Michael Jordan just donated $7 million to open Charlotte-area health clinics.

It’s been nearly 18 years since basketball legend Michael Jordan called it quits, but this week, he proved he’s still a champion.

According to the Associated Press, the former Chicago Bulls star and current Charlotte Hornets owner pledged to donate $7 million to local health centers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to his spokesperson, Jordan was inspired to make the donation after coming across a study that revealed Charlotte was dead last in a survey of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. when it comes to economic mobility for children in poverty. According to the study’s findings, Charlotte children born into the bottom 20% of local income levels had just a 4.4% chance of ever rising to the top 20% in their lifetimes.

The two new Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics funded by Jordan’s donation are slated to open in 2020.

“It is my hope that these clinics will help provide a brighter and healthier future for the children and families they serve,” said Jordan in a press release.

On its website, Novant outlines how and why Jordan’s donation will be so valuable, especially to low-income communities, writing that more than 100,000 Charlotte residents don’t currently have health insurance, making access to basic health services extremely difficult. One of the goals of the new clinics will be to reduce the amount of emergency room usage, providing a more affordable option for low-income families.

“This gift will transform the lives of thousands of families and children living in poverty-stricken communities,” said Novant Health president and CEO Carl Armato in the release. “We are thankful to Michael for his generosity. The gift will remove barriers to high-quality health care in some of the most vulnerable communities.”

Jordan at the NBA All-Star Game in 2016. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

It’s tragic that it takes a massive act of generosity from a blockbuster star like Jordan for at-risk communities to get the care they need.

The U.S. is among the most prosperous countries in the history of civilization, and yet it apparently cannot manage to take care of its citizens, with millions still without access to health care. Those numbers have improved in recent years, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the message is that there is a long way to go before we live up to our often self-bestowed reputation as the “greatest country on Earth.” So long as generations of families find poverty inescapable and so long as economic status can determine your ability to survive illness, there’s work to be done.

We can’t forget the wins, though — whether small or large. This donation is absolutely  worth celebrating for the families who will now be able to access care.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/michael-jordan-just-donated-7-million-to-open-charlotte-area-health-clinics

How a trip across the border inspired a doctor to fight for health care equality.

When Dr. Paula Aristizabal first started working in pediatric oncology, she was a little uneasy.

“I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect,” Aristizabal explains. Even though cancer specialists have to assume they’ll be treating people with a lower than average survival rate, knowing that all her patients would be children made it somewhat more daunting.

Fortunately, however, that was far from the experience Aristizabal ended up having.

Aristizabal. Photo via Northwestern Mutual.

“I learned pediatric cancer is highly curable, so it was very rewarding because I would be able to make a difference in [my patients’] lives,” Aristizabal says.

Little did she know treating cancer in children wouldn’t be the only way she’d make a positive impact on health care.

After completing her pediatric oncology training, which is the study of childhood cancer, in her home country of Colombia and her fellowship at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Aristizabal joined the medical staff at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. She, soon after began collaborating with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital on a project to improve pediatric cancer care in the U.S- Mexican border region.

On an initial visit to a city hospital in Mexico, she learned they didn’t have anything like a pediatric oncology ward.

“I thought, ‘Oh, goodness, it’s so different from the U.S.,'” Aristizabal shares. “I saw the disparity right there.”

Since 2008, she’s improved care in several Mexican hospitals, including two in Tijuana and La Paz.

Image via iStock.

But that was just the beginning.

It became Aristizabal’s mission to address the racial and ethnic disparity occurring in hospitals in the United States as well.

When she began to notice disparities in how the treatment worked for Hispanic patients where she practiced in San Diego, she decided to do some research to better understand barriers to response to treatment.

Aristizabal learned that while it’s likely there are biological differences that can contribute to disparities in the survival rate of Hispanic children with cancer, she also found a disparity in access to health care due to language and cultural barriers.

Thanks to funding assistance from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Northwestern Mutual, whose Childhood Cancer Program has generated more than $15 million for research and family support nationwide, Aristizabal was able to conduct her own research on that disparity. This was an important research focus for Northwestern Mutual in their mission to ensure that all kids have a chance to grow up.

She took an in-depth look at her own specialty in particular. She learned a large percentage of parents of kids with cancer have a low level of health literacy, meaning they have trouble navigating America’s complex health care system due to their cultural background. For example, Hispanic families are less likely to participate in clinical trials, which, in pediatric cancer, often offer the best chance of survival.

