A woman gives her partner the best surprise ever: a new shot at life.
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When Lori Intericchio and Alana Duran matched on the dating app Tinder in August 2015, little did they know what was about to unfold in two short months of dating.

They were about to have matching scars.

Happy Lori and Alana. All images by Lori Intericchio, used with permission.


Alana, who had been diagnosed with lupus at the age of 12, was living on dialysis and had been searching for a kidney for the past four years.

Her family wasn't a donor match, according to Fox 5, so she put herself on the waiting list. And there she patiently waited for years. 

Lori soon learned about Alana's predicament. She knew her girlfriend wasn't living her best possible life without the care she needed. By their third or fourth date, she decided to look into the situation for herself.

It turned out the two women had even more in common than they realized. Lori was a kidney-transplant match for Alana.

"By the time I learned that I was a match a couple of weeks later I had already done a ton of research and that really took away any fear," Lori told TODAY.

She decided she was going to go for it (!), but not without telling Alana in the greatest way ever.

Lori’s surprise video announcing their donor match melted hearts worldwide on Facebook.

First you see Alana rummaging through a box of some of her favorite little things. You know, glitter pens, Star Wars Band-Aids, junk food. She then slowly starts to make her way to the bottom.

She got pencils!

She's greeted with a familiar card of the Tinder screen when they matched just weeks before, and Alana looks a bit confused. But then the wording hits her.

Accept kidney or stay on waitinglist?!

The exact moment Alana found out.

"Who knew that when we both swiped right on Tinder that day, that we would be more than just girlfriends but that she would be my kidney donor!" Alana captioned

In February 2016, Alana and Lori both underwent successful surgeries. Alana now has the kidney she needed and a new shot at life.

And Lori's used the opportunity to give a much-needed wake-up call on the ridiculous stigma and restrictions placed on certain donors. 

"I love the outpouring of love and support that Alana and I have been receiving," she said, "but it pains me to know that if we were a couple of gay men, my kidney would be considered at risk."

"While I might be able to donate a kidney to her, I wouldn't be able to donate blood or tissue. I feel strongly that our federal government should be able to look past a person's sexual orientation in deciding whether or not they are suitable to give the gift of life."

The reality is that someone gets added to the donor waiting list every 10 minutes.

And an average of 22 people will die each day waiting for transplants that never happen because of the shortage of donated organs, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The number of people on the waiting list only continues to grow. It's up to every single one of us to help fix the gap by registering and by putting pressure on the government to make tissue, blood, and organ donations more inclusive. (They've started making some strides on that.)

The internet is capable of connecting us in remarkable ways. We can build relationships, play games, register to become organ donors, and sometimes even find our perfect match.

For Alana, that perfect match turned out to be her girlfriend Lori, who she would have never met if it hadn't been for technology (and maybe a little luck). 

What an amazing world we live in.

RODNAE Productions via Pexels
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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.

Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I'm a bit of a pen snob. Even if I'm just making a list, I look for a pen that grips well, flows well, doesn't put too much or too little ink into the paper, is responsive-but-not-too-responsive to pressure, and doesn't suddenly stop working mid-stroke.

In other words, the average cheap ballpoint pen is out. (See? Snob.)

However, Oscar Ukono is making me reevaluate my pen snobbery. Because while I'm over here turning up my nose at the basic Bic, he's using them to create things like this:

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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