Doctors and nurses are begging people to stay home so they can save lives
Dr. Ahmed Rabea, NurseTimes/Facebook

Many Americans have begun adjusting to life under social distance measures, staying at home and away from other humans as much as possible. But not everyone has hopped aboard the "flatten the curve" wagon, and healthcare workers have a message for those who haven't.

Stay. Home. If you are able, stay at home and away from people. If you won't do it for yourself or for the elderly and immunocompromised, do it for the doctors and nurses who are literally putting their own lives on the line to make care for those who are ill. Right now, every hospital in the nation is preparing for a wave of COVID-19 patients, and medical experts are hoping Americans do what needs to be done to keep that wave from becoming a tsunami.


Doctors and nurses have taken to social media to encourage people to abide by the recommendation to stay at home as much as possible. A physician named Dr. Ahmed Rabea shared a selfie with a sign that reads, "I stayed at work for you. You stay at home for us!" It's a plea to all Americans to take action to slow the spread of the virus.

If we fail at this, our healthcare system will be overwhelmed in the coming weeks with more critically ill patients than hospitals can handle. There won't be enough hospital beds. There won't be enough life-saving ventilators, and people will die who don't need to.

Dr. Ahmed Rabea

Italy has already shown us what happens when people don't take this virus seriously enough early enough, as their hospitals have been overrun and healthcare workers are struggling with having to decide which patients to treat and which patients to leave to their fate.

(Yes, Italy's population is older than the U.S. But our age demographics aren't as drastically different as people are making it sound. Italy's over-65 age group makes up 22 percent of its population vs. 15 percent in the U.S. And Italy has more hospital beds and doctors per 1000 people than the U.S. has. We can't think it won't happen here.)

An Italian nurse named Irene shared a selfie of her own, completely wrapped in protective equipment, holding a sign that translates as: "Those who think 'It will not happen to me' will be the next person to be infected!!! Stay at home!!!"

She also wrote about the emotional toll Italy's coronavirus crisis is taking.

"Yesterday I had the first emotional breakdown," she wrote. "I cried a lot because on my way home from work the city was crowded with people. I live near a big park and walked past it to get home. There were groups of people doing exercises, others running their dogs (at least three of them).

Meanwhile, the materials to protect us are starting to run out.

You don't understand. You don't have to find a way around the system. You have to stay home. Period.
STAY AT HOME.
STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

An American nurse, Ashley Barton, also shared the message that people need to stay put, pointing out repeatedly that "It's not about you."

She wrote:

"It's not about you.

I'm a nurse working on the front line of COVID-19. When I mean front line, I mean since the hospital essentially went on lockdown since this virus was announced a pandemic, I've been working at the main entrance screening every single person that walks in those doors. Even those who are trying to find the Emergency Department so they can be tested for COVID-19.

Every single person gets asked the same series of questions. If you fail the screening you are asked to leave.

It is the same criteria for staff.

Let me tell you—many people are very unhappy about this.

But guess what, it's not about you.

It's about the mother of 3 undergoing chemotherapy on the Cancer Ward that has zero immune system.

It's about the 30 week old NICU baby that has already had to fight every single day of its life to stay alive.

It's about the favourite uncle that just had a massive stroke and is just barely out of the woods.

It's about the father of 2 who just had open heart surgery and has a long road of healing ahead.

It's about the grandmother who had broken her hip last week and is just beginning to mobilize again.

It's about protecting them. Not about punishing you.

I was yelled at on multiple occasions over the past couple of days while I worked my shifts.

"Well this isn't fair- Yes, I travelled recently but I don't have symptoms!"

"I have other places to be- the restricted hours are going to make me late"

"You will never understand until you have children!!"

"You have got to be kidding me- I'll have to wait in the car while my family member visits?!"

I'll say it again—IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

I have a 13 month old son, I have elderly grandparents, I have people in my family who are very susceptible to getting ill and have a very difficult time recovering when they do get sick—I do not want them to contract this virus—and they aren't currently hospitalized.

People in the hospital are already immunocompromised, one more virus—especially this particular one—could KILL them.

This is a matter of life and death. Stop being selfish and think of everyone else who is already fighting for their lives here.

Yell at me? Fine. I can take it. I'm human, and I understand your frustrations. Honestly, we wish you could be with your loved ones, it decreases anxiety in the patients, facilitates healing and most definitely makes our jobs as busy nurses just a little bit easier. But policy is policy for a reason—it's not for punishment I can promise you that.

Maybe try to see things from our perspective before totally losing self control—we honestly are just looking out for those who really need it right now.

Thank you."

Out of respect for these heroes on the front line of this crisis, let's do what they're asking us to do. If you can, stay home.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Freya from Maya Higa's YouTube video.

Ever wonder what an ideal date for a lemur would be? Or a lizard’s favorite Disney princess?

Thanks to one YouTube poster with a passion for animals and an endearing sense of humor, all questions shall be answered. Well, maybe not all questions. But at the very least, you’ll have eight minutes of insanely cute footage.

In a series titled “Tiny Mic Interviews,” Maya Higa approaches little beasties with a microphone so small she has to hold it with just her thumb and forefinger. And yes, 99% of the animals try to eat it.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

Cellist Cremaine Booker's performance of Faure's "Pavane" is as impressive as it is beautiful.

Music might be the closest thing the world has to real magic. Music has the ability to transform any atmosphere in seconds, simply with the sounds of a few notes. It can be simple—one instrument playing single notes like raindrops—or a complex symphony of melodies and harmonies, swirling and crashing like waves from dozens of instruments. Certain rhythms can make us spontaneously dance and certain chord progressions can make us cry.

Music is an art, a science, a language and a decidedly human endeavor. People have made music throughout history, in every culture on every continent. Over time, people have perfected the crafting of instruments and passed along the knowledge of how to play them, so every time we see someone playing music, we're seeing the history of humanity culminated in their craft. It's truly an amazing thing.

The pandemic threw a wrench into seeing live musicians for a good chunk of time, and even now, live performances are limited. Thankfully, we have technology that makes it easier for musicians to collaborate and perform with one another virtually—and also makes it easier for people to create "group" performances all by themselves.

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A round-up of delights from around the internet this week.

Hey all!

Welcome to Upworthy's weekly roundup of delights from around the internet. This week's list features a little of everything—gorgeous music, cute kids, adorable animals, hope for the planet and a brand new video message from the late and great Betty White.

That's right, Betty White left us a message of gratitude shortly before her passing. It's brief, but how lovely to see and hear her speak to her millions of fans one last time. Few celebrities are as universally beloved as Betty White was, and though we knew she couldn't live forever, it would have been fun to see her celebrate her 100th birthday. Now, at least, we get to experience her joy and warmth with a few last words.

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