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Here's why this boy has a kidney that's 3 times older than he is.

"He's a success, even with all his side effects. He's a success, because he's still here."

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Northwestern Mutual

Meet Tony Salerno. He's 13. Well, most of him is 13.

"If someone asks me how old I am, I can tell them, ‘Well, part of me is 50, and the other part of me is 13,'" jokes Tony.

Tony just got a new kidney from his dad, so while he's really a 13-year-old boy, his new kidney's almost four times as old.


He needed a kidney because the treatments that saved his life also did a lot of damage. At 2.5 years old, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of nerve-based cancer.

Baby Tony in the hospital. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno.

At the time, the rate of survival for someone Tony's age was about 30%, but, thanks to rigorous treatment, he was pronounced cancer-free at age 3.

However, the intense treatments, which included five rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and total body radiation, did a number on his little body. Though he is still cancer-free 10 years later, Tony is dealing with a number of health problems as a result.

"I have to take a lot of pills at every meal," says Tony. "I have to get nightly injections and a weekly injection."

He has some high-frequency hearing loss from the chemo and cataracts in both eyes. His brain's processing speed is slightly slower than normal, which means he takes more time on tests and assignments. That said, he's no less intelligent than the other kids in his class. "I'm smart," retorts Tony.

His adult teeth have only 20% of the root structure they should. Therefore, eating things like corn on the cob can be tough. He also has only one kidney because the radiation destroyed the other one.

It sounds like a lot for anyone to handle, much less a 13-year-old, but Tony keeps walking tall.

Tony with his Superman T-shirt. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno.

"I've nicknamed him 'the Mayor' because when he walks into a room, whether it's filled with adults or kids, he acts like he's running for office and wants to talk to everyone," Tony's dad, Tony Sr., writes in an email.

Tony's in Boy Scouts. He is often outside, hanging with friends and learning from nature. When he's inside, he's usually playing video games or watching movies with his family.

One New Year's Eve, they were watching "Back to the Future" and Tony's mom, Karen, remarked on Michael J. Fox's short stature. Tony's also always going to be short because the chemo affected his growth. Seeing someone else who's small be so cool definitely gave him a boost.

In the midst of managing symptoms and living the life of an average 13-year-old, Tony got news that his remaining kidney was failing. He needed a transplant.

Karen was ruled out as a donor candidate because her blood type wasn't compatible, but Tony's dad met the long list of criteria.

[rebelmouse-image 19531262 dam="1" original_size="1270x628" caption="Tony's parents. Image via NorthwesternMutual/YouTube." expand=1]Tony's parents. Image via NorthwesternMutual/YouTube.

"My biggest worry next was that they would find something wrong with me," writes Tony Sr. "And I'm not a perfect match, but I'm the best match we found."

In November 2016, Tony's doctors said he'd probably need the transplant within one to three years. However, just a month later, his numbers weren't looking so good, and they decided to schedule the procedure for summer 2017. Tony had his transplant on Aug. 1, and his family is happy to report that it was a success!

Tony felt a little "weird" about getting a part of his dad, but his dad lightens the mood with jokes.

Tony at a Lego exhibit. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno.

"Mostly I kid him that he better take care of it, because I will be watching, and that he gets to celebrate not only his birthday, but his kidney's birthday on my birthday," writes Tony Sr.

Joking aside, it's not easy for his parents to see Tony struggle, especially when he's just trying to live a normal kid's life.

Tony goofing in a hammock. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno.

Tony Sr. writes that it's hard to watch him "encounter his limitations alongside his friends and schoolmates." Life after cancer, especially when you're also a growing boy, can be a roller coaster, and sometimes they just feel like they're along for the ride.

But with a son like Tony who has beaten so many odds and, despite his limitations, keeps on truckin', it's not all scary.

Of course, things would not look nearly so bright if it weren't for the extraordinary medical support Tony's had over the years.

[rebelmouse-image 19531265 dam="1" original_size="1276x618" caption="Tony with Dr. Michael Hogarty at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Image via NorthwesternMutual/YouTube." expand=1]Tony with Dr. Michael Hogarty at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Image via NorthwesternMutual/YouTube.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in particular really impressed Tony's parents.

"From a scientific perspective, the things they can find out about him without having to do invasive, exploratory surgery are amazing," remarks Karen.

In fact, Tony's case was involved in initial immunotherapy work at the hospital — a less invasive treatment that involves boosting disease-fighting cells to enable them to target the cancer better. Much of their research wouldn't be possible without funding from companies like Northwestern Mutual.

In the midst of seeing other kids who aren't as lucky as Tony, these less-brutal treatments give his parents hope.

Tony with the family dog, Spike. Photo courtesy of Karen Salerno.

He's still got a long road ahead of him, but with his family and doctors by his side, Tony has the best possible support.

What's more, thanks to the research that's been done on his case, many other sick kids may have an easier time recovering. That's a major win for all families going through this. It's also why Tony's dad believes this simple truth with all his heart:

"He's a success, even with all his side effects. He's a success, because he's still here."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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