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Inspiring: Top Human Interest Stories News Stories

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‘I’ve waited a long time for this’: woman earns Stanford master’s degree at 105
2024-06-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-11 14:38:28
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/article/2024/jun/19/ive-waited-a-long-tim...

Virginia Hislop took 83 years to get her master’s degree from Stanford University. Now, at 105 years old, she’s finally graduated. “My goodness, I’ve waited a long time for this,” she said, walking across the stage on Sunday to receive her diploma. She was cheered on by her family, grandchildren and the 2024 graduating class. Hislop had to leave Stanford early in 1941 when her fiance, George, was called to serve in the second world war. Unable to complete her thesis, she put her degree on hold and her university days behind her, later moving to Washington to raise their family. When her son-in-law contacted the university recently, though, he discovered that the final thesis was no longer required to obtain the degree. Hislop was eligible to graduate decades later. “I’ve been doing this work for years, and it’s nice to be recognized,” she [said]. Hislop’s educational journey at Stanford began in 1936 when she enrolled to study for her bachelor’s degree in education. A few years later, she completed this milestone and immediately transitioned to her postgraduate studies, driven by her ambition to teach after university. In 1941, Hislop, like many other women across the US, was forced to trade her career for marriage in support of the broader war mobilization. Focusing on the family was seen as the pinnacle of American sacrifice in that period, and she left Stanford to marry George before his deployment.

Note: Explore more positive stories about human interest topics and amazing seniors.


A woman undergoing chemotherapy gets a special message from a stranger
2024-06-11, NPR
Posted: 2024-06-17 12:54:18
https://www.npr.org/2024/06/11/nx-s1-4996500/chemotherapy-cancer-stranger-uns...

In 2003, Mary Fran Lyons was going through chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. One day after a treatment session, she went to the mall to have lunch. Lyons had lost all her hair, so she was wearing a baseball cap. “You didn't have to look at me very hard to know things were not quite right,” Lyons said. As she was walking along, looking at the stores, a woman approached her. She told her something that Lyons will never forget. “She said, ‘I've been sent to tell you that you're going to be OK,’” Lyons remembered. “I stood there and looked at her and I thought, ‘Well, who sent you? I mean, who are you?’ And I did not say anything. And she said it again: 'You're going to be OK.’” Then the woman simply walked away. Lyons watched her leave, trying to understand what had just happened. But nothing about the woman stood out. "She looked like a completely normal human being,” Lyons recalled. “I never met her before, never heard of her since.” Later, Lyons told a good friend about her unusual encounter. “And she said, ‘Do you believe in angels?’" Lyons recalled. “And I said, ‘I do now.’” More than 20 years later, Lyons continues to hold the experience close. “If that woman were standing in front of me right now, I would say to her, ‘You gave me hope at a time when I really needed to hear it,’” Lyons said. “And I still think of that to this day.”

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At age 90, America's first Black astronaut candidate has finally made it to space
2024-05-19, NPR
Posted: 2024-06-04 00:39:57
https://www.npr.org/2024/05/19/1252354052/blue-origin-rocket-ed-dwight-astronaut

Ed Dwight, the man who six decades ago nearly became America's first Black astronaut, made his first trip into space at age 90 on Sunday along with five crewmates aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. The approximately 10-minute suborbital flight put Dwight in the history books as the oldest person ever to reach space. He beat out Star Trek actor William Shatner for that honor by just a few months. Shatner was a few months younger when he went up on a New Shepard rocket in 2021. In the 1960s, Dwight, an Air Force captain, was fast tracked for space flight after then-President John F. Kennedy asked for a Black astronaut. Despite graduating in the top half of a test pilot school, Dwight was subsequently passed over for selection as an astronaut, a story he detailed in his autobiography, Soaring On The Wings Of A Dream: The Untold Story of America's First Black Astronaut Candidate. After leaving the Air Force, Dwight went on to become a celebrated sculptor, specializing in creating likenesses of historic African American figures. Speaking with NPR by phone a few hours after Sunday's launch, Dwight said, "I've got bragging rights now." "All these years, I've been called an astronaut," Dwight said, but "now I have a little [astronaut] pin, which is ... a totally different matter." He said he'd been up to 80,000 feet in test flights during his Air Force career, but at four times that altitude aboard New Shepard, the curvature of the Earth was more pronounced.

