Things That Matter

He Underwent Nine Painful Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

John Linton / YouTube

A very sweet 12-year-old boy in Centerville, Utah has taken it upon himself to pass on his own success story to children in Guatemala born with cleft lips and/or palates. His name is Jeffrey Linton, and he wants to raise $100,000 that would all go towards helping 400 children learn to smile and be understood by their peers.

Jeffrey Linton is all smiles about his project to get 400 more kids like him to be all smiles, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

In a truly adorable video, Linton tells his audience how he had to “undergo nine painful surgeries to get as handsome” as he is now. Uncorrected, cleft lip and palates can cause chronic ear infections, difficulty eating, drinking and speaking.

In the video, we see a series of baby photos of Jeffrey as his cleft lip and palate were corrected.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

“My first surgery was when I was only 10 weeks old and it was just a lip adhesion,” Linton says int eh video. “My cleft was wide enough that they thought it would help my muscles adjust to the repair if they did it in two stages. So although my lip was pulled together, I could still stick my tongue out above it. It looked like I was sticking my tongue out of my nose and I hear that everyone got a kick out of that.”

It’s been a long journey for the child, completed with speech therapy, and now, it’s time for him to give back.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

Jeffrey’s second surgery was when he was just six months old. “I had a hard time recovering and my parents had a hard time knowing how much pain medication to give me,” Jeffrey told ABC. “But I came out of it with a repaired lip. They fixed my soft palate at 9 months and put ear tubes in to drain all the fluid in my ears.” It was crucial for his parents to be able to work with doctors for many years to continue his treatment.

“I want you to think about what it would be like if you couldn’t smile. It would change your life,” he tells the camera.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

He had to go through all those surgeries but now says he “can smile, I can eat and just be happy the way I am.” He goes on to tell us, very enthusiastically, “I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have those wonderful doctors that could have given me the surgeries that I need and those same doctors are going to Guatemala to help kids like me.”

Linton reached out to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation, which goes to Guatemala annually to operate on kids like him.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

The organization is entirely focused on providing support to Guatemalans. It coordinates plastic surgery, dental and construction teams to offer a range of services, including cleft lip and/or palates.

All the doctors and nurses pay their own way to get there, so all the money goes directly to medical supplies.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

HSF only works because of the volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who donate their travel expenses and time to these kids. Of course, HSF still needs to raise money for the medical supplies required to perform the surgeries.

This 12-year-old actually pitched Holiday Oil “and they went for it.”

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

They’re donating a portion of their car wash sales made on July 13th to Hirsche Smiles Foundation. He wants to raise $100,000 and says that “Holiday Oil has done their part, and now you get to do yours.

If you’re near a Holiday Oil, you can get a car wash on July 13, 2019, to help support the cause.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A portion of the proceeds will go to HSF, and you’ll get your car washed while you’re at it!

Even better, you can volunteer to help out at the car wash and tell your friends to show up, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

According to Jeffrey, “You could help collect donations and drying off cars and things,” if you show up to volunteer that day as well. 

Or, you can donate directly to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation.

 
Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A donation of $250 will pay for the cost of one surgery, and 100 percent of your donation will go towards expenses for the hospitals and supplies. It’s a worthy cause, y’all.

READ: Spurred By Anger At The Trump Administration, One Latina Entrepreneur Raised $9,000 For Migrant Children

This Army Recruit Just Got His First Haircut In 15 Years And OMG He’s Unrecognizable

Culture

This Army Recruit Just Got His First Haircut In 15 Years And OMG He’s Unrecognizable

As a society, we place a lot of importance on hair to impose a set of standards, etiquette, and mores on each other. Thus, I don’t take it lightly that U.S. Army Private Reynold Arroyo had a big  — no, massive — chop so that he could enlist. Arroyo donated a whopping 150 inches or 12.5 feet of hair to Locks of Love

Hair can be such an expression of who we are, that it’s not uncommon for people to cry after a bad haircut. Hair can be such a reflection of beauty standards, that it’s not uncommon for us Afro-Latinxs to cry over our alleged “pelo malo.” Boys have short hair, girls have long hair, blondes have more fun, brunettes are brainy. There are hairstyles and haircuts (usually the black and brown ones) that are banned in schools, offices, and institutions. 

Now, are you as exhausted as I am? Take it from me, if you have the freedom to wear your hair without restrictions, take advantage. Get weird!

Long hair, don’t care.

When 23-year-old Arroyo decided to enlist at the Army recruiting station in Missoula, Montana, he knew he would have to make some changes. The California native had moved to Montana just to enlist.

“I moved out here from California, and I’m just really excited to be enlisting in the Army,” Arroyo said. 

The only problem was Arroyo hadn’t cut his hair in 15 years. His last haircut was in 2004. I have a medium-sized afro that is home to several squirrel families, I can only imagine what’s in Arroyo’s mane. 

Tío Sam ain’t playing.

The Army has strict grooming guidelines and as it stood, Arroyo’s 150 inches of luscious locks weren’t going to work for Uncle Sam. Tío Sam was like, “Nah, your hair is to dope for this job where everybody has to look the same for strategic reasons and important military things, bruh.” 

I can’t imagine what it is like going through a military makeover. According to the longstanding policy, men’s hair must be “neatly groomed” with “sideburns neatly trimmed.” This clearly leaves little room for swag or rock and roll, although Arroyo makes due.

15 years and 150 inches later…

While the army provides haircuts, Arroyo decided to get a headstart on the makeover. As soon as he enlisted as an Infantryman with the Army Airborne at the Missoula Army Recruiting Station, our boy was ready to trim his follicles for a good cause. Bruh has got spunk! 

