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It wasn't all bad
12:59 a.m.

The bond between pediatric nurse Claire Mills and her patient, Jackson, was instant.

Jackson was born five weeks early via emergency C-section, weighing just 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Mills, 25, works in the neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital in Texas, and she knew that Jackson's mother was struggling. Mills became a pediatric nurse because she was also a preemie, and she told Inside Edition she felt an "instant connection" with Jackson.

After several weeks, Jackson was discharged, and because it happened when Mills was off duty, she didn't have a chance to say goodbye. Mills called the social worker who had been assigned to work with Jackson's mom, and let her know that she was available to help the woman in any way possible. She soon heard back from Jackson's mom, who said she wouldn't be able to provide her son with the life he deserved, but Mills could.

Mills worried about raising him as a single mom, and talked to her own mother about it. Her mom encouraged her to follow her heart, and soon after, Mills started the adoption process. Jackson, now 4 months old, is all settled into his new home. He has gained weight and is in good health, and is "so happy," Mills said. Catherine Garcia

September 16, 2019

Dr. David Fajgenbaum couldn't wait for someone else to come up with a treatment for Castleman disease, the rare autoimmune disorder he was diagnosed with during his third year in medical school.

Fajgenbaum, 34, was hospitalized four times due to the disease, which caused his immune system to attack his organs. He had to go through chemotherapy in order to survive, and he came so close to death that a doctor once told him to write down his living will. "You learn a lot by almost dying," he told CNN.

Fajgenbaum's mother died of cancer while he was in college, and wanting to find a treatment in her honor, he studied at Oxford so he could learn how to conduct scientific research. Upon enrolling in medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, he decided he would become an oncologist. That changed after Fajgenbaum's diagnosis and his most harrowing hospitalization, six years ago. At the time, he noticed there were red spots on his skin, and when he questioned his doctors, they said they were nothing.

Once he recovered and graduated from med school, he formed the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, inviting the best doctors and researchers to work with him. They needed to come up with some sort of a treatment, he decided, and fast. While looking at his medical charts, Fajgenbaum saw that a protein known as VEGF spiked every time he had a flareup of his disease. This protein controls the growth of blood vessels and gets the immune system going, and he wondered if this was linked to the red spots once on his skin. He asked his doctor to prescribe an immunosuppressant, and that did the trick — he's been in remission for five years. Now married, a new father, and a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Fajgenbaum is thrilled to see the treatment working on other patients. Catherine Garcia

September 13, 2019

Jonathan and Cindy Strawbridge know firsthand how expensive it is to be a parent.

The York, Pennsylvania, husband and wife have a 2-year-old son, Lucas, and wanted to give back to others who don't have the same amount of support. "We have a village which we are so grateful for," Cindy Strawbridge told WGAL. "But what about other people that don't have a village?"

The couple decided to hold a community baby shower, so parents and caretakers in need could receive much-needed supplies. They went around and asked local businesses and community members if they would be willing to donate items, including diapers, clothing, and formula.

They received enough essentials to put together 150 baskets, which were distributed last Saturday, and each one also contained a special message. Every note was different, "but what is consistent is that you matter, you are loved," Cindy Strawbridge said. "So is your child, and we're happy to be a part of the village with you." Catherine Garcia

September 11, 2019

Over the last six years, hairstylist Troy Winget and his client Andrea Quaint Fleck grew close, spending appointments swapping stories about their lives.

Quint Fleck shared that her dad was adopted, and Winget revealed that he never knew his father. Last October, both decided to take ancestry DNA tests, with Quint Fleck hoping to learn more about her dad's biological family and Winget interested in any details he could find about his own father.

Winget and Quint Fleck live in Calgary, and soon after registering on one website, Winget received a message from a man living in the United States. It turns out he was the half-brother of Winget's father. He told Winget that they were both connected to a woman in Calgary, and he asked if it would be okay for him to share Winget's information with her. Winget gave his permission, and his uncle sent his contact information, as well as a photo of Winget, to the woman: Quint Fleck.

