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The bride wore white. Her attendants wore scrubs.

It wasn't the first wedding to take place at the hospital, but this was a celebration of love close to 50 years in the making, and nothing, not even cancer could stop it.


Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

It was a wedding some 47 years in the making.

Bob Ceplina met Denise Rheaume in northern Wisconsin way back in 1969. He first saw her while out for a beer one night with his buddy.

"A little thing with hair down below her belt," he told Upworthy. "A hippie chick."

A shy guy, Bob got up the courage to go over. He saw a man who looked to be bothering her, so he told him she was his girlfriend.

"As I saw her, I knew it was it," he said.

Bob and Denise dated off and on but lost touch for close to 40 years — until this past July, when Denise left a note on Bob's door, inviting him to call her.

She was newly single. And he had never stopped thinking about her.

It didn't take long for them to fall in love all over again.

Denise's daughter Megan helps her mom get ready. Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

But when Denise went in for a routine surgery last October, her doctor discovered she had leukemia.

Denise underwent chemotherapy and received a stem cell transplant. Bob got down on one knee to propose in February, and the couple planned to wed this summer.

But the new stem cells were killing the cancer and her immune system, and her condition quickly worsened.

"On Mother's Day weekend, we thought she was going to die," Bob said. But he spent that Saturday holding her hand, talking to her and feeding her ice chips. Before long, he saw the light return to Denise's eyes.

"They gave her a new drug too, so we'll debate as to which was most effective," Bob said with a laugh.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

With the future still uncertain, Bob and Denise asked if they could get married at the hospital.

Bob thought it would be a small affair in Denise's room. But the staff and team at University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center had much bigger plans.

One of Denise's nurses informed nurse manager Vicki Hubbard about the impending nuptials, and soon the staff was in full wedding planning mode. In just over a week, they pulled together a wedding to remember.

With help from her daughter and the nursing staff, Denise got dolled up for her big day.

The staff decked out her room, now a bridal suite, with decorations, flowers and balloons.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

A frequent volunteer in the wing, who just happens to be a cosmetologist, did Denise's makeup.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

But she hardly needed any makeup; she was glowing all day long.

Photo by John Maniaci/ UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Her dress was perfect for the unseasonably warm Wisconsin day.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

And nurses styled a wig from the Carbone Cancer Center's wig salon.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Before long, it was time to head down to the ceremony!

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

As the bride and her attendants rolled through the wings, patients, nurses, and staff popped out of rooms to see the happy processional.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Meanwhile, friends and family gathered at the Haberman Terrace, one of the hospital's outdoor spaces.

Hospital staffed tracked down flowers, supplies, serving tools, and even wedding decorations and tablecloths of their own to lend to the effort. (They had to be secured to the tables just incase a Med Flight helicopter arrived during the ceremony.)


The hospital's art coordinator is a harpist, and the twinkle of beautiful music floated through the courtyard.

"Patients and staff were watching the wedding from the fourth level and up," Denise's daughter, Megan Rheaume-Brand, told Upworthy.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

When the bride entered, Bob was overcome with joy.

Seeing his bride for the first time was his favorite part of the day. "She deserves this. She really does," he said.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

The ceremony was a celebration of love incorporating a wide array of faith traditions. Led by Rev. Andy Jones of St. Andrew's Episcopalian Church, Denise's sister-in-law read from the Bible, and a nurse delivered a piece by the dalai lama. A friend of the couple even performed "a song of love and healing on an Ojibwe hand drum," Megan said.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Between, family, friends, and hospital staff, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Soon, Bob and Denise were pronounced husband and wife.

Before the celebration began, Denise took a moment to thank the crowd of friends, family, and hospital staff.

“I want everyone to know that while cancer kills, love heals," she said.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Soon, the party was in full swing. The happy couple celebrated with carrot cake...

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

...lots of laughter...

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

...and a champagne toast or two.

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

Banners reading "Best Day Ever" flapped in the breeze, and it was. The happy couple was overwhelmed with gratitude for the effort the staff put in to make their day one to remember.

"They did a phenomenal thing. We weren't expecting that," Bob said. "That made it so special. We're still smiling."

A few weeks later, Denise is getting stronger everyday.

Buoyed by love, top-notch medicine, and lots of support, she's come a long way since her close call on Mother's Day weekend.

"She's doing so well. It truly is a miracle how fast she's improving," her daughter Megan said.

Now a newlywed, Bob drives hundreds of miles back and forth to the hospital in Madison from the couple's home in Rhinelander, but he has no complaints.

"She's worth it, totally," he said. "Your first love is always the best, ya know?"

Photo by John Maniaci/UW Health/Carbone Cancer Center/Flickr.

UPDATE: Sadly, Denise Rheaume passed away on June 24, 2016. Our condolences to Bob, Megan, and Denise's wide circle of family and friends.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

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.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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