After poor health took her loved ones, one woman decided to take control of her future.
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Cigna 2017

When Sonia got up to speak at her mother's funeral, she asked every woman in the congregation to stand up too.

"We need to take better care of ourselves," she pleaded to the group

via Cigna/Upworthy.


Sonia's mom died after a heart attack, and she had been one of a long list of family members who were taken too soon by heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, or a combination of the three.

When Sonia looks at pictures of her deceased family members, she sees missed opportunities.

They grew up in a time when nobody talked about their medical history. Many of Sonia's family members didn't even know their medical histories because they only went to the doctor in emergency situations.

"We used the ER as our doctor," she recalled. "That's not maintainable."

Sonia made a life-changing decision that day: to put her health first. Watch her story:

This woman has lost too many family members to preventable diseases. Now she's on a mission to help others so they don't have to experience the loss she did.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

For Sonia's family, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar were the norm.

When she was 9 years old, Sonia lost her grandmother to a stroke. That experience made Sonia realize she wanted to be a nurse. But between her career and taking care of her family, including her ailing mother, Sonia de-prioritized her own health.

When she lost her mother, Sonia realized she could be next in line if she wasn't careful.

via Cigna/Upworthy

Sonia made an appointment with her doctor and learned she was at risk for diabetes, so she took steps to de-stress and improve her health — by meditating, spending time with her family, changing her eating habits, and discovering a love of Zumba.

Ever since, she has been speaking with and inspiring others to do the same by listening to their doctors, their own bodies, and knowing their four health numbers: blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and cholesterol.

According to the CDC, more than 75% of our country's health care spending is on people with chronic conditions, many of which could be prevented or caught earlier with preventive care.

One of those chronic conditions, cardiovascular disease, is the #1 killer of women. Actively knowing key indicators of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, can help people make changes that stop it before it becomes a true threat.

"I don't think [my family members] knew a lot about these indicators," Sonia added. "They were just living to survive."

via Cigna/Upworthy

It can be hard to make caring for ourselves a priority.

Focusing on our personal health is not an easy thing to do — especially when we have loved ones to take care of. It's important to remember that it's not a selfish thing for us to each take time to focus on our personal health. By taking care of ourselves, we can be better examples for our families and for the next generations.

via Cigna/Upworthy

"When you're healthy, you feel better — mentally, physically, spiritually — you feel better," says Sonia.  "And when you feel better, your family feels better. And when you're family feels better, your community feels better."

Learn more about your four health numbers at Cigna.com/TakeControl.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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