She had heart failure at 10 years old. Here's why that's just the start of her story.

Shelby Caban cherishes every moment of her life because she knows how easily she could have lost it.

Shortly after her 10th birthday, she was diagnosed with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, meaning that the ventricles of her heart were too rigid to expand which made it difficult for her heart to pump blood. While some people who have this disease experience few to no symptoms, Shelby's case was so severe, it put her into end stage heart failure.

Framed pictures of Shelby (left) and her brother (right). Photo via Upworthy.


Even though she was just a child, when the doctors sat her down and explained her diagnosis, she understood how serious it was.

"I felt very sick, so the situation was very real to me even at such a young age," writes Shelby in an email.

She needed a heart transplant, but her condition was so dire, she wasn't allowed to wait for it in the comfort of her own home.

So Shelby's parents moved her into a room at the hospital which became her bedroom for the next 45 days.

In that room, she had nothing to do but wait, which brought up so many different emotions. While she was certainly scared, she never stopped being hopeful that a heart would eventually come to her — though that thought came with even more complicated feelings.

"I always thought about what my life would be like with someone else’s heart inside of me," writes Shelby. "Especially, knowing it would most likely be someone young. It made me sad that someone’s tragedy would ultimately be my blessing."

Finally, in early 2004, the Caban family got the news they'd been hoping for — Shelby had a heart coming to her.

The night she found out, Shelby just started crying uncontrollably. She was overwhelmed with relief, anxiety, and joy, but there were also pangs of grief for the 9-year-old girl whose heart she was going to receive.

Photo via Shelby Caban.

Shelby's transplant operation lasted somewhere between six to eight hours. Afterwards, she had to spend a couple weeks in the hospital, then another five months at home recuperating. She couldn't go outside during that time because the anti-rejection medications she was on suppressed her immune system, making her highly susceptible to infections.

After those months at home, when she was finally allowed to venture out, she initially had to wear a mask as an extra precaution. On top of all this, she was taking 32 pills a day, and was told she'd be on them for life. Needless to say, it was a huge life adjustment.

"You’d think receiving a heart is simple — get the heart, and move on with your life," remarks Shelby. "It’s not."

Shelby will always live a somewhat different life because of her heart transplant, but it's all worth it for her because she's still living it.

Today, she's training to become a Physician's Assistant and is in her last year of a Masters program. Her goal is to one day work in pediatrics and help other children get healthy. Getting to be on the other side of the patient's bed has been an amazing experience for her so far, and she's excited to see what lies ahead.

Photo via Shelby Caban.

However, not a day goes by that she doesn't think about the little girl who gave her a second chance at life.

"I have her picture framed right by my bed in my bedroom," she writes.

Shelby was able to speak to the girl's family about a year after her surgery, and thank them for the incredible gift they helped give her. And two years ago, she actually reconnected with the girl's sister, which has been very meaningful.

"They are incredible people, and being in contact with them makes me feel even closer to the little girl whose heart I now share."

Shelby wishes she could give the girl who saved her life a big hug and say 'thank you' over and over, although she knows that would never be enough to express how grateful she is.

What she can do, however, is tell her story to inspire others to become organ donors so that many more lives can be saved.

Photo via Shelby Caban.

For those who are on the fence about it, she stresses the importance of reading up on organ donation to help dispel any concerns they might have. There are lots of myths surrounding the process, including that you have to be in perfect health to be a donor. Rather than just believing what you've heard, Shelby wants everyone to take it upon themselves to get informed and make an educated decision.

"I had a heart transplant, I had cancer, AND I am also an organ donor," she writes.

On average, 20 people die everyday while waiting for an organ. However, just one organ donor can save up to eight lives like Shelby's. And donors aren't just saving lives of recipients — their donation has a huge impact on entire families as well.

Imagine, just by checking a box, you could give a future back to someone who might not have one otherwise. So what are you waiting for?

Learn more about organ donation at LiveOnNY.org

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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