Ah, summer. The kids are out of school, the days are nice and long and you’re sweating from places you didn’t even know you could sweat from. Whether you’re taking in every sticky, popsicle-stained second or just worshipping the miracle of air conditioning, summer is the perfect time for some you time. So slather on the sunblock, stretch out and soak up this week’s Good Stuff.
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Our favorites this week
Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week
A wholesome music moment
Unless you’ve been living out in the wilderness, you’ve probably heard the uber-viral country-rap crossover “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. Everyone and their mother loves it, especially the kids at Lander Elementary in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. One of the school’s teachers tweeted Lil Nas a video of the students singing and dancing along to the song at an end-of-year party, and he offered to come meet them. The school staff kept his impromptu concert a surprise, so videos of the big moment capture one of the most singular sounds of admiration in the world: an entire gym full of young kids screeching with joy at the top of their lungs, followed by the most enthusiastic “Old Town Road” singalong you’ll ever see.
A teacher’s amazing gift
When math teacher Finn Lanning learned one of his students was in desperate need of a kidney but couldn’t make the transplant list because he didn’t have a stable living situation, he didn’t know what to do. Lanning had always thought Damien was special, but taking care of a teenager, especially one with serious medical issues, seemed impossible. Damien, 13, had been bounced around foster care his whole life. When his kidneys began failing when he was 8, that instability meant he wasn’t eligible for a transplant. At the end of last year, Lanning found the courage to make a huge, selfless decision: He began training to be Damien’s legal guardian. Now, the two live together, cook together, study together and are hoping that a new kidney — and possibly a formal adoption — are in Damien’s future.
A huge victory for a tiny girl
She’s a fighter! After spending her first few months in the hospital, the world’s smallest baby is finally going home. Baby Saybie was born at 23 weeks and three days last December, weighing just 8.6 ounces. That’s only about the weight of an apple! According to officials at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego where she was born, that made her the smallest surviving baby in the world. Earlier this month, she was given a clean bill of health and headed home at a positively plump 5.6 pounds. Look at that face! Surely there are big things to come for this little miracle.
Raise a glass to…
Jacob Tayler, an 18-year-old from Bicester, England, who’s getting a lot of love for his simple kindness on the job. Tayler was at work at a Clarks shoe store when a young girl with autism had a sensory overload. According to the girl’s mother, Tayler simply went with it. “He gently tried shoes on her and explained to her why they would feel different and in time they would soon feel ok,” she wrote in a report to the store. “He sat patiently while she cried. … He didn’t once make us feel like we were taking too long or being a nuisance.”
A bright idea
Let’s face it, even the most welcoming of places can pose some logistical issues for people with disabilities. A new batch of technology is hoping to change that. Inventions such as a stair-climbing wheelchair, a robotic exomuscle suit and a smart walking stick with an ultrasonic sensor could usher in a superhuman future of disability access — and look incredibly cool while doing it.
You gotta see this
Imagine minding your own business on the streets of Paris and seeing a guy ZIP LINING OFF THE EIFFEL TOWER. French mineral water brand Perrier has set up a temporary zip line connected to the famous monument to offer a few hundred lucky thrill-seekers the Parisian view of a lifetime. Non, merci.
Heroes among us
When Staci Alonso was serving as a board member of a women’s shelter in 2004, she made the heartbreaking discovery that women fleeing domestic abuse often had nowhere to go because shelters wouldn’t accept their pets. A few years later, she opened Noah’s Animal House, a full-service pet shelter located right on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter in Las Vegas. The pet shelter was the first of its kind in the country, complete with cat condos, indoor and outdoor dog runs, a vet station and a grooming station all in one facility. She says the combination allows women to seek safety while retaining peace of mind — not to mention the comfort of a beloved companion.
Wanna get away?
No, this isn’t a view from Disney’s new Star Wars theme park. This stunning cave structure is part of the Ancestral Places of Southeast Utah, which include ancient artifacts and dwellings. Because of threats from nearby oil and gas extraction, it’s one of America’s most endangered historic places.
“We’re able to live our lives as fruitfully as we can in spite of having some level of limitation. We’re able to thrive, be entrepreneurs, be influencers and live to the best ability. I’m living my best life as much as I can with what I have.”
– Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, a disability lifestyle influencer and model with ALS who says people with disabilities thrive with their physical challenges, not in spite of them.
Tell us something good
Warwick, Rhode Island
Eighty years ago, Helen Danis couldn’t afford to attend her high school’s senior prom. This spring, at the spry age of 97, she finally got the change to dance the night away. Her granddaughter, Julie Huddon, was helping her check things off her bucket list when she had a grand idea. Huddon asked her grandmother to be her date to her own prom last Friday. Danis happily agreed, and with a corsage and a lovely lavender prom dress, she was the belle of the ball.
Shameless animal video
There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.
Sand? Check. Relaxation? Check. Being hand-fed treats? Check. This is how we’re trying to be this summer. (Click here to view)
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