Image via iStock.

Since her first language is Spanish, Aristizabal knew she could do her part to help close that cultural and linguistic gap.

At the Peckam Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital, where she practices pediatric oncology, 50% of the children who receive treatment  are Hispanic. At her clinic, 95% of her patients are Hispanic, and 65% of their parents speak Spanish as their first language. Aristizabal knew her cultural background was key to providing them the best care possible.

“Since I’m Hispanic, and I know the culture and speak Spanish, I try to provide cultural concordant care and language concordant care,” Aristizabal says.

Research shows that when individuals receive care from someone in their own language and culture, the treatment results are much better.

Image via iStock.

When a doctor can fully communicate with patients, they can be sure they’re getting all the necessary details about a medical condition. In turn, patients feel more at ease knowing their doctor fully understands their condition and can clearly communicate a treatment plan. All this adds up to better results.

But Aristizabal can only do so much as one doctor. That’s why she’s inviting others to contribute to lessen this country-wide disparity.

“We need to prepare because the Hispanic population in the U.S. will comprise more than 30% of all Americans by 2050. There’s something we can really do in our own institutions.”

Image via iStock.

One simple step is to access a free bilingual treatment journal from the ALSF website to help families track their care plan.  The journal is funded by Northwestern Mutual as another way to address disparities.  

If pediatric cancer centers don’t have bilingual doctors on staff, they can improve access to interpreter services. Another strategy is that their doctors pursue cultural awareness training. Institutions can also offer medical Spanish lessons to their staff or any other language that might help their patients.

It requires a bit of effort, but it will make a world of difference.  

Just imagine a scared child who doesn’t speak English in a hospital. A doctor who can speak their language could be the only thing that puts them at ease.

“It’s so rewarding when you learn about other cultures,” Aristizabal says. “It facilitates the care that you provide because when you learn about another culture, you’re able to better understand where [patients] are coming from.”

And any doctor knows that’s more than half the battle.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/how-a-trip-across-the-border-inspired-a-doctor-to-fight-for-health-care-equality

People are in love with the ‘ICU Grandpa’ who cuddles babies at an Atlanta hospital.

On a recent morning, a woman walked into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and saw a stranger holding her baby.

The stranger was an older, bespectacled man. He was sitting in a chair and draped in a thin medical smock, gently rocking her infant son, Logan.

Logan had been in the NICU for six weeks after being born prematurely and needed around-the-clock care. His mom was there to hold him as often as she could be, but as she was making her way to the hospital that morning, the man, David Deutchman, was happy to step in.

They call him the “ICU Grandpa.” And he’s been offering snuggles as an official volunteer at the hospital for 12 years.

In a now super-viral Facebook post, the hospital wrote that Deutchman has a very specific cuddling schedule: on Tuesdays he visits the older babies and kids in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), and on Thursdays he visits with the newborns in the NICU.

Logan’s mom isn’t the only one who’s met the hospital “legend” — the social media post, which has been shared over 47,000 times, is overflowing with comments from parents who’ve been touched by his kindness and generosity.

You can read the entire thing below:

They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day….

Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

For young kids, and newborns especially, human contact and warmth is an essential part of survival.

It’s been scientifically demonstrated that newborns with access to food and shelter but no love or bonding, are unlikely to thrive. For this reason, volunteer cuddlers are common at hospitals around the country.

We won’t hold it against you if Deutchman isn’t immediately what came to mind when you heard “volunteer cuddler.” He says his guy friends don’t really get it either.

“I tell them, ‘I hold babies. Sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It’s great,'” he says in a video put together by Children’s Healthcare. But he says that “they just don’t get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this.”

That’s the kind of attitude that’s made Deutchman an overnight Internet sensation.

Rock on, ICU Grandpa. Rock on.

The ICU Grandpa of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

By now, you’ve probably heard about our ICU Grandpa. Here’s a look at the hospital legend doing what he does best.

Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday, September 29, 2017

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/people-are-in-love-with-the-icu-grandpa-who-cuddles-babies-at-an-atlanta-hospital

4 moms rejoiced when the Obamacare repeal bill failed. Now it’s back, and they’re furious.

Angela Eilers wanted to believe the push to upend the Affordable Care Act was finally over.