A stylist put Arroyo’s hair into multiple sectioned ponytails before she snipped and buzzed 12.5 feet of locks. His hair was longer than an NBA player. His hair has more square footage than every New York City apartment. His hair is so long, Rapunzel was like: do you use Morrocan oil? I must have your secrets. Before he was serving hair metal, now he’s serving … metal tanks at the military (I don’t know anything about the Army, but he looks good)! Get you a man who can do both.

When the stylist was finished there was so much hair it filled up two bags. The Salt Lake City Army Recruiting Battalion shared Arroyo’s transformation on Facebook. 

“He decided to cut his hair in exchange for a brighter future with the Army and donate it to the Locks of Love foundation,” they wrote in the caption. 

Locks of Love.

Arroyo donated all 150 inches to the organization Locks of Love. The nonprofit charity, founded in 1997, uses human hair donations to provide wigs for Canadian and American children in need of hair due to medical conditions. The organization was spearheaded by Madonna Coffman, a cardiac nurse, who lost her hair to alopecia in her 20s after receiving a hepatitis vaccination. While Coffman eventually recovered, 13 years later, she was shocked to discover her 4-year-old daughter had alopecia too. Locks of Love was born out of a mother’s pain and compassion. In over three decades, the nonprofit has provided thousands of wigs and hairpieces to children. 

We stan a benevolent king.

“Today we’re going to be cutting my hair. Hopefully, some lucky little girl’s gonna get it,” he said in the video.

I think several people will probably get your hair, Arroyo. Although, it would be nice to think that there is one bratty little kid who demands all 150 inches of hair so that they can strut around the playground like a boss. 

Shout out to Arroyo for not one but two acts of service in a day. I am sure he will have many more once he gets his juices flowing in the Army. 

A Judge In NY Has To Decide If Unvaccinated Children Should Be Allowed In School Risking The Lives Of Other Children

Things That Matter

A Judge In NY Has To Decide If Unvaccinated Children Should Be Allowed In School Risking The Lives Of Other Children

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Just two months ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that mandates vaccination for children old enough to attend schools, and participate in education with other children, unless otherwise advised by a doctor. The legislation came after the spread of misinformation about vaccines caused a series of measles outbreaks in the spring. Scientific literature based on decades worth of data from tens of thousands of children has proven vaccination safe and effective for the public.

Attorney’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Michael Sussman filed a class action suit for about three dozen parents who claim that vaccinating their children goes against their faith. Wednesday, Albany courtrooms were packed with over 1,000 anti-vaxxers who wanted to hear how the judge would rule in a debate around religious freedom vs. public health.

The crowd of anti-vaxxers wore white in reference to the Argentine mothers who wore white as they protested their government’s brutal killings and disappearances of their liberal children.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The anti-vaxxers feel that the implication of the government forcing them to vaccine their children from measles is tantamount to the Argentine government killing or “disappearing” 30,000 young, leftist political activists from existence in the 1970s. 

In April 1977, 14 mothers, wearing images of their missing children’s faces around their neck, marched around the Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. They took a stand against a violent government in a defiant act to demand justice for their children.

These New York parents also feel the law doesn’t allow enough time to find proper education for their children. 

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The demonstrators told Gothamist reporters, Gwynne Hogan and Claire Lampen, that “the new law effectively disappeared their children from the school system.” If the religious exemptions aren’t upheld, their alternative would be to homeschool their children or move to a different state.

“[We’re] hoping that our kids are granted the right to go back to school. Our children have been kicked out,” Long Island mother Amy McBride, 41, told Gothamist. “We’ve all been meeting, trying to look at curriculums, understand how to make it work, what the regulations are, understanding what it takes to actually do that…Our beliefs are steadfast and sincere and true and we’re not going to cave.”

The lawyers in the case argued that legislators demonstrated “active hostility toward religion.”

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

“[These children] are going to have nowhere to go to school…They have no idea what they are going to do with these children,” Sussman said. New York State attorney Helena Lynch refuted that claim. “The actual legislative record is so clear that the motivation was public health,” Lynch said. “The right to religious expression does not encompass the right to place others in danger.”

Lynch also expressed that legislators aren’t targeting religious groups but are genuinely “skeptical” that those choosing not to vaccinate their kids were expressing personal beliefs rather than religious ones. The crux of the argument seems to rest on public health risk for allowing the religious exemption, especially when an approximate 26,000 children would be unvaccinated in New York schools.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman from Manhattan, specifically wanted to eliminate the religious exemption as the key reason for the recent spread of measles.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

You have a First Amendment right to practice your own religion, but you do not have the right to endanger your children or worse other people’s children,” he told a press conference. Already, 14 percent of pre-school aged children in Williamsburg are estimated to be unvaccinated for religious reasons or otherwise. Another 28 percent in Rockland County were unvaccinated.

The anti-vaxxers expressed that they wished New York followed in California’s suit by allowing a year for the law to take effect. But public health advocates cite a sense of urgency for public safety measures, “This needs to be done, not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month, and not in a year,” said one activist. “It must be done immediately, the numbers are gaining strength.”

Crowds packed even this overflow room as they waited for the judge’s answer.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

They never heard it. Judge Hartman hasn’t made her decision yet about whether to allow 26,000 unvaccinated children go to New York schools in time for school start dates just three weeks from the hearing. The anti-vaxxers want her to put a stay on the state law which would allow those children to go to school while she continues to hear the case and make a final, permanent decision.

READ: A 12-Year-Old Mexican Boy Hilariously Trolled Anti-Vaxxers In This Viral Video

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