How one man is fighting to keep a 104-year-old woman safe at home.

Evan LaPointe met Audrey Roberts when he was only 3 years old.

She was a volunteer foster grandparent, and she would take care of Evan when his parents were out of town. "She would cook me food and everything and just spoil me like she was my own grandmother," Evan told Upworthy.


Evan and Audrey. Photo courtesy of Evan LaPointe.

Now Evan is 21, and Audrey is, astonishingly, 104. They're neighbors and have remained close friends.

As you can imagine, Audrey's life has been filled with 104 years of ups, downs, surprises, and heartbreaks.

With an eighth-grade education, Audrey worked for most of her life at a commercial laundry as a marker and checker. She never made more than minimum wage, but she cherished the hard work. Ultimately, she managed to save up about $200,000 throughout her career.

Audrey's husband, John, died when he was 70. Her only son, Earl, died in a car accident at 21. And just four years ago, Audrey broke her hip and had to spend six months in a physical therapy facility. Being away from her home that long was a heavy burden that weighed on her conscience and mental health. "Her overall mentality just got really negative," Evan remembers. "I mean, she was 100 years old. So she wanted to be in her home."

Today, fully recovered and fending for herself, she does laps around her living room to stay active and never misses her hair appointment every other Friday.

"She's doing great," Evan said. "I mean, 104 ... she's incredible."

Evan and Audrey now. Photo courtesy of Evan LaPointe.

But time and medical expenses have caught up with Audrey's savings.

No one could possibly plan to live to 104. So despite working hard for her entire life and living within her means, Audrey's savings has dried up, and her Social Security checks stopped covering her daily in-home medical care.

Soon, Audrey may have to face leaving her cherished home to live out her final years in a care facility.

But not if Evan has anything to say about it.

Evan created a GoFundMe campaign to help Audrey spend her last days in the home she's earned.

Audrey outside her home in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Evan LaPointe.

It's an "urgent plea," he said — a plea to caring people everywhere.

"We just remember how hard it was [when she broke her hip] and just how she got mentally," Evan said. "So my brother brought up the idea of trying one of the GoFundMe's. We gave it a shot, and so far we’re doing pretty good."

As of this writing, Evan's GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 in just 11 days. All to "Keep Audrey Home."

"It’s really important to me and to all of us just to keep her home and keep her happy," Evan said. "That’s her last wish. When she passes, she wants to be in her home."

Almost 530 people have donated so far, and the campaign has even gotten the attention of GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon.

"This campaign is very typical of what can happen on GoFundMe," Rob told Upworthy. "Our core purpose is to empower people to help people."

GoFundMe differs from other crowdfunding sites in that it raises money for causes. So while the campaign is designed to help one person, the motivation behind each dollar seems to be a larger, more systemic one. Many people see themselves or their loved ones in Audrey's face.

Photo courtesy of Evan LaPointe.

"One of our core values is helping to spread empathy," Rob said. "And I think what I’m seeing in the comments on this campaign is a lot of people are saying, 'Wait, this can happen to me.' ... So though it's just helping one person, it's really bringing awareness to issues. I think it's getting people involved in giving."

What are the issues forcing Audrey out of her home? Take your pick.

The rising costs of medical care. Failing government safety nets. For Solomon, it's income inequality at play.

"One stat that’s really staggering is that half of all Americans, if they had to come up with $400 for an emergency right now — can’t," Solomon said, citing an article this month in The Atlantic. "The income inequality problem in our country, and more importantly on a global basis, is really big. Perhaps getting bigger. ... Relying on government to come together and solve it, or nonprofits to solve it, I think is too daunting a task. It’s really local communities that have to band together to help people out when life hits them."

For Evan LaPointe, though, the issue is a simple one: dignity.

"Our goal is to touch the hearts of people who believe dignity is vital to life," says the GoFundMe page. And in my conversation with Evan, he brought up the subject multiple times.

Photo courtesy of Evan LaPointe.

"I’ll be the same way," he joked. "I hope I make it to 104, but I’ll be the exact same way. I mean, she loves her home and we don’t blame her at all for it."

Whatever reasons people have for donating to Evan's cause, he's already overwhelmed by the support and positivity.

"We’re always seeing negative stuff going around," he said. "But we’ve gotten a lot of cool things from people just saying, 'This is great what you’re doing.' Just seeing something positive and other people noticing it is really cool. I mean, we just wanna keep her home no matter what. We’re just doing whatever we can."

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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