While “skinny repeal,” the GOP’s last attempt to gut the law, failed in July, she sent a handwritten thank-you note to every senator that voted against it. She saved the most elaborate and effusive for John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, the senators who broke with their own caucus to vote the bill down. Eilers was relieved for her daughter Myka, who was born with pulmonary stenosis, a congenital heart defect that required open-heart surgery to treat, and for her family, which she says can afford private market insurance thanks to the law.  

Still, she couldn’t relax.

“I never let myself think that they weren’t going to stop,” Eilers says. “I knew that they wouldn’t stop until they got this done.”

Her fears have come true with the most recent GOP push to replace the ACA. Eilers finds herself feeling disheartened and, perhaps most ominously, “defeated.”

“Yesterday was the first day that it hit me really really hard,” she admits.

With Senate Republicans taking another shot at Obamacare, many parents of children with chronic medical conditions are at their wits’ end, trying to cope with having to fight, once again, to preserve their access to treatment.

What began as resolve has, for many, evolved into a growing sense of powerlessness — and anger.

“If these people lived on a pediatric cancer floor for weeks, months, or longer, they would reconsider their positions on health care because it is gut-wrenching,” says Karen Lee Orosco, whose daughter was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, when she was 15 months old. Even with an intact ACA, Orosco had to crowdfund her daughter’s surgery and is incensed that the new bill penalizes her home state of California with deep funding cuts.

Kate Greene, whose son Eddie suffers from severe hemophilia A, worries about returning to a time when those with the disease had to change jobs and move across state lines to afford, or even receive, coverage. Despite having visited her member of Congress with her family, she now makes 10 calls to them a day.

“I want Eddie to know I did everything I could to protect him,” she says.

The most recent proposal, dubbed “Graham-Cassidy,” includes drastic cuts to both Medicaid and the ACA’s subsidies.

An NPR analysis found that the bill would allow states to permit insurers to omit the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits from plans and deny or significantly upcharge consumers with pre-existing conditions.

The potential new law could also permit plans to bring back lifetime caps on coverage, a major fear for parents whose children have already exceeded them.

Frustration at the proposed cuts extends beyond the parents of young children.

Pat Nelson, whose 33-year-old son suffers from an aggressive form of brain cancer, says that calling her senator, Marco Rubio, which she does daily, feels like “hitting my head against a brick.” She and her retired husband help her son cover his already sky-high medical bills, which she worries will explode if the bill becomes law.

“We would have to come up with more to pay for his healthcare,” she says.  I’m not sure how we will be able to do that.

The fate of the bill continues to hang by a thread, as the key swing votes from July have yet to commit one way or another.

While Collins is seen to be leaning against the measure, neither McCain nor Murkowski have given more than a few clues about their vote.

On Sep. 20, a spokesperson for Mitch McConnell’s office announced the majority leader’s intent to hold a vote soon, leading some observers to believe the holdouts could be convinced to support the new proposal.

Until then, many say they have no choice but to keep fighting for their kids, exhausted as they may be.

Despite her despair over the bill’s return, Eilers was buoyed when Jimmy Kimmel, a fellow “heart dad,” used his opening monologue to rail against the bill Tuesday and accused bill co-author Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy of lying “right to his face.”

“He was angry, like us, like the rest of us,” she says. “He was angry that this could impact his child. And I appreciated that.”

Next week could bring relief or more fury.

In the meantime, Eilers plans to keep sending her representative a picture of Myka every day until the bill is either dead or law.

After all, she wonders, what else is there to do?

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/4-moms-rejoiced-when-the-obamacare-repeal-bill-failed-now-its-back-and-theyre-furious

This guy has some advice for every dad out there whose kids ‘prefer mommy.’

There’s a myth floating around that all parents experience love at first sight when their kids are born.

We’re told by movies, TV shows, and even commercials that becoming a parent triggers an instant and unbreakable bond between us and our children.

But … if you want to know the truth? That doesn’t always happen.

It’s pretty common for new parents to deal with confusing bouts of indifference and postpartum depression, and it doesn’t help that babies and young kids aren’t always completely comfortable with one or both parents right away.

Biological dads can be at particular risk for feeling a little left out, especially if mom is breastfeeding and they don’t want to intrude on that process.

Terence Mentor, who blogs under the name AfroDaddy, opened up about his own struggles bonding with his son in an emotional Facebook post.

His first son was adopted, he says, which meant it was easy for him and his wife to take turns feeding him and pacifying him. His bond with his son was instant.