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How Women Are Helping Their Neighbors Heal From Depression
2024-05-16, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2024-06-04 00:36:24
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/women-peer-led-therapy-depression/

Rhoda Phiri was having a hard time sleeping. She found it difficult to mingle with people in her community and at church. Even basic chores were hard. She was, she says, in a “dark corner.” Then one day in 2020, a couple of women knocked on the door of her home in Zambia. The women were with StrongMinds, an international nonprofit that provides support for depression, particularly among women and adolescents. She accepted the women’s invitation to join a group therapy program, held under a tree in an area near her home, and as she learned about depression, she recognized the signs in herself. “All the symptoms they were talking about, it’s like they were talking about me,” Phiri says. “It’s like they knew what I was going through.” Instead of relying on mental health professionals, StrongMinds offers group therapy facilitated by trained community members — often clients who have completed the treatment themselves, like Phiri. This group therapy model has proven to be an effective way to treat depression. Since the organization launched in 2013, half a million people have gone through the treatment program. Three-quarters of participants screened as being free of depression symptoms two weeks after completing it. “What we’ve learned in 11 years is that depression treatment can be, what we call, democratized,” says StrongMinds founder ... Sean Mayberry. “You can take it out of the hands of doctors and nurses and give it to the community itself.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Doctors deliver healthy baby 117 days after mother’s brain-death in world first
2019-09-03, The Independent (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-04-22 22:07:54
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/baby-brain-death-mother-birth...

Czech doctors have delivered a healthy baby girl 117 days after her mother was declared brain dead. The baby was born by Caesarean section weighing 2.13kg (4.7lb) and measuring 42cm (16.5in) on 15 August, setting a new world record in the process, Brno’s University Hospital has said. It said the 117 days she had been kept alive in the womb were believed to be a record for the longest artificially-sustained pregnancy in a brain-dead mother. The mother had suffered a stroke in April and was declared brain dead shortly after reaching the hospital. Doctors immediately began battling to save her child. They put the 27-year-old woman on artificial life support to keep the pregnancy going, and regularly moved her legs to stimulate walking to help the child’s growth. The baby was delivered in the 34th week of gestation, with the husband and other family members present. Medical staff then disconnected the mother’s life support systems and allowed her to die. “This has really been an extraordinary case when the whole family stood together ... without their support and their interest it would never have finished this way,” said Pavel Ventruba, head of gynaecology and obstetrics at the hospital.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


I'm a Black musician who has befriended and encouraged over 200 Ku Klux Klan members to give up their robes.
2023-06-02, Business Insider
Posted: 2024-04-01 14:36:17
https://www.businessinsider.com/daryl-davis-ku-klux-klan-kkk-musician-racism-...

In 1983, I was out playing at the Silver Dollar Lounge. I had just finished playing the first song when someone put an arm around my shoulder. It was a white guy. He said it was his first time sitting with a Black guy, and I asked why. The man looked at me and said, "I'm a member of the Ku Klux Klan." I thought he was joking. But he pulled out his wallet and handed me his KKK membership card. It only dawned on me a couple years later that I blew my chance to ask them the question that had been plaguing me since I was 10 years old: How can you hate me when you don't know me? Who better to ask that of than someone who went out of their way to join an organization that has, for over 100 years, practiced hating people who don't look like them? I spent the next several years traveling across the country, interviewing the man from that night, Klan leaders, and Klan members, and eventually writing a book about it. I did not convert anybody. Over 200 Klan members have converted themselves. The more we conversed, the more people would change. One time, someone said we should put Black people down. But I sat there calmly, and they'd be curious about why I didn't fight back. Now their ears are open. Now we can nourish those seeds, water them, and, in most cases, they bloom. Of course, some people go to their graves with hatred in their hearts. But what gives me hope, despite the current state of this country, is the fact that I've seen it work. I've seen people change.

