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A robot whose sole purpose is to connect emotionally with cancer patients. It's working, too.

Even the nurses were a little skeptical at first, but when Huggable started doing its job...

A robot whose sole purpose is to connect emotionally with cancer patients. It's working, too.
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America, meet your robot overlord.

Its name is Huggable.


Huggable is the MIT-created robot with a crazy kid voice that hangs out in pediatric cancer wards.

Huggable operates on an Android app. Yep! That's a phone inside its head. It can signal emotions in its movement. It can tell when you're touching it. Eventually, its hand will be able to sense pressure. If you squeeze its hand, technically Huggable could sense your pain.

NOT SO FAST, MR. HAWKING

"Huggable's purpose is to interact on an emotional level with children."
— Luke Plummer, MIT robotics engineer

Huggable is so emotionally supportive, it will gleefully listen to dad jokes.

AND LOVE IT.

What do eggs do for fun? Kara-YOLK-e! Get it?!

Yes, that just happened.

"Why do these kids with cancer need a teddy bear?!?" — something a very dark part of my inner monologue just said to me.

Well, here's the thing.

Kids with cancer UNDERREPORT how traumatized they are by having cancer.

From Medscape (emphasis mine):

The stress of treatment could cause a range of chronic problems, from phobia and anxiety for minor medical procedures, such as blood taking, to panic attack under difficult conditions. This view is further supported by studies focused on stress in children during the treatment for cancer.

On the contrary, other studies suggest that even though the nursing and medical staff perceive more patient distress, the self-reported anxiety in children with cancer is low.

Around 20% of childhood cancer sufferers are diagnosed with PTSD.

And many more suffer from emotional problems in school, in relationships, and beyond AFTER they beat cancer. AFTER they fight the hardest battle humans fight — the battle of beating a disease that's trying to kill you.

Children's cancer wards are full of amazing kids being strong for their families but really suffering on the inside.

They're suffering in ways their families and supporters can see but can't help.

Maybe when you were young, you'd tell your secrets to your teddy bear, like mine named Fish. This is like that but SO. MUCH. MORE. POWERFUL.

Huggable the robot is a teddy bear that supports kids in ways grown-up humans just haven't been able to.

Angelic pediatric cancer nurses, what do YOU think?

MR. HAWKING, YOU WERE RIGHT!

Wait...

So, are robots the end of the human race?

I don't think so. In the form of bots like Huggable, robots are the beginning of something much more positive. They're the beginning of a whole new era of medical advancements that don't alienate us from each other, but bring us closer by teaching us more about ourselves.

Nurses, family, and support systems are so important to cancer patients. But just like the X-ray helped human doctors treat disease, a robot like Huggable will help those human doctors treat the very serious emotional and psychological damage caused by cancer.


boop!

This lil' robot named Huggable is good for us humans.

More hospitals and medical providers need to know about the emotional suffering these strong kids are going through.

I'm sharing this in the hopes that some families out there can use this info to get better care for their kids.

<3

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

One of the fun surprises when you get to college is learning that most college professors are not nearly as scary as your high school teachers made them out to be. Some are tough, for sure, and there are always a few a-holes thrown into the mix, but for the most part professors are smart, compassionate human beings who care about both the academic performance and the personal well-being of their students.

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A college student on Twitter shared a pre-Thanksgiving e-mail she and her classmates received from a professor, and it's just the best example of real human-kindness.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

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Most of us are our own worst critics. We bully ourselves when we fall short of perfection, carry around past regrets, and refuse to let ourselves off the hook for any transgressions.

Unless this cycle is stopped, it can lead to persistent self-inflicted suffering. Studies show that those who have a hard time forgiving themselves are more likely to experience heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, and addiction.

Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, told Prevention there are four things that are hardest for people to forgive themselves for:

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