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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Founders Discuss How it Began

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Founders Discuss How it BeganFounders Anthony and Jeanette Senerchia, Pat Quinn, and Pete Frates tell the story of how the #ALSIceBucketChallenge became a global phenomenon. Join us again this August and #EveryAugustUntilACure

Posted by The ALS Association on Thursday, July 23, 2015

The irony in being a blogger is that I was such an emotionally closed young adult. Now that I’m well into adulthood, some would say I won’t STFU.

In the past few weeks, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has made me even more verbal. Lucky you!

My father died of ALS in 1997 at the age of 54. Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Basically, it’s a death sentence. While many medical professionals call it one of the worst ways to die, ALS traps a person’s mind and soul into a motionless body.

I was only 18 when my dad was handed his fatal diagnosis.

My hopes of moving to Vancouver and attending UBC quickly faded —  I knew I had to stay home and help my mom and brother care for my dad. And I did just that for the following 4 years.

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Chinese Mother Heroically Sacrifices Self To Save Son

RIP-Xiang-Liujuan

By now, perhaps you’ve viewed the startling footage of Xiang Liujuan‘s death. The 31-year-old Chinese woman heroically saved her son’s life before she died in an escalator accident. As it turns out, the horrific incident was caught on tape, and the footage marked as “graphic content” has gone viral.

While the clip can be easily found online, I won’t be sharing the link. I don’t feel right about posting the moment a toddler witnesses his mother’s gruesome death.

No judgement if you want to google the footage, but I don’t want to exploit this woman any further than she has already been. An innocent trip to the mall ended her life — and now the whole world can see her final moments. Not sure this is how I’d want to be remembered.

Can you imagine how this will affect her son’s life? When he grows older, he’ll be able to find the footage and re-witness his mother’s death. I can’t even imagine the horror.

So instead of providing a link to the brutal footage, I’d like to pay tribute to this heroic woman. In her final moments, she selflessly sacrificed herself to save her son’s life. May she rest in peace, and here’s wishing her entire family my deepest condolences.

And my message for her sweet son: I hope you are able to find peace and happiness in life regardless of this childhood trauma. Perhaps this article will one day come across your desk as you search for footage on your mother. If so, please know that her bravery and courage will not soon be forgotten.

R.I.P Xiang Liujuan.

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It Went Viral: Couple Meets Adopted Daughter For The First Time

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Need a hump day pick-me-up?

On July 21, Sarah and David Olson received the phone call that would change their lives forever. After a nearly year-long adoption process, the Minnesota couple’s baby girl, Tilly Pearl, had been born.

The couple – who are also parents to sons, Zakary, 6, Levi, 3 – hired professional photographer Kristen Prosser to take shots of the first memorable moments with their daughter.

“I have always wanted to photograph the first meeting of an adopted baby,” Prosser wrote on her Facebook page. “This week, I got to be a part of this incredible moment with one of my best friends! She found out Tuesday afternoon about this baby. Early Wednesday morning, we flew to Florida. Wednesday afternoon, the baby was official theirs and in the arms of their new mom and dad! It was one of the most special moments of my life, I was so privileged to watch this all unfold. What a perfect example of unconditional and sacrificial love. Meet Tilly Pearl.”

One of the images shows the couple anxiously awaiting to meet their daughter.

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In another precious pic, the overjoyed parents are seen approaching Tilly’s bassinet as they lay eyes on her for the first time.

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In a series of shots, the couple are seen overwhelmed with emotion as they meet their newborn daughter. The heartwarming photos have since gone viral with more than 30,000 shares on Prosser’s Facebook page.

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“Both of Sarah’s pregnancies were brutal. Neither of our pregnancies were easy,” David tells PEOPLE. “We suffered the loss of a miscarriage but still trusted and felt like our family was not yet complete.”

While they had been trying to conceive a third child, Sarah suggested adoption. David agreed, and after four potential matches that ended in disappointment, they received the call they had been waiting for.

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“Our consultant Katie called, she said, ‘Are you ready for a miracle? If you say yes to this situation, the baby is yours!’ ” Sarah shares.

Continue looking through the precious Olson family photos. We’re thrilled to hear Tilly found her forever family.

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Photo credit: KRISTEN ANNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Rape Culture Will Not Silence These 35 Women

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No one wants to believe it, but it’s true.

Everyone’s favorite TV dad, Bill Cosby, is allegedly a serial rapist. The cardigan-wearing funnyman has reportedly been drugging and raping women for decades. In the past when a woman has disclosed her story of sexual assault by the Jell-O loving comedian, Cosby’s legal term has swiftly moved into damage control, and the public’s memory has quickly faded.

But the women will not be silenced.

“I told my supervisor at the Playboy Club what he did to me, and you know what she said to me? She said: ‘You do know that that’s Hefner’s best friend, right?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She says to me: ‘Nobody’s going to believe you. I suggest you shut your mouth.’ ” —PJ Masten

On Sunday, thirty five (!) women shared their stories of sexual assault at the hands of TV’s favorite father with New York Magazine. In the ’60s, when the first alleged assault by Cosby occurred, rape was defined as violence committed by a stranger. Acquaintance rape, or date rape, was not recognized.

