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Heartbroken mom who can't afford her son's insulin asks how other Americans are making it

Katie Schieffer is a mom of a 9-year-old who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after spending some time in the ICU. Diabetes is a nuisance of a disease on its own, requiring blood sugar checks and injections of insulin several times a day. It can also be expensive to maintain—especially as the cost of insulin (which is actually quite inexpensive to make) has risen exponentially.

Schieffer shared an emotional video on TikTok after she'd gone to the pharmacy to pick up her son's insulin and was smacked with a bill for $1000. "I couldn't pay for it," she says through tears in the video. "I now have to go in and tell my 9-year-old son I couldn't pay for it."


Schieffer explained that she has been working for 17 years and that she and her husband both work full-time. She works third shift and goes to school during the day. "How are you guys making it?" she asked. "Am I the only one struggling?"

She's not the only one struggling, of course. The unaffordability of healthcare in the U.S. is a national crisis. While the Affordable Care Act helped millions access health insurance, there are still millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. And medical bills can still be hard to cover, even if you have insurance.

Speaking from experience, out-of-pocket expenses after insurance can still cost thousands of dollars. Even just doing diagnostic tests, scans, and procedures to figure out what an issue is—not even getting into treating whatever it is yet—can be too steep after insurance pays their portion for many families to afford. Americans have to constantly weigh whether the risk of missing a serious health issue outweighs the debilitating cost of a test to rule it out.

Schieffer's video went viral and she received a beautiful outpouring of support and advice. Some commenters shared how she can get insulin in an affordable way, including going to the medicine manufacturer's website and getting their cost assistance forms. She explained in a comment and a follow-up video that it was actually the blood sugar monitor that was $1100 and not covered under their insurance, and people suggested the same cost assistance route.

Others just chimed in with words of solidarity, agreeing that our system is broken. More than a few suggested she share her Venmo account name in her profile so people could help crowdfund financial assistance for her son's medical care. If that alone isn't a sign that the system is broken, nothing is.

Schieffer is getting it all worked out with the helpful advice and generosity of strangers, and she shared a video from her son about how he's doing as he learns to manage his diabetes.

@slimkwow Please don't take this one down we didn't show any needles or “drug use". ##t1d##kids##thankyou
♬ original sound - Katie Schieffer

When stories like this go viral, it's a mixed bag. While it's inspiring to see people rally around a fellow human being with love and support, it's also infuriating to realize how dystopian it can be here in the "land of the free." The U.S. is supposed to be some kind of beacon of light to the world, but what kind of shithole country lets its citizens go bankrupt or die because they can't afford to go to the doctor or pay for their medications? Part of why our health outcomes are so abysmal compared to other developed nations is because people don't get the medical care they need because they can't afford it. That's just plain ridiculous.

If anyone wants to help this mama and kiddo out, here's where you can send donations. (Just be aware that someone has set up fake accounts with an extra "r" at the end, so be sure you only see one "r" in Schieffer.)

Venmo: @Katherine-Schieffer

PayPal:@KatherineSchieffer

No one should have to crowdfund to pay for healthcare, but here we are. Hopefully with a new administration coming in, we'll make more strides toward joining the rest of the developed world in ensuring that healthcare is truly affordable for all Americans.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

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At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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Image courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Nenad Bach, founder of Ping Pong Parkinson's.

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Nenad Bach, a Croatian American recording artist, and peace activist has led an impressive life propelled by his inspiring optimism. As a musician, he’s performed alongside Bono and Luciano Pavarotti and took the stage at Woodstock ‘94. He’s recorded with legendary artists such as Garth Hudson and Rick Danko from The Band and The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick.

As an activist, he was highlighted by the United Nations for his World Peace in One Hour campaign.

But in 2010 his life came to a temporary halt after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder affecting movement. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it’s a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time.

Over a million people in the U.S. and 6 million worldwide are affected by the disease.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Bach was invited by a friend to play ping pong. The next day he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. His cognitive abilities improved, his tremors were less intense, it was easier for him to walk and talk and he felt a greater “desire to live,” he told Upworthy.

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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