When her nursing plans got derailed, help from people like you changed everything.

Linda Ruggiero was in nursing school when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, she almost gave up on her dream.

Linda Ruggiero and her mom. Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.

Ruggiero, who was changing careers, needed her mom to help her pay for nursing school. But the diagnosis changed everything. Not only did Ruggiero have the weight of her mother being sick on her shoulders, now the aspiring nurse couldn't count on any financial support. And even though her mother got better, Ruggiero's last year of nursing school was incredibly difficult.


"It was a dark year," Ruggiero recalls. She didn't qualify for financial aid so she started taking on work outside of school. At one point, she was working five jobs at one time just to make ends meet.

"I almost had to leave," she says. "I was tired, and I had meltdowns pretty often. When my mom got sick, I felt like I really couldn't take it anymore, you know?"

But then a scholarship came along that changed her life.

Linda Ruggiero giving the convocation speech at her nursing school graduation. Photo courtesy of Lina Ruggiero.

In her last year, Ruggiero was awarded $5,000 by the The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association (FNSNA), which is supported in part by Johnson & Johnson — a company that has a century-long commitment to helping nurses. Johnson & Johnson recognizes that front line health workers are vital to changing health and wellbeing, which includes supporting the FNSNA and the scholarships they award.

The money made it possible for Ruggiero to finish the program and do what she loves. While this was certainly great for her, Ruggiero's newly acquired certification would also make a profound difference to people in need of medical assistance and care.  

With a nurse shortage looming over the United States, Ruggiero's entry into the workforce is good for all of us. She's now one of the essential people in the medical community fighting to ensure that everyone gets proper care.

And none of this would've been possible without people like you.

That's right. You have the power to change a life. All it takes is the snap of your camera.

Photo by Kendra Kamp/Unsplash.

When you take a photo and share it through Johnson & Johnson's Donate a Photo app,  Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar per picture to causes that make the world a better, healthier place. What's more, if you share those photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you may inspire others to get snapping and donating, too.

With nearly four million photos shared, Donate a Photo has proven to be an easy (and fun) way to both spread awareness and make meaningful change in the world.

Johnson & Johnson has always been focused on changing human health for the better. And they know that progress is faster and more efficient when we all work together.

Donate a Photo is just one of the ways that J&J is helping to make the world healthier. They also created a Global Public Health organization dedicated to causes like ending Pediatric Tuberculosis and working to eliminate HIV/AIDS as a public health threat within the next decade, just to name a few.

Now it's your turn to make a difference: It starts with capturing the people you love and ends with improving the lives of people you've never met.

Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.

Because Linda Ruggiero got to stay in school, she's been able to help so many others.

Aside from earning her degree and becoming a Registered Nurse, Ruggiero's also started a program that provides hats and blankets for premature babies at a local hospital. She's been awarded a grant to perform public health research in order to teach muslim women in her community about vitamin D deficiency. And she's won awards for the outreach work she's done.

"I didn't just get money to go to school to help myself," she says. "Because I stayed, it benefited others, too."

When you "Donate a Photo" and then post your donated snaps to social media, you'll be showing people the causes you care about, and creating an altruistic ripple effect that will have an effect long after your friends and relatives have scrolled through your timeline.

It only takes a second, but when we all work together, there's no telling just how much better we can make the future.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

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Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

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