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She pledged to be by his side in sickness and in health. She didn’t let him down.

A year ago, a couple faced what they called 'the toughest year of our lives.' But they faced it together, and they’re stronger for it.

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Paramount Pictures Ben Hur

We see people who stay strong in the face of insurmountable odds in movies and shows all the time, but there are heroes all around us.

Challenges are a part of life. But some have bigger and harder hurdles than others. Their inspiring stories remind us that all we are capable of greatness, that we are strong.


"Ben-Hur" hits theaters in the U.S. on Aug. 19. In preparation, Paramount asked viewers to share their moments of triumph over adversity using the hashtag #MyGreatestVictory on social media.  This is one of those stories.

On Aug. 13, 2015, Stephen Connolly hopped on his motorcycle and left for work at 4 a.m.

He’d had a tooth extraction the night before, and his wife, Laura was worried that he wasn’t well enough to head into work, especially since, as a warehouse operative, his job is physically demanding. She asked him to stay home, but he reassured her that he was OK.

‌Image via Dragunsk Usf/Flickr. ‌

Three minutes later, he got into an accident that would turn their world upside down.

Fortunately, Stephen's crash happened right in front of the local police and fire station and was able to receive help immediately.

"Having spoken with 2 police officers who witnessed the full accident it turns out he passed out while driving, slumped forward and accelerated the throttle, the bike lost control and he crashed into a metal bollard and then onto a large tree with the bike coming down on top of him, he was unconscious,” Laura said in an email.

When she got to the hospital, Laura found her husband broken.

Panic set in, but she knew she needed to be strong for him and for their 2-year-old son. And the news wasn’t good. Stephen was alive, but he’d sustained leg and ankle fractures and broken his shoulder and clavicle in seven places.

‌Image via Laura Mcevoy, used with permission. ‌

He was completely bedridden and she’d have to do everything for him.

That realization was hard on both of them. Said Laura, "He tried so hard to be my brave husband but you could see how much pain he was in." Life as they knew it had changed.

Stephen went from being an extremely independent and hardworking man to his wife’s patient. And Laura found herself balancing being a wife, mother, and caregiver.

Laura cared for Stephen 24/7, bathing him, feeding him, dressing him, and learning how to move him without affecting his healing body. And as they faced complication after complication — bones that wouldn’t heal, extra surgeries, blood clots — she didn’t waver. She said, "It was just a natural thing for me to ensure my husband was pain free, clean…" She takes her wedding vows seriously and "in sickness and health," she’d pledged to be by his side.

‌Image via Laura Mcevoy, used with permission. ‌

Laura leaned on her friends, family, and neighbors to get her through the darkest days.

She learned to take everything day by day and appreciate whatever kindness was offered. From friends who took their son for walks, to her mother and mother-in-law who dropped everything to care for her son so that she could care for Stephen, to the neighbors who knew what they were going through and dropped groceries off to show their support — every bit of kindness helped.

And most of all, Laura believed that their love would be the anchor holding them both together through the tough times.

She says that she and Stephen always knew they were meant to be, and one song in particular reminded her of that and gave her comfort. Rebekah Jordan’s "I Will Be Loyal to You":

When you have hard times, and all others

Are gone, I will be there when the troubles come, through sunshine or rain when no help can be found, things may seem hopeless but just look around

I will be there to the end with you, I'll do my best to be faithful and true, through the hardest of days we will choose the right ways,

My commitment I prove

I will be loyal to you







Laura and Stephen on their wedding day, via ELBE Photography. Used with permission.

‌Laura said, “Yes we had bad days, yes we had bad luck, we have had the hardest year of our life, but we have made it through…”

Their love and resilience in the face of Stephen’s accident reminds us of the power of love and — as cliché as it may seem — how fleeting life can be.

Everything can change in a moment. Today, Stephen is back at work. He’s not 100%, but he’s slowly rebuilding his strength. Their relationship is stronger than ever, though there are still challenges ahead. And Stephen never leaves home without kissing his son and his wife goodbye because they know now how quickly things can change and how important it is to show each other as much love as possible — every single day.

We've all had moments when it felt like life knocked us down and stood on us. But somehow, we get through those times.

Share your moments of triumph with Paramount using the #MyGreatestVictory hashtag. You never know who your story will inspire.

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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The dog lovers in your neighborhood.

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Now, a new study reported by Ohio State News shows that having more dogs in your neighborhood can make you safer by lowering the overall crime rate.

The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

According to researchers, dog-walking isn’t just about getting exercise—it makes us all security guards whether we know it or not.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study, told Ohio State News. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

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Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain viral smells in both humans and mice.

As much as I love summer, there is one thing I could do without: bugs. More specifically, mosquitoes. Those pesky little buggers can wreak havoc on a beautiful summer day. Who hasn't spent time outside in summer and then come in all itchy and covered in bites? There are multiple reasons why some people are more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, but there's a new one that likely isn't on people's radars. Mosquitoes could be attracted to the odor certain viruses create in the body.

There is evidence that mosquitoes are attracted to the odor given off by mice infected by the parasite that causes malaria. Now, a team is looking at how the scent of mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and Zika would attract mosquitoes to people rather than mice.

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