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How would you react if you were told that your baby wouldn't survive through her first month of life?

Heather and Nathan Peterson can tell you, because that's exactly what happened to them.


Heather and Nathan. All photos are from Nathan Peterson and used with permission.

Everything started off pretty well for the Illinois couple. They had three healthy children, started a music group together called Hello Industry, and were ready to welcome a fourth child into the world.

But after Heather returned from a routine doctor's appointment, their world came crashing down.

Their unborn daughter was diagnosed with a serious chromosomal condition called trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome — which means three copies of chromosome 18 are present instead of two. Children with this disorder may experience trouble with their vital organs, and the prognosis is usually not favorable.

Studies show that only 50% of trisomy 18 babies will survive birth if carried to term. Even if that hurdle is cleared, the sad reality is many of these babies will die within their first month of life. Under 10% of them survive to witness their first birthday.

It was starting to sink in for Heather and Nathan.

No parent wants to receive a grim diagnosis about their child.

"The doctor was sure she wouldn't make it very far," Nathan told me. "But we focused on the fact that she was alive today, even in the womb."

Against the odds, the couple were able to welcome their baby girl to the world.

They named her Olivia.

Olivia was born alive, but how much time would she have?

They cherished every moment with Olivia. But in the back of their minds, they knew that she could be taken from them any moment.

But their baby survived through her first day, her first week ... and she blew everyone away by surviving through her first month of life.

The lovely Olivia sleeping peacefully.

Month after month passed, and this girl kept defying the odds and kept thriving.

Now she's 11 months old and still going strong.

"She surprised everyone by living this long, and she's doing very well right now," said proud dad Nathan. "She's eating, breathing, learning, dancing, and smiling."

Here's the proof.

Olivia is one happy kid.

Nathan and Heather curb their optimism about the future and focus solely on the important thing: right now.

"I suppose the diagnosis is still the same," Nathan lamented. "We're trying to stick with the discipline we had while she was still in the womb: She's alive today."

Nathan does not take a moment for granted with his baby.

Smita Malhotra, a pediatrician based in Pasadena, California, has delivered the trisomy 18 diagnosis to parents.

Giving bad news is the worst part of her job, but she's quick to say that no matter how bad it may seem, anything is possible.

"As a parent, you feel incredibly helpless when you receive life-changing news about your child," said Malhotra, who co-owns a medical clinic in Pasadena. "As a physician, it's important to provide a diagnosis and prognosis from our clinical experience but at the same time, understand that resilience and incredible power of the human spirit gives us hope."

The only gift the Petersons want this holiday season is to spend today with Olivia.

To this family, a week seems like an eternity. Moments are measured in precious seconds and minutes.

In a society where everyone moves so fast, Nathan wants to share one important message with the world: Slow down and enjoy it.

"Live life. I know that sounds overly simplified and cliche, but personally I've spent a good portion of my life not doing it," he admitted. "I was afraid to name Olivia when she was in the womb. It made it more real and it would hurt more to lose her. But living that day meant giving her a name. Fear is always trying to stop us from living. Every single day, I make the continuous and sometimes difficult decision to really live."

"I was afraid to name Olivia when she was in the womb. It made it more real and it would hurt more to lose her. But living that day meant giving her a name."

On those days when we don't feel like getting out of bed, we should think of Olivia. Medical professionals said that her time on this earth could have lasted as long as it took you to read this article. Yet she's still here almost a year later.

Let's make the decision to love the good, bad, and ugly parts of today, because in reality, today is all we have.

Olivia will be happy you did.


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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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.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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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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