A Black woman came out of surgery with more braids than before. Here's why that matters.
India Marshall

A woman's story of how a surgeon handled her braids during a head surgery has gone viral, not just for the thoughtful actions of the doctor, but for what it shows about the importance of representation in medicine.

India Marshall posted her heartwarming story on Twitter:

"So y'all know how I said I woke up from surgery w/more braids in my head than I came in w/and I thought it was the black nurses? I found out today at my post op appt that the surgeon (he's black) did it," she wrote. "He said he has 3 little girls & they have wash day... I almost cried."


"While removing my staples he said, 'Your braids look better than mine, I hope I didn't do too bad,' and I was like excuse me??? YOU did my hair???..." she continued. "You could tell he was so proud to tell me too lol."

"He also said he used staples to close my incisions instead of stitches to avoid cutting my hair when removing stitches," she added.

Marshall explained that she'd had a rare condition of bone growths in her forehead region and the surgery to have them removed meant three incisions behind her hairline. "The surgeon parted and braided my hair to create clean incisions without shaving," she wrote.

On her way home from surgery.India Marshall

"Thinking about this black man braiding my hair to prepare to cut my head open is hilarious and endearing at the same time," she added. "Also the fact that he's that active in helping his wife with their girls, I love it. Moral of the story: find black doctors."

People loved the story—the consideration of the surgeon, the image of him doing his own daughters' hair, and the difference it makes to have a doctor who has personal experience with a patient's culture.

As one person pointed out, "THIS is among the millions upon millions of reasons why we need diversity in medicine. There is a level of care that only people who have walked in your shoes... even just a little bit... can provide."

"This is why the world needs more Black & Brown folks at every level," wrote another person. "Reminds me of Peruvian Indigenous women who showed scientists how they do a specific weave unique to them that taught the medical AI how to stitch skin so that the patient has a quicker recovery time." [The person clarified in a later tweet it was Bolivian, not Peruvian Indigenous women.]

"This experience was meaningful to me because this simple gesture showed I was being cared for by a surgeon that saw me," Marshall told Upworthy. "He saw me as a black woman that would appreciate extra precaution taken with her hair. Not only did he understand this as a black man, but he had the ability and took the time to braid my hair himself."

India Marshall

Marshall added that since she's the oldest of four girls herself, it was extra special to hear that he did the same for his own daughters.

This is why diversity in medicine, as well as other fields, matters. It isn't just about equal opportunity or making a nod to inclusive values. Representation can make a direct, marked difference in people's experiences, and the value of being seen and having a need understood—without having to explicitly explain it—is priceless.

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