A doctor did surgery on a boy's stuffed animal. The response from other parents was sweet.

When 9-year-old Ryan Jasen needed surgery, he wanted his best friend by his side: a stuffed Mike Wazowski of "Monsters, Inc." fame.

But while Ryan was under the knife, his surgeon, Dr. Travis Groth of the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, noticed Mike the monster wasn't exactly in tip-top shape either. He had a noticeable tear in his side from years of following Ryan everywhere.

So once Ryan's surgery was done, Mike went under Groth's knife to get a few stitches.


Check out this picture from our operating room. After performing surgery on a young boy, Dr. Groth made the extra effort...

Posted by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Both Ryan and his stuffed animal best friend came out of the operating room as good as new.

The photo went viral after the hospital posted it to its Facebook page. Once the comments started rolling in, it became clear Groth's sweet gesture is, amazingly, a relatively common occurrence.

In fact, doctors and surgeons all over the country are learning that stuffed animal surgeries just might be the key to keeping kids calm and comfortable in the hospital.

It may be a small gesture, but it means a lot to the kids and their parents.

"When [Ryan] woke up, he saw his best buddy also kind of patched up and had bandages around him so he felt like he was on the same page with him," Tony Jasen, Ryan's father, told WTMJ Milwaukee.

Other parents like Tony eagerly took to Facebook to share their own stories of how a stuffed animal helped their child through a scary procedure.

When Holly Decker Lamb's young daughter went in for a cochlear implant, her buddy, Mr. Cat, got one too.

"When Cora came out of surgery she was happy to see that her Cat had the same bandage as she did," Lamb wrote in a Facebook message. "We then used it to tell her that she couldn’t take her bandage’s off until Mr. Cat got his off."

Mr. Cat got a bandage after cochlear implant surgery. Photo by Holly Decker Lamb, used with permission.

Dawn Marie Spencer's son was afraid of his oxygen mask. Patrick from "Spongebob Squarepants" gave him the bravery he needed.

Watching Patrick don the mask first "really calmed him down completely," wrote Spencer.

"We can never thank the staff at Children's enough for how lovingly they took care of our son and how special they made him feel."

A stuffed Patrick demonstrates how to wear an oxygen mask. Photo by Dawn Marie Spencer, used with permission.

When Tami Doyle's daughter had brain surgery, so did her Cookie Monster.

Cookie Monster had brain surgery. Photo by Tami Doyle, used with permission.

Yara Soler's daughter had surgery for her tonsils, and her purple cat joined her in recovery.

A purple cat recovers with her girl after a long procedure. Photo by Yara Soler, used with permission.

And Gina Cummings' young son braved brain surgery with Rufus the rabbit by his side.

Rufus was a brave companion during surgery. Photo by Gina Cummings, used with permission.

Hospitals and doctors offices can be frightening for many kids. Every little bit of extra comfort helps.

Whether it's fun hospital gowns or a sweet video game to make being bedridden a little more tolerable, anything that makes a hospital room more welcoming can have a powerful effect on young kids.

The doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who tend to children in their greatest time of need are already heroes, but when they go the extra mile by simply, say, wrapping some gauze around a teddy bear's head, the results are incredibly heartwarming.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


Keep Reading Show less
via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

Keep Reading Show less