When Quint Fleck learned that the man was her father's half-brother, making Winget her half-brother, "I just remember feeling like my heart stopped," she told CBC News. Once Winget discovered his connection to Quint Fleck, "the hairs on the back of my neck stood up," he said. Their father, Erik Quint, is 74, and said he never knew he had a son. They are making up for lost time, with Winget joining his newfound family for dinners and celebrations. Quint Fleck told CBC News it feels wonderful to find someone "that I didn't even know was missing from my life." Catherine Garcia

September 9, 2019

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi made U.S. Army history this summer, as they became the first pair of sisters to ever become generals.

Barrett said they reached this milestone due to "hard work" and "strong leadership skills," telling The Washington Post that it was a "very tough bar in and of itself for both of us to make it." The Council on Foreign Relations says roughly 16 percent of the 1.3 million active-duty service members are women.

Lodi is the director of health care operations for the Army's surgeon general, while Barrett is the commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). Barrett became a general in December 2015, and Lodi was promoted to the rank in July. Both women have been in the Army for more than 25 years.

Through the Army, the sisters have been able to travel the world, and Barrett met her husband. As their story has been shared, Barrett and Lodi have been approached by women who say they look up to them and their ability to make their mark in a male-dominated field. Some also ask for advice on how to balance a family with being in the military, and Lodi, a mother of two, tells them "I think if you are blessed to find something that you love doing and then to have an incredibly supportive family, you tend to figure it out." Catherine Garcia

September 9, 2019

University of the Bahamas students affected by Hurricane Dorian won't have to worry about the devastating storm setting them back in their studies.

Hampton University, a historically black university in Virginia, has announced that it is teaming up with the University of the Bahamas to give displaced students the opportunity to spend the fall semester at Hampton. The best part is, they won't have to spend a dime on tuition or room and board.

"I think this agreement is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families, and is part of something I've tried to do my entire career — helping people to achieve and meet their goals," Hampton President William R. Harvey said in a statement.

Hurricane Dorian caused mass destruction when it slammed into the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm last Sunday. Lawrence Rigby, a Nassau native and recent Hampton graduate, said that many people from the Bahamas have chosen to study at Hampton, and those affected by the hurricane will find "the tools to rebuild their lives and our home" while attending the university. Catherine Garcia

September 6, 2019

Gene Van Alstine has delightful memories of sitting on his grandfather's lap as he played the fiddle, a daily ritual that brought a smile to his face.

"I'm not sure the cows got milked every night, but I'll guarantee those fiddles got played," Van Alstine told KARE 11. The violin was passed down to Van Alstine when he was young, and the Cambridge, Minnesota, resident considers it his most treasured object. "I've got a lot of stuff in this world, but nothing means more to me than that fiddle," he said. "Every time I pick it up, I think of my grandpa and how much he meant to me."

He knew the violin would remain in his family, but with 10 grandchildren, Van Alstine had no idea how to fairly pass it down to one of them. "You can't cut it in half, and I wanted each one of them to have the same feeling that I had," he said. Van Alstine figured out a way to get around this: He would just make 10 violins for his grandchildren. He had never made a violin before, so he spent three years reading about it, and about seven actually creating the instruments.

Van Alstine estimates he spent about 1,000 hours a year making the violins, continuing the project while twice battling bladder cancer. He surprised his grandchildren with their new fiddles on Easter, and since then, a few have started taking violin lessons. "I think we're so lucky to have somebody that loves us so much that they gave us that special of a gift," granddaughter Kendrah Schmidt, 19, said. Catherine Garcia

September 5, 2019

Rain or shine, Noah Tingle greets his little brother at the bus stop every day after school, wearing a ridiculous costume each time.

Noah, 17, is a senior at Central High School in Central, Louisiana, and surprised his brother Max, 12, on the first day of school in early August. Wanting to give Max some fun memories before he goes to college next year, Noah decided to keep this up, and got creative, wearing a Santa outfit one day, a Chewbacca costume another. He's dressed up as a football player, Elvis, a gorilla, and a cowboy. It doesn't matter what costume Noah is wearing — as soon as Max is off the bus, he always gives him a big hug.

Max told WAFB he thought his brother was bizarre when he first started donning the wacky outfits, but "now, I think it's cool." Noah records all of the greetings, and posts them to a Facebook page called The Bus Brother. Followers love what he's doing, and have been donating costumes so he can surprise Max with a new outfit every day. Catherine Garcia

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