Best friends given a 2% chance to live past childhood just graduated high school together

Two young men who weren't supposed to live past age seven have just graduated from high school, and their story of perseverance and friendship is one that will fill even the hardest heart with hope.

When Odin Frost was born, his Apgar score was so low he had to be on a ventilator to breathe and he spent two weeks in the NICU. Born prematurely, his mother had preeclampsia that caused stress during his birth, he had bleeding on his brain, and a club foot as well. For his first few years of life, he was in and out of hospitals as doctors attempted to treat him. Odin's parents were told that he was so behind in physical and mental development that he may never catch up. They prepared for him to need a wheelchair full-time as he got older.

At age 3, Odin was accepted into a school that works with special needs kids in his hometown of Tyler, Texas. There he would receive a diagnosis of severe autism with speech and mobility impairment—and also where he would meet his best friend, Jordan Granberry.


Jordan, too, had a complicated birth. His brain was deprived of oxygen for too long, resulting in permanent brain damage. As a newborn, he was flown to the same hospital that would treat Odin a few weeks later. Like Odin, Jordan spent his first few years of life in and of hospitals, and also meeting with specialists. He was given a life expectancy of seven years, and his parents were told that if he lived longer he would live in a vegetative state. He didn't receive a proper diagnosis until age 10.

Both boys had hypotonia, meaning muscle tone doesn't grow the way it's supposed to. Doctors didn't expect either of them to ever walk or talk. That's one reason why watching them walk across the stage and graduate from high school this week felt like a miracle to their parents.

Odin's dad, Tim Frost, shared the best friends' story with Upworthy, from their families' special friendship, to what it meant to see them walk across the stage to receive their diplomas this week.

The boys met as preschoolers, Frost says, when "Jordan initiated Odin into his friend zone by biting his ear, and Odin retaliated by pinching his leg. After that they were inseparable in the classroom."

"Even though both boys are mostly non-verbal, they have a connection to each other that you can just feel when they are in the same room," says Frost. Pre-pandemic, Odin and Jordan would see each other every day since their classrooms were just across the hall from one another. Odin would often bring music to school to share with his friend. "Both boys enjoy long car rides listening to music as loud as possible," says Frost, "and pinching each other, of course."

"They also both like to pick at their mom and dad and most likely have a secret language that they laugh and joke about doing so in," he adds.

Frost says that he and his wife have been close to Jordan's parents for the past 15 years, as the couples raised their kids together. Jordan's mom has been a hairdresser for 25 years and is "the only one quick and brave enough" to cut Odin's hair.

Walking his son across the graduation stage was meaningful for Frost in more ways than one. He himself had dropped out of school and was homeless at age 13. He'd never gotten to make that walk to receive a diploma himself, and doing it with his son Odin felt "momentous."

Jordan's walk was momentous as well, since he had just started walking for the first time at the end of 2019.

"Yesterday they got to graduate together under a very weird a anxious time we are in," says Frost, "and honestly, watching and being a part of it gave me so much hope. Seeing and knowing what these two have been through and then getting to experience a high school graduation for both boys with so little expectations put on their lives was one of the most beautiful things I've ever got to witness."

Frost hopes that sharing Odin and Jordan's story helps the boys be seen. "And not seen in a way of wonder or for people to feel bad for them," says Frost. "I want them to be seen for the miraculous humans that they are."

"Just because someone can't speak back to you doesn't mean they can't understand you," Frost adds. "Just because something doesn't look like 'the normal' doesn't t make it any less than. Both of the boys have more personality, drive, wit, humor, and joy in them to fill anyone's heart with joy. The determination to live and live fully that both of these amazing humans have should inspire and feed hope to anyone who may be looking for it."

Frost says that the family has received a flood of positivity from his sharing the boys' photo and a bit of their story on social media, which has been heartening.

"They are the joy bringers," he says.

Indeed, they are. Congratulations on your graduation, Odin and Jordan. We wish you the best and brightest future possible.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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