Note: Daryl Davis has successfully persuaded more than 200 KKK members and other white supremacists to disavow their allegiances. Read more about the power of calling people in with love, rather than criticism and judgment. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


A Guantanamo Guard And His Detainee Reunite
2018-08-12, NPR
Posted: 2024-03-25 20:16:06
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/12/637932193/a-guantanamo-guard-and-a-detainee-re...

Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Steve Wood met in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2004. At the time, Slahi had been in captivity for two years, accused of acts of terrorism. Wood, then a member of the National Guard, was assigned to watch the Mauritania native. For nine months, they spent their days together. After more than a decade, the two saw each other once again this spring, when Wood traveled to Slahi's home in Mauritania to see his old friend. The two became fast friends. They bonded over the movie The Big Lebowski. Slahi related to the main character, "The Dude," a victim of mistaken identity. The U.S. government detained Slahi in Guantanamo for 14 years, but never charged him with an offense. In 2010, a federal judge ruled that Mohamedou should be released from Guantanamo. Wood reached out to Slahi's legal team, telling them that he'd like to help in any way he could. He wrote a letter supporting Slahi's release. While Slahi was still in prison, his 2015 memoir, Guantanamo Diary, became a bestseller. The next year, the Department of Defense finally allowed Slahi to return to his home. Wood ... flew there in May to see the man he once guarded. "We never believed in this war," Slahi said. "There is no war between Muslims and Americans. There is no war between Americans and the poor people in the world. There is only a war between people on the top who have their own agenda. People are people no matter what ... When we die it doesn't matter what passport we hold."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Guy Cycles Across Africa Hoping to be Accepted at Prestigious University in Egypt–Gets Full Scholarship
2024-01-09, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-03-04 13:36:43
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/guy-cycles-across-africa-hoping-to-be-accepte...

Our moms and dads used to tell us about their mile-long walk to school. But if we’re talking about peda-powered travel to school, this man has set a new standard. Leaving his home in Conakry, Guinea, on a bike, Mamadou Safayou Barry traveled across the whole of West Africa and the Sahara Desert’s road network—2,500 miles—and across 5 countries in the mere hopes he’d be accepted into an Egyptian university. Along the way, the husband and father of one crossed Benin, southern Mali, Togo, and Chad, as well as some of the most bandit-filled areas on Earth, including parts of Burkina Faso and Niger. He was detained without cause or charge on three separate occasions, twice in Burkina Faso and once in Togo. It was in Chad, nearly four months after he left home, that he caught an auspicious wind. A local journalist reported on his efforts which led to a local philanthropist getting the man a flight to Cairo. Once there, the prestigious Al-Azhar University offered him a full scholarship, first for Islamic studies, then for engineering. Will Smith heard about Barry’s successful voyage, and gave a surprise congratulations to the man. He video-called the Guinean in Cairo to gift him a new bicycle and a laptop for his studies. “When I saw him, I was confused in my head, because I had seen that man before,” Barry told the BBC from Cairo. “Then I remember—it’s Will Smith! Wow ... I used to watch his films. I was sat on a chair in front of Will Smith!”

Note: Don't miss the deeply inspiring video of Mamadou Safayou Barry's interview with Will Smith about his fascinating journey across Africa. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


'Dead' Man Jolted Back to Life by the Intolerable Bumps of India’s Potholes
2024-01-15, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-01-29 13:50:14
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dead-man-jolted-back-to-life-by-the-intolerab...

