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“You could never tell this little girl has three tubes in her."

Natasha Fuller is just 8 years old, but her grandmother, Chris Burleton, told the Fond du Lac Reporter that she doesn't let her medical condition faze her. “She is happy and sassy, and she just wants to lead a normal life, and do things like go swimming.”

Natasha was born with a rare abdominal muscle condition called Eagle-Barrett Syndrome, or "prune belly syndrome." Among other things, this means that her eight years of life so far have been plagued by urinary tract complications. She lives with her grandparents in Oakfield, Wisconsin — some 400 miles away from her parents and twin sister in Oklahoma — where it's easier to see the doctor, including thrice-weekly trips to the hospital for kidney dialysis.


GIF via WISN 12 News/YouTube.

But in the fall of 2015, doctors said if she didn't get a transplant, Natasha would die.

She had been waiting years to get a new kidney. But every time her name came up on the transplant list, she was already dealing with other kidney infections that would make the surgery impossible. So each time, she was bumped back to the bottom of the list.

GIF via WISN 12 News/YouTube.

That's when her first-grade teacher, Jodi Schmidt, was inspired to do something radical.

Jodi had only known Natasha since the start of the school year, and though she clearly cared about the girl, she couldn't quite articulate where the idea came from. All she knew was she was suddenly so overwhelmed that she had to pull the car over and call her husband.

"I told him, 'Rich, I want to give a student one of my kidneys,'" she told USA Today.

Jodi went through all the proper tests to make sure that she was a donor match for Natasha before she even shared her plan with anyone else. She checked with her principal, Becky Doyle, to see if she could take off the 8 weeks of recovery time, and confirmed with the hospital that her kidney would be used for Natasha and no one else.

GIF via WISN 12 News/YouTube.

Then she called Natasha's grandmother in for a special conference at the school.

Natasha's grandmother assumed that she was going in to speak about her granddaughter's grades or to address some concerns about her failing health, according to USA Today. Instead, she was greeted with a gift.

"We gave her a gift box, and under the tissue paper was a card with the words: 'It's a match,'" she explained.

GIF via WISN 12 News/YouTube.

"I have had some really good days in my life, and that was probably one of the best," Jodi said after seeing the family's reaction. "I think that life takes us on very different paths, and I now have no doubt I was brought to Oakfield for a reason."

GIF via WISN 12 News/YouTube.

Teachers make amazing sacrifices for students every day — and Jodi's gift to Natasha is simply one of the most extraordinary.

In the meantime, you can warm your own heart with the full donor revelation video below — and let's all hope that Natasha and Jodi both have a speedy recovery after their surgeries in April!

partner boost

Pacifico and Quiksilver have teamed up to provide a sustainable merch collection and clean beaches

Shared values of sustainability and adventure come together in a beautiful way

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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Image courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Nenad Bach, founder of Ping Pong Parkinson's.

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Nenad Bach, a Croatian American recording artist, and peace activist has led an impressive life propelled by his inspiring optimism. As a musician, he’s performed alongside Bono and Luciano Pavarotti and took the stage at Woodstock ‘94. He’s recorded with legendary artists such as Garth Hudson and Rick Danko from The Band and The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick.

As an activist, he was highlighted by the United Nations for his World Peace in One Hour campaign.

But in 2010 his life came to a temporary halt after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder affecting movement. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it’s a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time.

Over a million people in the U.S. and 6 million worldwide are affected by the disease.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Bach was invited by a friend to play ping pong. The next day he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. His cognitive abilities improved, his tremors were less intense, it was easier for him to walk and talk and he felt a greater “desire to live,” he told Upworthy.

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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