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Mothers Everywhere

Charles Frank grew up thinking his family didn't record any home videos.

Then one day, his mom called and mentioned her frustrations in transferring the old family footage to a hard drive.

"Wait," Charles recalled saying into the phone, baffled. "What home videos?"


Charles, in one of his family's home videos. GIF via "My Baby You'll Be."

About 20 hours of family memories — the day Charles learned how to "pump kick" on the swings, an adorable rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and so many others — had been packed away without his knowing.

Charles, now a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, was anxious to see the footage. So he offered to do the digital transferring himself.

"I watched every clip, end to end," he said. "I cried, I laughed, and then I wondered, what happened? Why aren't we as connected as we used to be?"

Charles, in one of his family's home videos. GIF via "My Baby You'll Be."

Looking for answers, Charles turned to another unlikely source: his phone.

More specifically, to the 38 unopened voicemails that were hiding there.

Charles wanted to use them as a means to try to understand how and why his family ties had changed over time. Because, although there hadn't been any sort of falling out and he loved his family very much, he still felt a certain disconnect.

Many of the voicemails he unearthed were from his mom, Dawn Evans.

As Charles learned, most of the time she was just checking in on simple, day-to-day stuff, like her attempt to buy him the perfect shirt.

“Hi, Charles. It’s Mom. I want you to know I tried to buy you a shirt today, and I spent probably a good 40 minutes ... The thing is, I find a shirt and I like the color, but then it was too big or too wide or too bright or too whatever. And I never found the right shirt. Just wanted to let you know that, OK? Love you. Bye."

Or that special recipe she knew he'd enjoy.

"Hello, dear one. This is your mother. I’m calling to see how today went and say hi. Nothing important. I was just thinking about you — I’m cooking, and I was thinking how much you would like this recipe. It’s butternut risotto. Bye."

And, like many moms of busy 21-year-olds, Dawn understood that sometimes life gets in the way.

“Hi, it’s Mom calling, Charles. The fact that it went straight to voicemail tells me that you’re very busy, so I guess I won’t bother you. Say hi to Nico.”

"At first, it was kind of funny," Frank said. "I clicked three voicemails in a row where my mom said the exact same, 'Hi, Charles. It's Mom!'"

But soon his laughs made way for mixed feelings of guilt and gratitude.

"As I dove deeper and deeper in my inbox, I felt more and more humbled," Charles says. His mother's curiosity and selfless spirit struck a chord.

The 38 voicemails and 20 hours of home videos inspired Charles to create a short film, "My Baby You'll Be."

The film, which you can watch below, is narrated by the real voicemails Charles' mother left on his phone and features footage of both Charles' present-day life and the home video memories of his youth.

It definitely tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who's realized they've failed to reciprocate the same care given to them by a loving parent.

"Part of my hope is that an audience could watch this and reflect on their own relationship with their mother," Charles said, hoping that the film serves as a reminder not to overlook the gift of unconditional love.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Evans, used with permission.

"By the end of the film, it was a Kleenex moment for me," Dawn told Upworthy of the first time watching her son's film. "Tears won out."

Although the film shows a young man who seems to have taken his mother's love for granted, Dawn said the man on-screen doesn't reflect the Charles she knows.

"I carry with me the certainty that if I called Charles and said I needed help, he would be here as fast as car, ferry, or boat could deliver him. That is a wonderful gift."

If there's one thing Charles knows, it's that he will never forget the lessons he learned from his mom.

He remembers one time, when he was bent out of shape over where a relationship was headed, his mom gave him excellent advice about letting go of the ones you love because, if the feelings are mutual, they'll return when the time is right.

In making the film and working through the feelings of guilt he had about distancing himself from his mom, her advice began to take on a new meaning.

"I'm realizing that philosophy doesn't just pertain to romantic relationships," Frank said. "Friendships and family work the same way. I am so grateful that my mother let me go, and I hope that she sees this film as a step toward my return."

Photo courtesy of Dawn Evans, used with permission.

Watch Frank's short film, "My Baby You'll Be," below:

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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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.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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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"

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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"

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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"

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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"

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

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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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!!!

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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.

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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.