Meet 8 precious kids who have rare diseases — and learn all about them.

They may not be common, but a whole lot of people are affected by rare diseases.

A disease is considered rare in the U.S. when fewer than 200,000 people have it at any given time and in Europe when it affects fewer than 1 in 2,000 people.

In the EU and U.S. combined, as many as 60 million people may experience one — because there are around 7,000 known rare diseases.


Ceridwen Hughes, a U.K.-based photographer, has a particular interest in rare diseases because her son Isaac was born with one.

Hughes, frustrated with the assumptions people made about Isaac based on his appearance, decided to start a community she called Same But Different. "I very much wanted people to see the person behind the condition," she told Upworthy.

She later launched a photo series called the Rare Project, where she captures photos of children with different rare diseases and helps them tell their stories. She puts a great amount of care into taking several photos of each subject and learning about their histories, struggles, and triumphs from their parents.

To further the spread of awareness, Hughes shared with us the following eight photos she took of children with rare diseases.

Below each is a brief description of the disease and, in some cases, a little info about the children. You can click through to read more about them. Up first is her son Isaac!

1. Isaac, who has Moebius syndrome

All photos belong to Ceridwen Hughes/Same But Different and are shared here with permission.

A rare neurological condition that affects facial muscles by weakening or paralyzing them, Moebius syndrome makes it impossible for the person to smile, frown, or raise their eyebrows, among other limitations. The muscle weakness also makes it difficult for babies with Moebius syndrome to eat.

2. Grace, who has periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)

PVL is a rare condition where the white matter in the brain dies due to a lack of oxygen or blood flow. Babies don't usually have symptoms, but as children get older, they are "at risk for motor disorders, delayed mental development, coordination problems, and vision and hearing impairments."

Grace also has some other health conditions in addition to PVL. "Grace is a wonderful child whom we love very much," her mom told Same But Different. "We encourage her to try everything and allow her to make her own decisions (within reason!)."

3. Mari, who has WAGR syndrome

Touching 1 in 500,000 to 1 in a million people, WAGR syndrome is a disorder that affects many of the body's systems. In Mari's case, she has experienced a bowel malrotation, seven tumors that required surgery and radiation, and eye surgery. She is legally blind.

“It is very rewarding having such a lovely little girl who has overcome so many hurdles and is coming on in leaps and bounds," her mom Caryl told Same But Different. "We are so proud of her and she constantly amazes us with her capabilities despite her difficulties.”

4. Jake, who has Angelman syndrome

A complex genetic disorder that mainly affects the nervous system, Angelman syndrome causes "delayed development, intellectual disability, severe speech impairment, and problems with movement and balance." Jake wasn't diagnosed until he was 7 years old.

"Most people who meet Jake are greeted with a hug but then they struggle to communicate with him. His smile says a thousand words," his mom told Same But Different. "I think it is important that people have a better understanding of rare diseases. I believe that with greater awareness there will be more acceptance. "

5. April, who has Hurler syndrome

Hurler syndrome is a genetic metabolic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down glycosaminoglycans, which are long chains of sugar molecules, because of a missing enzyme. Without it, glycosaminoglycans build up in the body and damage internal organs. Hurler syndrome is treated with IV enzyme replacement therapy.

6. James, who has Coffin-Lowry syndrome

Affecting 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 50,000 people, Coffin-Lowry syndrome presents differently in boys and girls. Boys with the genetic disorder suffer from "severe to profound intellectual disability and delayed development." James, who is nonverbal, can sometimes feel frustrated when others don't understand him. That makes every day more challenging because he cannot communicate his needs, such as hunger and thirst. He also has low muscle tone and low mobility.

"James is our little boy and all we want is that as he grows older he is accepted just the same as any other child would be," his parents told Same But Different. "He has so much to give and the world is definitely a better place with him in it."

7. Isabel — HSV encephalitis

HSV-1 encephalitis is a rare but dangerous condition in which brain inflammation results from the virus that causes cold sores. Isabel, who was diagnosed at 13 months old, had a stroke as a result, which caused a brain injury. She has epilepsy, a hearing impairment, is nonverbal (but communicates with an assistive device), a developmental delay, and autism.

"She is strong willed and independent, she is absolutely perfect in our eyes and the sunshine in our lives," her parents told Same But Different.

8. Percy, who has Prader-Willi syndrome

Around the world, between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 30,000 people are born with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic condition. As a baby, these individuals usually have weak muscle tone, feeding difficulties, poor growth, and delayed development. As they grow, they develop an insatiable appetite that leads to obesity and they often experience intellectual and learning disabilities as well as behavioral issues.

Percy's parents are preparing for the challenges his extreme appetite will bring by moving all food to a locked portion of their home and by installing a surveillance system so that if he tries to leave the house in search of food, they'll know. "{W]hen we were given his diagnosis we were devastated but in some strange way a bit relieved as his diagnosis could have been so much worse," his parents told Same But Different.

Hughes has found that even though these children's diseases are different, their families can find strength by supporting one another.

"[U]ltimately we all share the same fears, difficulties, and challenges no matter what the rare disease is," she told Upworthy.

And for the rest of the world, she's hoping to help others understand that medical differences aren't reasons to stare, mistreat, or make assumptions.

"If everyone could know one really important thing about rare diseases, it would be that everyone deserves kindness," Hughes said. And by shining light on the children, their conditions, and their personalities, she's helping educate others and make the world a better place — for all of us.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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