India’s famous potholes actually saved a life on Friday. The ‘late’ Darshan Singh Brar was being transported to the Indian version of a wake after his untimely death from a chest infection at the age of 80. Family, relatives, and friends had already gathered for a banquet and cremation, when the ambulance he was being caried in received a nasty jolt from a pothole on the roads in Nising, in far-Northern India’ Haryana state. It was then that Mr. Brar’s grandson who was onboard the ambulance at the time noticed his hand moving. Checking his pulse and finding—to his great shock—there was one, he notified the driver to immediately turn toward the nearest hospital. He was declared alive and savable, and was referred to the Rawal Hospital in the city of Karnal. “It is a miracle. Now we are hoping that my grandfather recovers soon,” said Balwan Singh, another of Mr. Brar’s grandsons. “Everyone who had gathered to mourn his death congratulated us, and we requested them to have the food we had arranged. It is God’s grace that he is now breathing and we are hoping he will get better.” Doctors at Rawal Hospital said that the grandfather is breathing without the aid of a ventilator and his heartbeat has normalized. They can’t say for certain why the other hospital declared him dead, but speculated it may have been a technical error. The next time you are planning to go to town hall or the council about the potholes on your street, consider the story of Darshan Singh Brar.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Farmer sells her food for pennies in a trendy Tokyo district to help
2023-12-13, CBS News
Posted: 2024-01-08 20:36:47
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/japan-farmer-sells-food-for-pennies-in-trendy-to...

There's a quiet alley in Japan's capital where passersby often do a double-take. Sharing space with chic cafes and world-class bars, the tiny fruit and vegetable stand seems to have been teleported from a country road far away. Weather-beaten wood tables groan under stacks of carrots, potatoes, mandarin oranges and other fresh farm produce. But what makes the stall even more remarkable in the heart of Tokyo is that payment is on the honor system — customers just toss coins into an old mailbox — and most of the items on offer are priced at 100 yen, or about 70 cents, in a neighborhood where fresh food usually goes for much, much more. A handwritten mission statement on the stall is addressed: "Dear young people." "I came here from Hiroshima with nothing. Lived on watermelon for a month, but couldn't ask mom for help. Thirty years on, I grow plenty of vegetables," the note continues. "Tomo-chan is on your side, so don't worry about the future." Opened five years ago, the produce stand has struck a chord with some of the city's hard-pressed younger residents, revealing a well of hidden despair beneath the glitter and gloss of a world-famous metropolis. The greengrocer with a heart of gold is rarely glimpsed by her grateful customers. "I want young people to feel that they're not forgotten, that they are treasured," she said. "That not everyone is out for himself. I can make money anytime. Right now, I want to give young people a helping hand."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Iceland’s ‘bike whisperer’: the vigilante who finds stolen bicycles – and helps thieves change
2023-12-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-01-02 14:08:22
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2023/dec/25/bicycle-jesus-vigilante-who-find...

It all started in 2019, when Bjartmar Leósson started to see a rise in bike theft in Reykjavík. The bus driver and self-confessed “bike nerd” decided to start tracking them down and returning them to their rightful owners. Four years and, he estimates, hundreds of salvaged bikes later, the 44-year-old has developed a reputation in the Icelandic capital among cyclists and potential bike thieves. Known as the Reykjavík “bike whisperer”, people across his home city turn to him for help to find their missing bicycles, tools and even cars. Often, he says, bike thieves hand over bikes without being asked and some former bike thieves have started to help him. Now when somebody loses their bike it can take as little as 48 hours to track it down on his Facebook page, Hjóladót ofl. tapað fundið eða stolið (Bicycle stuff etc lost, found or stolen), updated every few hours with missing and found items and which has more than 14,500 members. “It’s not only me,” he says. “Many times someone sees a bike hidden in a bush, takes a picture and then someone else comments ‘hey that’s my bike’. So everyone’s looking out.” Now when people’s bikes get stolen, he says, the police direct them to his Facebook page. When there is a finder’s fee he gives it to people living in [a homeless] shelter. He he says he now sees the bike theft problem is often driven by addiction, aided by long rehab waiting lists and closures during the summer.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


It's one of the biggest experiments in fighting global poverty. Now the results are in
2023-12-07, NPR
Posted: 2023-12-18 18:42:59
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/12/07/1217478771/its-one-of-th...

