+

Cassie Gretschel and her little brother, Max, have a wonderful Christmas tradition.

All photos by Cassie Gretschel used with permission

Gretschel says Max, who is 25, has severe mental and physical disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy and scoliosis. She writes that his brain development is on par with a 5-year-old, and that he has impaired vision and spends most of his time in a wheelchair.


And there's only one thing Max wants for Christmas — the same thing he asks for every year: A police Hummer Tonka truck. In blue.

"Max thinks that the Tonka Police Hummer is the holy grail of all toys," Gretschel says in an email. "It's not too loud, it lights up, it's big without being too big and it goes forwards and backwards slowly with the flip of a lever. It also has a winch and hook that wind and unwind with a lever. For someone visually and mobily [sic] impaired, it's fun and very simple to operate."

Gretschel and her family have given Max a new version of the same truck every year since it first came out in 2000. There's just one problem — the toy has since been discontinued, and Max's family had already gathered up all the models they could find on eBay and other internet auction sites.

That meant Max was at risk of facing his first Christmas in 17 years without a new truck for collection.

The red ones just aren't the same, according to Max.

Desperate, Gretschel posted her story to Reddit, along with a request.

"I figured that maybe a couple redditors might have had the truck as a kid and would be willing to sell them to me for some extra Christmas cash," she says.

In her post, she describes Max's love for the truck and ends with a reasonable call-to-action: "If anyone has one of these in their attics, please throw it on eBay!"

The internet community, however, was about to do her one better.

Gretschel woke up the next day to discover that her post had gone massively viral. She says her inbox was flooded with notes from people who wanted to help.

The generous offers poured in from around the globe offered, as redditors offered not just to give Max the Hummer toy he wanted, but to take him on a ride in a real Hummer. Others wanted to donate Amazon gift cards so Cassie could buy him something else.

Still more felt the urge to share their support and love for Gretschel on her quest to bring her little brother some joy.

As her story continued to spread, Cassie finally got an answer to her obscure and unlikely request: As of this writing, she says she has received six of the trucks from redditors — including one still in its box.

Tonka themselves even got involved after being overwhelmed with messages, and while they haven't tracked down any blue hummers just yet, they have offered to repaint a red one for Max and send it along.

They're even looking into getting new blue ones manufactured so the tradition never has to end. (But the Grestchel's better stock up — Cassie tells Buzzfeed that Max likes to get a new truck on his birthday, too.)

**UPDATE** Thank you all so much for your help! We have been able to contact the author and are making...

Posted by Tonka on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The way thousands of strangers on the internet came through for Max is a true holiday miracle.

Even though it's great to hear about how all the Tonka trucks for Max to enjoy, the mere fact that so many strangers came together to give someone they've never met a great holiday surprise might be the most inspiring part of the whole story.

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.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

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.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less