A Hum by Verizon fan explains how it helps make his life a bit less stressful.
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Hum by Verizon

For anyone diagnosed with a serious illness, support from friends and family is crucial. For Alan Cohen, extra support came from a surprising place: his car.

Alan was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer in April 2017. "It was a shock," he says. "I don't drink. I don't smoke. I eat very healthy."

Image via Alan Cohen, used with permission.


Despite having done everything right, he suddenly found himself dealing with doctor's visits, prescription pickups, and the daily stress and anxiety of having a serious disease — all in addition to the appointments and commitments of his regular life.

"You fight it every day," says Alan. "Every day is a fight to live."

Alan's particular treatment is, luckily, 95% effective in curing his type of cancer. But that doesn't mean his days don't include struggle. He's still a dad, a medical professional, and a person with tons of things to juggle in addition to keeping up with his medical treatment. He has to remember to take his medications and make time for bloodwork in addition to everything on his already-full plate.

Image via iStock.

For Alan, a bit of relief came in the form of Hum by Verizon, which keeps him connected to his car.

Alan is already dealing with enough stress — he doesn't have time for the strain of unexpected car troubles, such as his car not starting or a flat tire. Hum has features that remind him to keep his car well-maintained — he sets reminders for things like oil changes and tire rotations — helping prevent him from winding up stranded on his way to important doctor appointments.

"It told me my battery was low, and I hadn't realized that," he says. "Of course, I was on my way to work, and that's when it popped up. But I made it back home and had my battery changed the next day. It helped prevent me from running late to other appointments and whatnot. That helped a lot."

Image by Verizon.

Alan has enjoyed his Hum so much, he even reached out directly to Verizon to let them know:

"Just got the Hum and it's worth every penny. I'm hard of hearing so the Bluetooth is awesome, works really well. I like you can press for help and the police and fire dept. can locate you. Haven't needed to use that as of yet. I feel very comfortable using it and I like the car health reports it sends me."

We've all had days where it seems like everything that can go wrong, will.

When you're already dealing with something serious and long-lasting, every minor inconvenience can feel like the universe is really piling it on. Even though car troubles aren't the greatest of Alan's concerns, knowing they won't crop up to make a difficult day worse grants him a little bit of valuable peace of mind.

More seriously, his car's connectivity also eliminates his concern that he'll have a health issue while he's alone and unable to get help.

"I feel really, really confident that if anything happens, I'll be able to use the Hum's emergency button," he says.

Rather than being continually fearful of being by himself, Alan is able to continue his life feeling independent and secure.

It's easy for smaller stresses to take a backseat when we're dealing with something huge — but it's the avoidable worries that are the easiest to prevent.

Hum is another example of how innovations can help people free up the time and energy they need to deal with life's bigger challenges, by handing the smaller ones over to technology.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."