How a system of ropes and pulleys may change the lives of babies with Down syndrome.

When Grace Morgan smiles, everyone smiles.

Image via Upworthy/YouTube.


How could you not? She's almost 1, and her enthusiasm, curiosity, and zest for life are contagious.

And thanks to an innovative research project, Grace will get to interact with and explore her world like never before.

Grace was born with Down syndrome in April 2015.

Her parents, Liz and Matt Morgan, learned about her diagnosis after she was born. Their initial surprise quickly turned to worry and concerns about Grace's future. Physicians at the Down syndrome clinic at their local children's hospital told the Morgans they could expect Grace to do everything a typical child would, it would just take her twice as long.

But that response didn't fly with the Morgans.

"Why would we just accept the fact that they say 'Everything takes twice as long?'" Liz told Upworthy.

Image via Upworthy/YouTube.

Then the Morgans heard about a research project that could improve Grace's mobility — a huge deal for kids like her.

The man behind the study, Dr. Cole Galloway , is a physical therapy professor at the University of Delaware and founder of GoBabyGo. The program combines engineering, tech, and rehabilitation tools to provide real-world mobility and confidence to kids with disabilities. Galloway was looking for a baby younger than 9 months with Down syndrome and a family with enough time to supervise daily use of an innovative device. The Morgans were selected from a pool of applicants.

Galloway and his team recently set up a mobility harness system in the Morgan's home.

The 10-foot-by-10-foot rig is common in children's hospitals and clinics, but this is one of the first times a system like this is being used in a home environment.

Image via Upworthy/YouTube.

The harness, which is attached to a canopy and pulley system, allows Grace to remain upright, jump, bounce, and interact with her world in a way similar to that of her peers.

Since she's free to roam on the system, she can sway and twirl.

All GIFs via Upworthy/YouTube.

She can play with her parents and big brother.

And even charm the family dog.

For the Morgans and other families, mobility devices like this are life-changing.

The ability to move independently is more than just getting from one place to another. Children learn about their environment and develop cognitively and socially through locomotion. And for older children, the ability to get around and interact with peers is how friendships are formed.

The difference for Grace is "huge," Liz told Upworthy. Without the harness, Grace's world is limited to the toys or people directly in front of her.

But with the device, there's no stopping her.

"What a harness can do is just give a chance for Gracie to never experience anything less than her own independence," Galloway told Upworthy. "Her own self-guided life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Adding, "But it's the pursuit of happiness."

Looks like Grace and her family have plenty to smile about.

See Grace take on the world in this heartwarming Upworthy Original.


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.