And a Happy Friday to all of you out there in Internet-land. As we await the exciting Opening Ceremonies from the Rio Olympics tonight, where we may get to see raw sewage seep out of the stadium and onto the athletes as they march (Seriously, there’s nothing that would surprise me at these Olympics, they’re going to be historically awful. Check this out.)
We start today’s Good News Friday with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Remember that in the summer of 2014, when practically every person in America decided to dump ice water over the heads of a friend or loved one? Sure it was dopey, but it raised an incredible amount of money for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, approximately $115 million. (My favorite one was above, when hockey player Paul Bissonnette had water from a helicopter dumped on him.
It was thought at the time that such a huge sum could eventually lead to a breakthrough to find a cure to such a horrible disease (You may have seen some publicity about ALS with the new documentary Gleason, featuring the life and times of ALS sufferer and former NFL player Steve Gleason.).
Two years later, the ALS Association has announced that in fact, the Ice Bucket Challenge money has started to pay off. Thanks to a large data-driven initiative funded through the Ice Bucket Challenge, researchers on Project MinE announced they’ve identified a new gene associated with the disease, which of course could lead to new treatment possibilities.
“It’s very exciting because it shows everyone who contributed to the ice bucket challenge that their donation had an impact on the research,” said Brian Frederick, executive vice-president of communications and development at the ALS Association. “The work that Project MinE is doing is really important, and the discovery of this new gene will help us better understand ALS.”
Now some have quickly debunked that this is a huge “breakthrough,” but it certainly seems to be a step forward. If only we could also get an “Ice Bucket Challenge” for a disease like Alzheimer’s…
**Next up today, a beautiful story of selflessness. A 69-year-old woman in Texas named Brenda Jones had been waiting for a liver transplant for more than a year, when on July 17 she finally got the call that one had arrived.
At the hospital, Jones met 23-year-old Abigail Flores, who was from a tiny town in East Texas and had only days to live if she didn’t get a new liver. Both Jones and Flores were perfect matches for the new liver Jones was scheduled to get.
According to this story on People.com, doctors decided to tell Jones about the situation.
In my heart, I wouldn’t have been able to live with the liver if I had let this little girl die,” Jones told the news outlet. “And I still had more time … I would have been a very selfish person.”
Jones selfless decision ended up saving Flores’ life – and just a few days later, she received a liver herself.
“I think she saved my life,” Flores told the news outlet. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be sitting right here right now. I thank God for her each and every day.”
What a great story. Jones had no way of knowing whether she’d get that liver she’d been waiting so long for. But she selflessly allowed a complete stranger to have it.
**Finally today, I love people like this. A 67-year-old San Francisco woman named Suu Ngo moved to America from Vietnam three decades ago, overcame the tragic loss of her daughter (murdered by her husband), and now helps raise her grandchildren.”
After leaving a restaurant job five years ago, Suu walked into San Francisco’s City Hall and asked for a job. She’s now a street sweeper for the city, and loves her life and her job.
“My grandchildren say, ‘Grandma you need to stop work, we’ll take care of you.’ and I say, no. I still strong, I want to work. I don’t want to stay home, boring. Nothing to do. Watch TV all the time? You’d be crazy. I don’t want to do that. I want to go outside, exercise and see people talking, talking, happy. I don’t want to stay home, no. I happy.”
Watch the video and see the simple joy of a woman who loves her life, and just wants to see people happy.