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Man's through-the-wall piano duet with a mystery neighbor became a beautiful love story

Sometimes the right two people come along at the right time in each other's lives, and a story for the ages is born. But it's rare that we get to see such stories captured in real-time.

This time we're lucky. In a silent saga befitting a Pixar short film—complete with soundtrack—a TikToker and his mystery neighbor have taken us all on a beautiful journey of music, love, longing, and loss.

Giorgio Lo Porto is an Italian living in London, and on February 6, he shared a video of his new neighbor playing piano. The music is muffled behind their shared wall, but clear enough to hear. Lo Porto wrote that he left a note for the mystery neighbor, telling them he loved their music and asking if they could play "My Heart Will Go On." And so they did.

Lo Porto left another note suggesting that they play something together, each in their own apartments. A call-and-response duet of sorts. He didn't know if they'd do it, or if they'd forget when the time came. He also said he himself hadn't played in months. But he started playing at 2pm, and as soon as he stopped, the neighbor began.

Their duets became a weekend "meet up," playing back and forth through their shared wall.

You can watch a compilation of the performance below but keep reading because there is so much more to this beautiful story:


Two neighbours playing piano between a wall - Giorgio and Emilwww.youtube.com



Seems like a perfect meet-cute in a romantic comedy, doesn't it?

On Valentine's Day, they played a duet and Lo Porto wrote "It's Valentine's Day. We're in lockdown. This was our way of saying, I don't know who you are but I'm here. You're not alone."

Then it came time for them to meet.

"Well, today I have met my neighbor," Lo Porto wrote in a video shared on February 21. "It was better than expected."

"His name is Emil..."

@giorgio_lp_ I wasn't surprised - I knew there was a special soul behind that wall ##fyp##foryou##music##neighbour##love##piano##foryoupage
♬ original sound - Giorgio Lo Porto

"He is 78 years old, originally from Poland. This is his temporary accommodation while he waits for his house to be sold."

"He lost his wife in December due to COVID," Lo Porto shared. "And all he has left is the piano. And the reason why he plays at 2pm every weekend is because his wife loved it."

"He thanked me for keeping him motivated and less lonely. And I promised that I'll play with him until he moves out."

"He is camera shy," he added. "But I'll try again when he's ready."

Lo Porto shared that Emil is "a special soul" and that "he is fine now, healing." And his piano playing is just gorgeous.

Playing with Emil inspired Lo Porto to write his own song. "I woke up with 3 notes in my head," he wrote on February 27.

He added some string orchestration to it and called it "Dear Emil." It's the first song he's ever written.

"When I wrote this piece I started picturing Emil's life," he wrote. "A 78 y.o. widower who lost his wife due to this stupid virus. Spending days at home alone due to lockdown. Looking forward to play her favourite piano songs at 2pm every weekend, until a note appeared on his door. A letter showing he was heard and not alone. And a new friendship started. Two pianos between a wall, not knowing who was playing. But it didn't matter."

"You can be the light of somebody else's darkness. So keep shining."

On February 26, Lo Porto announced that Emil was moving out the following week, and shared their last weekend duet—the much requested "Moonlight Sonata."

He said Emil still didn't want to be on camera, but said he was much happier and thanked everyone who had been watching their duets. Lo Porto promised he would keep playing for him on the weekends.

It would be lovely if the story ended there, but it doesn't. (May need a tissue now if you haven't already grabbed one.)

Lo Porto shared on March 14th that he'd received word that Emil had passed away in his sleep: "And now he is reunited with his wife."

"Dear Emil," he wrote. "I knew very little about you, but you changed my life. You gave me back my passion, and we shared that with the world. You'll be in my heart. I'll keep playing, thinking of how powerful music can be. You said I was your light, but you've been mine too. Bye, Emil."

If you needed a good cry today, hope that helped. And if you needed a reminder that humans can be wonderful and life can connect us in beautiful and mysterious ways, now you've got one.

Lo Porto says he will have a full version of "Dear Emil" up on YouTube soon. You can listen to it on Spotify as well.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.