Since 2017 the U.S.-based charity GiveDirectly has been providing thousands of villagers in Kenya what's called a "universal basic income" – a cash grant of about $50, delivered every month, with the commitment to keep the payments coming for 12 years. This week a team of independent researchers who have been studying the impact released their first results. Their findings ... compare the outcomes for about 5,000 people who got the monthly payments to nearly 12,000 others in a control group who got no money. The researchers also compared the recipients to people in two other categories: nearly 9,000 who received the monthly income for just two years; and another roughly 9,000 people who got that same two years' worth of income but in a lump-sum payment. When it came to measures of well-being such as consumption of protein or spending money on schooling, all of the groups who were given cash were better off than people in the control group that got no money. Those who got the money in a lump sum vastly outperformed people who were promised the same amount for just two years but received it in monthly installments. Lump-sum recipients had 19% more enterprises – businesses such as small shops in local markets, motorbike taxis and small-scale construction concerns. And the lump sum recipients' net revenues from their businesses were a whopping 80% higher. The grants did not seem to fuel inflation.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


US cancer patient's dying wish erases $16m in people's medical debt
2023-11-17, BBC News
Posted: 2023-11-26 17:20:26
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-67459257

A New York City woman who died of ovarian cancer has raised enough money to pay off millions of dollars in other people's medical debts. In a social media post she arranged to be posted after her death, Casey McIntyre, 38, asked followers to consider donating to her cause. She said she planned to pay off other people's medical debt as a way of celebrating her life. She wrote on social media: "if you're reading this I have passed away." "I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved... to celebrate my life, I've arranged to buy up others' medical debt and then destroy the debt." She added that she was lucky to have access to high-quality medical care while battling stage four ovarian cancer and wanted others to have the same. McIntyre and her family ... raised over $170,000 (£136,000) for her campaign with non-profit RIP Medical Debt. The organisation pays off a dollar of medical debt for every penny that is donated, meaning McIntyre's campaign has helped erase up to $17m in unpaid medical bills. The organisation says it buys medical debt "in bundled portfolios, millions of dollars at a time at a fraction of the original cost". "On average, whatever you donate has 100x the impact," it says on its website. In the social media post announcing her own death, McIntyre's family included a note that they would have a memorial service ... where they would celebrate her life by anonymously purchasing and forgiving other's medical debt.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The Theory That Men Evolved to Hunt and Women Evolved to Gather Is Wrong
2023-11-01, Scientific American
Posted: 2023-11-19 14:41:52
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-theory-that-men-evolved-to-hun...

The influential idea that in the past men were hunters and women were not isn’t supported by the available evidence. Women are physiologically better suited than men to endurance efforts such as running marathons. This advantage bears on questions about hunting because a prominent hypothesis contends that early humans are thought to have pursued prey on foot over long distances until the animals were exhausted. Furthermore, the fossil and archaeological records, as well as ethnographic studies of modern-day hunter-gatherers, indicate that women have a long history of hunting game. Females are ... dominating ultraendurance events such as the more than 260-mile Montane Spine foot race through England and Scotland, the 21-mile swim across the English Channel and the 4,300-mile Trans Am cycling race. In 2018 English runner Sophie Power ran the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race in the Alps while still breastfeeding her three-month-old at rest stations. Observations of recent and contemporary foraging societies provide direct evidence of women participating in hunting. The most cited examples come from the Agta people of the Philippines. Agta women hunt while menstruating, pregnant and breastfeeding, and they have the same hunting success as Agta men. They are hardly alone. A recent study of ethnographic data spanning the past 100 years ... found that women from a wide range of cultures hunt animals for food.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Still nurturing love and vines: the centenarian who built Barcelona's first roof garden
2023-06-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-07-23 15:08:57
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/26/barcelona-centenarian-org...