“I didn’t realize that I had been raped. Back then, rape was done in an alleyway with somebody holding a knife to your throat that you didn’t know. There was no date rape back then. I just knew that something horrible had happened. But I couldn’t put a name to it. The difference between this and that rape in the dark alley is that his face would be before me every week on TV. People would mention a joke that he said: ‘Wasn’t that funny?’ And all the while, my stomach would just be churning.” —Joan Tarshis

While society has come to accept the notion of date rape, some people are still refusing to believe these THIRTY FIVE women.

“Eighteen is very young. It took me a long, long time to come to terms with the fact that it was him, it wasn’t me. Life has not been easy for me. I had addiction problems as I got older.” —Linda Joy Traitz

And it’s not just Cosby! Die hard fans of 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar continue to rally behind the 27-year-old reality star who sexually assaulted several young girls — two of whom are his sisters — when he was a teen.

“Listen, he was America’s favorite dad. I went into this thinking he was going to be my dad. To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick. It was hard for America to digest when this came out. And a lot of backlash and a lot denial and a lot of anger.” —Barbara Bowman

While we’ve come a long way fighting for women’s rights, the public’s ongoing refusal to believe women who disclose sexual assault is reflective of our rape culture.

What is rape culture, you ask?

Rape culture is a society which blames the victim, objectifies women and denies the widespread problem of sexual assault and violence against women and girls.

MORE: How To Raise Loving Boys In Today’s Culture?

While this might sound like a lot of liberal mumbo jumbo, something is broken in our society when young girls think feminism is a bad word and society still says females are ‘asking for it’ when they wear skimpy clothes or flirt with the opposite sex.

Here’s wishing peace and healing to these 35 women who bravely came forward with their painful memories. And for anyone out there struggling to come forward, here’s hoping these courageous women have inspired you to reach out for help.

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It Went Viral: Bugaboo Ad Enrages Moms Everywhere

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Get a clue, Bugaboo!

Moms all over the nation are steaming mad about the stroller company’s latest marketing move.

In the Instagram ad, 23-year-old Dutch model Ymre Stiekema is seen running with her 2-year-old daughter while wearing what appears to be a black-and-white bikini. Yah, ‘cuz all moms jog with their tots in a two-piece, rocking impeccably toned abs without a trace of stretch marks.

As one might imagine, the Internet exploded within minutes of this new marketing campaign.

Let’s summarize the main arguments against this ad, shall we?:

  • 1. The model’s body looks unrealistic. Consumers want realistic depictions of women.
  • 2. The model is posing/behaving in an unrealistic manner.
  • 3. Consumers will not buy the product if they can’t relate to the images being displayed.

And the pro arguments, you ask?:

  • 1. Anyone attacking these ads are just jealous haters.
  • 2. The model targets marketing of women who are avid runners and can afford an $800 stroller.

My two bits? This is NOT what women want, Bugaboo! Ads like this portray unrealistic expectations for women in the postpartum period. You’d think savvy marketers would want to embrace their entire demographic — not just the one percent of women who are wealthy and have the genetics of a supermodel. Not to mention, the sensitivity around postpartum depression has not been taken into consideration here. The months that follow a baby’s birth can be dark for so many women — unrealistic images like this do not help.

Seriously, what were they thinking? Pull this ad or issue a damage-control statement for all of us ‘other’ moms — you know, the 99 percent of society.

SOUND OFF: What do you think about this ad? Offensive of inspirational?

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What Can We Learn From The Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj & Katy Perry Twitter Feud?

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Oh, ladies!

In the latest high-profile Twitter feud, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift had a heated exchange of words via social media over the past week.

The battle began on Tuesday when Nicki Tweeted her frustration about missing out on a Video Of The Year nomination for the upcoming VMAs.

Among her many Tweets blasting MTV, Nicki Tweeted: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”

Taylor took this as a dig at her Bad Blood video, which featured several cameo appearances from her famous friends and supermodel BFFs.

Meanwhile, Kate Perry – whose feud with Taylor is believed to be the inspiration behind Bad Blood – joined in on the war or words Wednesday.

“Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman,” Katy, 30, Tweeted.

Ahhhh, WTF are you trying to say Katy?

All joking aside, I understand where Katy is coming from (I think) and I, too, oppose of pitting women against each other.

Thankfully, Taylor and Nicki have talked it out.

“I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki,” Taylor, 25, Tweeted two days after accusing Nicki of pitting women against each other.

“She was super, super sweet and she apologized,” Nicki, 32, said Friday on GMA. “She said, ‘Look, I didn’t understand the big picture of what you were saying, but now I get it.’ We’re all good.”

I hope we’ve all learned something from these musical divas. As a 40-year-old female, let’s just say I’ve experienced this catty, quick-to-judge behavior from many of my female peers over the years. And it pains me to say that I’m still seeing this from my fellow MILFs. Ladies, this must stop! Why are we so quick to get offended, then spread hateful words about each other, followed by years of hard feelings and a lifelong grudge? Can we not just pick up the GD phone, say we’re sorry and move the hell on?!

I don’t know about you, but these are my top 4 take-home lessons from this female feud:

  • Sisters should always unite, not fight. Don’t be one of those females that pits women against each other;
  • Saying “I’m sorry” goes a long way;
  • Being quick to judge (or get caught up in assumptions) is an act of insecurity. If you are offended by someone, talk to them and try to work it out. If you’d rather not, leave them alone! Don’t talk about them behind their back and move the hell on!
  • Communicating/fighting on social media is immature and cowardly. Step away from the technology when your blood is boiling, girl.

SOUND OFF: What are your main take-home lessons from this high-profile Twitter feud?

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