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On Tuesday, Dec. 27, Carrie Fisher died at age 60.

Her death comes four days after she suffered a heart attack. Best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars film franchise, it's hard to overstate just how inadequate that basic description of her is. In addition to being an actor, Fisher was also a best-selling author and a mental health advocate. To her fans, she was even more than that: an idol, an inspiration, and even a lifesaver.

Fisher attends a screening of "The Empire Strikes Back"  in 1980. AP Photo/Dave Caulkin.


This viral Tumblr post from user angelica-church explains just what made Fisher so special:

Originally shared on Dec. 23, 2016, the post has racked up more than 116,000 interactions as of this writing.

"Carrie Fisher isn’t just Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher isn’t just an actress we all admire from a famous series of movies made a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Carrie Fisher isn’t just another name on the list of shitty things 2016 has done to people I admire.

Carrie Fisher is a woman who struggled with addiction and mental illness and never sugar coated it — she spoke honestly, openly, about every ugly truth, and made me so much less ashamed of the things I struggle with in my daily life."

John Boyega and Carrie Fisher attend the world premiere of "�Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hollywood, California. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Disney.

"Carrie Fisher is a woman who fought back against body shaming and misogyny, against agesim, who looked at critics and said, 'Yes, I am a woman who has aged, and had children, and struggled with depression* and addiction and my body has changed, so you can just shut the fuck up and deal with it,' and it was absolutely beautiful.

Carrie Fisher is a woman who was placed in the role of 'princess,' but didn’t conform to the typical Hollywood idea of what a princess should be. She’s loud, brash, crass, and unapologetic for being so."

Fisher with her dog Gary in 2015. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney.

"She’s an idol and an inspiration and she’s a woman who saved my life many times just by being who she was and never shying away from it or feeling the need to say sorry. Carrie Fisher is so much and more and I cannot begin to stomach the thought of 2016 taking her away from me, from her family, from the rest of the world and those of us who love her so dearly.

I love you, space momma. We all do. Keep fighting the good fight."

Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Fisher attend a Star Wars fan concert in 2015 in San Diego, California. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney.

Fisher is just the latest in what seems like an unending list of cultural icons lost during 2016. Like others, her influence will live on for generations to come.

We all draw our inspiration from somewhere. For many of us, that means looking to athletes, actors, entertainers, and other pop culture figures for guidance. Maybe Leonard Cohen's music helped you understand heartbreak; maybe David Bowie's carefree approach to fashion and gender expression helped you relate to the world in a new way; maybe Muhammad Ali's willingness to stand up for what he believed in helped you find a resolve deep within yourself you didn't know you had.

Carrie Fisher showed us that being a princess is about so much more than a crown.

Fisher at age 16. AP Photo/Jerry Mosey.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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 Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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