When Joan Carulla Figueres turned the roof terrace of his Barcelona apartment into a garden, it was out of nostalgia for his rural origins. Sixty-five years later, the ecological concepts he has long followed have become commonplace, and he is acclaimed as a pioneer of organic farming. Carulla, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year, is credited with creating the city's first roof garden. However, his "allotment in the sky" boasts far more than the usual tomato plants and pots of geraniums. It is home to more than 40 fruit trees, vines that produce 100kg (220lbs) of grapes a year, olives, peaches, figs, garlic, aubergines and even potatoes. He is passionate about potatoes. His approach to agriculture is what today we call organic, but Carulla insists he is not doing anything new and that poor farmers have always practised organic farming out of necessity. "My grandparents had little land and no money for fertiliser," he says. "They used animal and vegetable waste and straw. We lived a frugal life. We didn't go hungry, we just lived." Like his forebears, Carulla makes compost from everything, including old magazines and thin wooden fruit boxes. "There's almost nothing we don't use, everything decomposes eventually." If the war made him a vegetarian, it also made him a pacifist. He was 15 when Juneda was bombed and strafed by fascist warplanes. Carulla speaks with sorrow of the 117 people killed in the village and how the reprisals carried out by both sides at the end of the war broke his father’s spirit and drove his mother to an early grave. “She was one of the war’s silent victims,” he says. “I think she died from pain and suffering.” He also talks about how at the age of 10 he had an epiphany when he vowed to become un generador de amor (someone who generates love). "I don't know where this phrase came from, but I decided that what I had to do was to create love in everyone, universal love."

Note: Don't miss a great video on Figueres and his garden. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


‘Collective strength’: the LRA captive restoring dignity to survivors in Uganda
2021-08-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-06-26 18:42:45
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/aug/03/collective-strengt...

When Victoria Nyanjura was abducted from her Catholic boarding school in northern Uganda by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, she prayed to God asking to die. She was 14 when she was taken, along with 29 others, in the middle of the night. During the next eight years in captivity she was subjected to beatings, starvation, rape and other horrors. Nyanjura gave birth to two children. After a dramatic escape one rainy night, Nyanjura was able to return to her family with her children, go back into education and start the process of healing. Now, her work has helped push through a major law reform in Uganda. She coordinated the Women’s Advocacy Network, made up of more than 900 women who were also survivors of the war in northern Uganda. Together they launched a petition in 2014 asking the Ugandan parliament to address the challenges they faced as they tried to rebuild their lives. The petition asked for free healthcare and better access to services, funding to support children born in captivity, training for teachers on how to work with trauma and a review of laws that require information on paternity, among other things. Officials listened to their accounts and demands for change, and in 2019 the government passed a transitional justice policy to remedy the plight of survivors. “I need to tell the story of change,” [Nyanjura] says. “I want to make people smile, and use my voice to see global change in stopping violence.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Meet the 'glass-half-full girl' whose brain rewired after losing a hemisphere
2023-03-22, NPR
Posted: 2023-04-02 20:03:08
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/03/22/1165131907/neuroplastici...

In most people, speech and language live in the brain's left hemisphere. Mora Leeb is not most people. When she was 9 months old, surgeons removed the left side of her brain. Yet at 15, Mora plays soccer, tells jokes, gets her nails done, and, in many ways, lives the life of a typical teenager. "I can be described as a glass-half-full girl," she says, pronouncing each word carefully and without inflection. Her slow, cadence-free speech is one sign of a brain that has had to reorganize its language circuits. Yet to a remarkable degree, Mora's right hemisphere has taken on jobs usually done on the left side. It's an extreme version of brain plasticity, the process that allows a brain to modify its connections to adapt to new circumstances. People like Mora represent the upper bounds of human brain plasticity because their brains were radically altered very early in life — a period when the wiring is still a work in progress. During an interview with Mora, both her abilities and deficits were apparent. So was her outgoing personality and curiosity about the world. Mora began by telling me a joke: "How do you make a hot dog stand?" she asks. "You take away its chair." What scientists still want to know is precisely what allowed Mora's brain to rewire so extensively. One thing is clear: Understanding the basis of this sort of extreme plasticity, they say, could help millions of people whose brains are still trying to recover from a stroke, tumor, or traumatic injury. And Mora is helping scientists deepen their understanding, simply by being herself.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.


