He was told he had four months to live. This cancer nonprofit gave him a new lease on life.
via CancerLINC

Darnell and Leslie Henson

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Capital One

Darnell Henson doesn't keep track of the date — it's just something he's never been good at — but he'll never forget February 23rd, 2018. It was nearly three o'clock in the morning when he awoke with a horrible pain in his stomach. His first thought: food poisoning. Darnell's wife, Leslie, had brought him a sandwich from work and he was certain it didn't agree with him. So he downed some Pepto-Bismol and hoped for the best. But an hour later, the pain had engulfed him. "This is not food poisoning," Darnell remembers thinking. "It's got to be more."

The pain grew every second. Soon, Darnell couldn't get up off the floor. He'd suffered a broken leg when he was younger and that pain was torture, but the pain he was feeling now was like nothing he'd ever experienced. He woke his wife and she rushed him to the emergency room where doctors ran tests all through the night. Darnell and Leslie were terrified.

Darnell remembers a doctor coming in to speak with them. She delivered news that would turn the Hensons' life upside down: Darnell had kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs. Soon after, doctors found six tumors on his brain, and then a mass on his hip. His cancer, he was told, had progressed to stage four.

"How much time do I have?" Darnell asked his doctor. He was told in March 2018 that he might have two, maybe three years left. Later that year, in August, the doctor told him he thought he was only going to live for four more months. These were some of the darkest days of his life, Darnell recalls. Then he lost his insurance and he and Leslie began to get really scared. They were being asked about wills, trusts, and advanced health directives. But the truth was, they had none of these things in place and hiring a lawyer was out of the question. The couple simply didn't have the funds.


Darnell was so worried about what would happen to his family when he was gone that he couldn't sleep at night. But then: hope. Darnell's doctor told him about an experimental new treatment that might prolong his life. And the doctor's assistant, upon hearing about the Hensons' trouble with insurance, suggested CancerLINC, a nonprofit that connects those living with cancer and their families to legal assistance, financial guidance, and community resources.

"Up until that point, I hadn't made a will," Darnell says. "It was always in the back of my mind, but I kept procrastinating and procrastinating. Every time they put me under for surgery, I thought, 'What if I don't wake up?' I couldn't help but think about the heartache my wife and son were going to go through. I don't worry about dying anymore. But I knew I needed to get stuff in order."

At CancerLINC, the Hensons were connected with Robbie Bassett, a volunteer attorney who found his way to the nonprofit by way of his employer — Capital One. The company has always worked to give back to the community and Robbie had joined many other volunteers from Capital One's legal department to staff CancerLINC's monthly life-planning clinics. He also helps recruit volunteers and has visited clients in their homes to help with any legal questions they might have when they can't make it to the clinic.

The Henson FamilyCancerLINC

When Darnell and Leslie met Robbie, he took the time to hear their story. He listened to their needs, and within one meeting, he'd helped Darnell create a will, designate a power of attorney, and set up an advanced health directive. But the legal work was only part of the equation. No one can put a price on the peace of mind the help gave the Hensons. Darnell could finally sleep again.

"He made it so much easier," Darnell says. "A lot of people do their job because they get a paycheck. But then you meet people that do what they do because they love doing it and you know they really want to help people."

"When you find out that someone is doing a service for you and they're not charging you for it, you're kind of like, 'Well, how are they going to treat me?' But from day one, everyone at CancerLINC made me feel very comfortable because I believe they really love what they're doing."

Robbie's commitment to helping those living with cancer comes from his own experiences. When he was in fourth grade, he lost a friend to the disease. As an adult, he's lost friends, acquaintances, and mentors to the disease. He knew he had to do something to help in the fight against cancer. So when he was given the opportunity to help people like Darnell gain some peace of mind as they're undergoing treatment, he knew he had to take it.

"As legal professionals, we want to give back," Robbie says. "That's Capital One's goal as well: to work with our local communities to give back with our time and our expertise." Though that can be hard as a banking attorney due to the specific nature of the work, Robbie says, Capital One's attorneys always want to challenge themselves by stretching their skill sets to do good and provide competent legal services at the same time.

Capital One's legal pro bono committees, which stretch across New York, Virginia, and Texas, work diligently to identify local nonprofits and partner with them to provide clients with legal help when they might not be able to afford it otherwise. Working with Darnell and other cancer warriors has been one of the most rewarding experiences of Robbie's life.

Today, Darnell's biggest priority is getting well again. He's already blown past the expectations his doctor set for him and continues to respond well to his new treatment. His lungs have cleared; his brain tumors are gone; the cancer in his hip has stabilized. Now Darnell can focus on what's important — spending time with his family. He and Leslie recently renewed their vows and they're living each day as if it's the greatest gift they've ever received.

If there's one other thing that Darnell's become passionate about, it's letting people know that programs like CancerLINC exist. Because everyone, he says, deserves the relief he felt when he got the help he needed.

The doctors saved him in ways he never thought possible, he says. And he's grateful to his higher power for all the blessings in his life. But he says he couldn't have ever felt the hope he does now without the help he received from CancerLINC. Knowing everything's in place financially has given him a new lease on life.

"Everyone could benefit from this," he says.

To learn more about Capital One's community efforts, go to https://www.capitalone.com/about.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.