The awesome way this girl thanked her parents for the sacrifices they made.
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Minute Maid

To say it was hard for Juan and Kathy Peña to leave their home country of Guatemala is a massive understatement.

"I remember thinking, 'I don’t know when I’m going to come back,'" recalls Kathy. "And my family’s everything, so it’s hard."

The couple came to the United States in 2006 so Juan could study and pursue a career in motion graphics and video production.


"We sold everything we had just to get enough money to pay the tuition," explains Juan. "It was a leap of faith."

Juan and Kathy Peña. All photos via Minute Maid.

On top of stretching finances for Juan's school, the couple had trouble getting pregnant.

The doctors had told Juan he had only a 1% chance of being a parent, so they thought it might never happen. But out of the blue, Kathy got pregnant with what they nicknamed their "miracle baby."

While it was a dream come true for the Peñas, the doctors told them the pregnancy was high-risk, which meant Kathy had to be on bed rest for the majority of it. So not only was Juan trying to complete his schooling, he was taking care of his pregnant wife at the same time.

"I knew in my heart we would be all right because we had each other," says Kathy.

Kathy and Juan during Kathy's pregnancy.

Thankfully, Kathy's pregnancy went smoothly, and Juan managed to keep up with his education throughout.

Soon, they were holding their daughter Elizabeth in their arms.

"Our daughter, our miracle. We couldn’t believe it when we had her in our arms," recalls Kathy.

But the blessings didn't stop there. In 2015, they welcomed their son Joseph into the world.

Elizabeth and Joseph drawing together.

Today, thanks to Juan and Kathy's inexhaustible faith and perseverance, they have two happy, healthy children who have everything they need and more.

Juan hopes their life up to this point inspires his kids to work hard and keep dreaming big.

"I think dreams and purpose are the things that drive us as humans," says Juan.

Kathy's also been able to pursue her ambition of becoming a designer of hand-crafted party supplies.

Crafting is Kathy's passion, so being able to throw herself into it has revitalized her sense of purpose.

Her creativity sparked an idea in Elizabeth. She wanted to make something really special for her parents.

Elizabeth's future diploma.

So she started putting together a colorful display filled with hand-drawn pictures of her family, festive hats, and decorations — just like her mom's.

It included one extra meaningful piece of paper: Elizabeth's future veterinarian degree — her dream profession.

When her parents saw what she'd made, they were overwhelmed with emotion. Her mother was so proud to see her daughter showcasing her creativity, and her father knew just what to do with the certificate.

"I will save this, and then we will see it in the future being a reality."

Juan holds Elizabeth's future degree.

Taking a leap of faith isn't easy, but the Peñas' story reminds us that it can be more than worth it in the end.

While there were times when they weren't sure they were making the right decisions as parents, seeing their kids develop lofty aspirations that are totally achievable is all the assurance they need.

The family has a comfortable life with so many opportunities at their fingertips. And it only happened because Juan and Kathy made a decision to finish what they started and stuck to it. While that's a reward all on its own, their daughter showing them what their efforts did for her was the sweetest icing on the cake.

Then she said this, which left them speechless: "I’m so proud of you because you work so hard."

Watch the Peña's whole story here:

They thought they could never have children. And then their miracle babies arrived.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, September 18, 2017

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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