Old texts from a Parkland victim are going viral for a heartbreaking, yet inspiring, reason.

It's finals week and Hunter Pollack is missing his biggest ally: his sister.

High-school and college students know how stressful finals week can be, especially if you're cramming for tests that can have a lasting impact on your academic careers.

A few years ago, whenever Hunter found himself in these situations, he could always count on his sister, Meadow. Her encouragement, often in the form of inspirational text messages, helped him get through times of self-doubt and overwhelming stress.


But this week, Meadow isn't here to offer that encouragement. She was one of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, an 18-year-old high school senior who was described as having "a smile like sunshine."

Heading into finals week, Hunter shared some of those text message on his Twitter account, writing:

"Finals week, and you’re not here to give me the motivation that keeps me going. I don’t know how I cope without our daily texts. miss you."

Image by Hunter Pollack/Twitter

Image by Hunter Pollack/Twitter

Nothing could replace Meadow, of course, but an informal community of strangers online responded to Hunter's tweet in the most inspiring way.

The response was overwhelming, with strangers stepping in to offer support and encouragement.

Echoing the sentiments of Meadow, people began sharing acts of kindness in their response to Hunter's tweet:

"You got this."

"You've got a whole country rooting for you. I know it feels so painful sometimes and so completely empty at others, but you can get through this."

"You are so strong, Hunter. Push through in her honor — millions of people are supporting you from behind. You got this. "

"You're so strong bro. I'm in this with, as well as many others. Good luck on your finals, you got this. It's for Meadow. Make her proud."

Image credit: Hunter Pollack/Twitter

We've learned so much from those affected by the Parkland shootings, including how to support them during their times of need.

The Parkland survivors have shown us so much already, offering courage and compassion in the face of criticism and doubts over their movement.

They've shown how our nation's youth can rally behind a cause and capture the hearts and minds of a nation.

But they're also human.

Hunter's tweet, and the response from people online, including many who probably disagree with his politics, shows the best in all of us.

We continue to be inspired by those affected by the Parkland shootings — but sometimes they need our support and inspiration just as much as we need it from them.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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