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Cigna 2017

Michael Malcolm's doctor said he wouldn't live to 40.

He was 14 years old at the time.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.


"When you're a kid and someone tells you you're gonna die before you're halfway through your life, it's ... I mean, there's nothing more dramatic than that," he recalled years later while still choking back the tears.

Malcolm's blood sugar and cholesterol were dangerously through the roof. It would take more than just a one-off diet to fix the problems, and if he waited any longer to act, it could already be too late.

Malcolm had to find a way to change his life for good — and along the way, he discovered his true passion, too. Watch his story below:

He was told he would only live until he was 40. So he took action.

Posted by

Upworthy on Monday, May 22, 2017

Malcolm's newfound love for nutrition saved his life. And now it's helping him inspire others, too.

Sure, he may have felt OK before the doctor brought attention to his health numbers. But thanks to that preventive screening, Malcolm was able to take control of his life before he got worse.

He started getting more physical activity and learned how to improve his eating habits in ways that were easy and enjoyable. He ultimately felt even better than he did before, and he didn't have to suffer through any awful health disaster to get there.

With a new lease on life, Malcolm began to share his passion.He taught his family how to prepare wholesome meals, which was as good for him as it was for them.

He also discovered an entrepreneurial streak within himself, investing time in health-conscious social projects ranging from sustainable agriculture for low-income families to aquaponic farming. He even helped to launch a healthy home-cooked meal service — self-described as "Uber for personal chefs" — through his university's start-up incubator. And now that his body's getting the right balance of nutrients, he's coming up with new ideas every day.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.

That's the best thing about healthy habits like the ones that Malcolm learned.

They don't just help prevent disease; they brighten up your brain, and your life.

Studies have shown that malnutrition can lead to poor decision-making. Whether it's the stress of poverty or the mental strain of having to plan for a temporary diet, it can take up so much brain power that it directly affects your ability to function in other ways, too. It makes it that much harder to actually get the nourishment you need to operate to the best of your abilities.

So how can you avoid that downward spiral? You do what Malcolm did: Identify the issue before it becomes a problem and find a way to turn those healthy habits into a seamless, automatic part of your life. It's the only way to free up your mind to focus on the things that really matter.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.

Now the only contagion that Malcolm has to worry about is his own infectious energy.

Good blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels have all been to shown to have direct chemical impacts on our happiness as well as our physical well-being. Without preventive screening, Malcolm wouldn't be where he is today — and with it, well, who knows where else the future might take him?

Learn more about how to take control of your health at Cigna.com/TakeControl.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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