Long before Mitch McConnell was attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act as majority leader of the U.S. Senate, he was fighting for his health as a small child growing up in Alabama — with help from the federal government and private donations.

When he was just 2 years old, McConnell was diagnosed with polio, Death and Taxes reported. As McConnell explained to his Senate colleagues in 2005, his mother had been "perplexed about what to do"; his father was serving overseas in World War II at the time, and — as these were the days before Medicaid or Medicare — health care options were limited. McConnell's mother worried her son might become disabled.

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When my mom, Sandra Haggberg, was 8 years old, she was told that she was going to have a baby brother.

The news was exciting — she already had two little sisters, so a little brother was bound to be different. She couldn't wait to meet him.

‌My mother, Sandra, with her mother, Virginia, at a farm in Minnesota. Image from the Haggberg family, used with permission. ‌

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March of Dimes

In 1962, a chance encounter with Martin Luther King Jr. would transform the life of a young medical student named Larry Brilliant.

Larry Brilliant with an early Apple II computer. All images courtesy of HarperCollins.

Dr. Brilliant would go on to help eradicate smallpox, direct Google.org, help save 4 million people from blindness, and become one of the foremost experts in global pandemics.

But at 19 years old, Brilliant was holed up in his dorm room, subsisting on stale peanut candy and comic books, grief-stricken at the thought of losing his father to cancer.

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Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Our Internet searches say a lot about what happened this year.

Fact: 2015 was kind of an amazing year.

I know, I know, a lot of terrible things went down. That's also a fact.

It's easy to want to crawl into a hole after thinking back through the past 12 months:

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