From a lady dedicated to hugging the troops to a world-record-setting skateboarding bulldog, here are five good news stories from this week:
In the last 12 years, Elizabeth Laird has been dedicated to meeting every deployment and redeployment flight at the Fort Hood, Texas airport, offering hugs and smiles to soldiers leaving or returning from deployment. Over that time, she estimates she has hugged roughly half a million soldiers. “I want them to know God will take care of them,” she told USA Today. Soldiers came to know the 83-year-old veteran as the “hug lady.”
Laird has been fighting breast cancer since 2005, and the cancer has recently spread, putting her back in the hospital. Soldiers have been visiting the hospital to offer Laird hugs and encouragement. They’ve also helped Laird’s family raise more than $70,000 to pay for her hospital bills and the assisted living she needs.
“The hug lady was very inspirational in my first deployment to Afghanistan; she touched my heart,” retired Army Capt. Caren Adkins told USA Today. “One American impacting so many lives.”
Robert McCoy was determined to finish the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Savannah, Georgia to honor the memory of his father, who passed away in April. But as McCoy rounded the last corner of the race, he fell hard, hitting his head pretty hard and scraping his face, knees and shoulder. Those watch the race encouraged McCoy to stay put instead of finishing out the race, but when police Sgt. John Cain rushed over to help McCoy up, he realized how important it was to the runner to finish the race. “He was bleeding pretty good at the time, and he kept saying, in a whispering type of voice, ‘Please help me, I’ve got to finish the race,'” Cain told TODAY.com. “At that point, I knew he had some mission he needed to accomplish. My heart went out to him.”
So Cain took McCoy by the arm and helped him run the last 200 yards of the marathon. To thank the policeman, McCoy gave Cain his finisher’s medal from the race. “He deserved it more than I did, because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have finished the race for my dad,” McCoy said. For his part, Cain called McCoy the real champ. “His motivation, his dedication, his drive to that race made him a hero in my book,” he said. “He caused me to want to be involved with him, to connect with him. I believe this entire instance not only caused me and Mr. McCoy to become friends but to develop a very true bond.”
Image credit: Magic Yarn Project Facebook
As a former oncology nurse, Holly Christensen knew how difficult the treatment process would be for Lily, her friend’s 3-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer. She also knew how hard it would be for the “girly girl” to lose her hair, so she decided to make a special wig for Lily. Christiansen crafted a Rapunzel-style braid for Lily out of soft wool, hoping to “bring a little magic and fun to a difficult time in her life.” Lily loved it, and Christiansen knew she was onto something special. She started the “Magic Yarn Project” to create princess wigs for other young cancer patients around the country. Christiansen has even gotten prisoners at her local women’s prison involved in crocheting the beanies that form the base of the wigs. She’s also raised thousands of dollars to pay for supplies and had dozens of volunteers show up to a workshop to learn how to make the wigs for patients.
To bring a little bit of magic into such a difficult time in their life is so rewarding,” she told ABC News. “It’s almost equally been so rewarding and magical to meet people who want to help.
Uber and Lyft have launched a program with the White House’s Joining Forces initiative to provide thousands of free rides to veterans headed to job interviews. In a statement, Joining Forces’ executive director explained, “We have heard time and time again that transportation to and from work and job interviews is often a significant hurdle for homeless veterans trying to find work. If a veteran is working a night shift or employed in a remote area of a city, public transportation is not always a viable option, and there is limited funding available for alternative transportation.” As The Military Times notes, there are currently about 50,000 homeless veterans in America, and many do not have access to transportation to get to job interviews.
This week, Otto the bulldog skated under the legs of 30 people lining up in Lima, Peru, setting a Guinness World Record for the longest human tunnel travelled through by a dog skateboarder—because, yes, that is a category. The event was part of Guinness World Record’s Day, but to be honest, it’s mainly just good news because of how adorable Otto looks while skateboarding.
Recently, identical twin brothers married identical twin sisters at a double wedding service in India officiated by twin priests. The wedding party also included twin page boys and twin flower girls. The photos were all very symmetrical —and a little bit eerie. Happy Friday the 13th!
Dargan is a former RELEVANT editor turned freelancer. Find her online at darganthompson.com or follow her extremely random train of thought on Twitter @darganthompson.