Athlete with Down syndrome becomes first to complete the Ironman World Championship
2022-10-08, USA Today
Posted: 2022-12-18 19:30:12
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2022/10/08/athlete-down-syndrome-first-...

Chris Nikic became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman World Championship when he crossed the finish line during Thursday’s event in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The Ironman involves three events: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. Nikic finished in 16 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds. He completed the swim in one hour, 42 minutes, the bike ride in eight hours, five minutes and the run in six hours and 29 minutes, placing 2,265th out of 2,314 athletes that competed that day. Nikic, who celebrated his 23rd birthday after crossing the finish line with his volunteer guide, accomplished the feat during Down syndrome awareness month. Nikic's perseverance has won him many admirers and his dedication won him the 2021 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs after he became the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon after completing the Florida Ironman in November 2020. In a video, Nikic explained his motivation in competing in the grueling events. “I rarely saw anyone who looks like me in mainstream sports. And now, we’re changing that,” Nikic said. “Running changed my life, but now I want everyone like me to see it’s possible for them, too.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.


Dad Wakes From Coma to Discover Artistic Skills He Never Had Before
2022-11-07, Yahoo News
Posted: 2022-12-05 10:13:35
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/dad-wakes-month-long-coma-092327320.html?guccounter=1

A dad has left medics baffled after waking from a coma with extraordinary artistic talents he never had before - and he's now a professional carpenter and model maker. Moe Hunter, 38, spent more than a month in a coma where his heart even stopped after being diagnosed with a rare form of bacterial meningitis and tuberculosis in his brain. He awoke from brain surgery with no memory but soon left his friends and family gobsmacked when he started to display a special gift he didn't possess before. Moe suddenly discovered he had a newfound creative flair and an inexplicable talent for drawing, painting and model building - despite being 'rubbish' at art at school. He used his new skills to embark on a career as a self-employed carpenter and began building intricate life-size model replicas from the world of TV and film. Married dad-of-one Moe has since sold pieces of his artwork and has displayed his amazing creations at Comic-Con events. Moe said: "I really wasn't creative before in the slightest, in fact people used to laugh at my drawings. “Even to this day some of my family can’t believe it. When I spoke to the neurologist he just said 'enjoy it' and said there's so much about the brain they still can't decipher and this is just a phenomenon. I look at all of my stuff now and I'm like 'never in a trillion years could I do this stuff'. I have no idea how it happened. “My doctor said that I was a walking miracle to be able to recover as quickly as I did - but when I started displaying these new artistic talents they were just stumped."

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The inspirational story of how a single mum has toured the world carrying her disabled son on her back - after vowing to give him a life of adventure when she gave birth at 17
2022-01-01, Daily Mail (One of the UK's popular newspapers)
Posted: 2022-09-26 21:54:36
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10294493/Meet-inspirational-mother...

From Hawaii to Bali and the ski-slopes of Perisher, 26-year-old Jimmy Antram has seen plenty of the world. But it has all been from the vantage point of his mother's back. Fulfilling a promise she made to herself as a 17-year-old first-time mum to give her disabled son the best life she possibly could, Niki Antram has spent years travelling the globe with Jimmy clinging to her shoulders. Jimmy was born with physical and mental disabilities, including blindness, and requires round the clock care from Ms Antram and his support workers. He has a wheelchair, but Ms Antram has never enjoyed using it. She's content to carry him while she's physically able and helps him walk short distances on his own. Incredible photographs taken around the globe show him clinging on as they hike through mountains and rainforests. 'Planning big holidays, I always make sure I have plenty of nappies, clothes, and even bed pads, sheets and pillowcases,' she [said]. Ms Antram plans a meticulous itinerary and calls ahead for every venue she wants to visit - whether it be a restaurant, hotel or daredevil adventure. 'Even if I know we will be okay I like to inform the companies to give them a heads up about us to make sure they understand and are okay with having us there,' she says. Sometimes, they can't accommodate. This is usually because of risks associated with Jimmy's condition or logistical difficulties. Ms Antram said the exception to this was in Hawaii, where 'everyone wanted [Jimmy] to join'.

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