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At 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2017, Roy Guill woke up to a Facebook message from a man he'd never met.

The man, Eric Delman, explained that he'd been going through some stuff from 9/11 for the previous day's anniversary. He wanted to know if Guill was from Staten Island.

But it wasn't Delman's message that struck Guill. It was what Delman was wearing in his profile photo: a yellow, coal miner's helmet with a bracket on the front where the headlamp used to be and a dent in the brim.


“It was a picture of him at Ground Zero on the pile, and I looked at the picture for a second and I thought, 'Holy shit. Is that Papaw’s helmet?'"

Photo via Eric Delman.

In the wee hours of Sept. 11, 2001, Guill was passed out on his boss's couch in their midtown Manhattan office.

He was still asleep when his boss woke him with the news of the attacks a few dozen blocks away.

"The first thing I thought was, 'But it’s such a beautiful day,'" he recalls.

Like thousands of other New Yorkers living and working in the city that day, Guill's account is one of having "just missed" being swallowed up in the carnage. He had stayed the night at work after pulling a long overnight shift. Otherwise, he might have been stranded on the subway under the towers when the planes struck.

Instead, he and a colleague fled the city in a minivan they had rented the previous day.

Guill traveled nearly 200 miles that afternoon: north to Westchester County, south to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, north again to the Tappan Zee Bridge, east to Queens, and south to Brooklyn. When he finally rolled across the Verrazano, it was just after midnight on Sept. 12.

"By that point, the smell had hit us. We rolled down our window to talk to a cop, and you could smell the fire," he says.

The next morning, he and his wife Julia lined up near their Staten Island home to give blood. A nurse turned them away. "There was no one to give blood to," he recalled on Facebook.

Instead, they stocked up on soap, deodorant, and socks from a local dollar store — the only store within walking distance — and prepared to drop them at a collection point near the ferry terminal. On their way out of the house, they stopped at a coat rack by the door. The rack was covered in hats, scarves, jackets — and an an odd item that caught Guill's eye.

A yellow coal mining helmet.

He picked up a pen and a piece of paper.

When Eric Delman, an NYPD officer, arrived downtown Manhattan the afternoon of the attacks, the area was already a ruin.

"It was horrible. That stench of a lot of smoke, and that very bad — the smoke and the smell and the death," he recalls.  

The following day — or maybe the day after — Delman reported to a supply tent. It was full of respirators, work clothing, boots, and helmets. He picked out one that he liked, an "old-style" yellow miner's cap.  

Delman worked on a bucket brigade. He cleared stones. Rebar. Eventually, body parts. He would come home with his clothes covered in a thick gray dust. His wife washed them every day. He seemed haunted.

The yellow miner's helmet stayed with him the whole time. As he dug through "the pile," the mass of rubble left behind when the towers crumbled, the helmet was there. As the news of dead friends trickled in like bilge water, the helmet was there. After Delman's tour at Ground Zero ended, the helmet made its way to a shelf in his garage. Sometimes, he would take it down to look at it. One day, as he was turning it over in his hands, he gasped.

"There's a note!"

Photo by Eric Delman.

A small, creased tab of white paper was stuck to the inside. He had never noticed it before.

"To whoever wears this," it read. "This was my grandfather's helmet in the mines of Kentucky. I hope it protects you well. You are all heroes."

The note was signed, "Roy and Julia Guill."

Guill's papaw, Roy W. Guill, was born, grew up, raised seven children, worked, and died in Carrsville, Kentucky.

One of the few pictures of Papaw that remains was taken before his brief detour to the Pacific theater of World War II, where he served as a combat engineer. He never talked about it.

Roy W. Guill. Photo via Roy Guill.

Papaw wore bib overalls. Some nights, on his way home, he would save his granddaughter Angi a treat leftover from his lunchpail. When Guill told him he wanted to chew tobacco, Papaw tried to dissuade him by giving him a pinch of Prince Albert. He warned him not to swallow it — about three seconds too late.

When Papaw woke up at 5 a.m. to go to work, Guill would sit with him, nodding off between bites of pancake as his grandfather suited up in a side room near a potbellied stove. When he went off to the mine, the helmet went with him.

Papaw passed away at age 81, when Guill was 14. After the funeral, Guill's father gave his grief-stricken son the helmet.

It was the only physical reminder of his grandfather Guill possessed.

Or, it had been.

On Sept. 11, 2017, Guill took the day off from work — as he occasionally does on the anniversary of the attacks.

He rarely talks about what he saw that day 16 years earlier.

"It’s so hard, and emotionally it’s such a slog, but we were so lucky," he says.

The Facebook message from Delman was like a bolt out of the blue.

After Guill confirmed that, yes, he was from Staten Island, Delman sent a photo: the same photo Guill had seen in Delman's profile picture.

"Does this look familiar?" Delman wrote. "This is me at the time."

Photo via Eric Delman.

The photo of Delman wearing the helmet had been taken by a fellow officer shortly after the attacks. When that friend fell ill 10 years later, he found and sent the photo to Delman. This year, Delman made it his profile photo to commemorate the anniversary.

Guill had often wondered what happened to Papaw's hard hat from the mines. He worried it had been thrown out, that it hadn't been up to code, or had been overlooked in a vast sea of donated tools and gear. Here, finally, was proof: Not only had someone — Delman — used it, it had meant enough to him that he kept it.

"Honestly, I sat here in my dining room and bawled my eyes out," Guill says.

Delman is now a lieutenant who oversees the 88th Precinct's Special Operations Unit. His time at Ground Zero left him with nodules in his lungs. He gets them checked every year. So far, so good.

He told Guill to expect the helmet on his doorstep soon.

"There’s a box on my kitchen table for me to send it back," he says. Before he does, he wants to add a few touches. A T-shirt, perhaps, with some patches. Some coins. Maybe both.

It may take a while to reach its destination. Guill left New York 13 years ago. He lives in Las Vegas now. He imagines it will show up in about a week.

Guill doesn't know if he's prepared. But his papaw's helmet is coming home.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

via GIPHY

I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

via GIPHY

Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

via GIPHY

The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

via GIPHY

Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

Giphy

Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

Giphy

Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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