From daring rescues to medical breakthroughs, here are 12 of the happiest stories of 2021

Written by on December 25, 2021

Discovering uplifting information tales in a yr marked by the persevering with COVID-19 pandemic, the perilous evacuations of U.S. residents and troops from Afghanistan, devastating mass shootings and an unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol could show troublesome.

However alongside the challenges the nation confronted in 2021 have been tales of perseverance, bravery and the desire to outlive. Scientific breakthroughs have been made, endangered species endured and on a regular basis folks turned superheroes.

The multitude of tales that impressed us to maintain going via making an attempt occasions are too many to depend. Listed below are 12 of the perfect to finish the yr on a excessive be aware.

Girl celebrates 100th birthday together with her two older sisters

Frances Kompus had a number of causes to have a good time on Nov. 11. Not solely had the Atwood, Kansas resident reached a milestone 100th birthday, however her older sisters have been there to assist her have a good time.

The youngest of three daughters, Kompus lives subsequent door to sisters Julia Kopriva, 104, and Lucy Pochop, 102. The siblings have been fixed companions rising up on their household farm in Beardsley, about 9 miles from Atwood.

The sisters partied at the Sacred Coronary heart Catholic Church in Atwood with 50 others to commemorate the event.

Kompus credit “good residence meals” on the farm to her longevity and says being social and strolling lots has additionally helped.

 “Preserve going,” she suggested, in keeping with native information shops.

Arizona man and grandmother proceed Thanksgiving custom that began with textual content to improper quantity

Wanda Dench of Mesa, Arizona meant to ship a textual content to her grandson inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner in 2016. However Jamal Hinton, a youngster on the time and a stranger to Dench, obtained the message.

The combo-up quickly turned obvious, however Hinton nonetheless requested to “get a plate,” to which Dench obliged.

Thus started a six-year friendship between teen and grandmother. Hinton has been invited to affix the Dench’s annually since for Thanksgiving dinner, and each vacation is commemorated with a household picture. The heartwarming story quickly went viral on social media and media streaming firm Netflix lately introduced it is going to adapt it to the massive display, in keeping with The Arizona Republic.

The households have modified through the years. Hinton now has a girlfriend and Wanda’s husband, Lonnie, died of COVID-19 in 2020. However the Thanksgiving custom has continued.

“We’re extra of prolonged household and, better of all, associates,” Dench advised the Arizona Republic in 2017. 

13-year-old begins first day of courses at Georgia college

Georgia Institute of Know-how welcomed its college students again to class in August together with a particular addition: Caleb Anderson, a 13-year-old aerospace engineering hopeful and the youngest scholar on campus.

Anderson was accepted to Georgia Tech on the age of 12 and began the semester as a sophomore after taking programs at Chattahoochee Technical School for superior credit. The teenager described his first day as “fairly attention-grabbing,” in keeping with an announcement from the college.

Anderson’s expertise was bolstered by tuition help from the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Basis, based by TV persona Steve Harvey and his spouse, Good Morning America reported. He was too younger to qualify for merit-based scholarships within the state.

 After graduating, Anderson says he desires to pursue a profession at SpaceX, begin his personal firm and turn out to be a task mannequin for different Black teenagers, in keeping with Georgia Tech’s assertion.

“I wish to assist others which will simply want nurturing and assets,” Anderson mentioned.

105-year-old lady units world report in 100-meter sprint

A senior sprinter from Louisiana set a second report in November.

Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, 105, completed the 100-meter sprint in simply over one minute on the 2021 Louisiana Senior Video games competitors held close to her childhood residence in Ponchatoula. The time earned her a world report within the 105+ age division.

It was the second time for the retired educator, who additionally broke the report in 2017 within the 100-104 age degree for operating 100 meters in simply over 39 seconds.

Hawkins started sprinting at age 100. A once-avid biker, her youngsters registered her for operating when she give up biking after eight to 10 years.

“The older you get, the extra passions you must have… Protecting energetic is one in every of my most essential passions,” Hawkins advised USA TODAY.

Girls’s immune system presumably cured her of HIV

A 30-year-old lady in Argentina was deemed the “hope affected person” after changing into the second documented individual whose personal immune system fought HIV.

Scientists analyzed the girl’s blood samples and placenta cell tissues from 2017 to 2020 to achieve this conclusion. The affected person gave start to an HIV-negative child in March 2020.

Authors of the peer-reviewed research of the case printed in November hope the findings will result in a long-term treatment for the virus, which has contaminated 38 million folks globally.

State of California returns land to heirs of Black resort house owners

The heirs of a California couple who constructed a resort for Black vacationers on California’s coast within the 1920s now name it their very own, due to laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September.

Bruce’s Seashore, as soon as owned by Willa and Charles Bruce, was wrongfully seized by Manhattan Seashore metropolis officers in 1924, in keeping with the Los Angeles Instances.