But Mentor’s younger son, now 2 years old, took a little longer to warm up to dear old dad. His son had an instant connection with his mom, however, and when that comfort gap lasted beyond the newborn phase, it was emotionally brutal on Mentor.

Something magical happened last night.

But before I tell you what it was, you need a bit of background:

Ever since my…

Posted by AfroDaddy on Monday, September 4, 2017

On Facebook, he lamented:

“It is quite a thing to be a dad who can’t comfort his child, who is constantly told ‘No, I go to mommy’, who never seems to have a real, relational moment with his own son.”

He felt extremely jealous of the bond his son had with his wife. “It was actually more difficult than I had allowed myself to admit,” he explains in a Facebook message. “For the first time, I had real doubts about my ability to be a truly involved dad.”

After an agonizing two years, things are starting to turn around. Mentor says his son is finally starting to show some real affection for his dad, celebrating a particularly “magical” milestone in his Facebook post:

“This child, who would cry when I so much as looked his way, came to me [last night] for his comfort and calm. Not going to lie … I got a little teary eyed.”

These feelings of “indifference” can go both ways, of course.

While kids may express a preference for one parent over the other, sometimes new parents just don’t feel that instantaneously deep love they expect they should feel for the new baby.

These feelings are actually super-duper normal, family therapist Leslie Seppinni told ABC News. “It’s not automatic that you’re going to bond with your child. Usually it does take a little while,” she says.

It’s hard to be patient, but if Mentor has learned anything, it’s that you have to push through those tough times by giving loads of affection — even if you’re not getting it in return.

You also have to talk about how you’re feeling, he says.

“Frankly, dads don’t talk about this kind of thing, so I have a suspicion that moms think we don’t care that our child doesn’t want to be with us or have anything to do with us,” he says. “We care. We care a lot.”

He hopes his story, which has been shared far and wide, encourages more parents to stop beating ourselves up and just be honest with ourselves and our partners.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-guy-has-some-advice-for-every-dad-out-there-whose-kids-prefer-mommy

My husband was leading a double life. How I fell apart, then found strength.

A few weeks after giving birth to my first baby, I was wracked with pain to the point that I could barely move.

Swinging my legs, one after another, out of bed took nearly all my willpower. This pain had nothing to do with the physical stress of childbirth or the stitches still holding my swollen private area together.

This pain came from a place so deep within me that I could not determine where the pain ended and I began. We were intertwined. It was all-consuming.

It felt as if half of my DNA had been ripped out of my body and I was left with a dangling half-strand.

Until that moment, I hadn’t realized that my husband had become a part of me. Now, in his absence, I felt an emptiness where he had been. I knew I would never be whole again.

In Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and writer Carolyn Gregoire explore what happens in the aftermath of a traumatic event:

The more we are shaken, the more we must let go of our former selves and assumptions, and begin again from the ground up. … Rebuilding can be an incredibly challenging process. … It can be grueling, excruciating, and exhausting. But it can open the door to a new life.

I know that door.

I found out my husband was leading a double life almost immediately after I gave birth to my daughter.

There was another girlfriend, and a secret credit card. Then other women started to come forward.

I was suddenly on my own with a newborn baby. I grieved him, and the future I thought we would have together, like a death.

Photo from me, used with permission.

While these have been without a doubt the most difficult months of my life, there was also something incredibly freeing in being ripped to shreds and then rebuilding myself piece by piece.

I told my therapist that everything seemed somehow clearer. I feel like the human interactions I do have are very genuine now. I used to make kind of superficial small talk a lot, and I dont do that anymore. I cant really explain it. I just feel like I see people now.

She told me that these moments of clarity are made possible precisely because you no longer have room for a lot of the crap you used to spend so much time thinking about. You are stripped clean.

Youve always possessed this power. Maybe you just never knew how to access it.

Before experiencing trauma, I cared very much what people thought of me, from close family and friends to strangers. I had trouble making decisions because I wanted to please everyone. Even navigating a grocery store could be stressful all those strangers silently observing and judging me.

Then, for months, I was trapped in my own body, forced to sit in the pain. Let me be clear. When I say sit in the pain I mean not running into someone elses arms, not getting sloshed every night, and not hiding behind work.

Being trapped in my body meant that I couldnt run from the darkness or try to do whatever it took to feel good again.

