Watch this Texas mom's inspiring, viral campaign video. She's making history — again.

M.J. Hegar has thrived in the face of adversity her entire life.

The 42-year-old Air Force veteran is also an author, wife, and mother. And now she's trying to win in a Texas congressional district that to date has never elected a Democrat.

In late June, Hegar released a campaign video entitled "Doors," which highlighted her life story and her fight against sexism in the military. She won a historic legal fight that overturned the Direct Combat Definition and Assignment Rule that prevented military women from serving in a number of roles.


The video quickly went viral and has been viewed more than 5 million times across Hegar's YouTube and Facebook channels. That's quite impressive for a political ad in a small Texas congressional district, but it wasn’t expected to affect the actual campaign.

And then the donations started pouring in.

Hegar has outraised her Republican opponent by a wide margin, which shows how much her message is resonating.

On July 16, new fundraising numbers were released by the Federal Elections Commission, and the results were stunning: Hegar outraised her opponent, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) by more than 4 to 1, with $1,171,373 compared to his $266,889.

"The thousands of people who are supporting our campaign show that it is time to show the door to politicians who care more about campaign donors and political parties than protecting our country," she said.

Hegar says that when she tried to meet with Carter to discuss her military reform initiative, his office refused, saying she wasn't a priority because she wasn't a campaign contributor.

Carter's team has denied the claim, but it clearly resonated with donors, who gave her campaign more than $750,000 in just the first 10 days after her video was released.

She still faces an uphill battle — but that's never stopped her before.

Carter is still considered a 10-point favorite according to election forecasters, but that's a big change from 2016 when he won his election by nearly 22 points. And as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others have proven, 2018 is a year primed for historic upsets.

"A lot of people across the country feel like they have absent representation and that their voices are not being heard," Hegar said in a recent interview.

It's a message that's resonating with people, even deep in the heart of red-state Texas.

via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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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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