+
upworthy
Health

A hockey fan spotted a tiny detail on a stranger's neck. Her quick warning saved his life.

hockey, canucks, kraken, canucks kraken

Nadia Popovici's life-saving message at the Kraken/Canucks game in Seattle via Twitter

This story originally appeared on 01.06.22


Hockey fan Nadia Popovici had been watching the Vancouver Canucks play the Seattle Kraken when she noticed something offputting from the stands that set off alarms from her training as a medical student.

As Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian Hamilton approached the bench, Popovici noticed a small mole on the back of his neck. The marking might have seemed innocent enough, but thanks to her experience volunteering for oncology wards, Popovici recognized the potential danger lurking. So, she quickly took action.

“The mole on the back of your neck is cancer,” read Popovici’s message in big boldly colored letters on her phone screen. It took a few attempts to get her message across during the hustle and bustle of the game, but she eventually got Hamiliton’s attention through the plexiglass.

And sure enough, her on-the-spot prognosis was right.

Hamilton received a biopsy which confirmed that the mole had been cancerous. And if it had gone unaddressed, it would have been life-threatening.


"It was only on the outer layer of my skin,'' Hamilton recalled at a news conference. "It hadn't penetrated to the second layer of my skin and that's because we caught it so early…And the words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ignored that for four to five years, I wouldn’t be here.”

Moved by this stranger’s act of kindness, Hamilton wrote a heartfelt letter on social media in an attempt to reunite with the woman who saved his life.

His letter read:

"To this woman I am trying to find, you changed my life, and now I want to find you to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! Problem is, I don’t know who you are or where you are from…we are looking for this incredible person…help us find a real life hero, so I can express my sincerest gratitude."

It didn’t take long before the message found its way to Popovici’s mother, who commented:

“She hasn’t even seen this message yet as she worked graveyard shift at the suicide crisis center in Seattle so she’s still asleep. She’ll be shocked to see this message! She will be at the game tonight in the same seats. She’ll be so happy and excited to know he got it checked! What wonderful news!!!! She just got accepted into multiple medical schools!"

Talk about the power of the internet.

And so, the pair had an incredibly sweet reunion at the start of the game that night.

Displaying a truly amazing amount of empathy, Popovici shared with Sportsnet:

"The fact that I got to look him in the eye and hear what happened from his perspective. Imagine how jarring that is to for you to be at work and someone just kind of looks at you and says, `Hey, maybe you go see a doctor.' That's not what you want to hear. So the fact that I got to see him and talk to his family members that have been really impacted by him dodging a big bullet that's so special.''

Popovici is well on her way to saving countless more lives, since both the Canucks and Kraken teamed up to provide a $10,000 scholarship for medical school expenses.

Popovici’s reaction to receiving the reward for her selfless act (in the tweet above) is as heartwarming as the giant kraken beanie she sports.

Though the Canucks won that night, they tweeted that Hamilton and Popovici being able to meet was their “biggest win.”

Popovici told Sportsnet that Hamiton’s mole was a “picture perfect example of what melanoma looks like.”

If you’re wondering what that picture perfect example is, one person left a very helpful tweet so that you might be able to tell the difference between a marking that's benign and one that’s malignant. (Of course, this doesn’t replace getting the help of a trained professional.)

And to Nadia Popovici, who continues to be of service, thank you. More than ever, efforts to show compassion don’t go unnoticed.

A nasty note gets a strong response.

We've all seen it while cruising for spots in a busy parking lot: A person parks their whip in a disabled spot, then they walk out of their car and look totally fine. It's enough to make you want to vomit out of anger, especially because you've been driving around for what feels like a million years trying to find a parking spot.

You're obviously not going to confront them about it because that's all sorts of uncomfortable, so you think of a better, way less ballsy approach: leaving a passive aggressive note on their car's windshield.

Satisfied, you walk back to your car feeling proud of yourself for telling that liar off and even more satisfied as you walk the additional 100 steps to get to the store from your lame parking spot all the way at the back of the lot. But did you ever stop and wonder if you told off the wrong person?

Keep ReadingShow less
Pets

Dog marionette freaks out real dogs with wholly believable dog movements

Can't blame pups for thinking he's real because this puppetry is WOW.

Representative image by Eric Masur on Unsplash

A dog marionette in the right puppeteer's hands can be very convincing.

Humans have enjoyed the art of puppetry since ancient times, and like all arts, puppeteering has become more and more refined over the centuries. To see that evolution in action, look no further than the incredible skills of Polish puppeteer Lukasz Puczko.

Puczko's ability to mimic a dog's movements with with his dog marionette, Burek, is so impressive even real dogs are duped. In a TikTok video that's been viewed nearly 20 million times, Puczko is seen on a crowded street at an arts festival with Burek as he pounces around, wags his tail, lifts his ears and crouches into a playful stance just like a real dog would.

And it's so convincing, his real doggy counterpart doesn't seem to know what to do.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader on "Saturday Night Live" in 2010.

It must be incredibly hard to do live TV comedy sketches and never break character, especially when you’re working alongside some of the funniest people on the planet. Every “Saturday Night Live” cast member has had their moment where the sketch was too funny and they lost control, but few had it happen more times than Bill Hader, who starred on the show from 2005 to 2013.

One of Hader’s most popular characters on SNL was Stefon, the New York City nightlife reporter. Multiple times during the sketch, he had to cover his face to prevent the audience from seeing him laughing.

But one of the most obvious character breaks Hader ever had was in 2010, on season 36 of the show, during a “Hollywood Dish” sketch where he and Kirsten Wiig played entertainment reporters. The guest on this episode was Scarlett Johannson.

Keep ReadingShow less

Mom risks life to fight off daughter's attempted kidnapper

We have all wondered what we might do in certain situations that seem to take super human courage. While many people like to assume they''d have the wherewithal to do what needed to be done in a dramatic situation, thankfully most won't need to find out. But for the ones that do, it seems there's not much thinking involved. Just adrenaline and instinct to protect.

Adriana Alvarez, a mom to an adult daughter found herself acting on pure mama bear instincts when her adult daughter was almost a victim of kidnapping. Her 18-year-old daughter, Lex, was just about to enter the home after walking the dog when a man wearing a surgical mask jumped the railing grabbed her and carried her away.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

5-year-old gave his mom advice for handling nerves. It was both adorable and spot-on.

"You say, ‘I am brave of this meeting!’, ‘I am loved!’, ‘I smell good!"

Kids really do say the darnedest things.

Any parent knows that kids can be surprisingly astute little philosophers at the most unexpected times. One minute your child is throwing a tantrum because you sliced their sandwich wrong, and the next they are blowing you away with their deep preschool thoughts. It's enough to give you whiplash, but it's also one of the most fun things about being around kids. You never know what they're going to say and sometimes what they say is just awesome.

Case in point: This 5-year-old who gave his mom some sage advice about handling her nerves.

Twitter user @Eprecipice (StressieBessie) shared the story in a tweet thread. She wrote:

Keep ReadingShow less