We humans naturally try to avoid feelings of discomfort especially today, when instant gratification is just a click away on social media or a swipe away on an online dating app, when endorphins can be produced and manipulated simply by picking up an iPhone. People are even less likely to be still. To just feel.

But as I sat in my pain, I slowly started to trust my own intuition. I became grounded in a very clear sense of self.

When you begin to truly trust and like yourself, you tap into an immense amount of power.

Photo by me, used with permission.

Youve always possessed this power. Maybe you just never knew how to access it. You find a power within yourself thats like an anchor, freeing you from a lot of lifes insecurities that seemed so important before.

Dr. Sharon Dekel says, Post-traumatic growth can be defined as a workable coping mechanism, a way of making and finding meaning involved in the building of a more positive self-image and the perception of personal strength.”

The other side of pain is not comfort, or health, or well-being. It is truth.

When this truth comes pouring in, you begin to see all the grimy layers of protection lift away, and you discover that your journey has just begun. You begin to let the light in and, whats more, you begin to seek out the light.

One morning I woke up and had a sudden realization. The thought entered my mind like a lightning bolt:

You were always whole to begin with.

So as much as I sometimes want to scream and rage at my ex-husband, I also want to thank him. I want to thank him for forcing me to become the person I was always meant to be, for showing me that I am a fighter and that I will never give up.

But most importantly, I thank him for allowing me to become this person before my daughter ever knew anyone else.

You can read more about Jen’s journey in her memoir “A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/my-husband-was-leading-a-double-life-how-i-fell-apart-then-found-strength

A viral photo of a calm dad and a screaming toddler holds an important parenting lesson.

Young kids don’t always pick the best times to have emotional meltdowns.

Just ask any parent.

Grocery stores, malls, and restaurants (or any place with lots of people around) in particular seem to bring out the worst in our little ones, prompting explosive tantrums that can make even the most stoic parent turn red-faced with embarrassment.

But why be embarrassed? It’s just kids being kids, after all.

Actor Justin Baldoni recently shared a poignant photo with his own daughter and the big lesson he learned from his dad about such moments.

Baldoni, best known for his role on the show “Jane the Virgin,” shared a photo his wife, Emily, took while the family was shopping at the local Whole Foods.

In it, Baldoni, along with his father, stares down at his daughter, Maiya. She’s crying and/or wailing on the floor. Who knows about what. Her body is twisted into classic tantrum pose.

The two men look calm. Almost amused, but not in a mocking way.

They certainly are not embarrassed despite a horde of people around them in the store.

When Baldoni posted the photo to his Facebook, he recalled the way his father used to act during the actor’s own tantrums, and how it helped shape him into the man he is today.

Image captured via Justin Baldoni/Facebook.

“My dad always let me feel what I needed to feel, even if it was in public and embarrassing,” he wrote.

The post continued:

“I don’t remember him ever saying ‘You’re embarrassing me!’ or ‘Dont cry!’ It wasn’t until recently that I realized how paramount that was for my own emotional development. Our children are learning and processing so much information and they don’t know what to do with all of these new feelings that come up. I try to remember to make sure my daughter knows it’s OK that she feels deeply. It’s not embarrassing to me when she throw tantrums in the grocery store, or screams on a plane. I’m her dadnot yours.

Let’s not be embarrassed for our children. It doesn’t reflect on you. In fact.. we should probably be a little more kind and patient with ourselves too. If we got out everything we were feeling and allowed ourselves to throw tantrums and cry when we felt the need to then maybe we’d could also let ourselves feel more joy and happiness. And that is something this world could definitely use a little more of.”

The photo, which Baldoni calls one of his favorites ever, shows the advice in action.

There’s a lot of pressure out there on both men and women to be the perfect parents at all times.

But being the perfect parent doesn’t mean your kid never gets angry or frustrated or confused. As Baldoni writes, toddlers are really just beginning to learn and explore the world’s boundaries. There’s naturally going to be a lot of swirling emotions as they encounter things and situations they can’t understand.

What’s important is we don’t teach them to hide those feelings or push them down for fear of ridicule that kind of emotion-management can come back to haunt us as adults. Working through our feelings, or just having a good cry right there in the middle of the grocery store, is an important skill to learn.

The emotional health of our children is certainly worth a few weird stares from people we’ll never seen again.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-viral-photo-of-a-calm-dad-and-a-screaming-toddler-holds-an-important-parenting-lesson