No more excuses, fellas. Two single dads will show you how to do your daughters' 'do.
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Dads can do it all.

Most of us prepare healthy meals without the use of a microwave, host epic playdates, and wake up in the middle of the night to handle any monsters silly enough to hide under our kids' beds.

We're also amazing at styling our daughters' hair. Fish tails, princess braids, fancy buns, whatever. You name the 'do, and we got you.


Um, I lost you with that last one, didn't I?

Props given to the dads skilled enough to style hair for their little girls, but there are a lot of men (myself included) who could use a little help in that department.

Sure, we could just use this technique if we were in a pinch.

GIF via janbak1984/YouTube.

But for those pesky moments when a vacuum isn't readily available, it would make sense for dudes to learn about female hair care in the traditional sense.

Enter these two single dads who want to change the daddy-daughter hair game forever.

Photo courtesy Greg Wickherst (left) and Phil Morgese (right).

First up is Phil Morgese, a single dad from Florida who works in sales.

Morgese with his daughter Emma. Photo courtesy of Phil Morgese.

He has a 9-year-old daughter named Emma, and quite frankly, the man is an absolute hair ace.

This is the work of a master. Photo courtesy of Phil Morgese.

And he was self-taught, too.

"If you practice something daily, you have no choice but to become better at it," he told Upworthy. "I didn't have anyone in my social circle who was active with hair like me, so I just figured it out as I went."

Morgese's story goes beyond caring for his own daughter.

He recently started a class to help other dads in his town who are struggling to make sense of braids and bangs.

And the class absolutely blew up in popularity.

It's standing room only for the dads doin' the do. Photo courtesy of Phil Morgese.

After some practice, his students were able to create a few amazing styles for their daughters, while enjoying some invaluable bonding time in the process.

The focused eyes prove that these men are taking this class very seriously. Photo courtesy of Phil Morgese.

And when the classes are over, you won't find a happier (and more stylish) group of young ladies anywhere.

"Daddy did my hair and it looks awesome!" Photo courtesy of Phil Morgese.

But what about the dads who live outside of Morgese's town in Florida? He encourages men to visit his Daddy Daughter Hair Factory Facebook page, where he hopes dads will feel comfortable to ask questions, seek support, and receive advice. He's also in the process of creating an online course so he can pass on his learnings virtually.

The best part about all of this? His classes are completely free.

"If I charged for the class, it would be viewed as a business instead of a service to the community," he said. "I want to serve the community and do my small part to make the world a better place."

Morgese started hearing from dads all over the country who loved doing hair, like Greg Wickherst, an admissions representative at a technical college in Colorado.

Wickherst and his adorable 3-year-old daughter Izzy. Photo courtesy of Greg Wickherst.

When Wickherst became frustrated over his inability to style his 3-year-old daughter Izzy's hair, he decided to take action by asking the cosmetology students at his school for a few pointers.

Keep in mind, this is a guy who has shaved his head for the majority of his adult life and is first to admit that handling his daughter's hair was his biggest weakness as a parent. But he stuck with it for the sake of his little girl.

At first it was simple ponytails, braids, and buns. Shortly thereafter, he could create almost anything for Izzy.

Like this.

I had no idea that hair could even look this good. Photo courtesy of Greg Wickherst.

And this.

Another beautiful 'do. Photo courtesy of Greg Wickherst.

And, whoa...

The birdcage. No big deal — just the work of an expert stylist, that's all. Photo courtesy of Greg Wickherst.

Wickherst wants to use his newfound expertise to help other dads (and moms) who are apprehensive about getting in the hair game. He's in the process of writing a book called "A Dad's Guide to Surviving Hair" and he operates a Facebook page where he shares styling tips and photos of his favorite hairdos.

These two dads just had to meet in person, right?

That's exactly what happened. Wickherst and Morgese became fast friends via phone and met up in Florida recently with their daughters.

And you guessed it: Their little girls hit it off, too.

Izzy and Emma enjoying some quiet time together. Photo courtesy of Greg Wickherst and Phil Morgese.

Morgese and Wickherst are doing amazing things to help fathers all over the world, but they'll also be the first to tell you they aren't heroes. Except for in the minds of their young daughters.

Here's how Morgese describes his motivation:

"It's our job as dads to be supportive in all aspect of our daughters' lives. It takes a strong and secure man to join my class because he's willing to address a shortcoming for the sake of his children. Don't let traditional male stereotypes or haters get in your way. Men can do hair, too."

Word.

Now let's get back to using vacuum cleaners for what they're intended for. Namely, picking up the endless trail of glitter, graham cracker crumbs, and broken Legos.


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'll never forget the exhilaration I felt as I headed into the city on July 3, 2018. My pink hair was styled. I wore it up in a high ponytail, though I left two tendrils down. Two tendrils which framed my face. My makeup was done. I wore shadow on my eyes and blush on my cheeks, blush which gave me color. Which brought my pale complexion to life. And my confidence grew each time my heels clacked against the concrete.

My confidence grew with each and every step.

Why? Because I was a strong woman. A city woman. A woman headed to interview for her dream job.

I nailed the interview. Before I boarded the bus back home, I had an offer letter in my inbox. I was a news writer, with a salary and benefits, but a strange thing happened 13 months later. I quit said job in an instant. On a whim. I walked down Fifth Avenue and never looked back. And while there were a few reasons why I quit that warm, summer day: I was a new(ish) mom. A second-time mom, and I missed my children. Spending an hour with them each day just wasn't enough. My daughter was struggling in school. She needed oversight. Guidance. She needed my help. And my commute was rough. I couldn't cover the exorbitant cost of childcare. The real reason I quit was because my mental health was failing.


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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'll never forget the exhilaration I felt as I headed into the city on July 3, 2018. My pink hair was styled. I wore it up in a high ponytail, though I left two tendrils down. Two tendrils which framed my face. My makeup was done. I wore shadow on my eyes and blush on my cheeks, blush which gave me color. Which brought my pale complexion to life. And my confidence grew each time my heels clacked against the concrete.

My confidence grew with each and every step.

Why? Because I was a strong woman. A city woman. A woman headed to interview for her dream job.

I nailed the interview. Before I boarded the bus back home, I had an offer letter in my inbox. I was a news writer, with a salary and benefits, but a strange thing happened 13 months later. I quit said job in an instant. On a whim. I walked down Fifth Avenue and never looked back. And while there were a few reasons why I quit that warm, summer day: I was a new(ish) mom. A second-time mom, and I missed my children. Spending an hour with them each day just wasn't enough. My daughter was struggling in school. She needed oversight. Guidance. She needed my help. And my commute was rough. I couldn't cover the exorbitant cost of childcare. The real reason I quit was because my mental health was failing.


Keep Reading Show less
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Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."