost four times as old. He needed a kidney because the treatments that saved his life also did a lot of damage. At 2.5 years old, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of nerve-based cancer. Baby Tony in the hospital. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno. At the time, the rate of survival for someone Tony's age was about 30%, but, thanks to rigorous treatment, he was pronounced cancer-free at age 3. However, the intense treatments, which included five rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and ...
Ballet brought big joy for this courageous 14-year-old battling cancer.

Ballet brought big joy for this courageous 14-year-old battling cancer.

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Peyton had just finished performing in her seventh production of "The Nutcracker" when she started feeling extremely exhausted. "I had dress rehearsals, dance, cheerleading, and seventh-grade homework, so I thought I was just really tired and sore," Peyton says. But her mom, Carrie, knew better. "The change literally happened overnight. She lost 10 pounds in three weeks. She went from dancing in 'The Nutcracker' in December to being ridiculously tired in January," Carrie says. It was watching Peyton's ballet class that really struck Carrie. "Peyton was so exhausted that she couldn't get up on her pointe shoes," she says. "In that moment, I knew something was seriously wrong." A visit to the pediatrician the next day verified Carrie's worries. After examining Peyton, the doctor asked Car...
The incredible story of baby Eva Grace: the superhero who never lived.

The incredible story of baby Eva Grace: the superhero who never lived.

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My wife Keri and I went in for the standard 19-week anatomy scan of our second child. As a parent, you think that appointment is all about finding out boy or girl, but it’s about a whole lot more. In our case, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare birth defect called anencephaly — some 3 in 10,000 pregnancies rare. The phrase our doctor used in explaining it was "incompatible with life," which looks as terrible in words as it sounds. The child fails to develop the frontal lobe of the brain or the top of their skull. The chance of survival is 0%. We sat in a doctor’s office, five months before our daughter was to be born, knowing she would die. The options weren’t great. There was (a) inducing early, which in effect was terminating the pregnancy or (b) continuing...
Barebones makes the tents of the future, and they’re giving them to people in need.

Barebones makes the tents of the future, and they’re giving them to people in need.

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When Robert Workman had the chance to sell his family business for a substantial profit 10 years ago, he decided to use the proceeds for good. It was an exciting and humbling moment, filled with possibility. He'd become interested in sustainability and philanthropy and knew that he wanted to start giving back. The only questions that remained were how and where. So he hit the road looking for inspiration. Traveling to the Congo was an eye-opening moment for Robert. Speaking to aid agencies working on the ground and communicating with the people whose lives they were trying to help, he identified an important need that wasn't being met: portable, sustainable, affordable energy generation. Robert convened a team of engineers and got to work. Goal Zero was the result. Goal Zero offers a...
Here’s why American parents are now ditching expensive cribs for a simple, cardboard box.

Here’s why American parents are now ditching expensive cribs for a simple, cardboard box.

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Gibraltar. Malta. Lichtenstein. These are a few of the places with better infant mortality rates than the good old U.S. of A. Don't get me wrong, the U.S. is pretty good overall at the pivotal task of keeping young children alive. But we're still lagging behind a number of nations, including those at the very top of the list, like Singapore, Sweden, and Finland, just to name a few. One of the biggest problems new parents in developed nations face is SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, which is exactly as frightening and unpredictable as it sounds. Experts can't always pinpoint the cause of every death from SIDS, but more often than not, it has to do with unsafe sleeping environments that accidentally cut off the baby's air supply with blankets, toys, or other obstructions. For years ...
Behind the scenes with a dad who gained internet fame tweeting about his 4 daughters.

Behind the scenes with a dad who gained internet fame tweeting about his 4 daughters.

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James Breakwell has four daughters between the ages of 1 and 6, well over half a million Twitter followers, and an unfailing sense of humor. Known on Facebook and Twitter as Exploding Unicorn, Breakwell has been sharing his and his wife's parenting adventures with the world since 2012. He writes about the joys and sorrows of fathering four girls, proving that humor can be found in even the smallest moments. 4-year-old: Why do I always have to share the cookies?Me: If you don't, you won't have any friends.4: But I will have all the cookies. James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) September 2, 2016 Like any father, Breakwell enjoys watching his kids grow up. He loves watching their personalities change along with their likes and dislikes. "Its fun to see what my daughters take an in...
23 ways to spend your tax refund that can make you happy and the world a better place.

23 ways to spend your tax refund that can make you happy and the world a better place.

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It's April, which begs the question how are you going to spend your tax refund this year? (If, of course, you're fortune enough to get a refund. My condolences if you end up owing Uncle Sam.) Bills need to be paid. And the zeroes in your student debt total should, at least in theory, keep dwindling. You should probably stock the pantry while you're at it, and make sure the gas tank is filled, too. But if you cross off all the boring payments on your "being a responsible adult" list and still have a good chunk of change at your disposal, I have a few suggestions that could make you feel good about where your money is going. Here are 23 seriously rewarding ways you can spend your tax refund this year: 1. Buy individual sets of flowers and visit a senior center. Bring a friend if you ...
23 ways to spend your tax return that can make you happy and the world a better place.

23 ways to spend your tax return that can make you happy and the world a better place.

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It's April, which begs the question how are you going to spend your tax return this year? (If, of course, you're fortune enough to get a return. My condolences if you end up owing Uncle Sam.) Bills need to be paid. And the zeroes in your student debt total should, at least in theory, keep dwindling. You should probably stock the pantry while you're at it, and make sure the gas tank is filled, too. But if you cross off all the boring payments on your "being a responsible adult" list and still have a good chunk of change at your disposal, I have a few suggestions that could make you feel good about where your money is going. Here are 23 seriously rewarding ways you can spend your tax return this year: 1. Buy individual sets of flowers and visit a senior center. Bring a friend if you ...
They fled their home with just their pets and some clothes. Then strangers stepped in.

They fled their home with just their pets and some clothes. Then strangers stepped in.

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Driving back to her apartment in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, last Monday afternoon, Rachel Gilliam weaved her way through smoke so thick she couldn't make out the mountains south of town. "Everything had this brown and yellow haze to it, like there was a sepia filter over the world," Gilliam says. When she arrived home, she called local police and emergency services, who told her that no evacuations were planned. Gilliam's wife, Jess, who had just finished her shift at the distillery where they both work, wasn't willing to wait for an update: "We need to go," Jess said. Gilliam grabbed the couple's dog, their two cats, some clothes, and a bag containing their birth certificates and marriage license and fled north to Jess' parents in Knoxville, where they watched the next part of the stor...