Thousands of people chipped in to help this dad find a new cup for his son with autism.

If there's one thing Marc Carter's son Ben loves, it's his blue sippy cup.

Ben is 14, and he has severe autism.

He's almost completely nonverbal, but that doesn't mean he can't communicate his dedication to this simple, blue cup.


It might not look like much, but Ben has been drinking from it almost exclusively for his entire life.

Marc says he replaced it, once, with an exact replica, but even that took great care. First he swapped in a new base, then a few weeks later, he added a new top. Ben was skeptical, but he eventually adjusted.

The National Autistic Society reports that it's quite common for people with autism to become attached to or obsessed with certain behaviors, interests, or even specific objects, like Ben's cup. The organization writes: "The interest can ... provide structure, order and predictability, and help people cope with the uncertainties of daily life."

So, to Marc and Ben, the cup is also a little more than just a cup.

Unfortunately, Marc recently found out that the manufacturer, Tommee Tippee, is no longer making this model of sippy cup. That's a huge problem for Ben.

Marc's not kidding around when he talks about how important this cup is to his son. He says Ben has been hospitalized twice from dehydration after refusing to drink out of anything but his sippy.

The cup, he says, literally keeps his son alive.

As a father, he knew he had to do something. The current cup Ben uses is three years old and falling apart at the seams. It would only be a matter of time until it was unusable, and what then?

So Marc put out a call on Twitter, hoping that someone, somewhere, might have an old cup like Ben's laying around.

Before long, his tweet was retweeted thousands of times. The hashtag #CupForBen was flooded with kind offers from strangers who wanted to mail Ben their old sippys.

Tommee Tippee, the manufacturer of the cup, even heard about the campaign and offered to look through their warehouses to see if they still had some left.

(According to Marc's latest update, they've found one.)

One user even mocked up a digital model of the cup in case Marc wanted to have it 3D-printed.

To call this heartwarming response overwhelming would be a massive understatement.

"I've got some coming, some as in enough to last us a few years," Marc wrote. "If that's all I get then that's great."

He says Ben's behavior is unlikely to change at this stage, and he'll likely rely on his blue sippy cup for the rest of his life.

Thanks to the unending kindness of some random Twitter users, Ben and Marc won't have to worry about running out. For a long while, at least.

Despite all the attention, Marc insists he's not a "hero dad." He's just doing the very best he can for his son.

"In all this it's so important to realize this isn't about me, it's not about a little blue cup, it's about autism," he told the blog Rainbows Are Beautiful Too.

"My heart goes out to all of the carers who have to struggle daily with things that seem so trivial to the rest of the society — I think you are all fab parents and I admire you all."

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less