Earlier this yr, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to switch possession of the land again to the household.

“There’s many households ready for assist proper now, as a result of the identical factor occurred to them. And so this, you would possibly wish to say, opened up a can of worms,” relative Patricia Bruce mentioned.

Western monarch butterflies make sudden comeback after numbers dwindle


Western Monarch Butterflies return after down yr

The variety of the monarch butterflies wintering alongside the California coast is bouncing again after the inhabitants reached an all-time low final yr. Over 50,00zero monarchs at the moment are at overwintering websites there in comparison with lower than 2,00zero final yr. (Nov. 17)


The Western monarch butterfly is again, to the aid of scientists.

An abundance of the fluttering bugs is usually an excellent indicator of ecosystem well being, however the quantity wintering alongside California’s central coast hit an all-time low final yr. 

Consultants say local weather change, habitat destruction and lack of meals attributable to drought are guilty, however an annual winter depend by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation discovered an estimated 50,00zero monarchs at overwintering websites in November in comparison with fewer than 2,00zero final yr.

“That is actually not a restoration, however we’re actually optimistic and simply actually glad that there are monarchs right here, and that provides us a little bit of time to work towards restoration of the Western monarch migration,” Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species on the Xerces Society, mentioned.

Highschool scholar almost misses graduating – till a instructor lent his sneakers

Daverius Peters, a senior at Hahnville Excessive Faculty in Boutte, Louisiana, arrived to his commencement ceremony on Could 19 able to stroll throughout the stage in sneakers that have been in opposition to faculty coverage, in keeping with a faculty consultant.

“She simply stopped me saying I couldn’t put on my sneakers,” Peters mentioned. “One other child had the very same sneakers, so I used to be confused.”

That is when John Butler, a instructor at Hahnville, stepped in. Although he had come to see his daughter graduate, Butler supplied his personal sneakers to the graduating senior.

“So then it turns into a no brainer to me, a no extra questions requested state of affairs. I gave him the sneakers on my ft,” Butler later posted to Fb.

Peters’ grateful household didn’t be taught of the entire story till the put up went viral.

“I used to be actually in tears as a result of I didn’t know all of this occurred and that my son needed to expertise it,” Jima Smith, Peters’ mom, mentioned.

Nice Barrier Reef spawns coloration, reveals restoration from injury

In November, scientists recorded the corals of Australia’s Nice Barrier Reef fertilize billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific ocean, an indication of restoration from years of coral bleaching brought on by unusually heat ocean temperatures.

Two-thirds of the 134,00zero sq. miles of 2,500 reefs was broken by bleaching. 

Gareth Phillips, a marine scientist with Reef Train, a tourism and academic enterprise, mentioned it was gratifying to see the reef give start.

“It’s a powerful demonstration that its ecological capabilities are intact and dealing after being in a restoration section for greater than 18 months,” he mentioned.

The reef is listed by UNESCO World Heritage Middle as a pure marvel.

New hope for Kind 1 diabetes sufferers

A stem cell-derived therapy presents another choice for these with Kind 1 diabetes, a situation during which the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

Earlier this yr, a affected person was given an infusion of VX-880 by drug producer Vertex Prescribed drugs as a part of a scientific trial. Previous to the trial, the affected person relied on 34 models of insulin per day to keep up his glucose ranges.

After 90 days, the affected person skilled a 91% lower in his each day insulin requirement and a restoration in insulin manufacturing, in keeping with a report launched by Vertex in October.

The drug may very well be life-changing, specialists say, and permit Kind 1 diabetes sufferers to finally make their very own insulin.

“This doubtlessly obviates the lifelong want for sufferers with diabetes to self-inject insulin because the substitute cells ‘present the affected person with the pure manufacturing facility to make their very own insulin,’” Harvard professor Doug Melton, co-director of Harvard Stem Cell Institute, mentioned in an announcement following the trial.

Husband with Alzheimer’s proposes to spouse a second time

A pair married for 12 years had a second wedding ceremony to recollect.

Peter Marshall, 56, was identified with Alzheimer’s, a mind dysfunction that causes issues with reminiscence and conduct, three years in the past. However his love for spouse, Lisa, hasn’t wavered. 

Lisa mentioned Peter proposed to her once more whereas the couple was watching a marriage scene on TV, however she advised USA TODAY she was hesitant about one other wedding ceremony. 

“I simply needed to set my expectations low in case he wasn’t absolutely there the day of the marriage,” Lisa, who paperwork her journey as Peter’s caregiver on the weblog Oh Whats up Alzheimer’s, mentioned. “The illness is so unpredictable.” 

However with the assistance of a group of supporters, the couple wed once more on April 26.

“He is right here to carry my hand and be right here, however this illness is taking him away so shortly,” Lisa says. “However it doesn’t matter what occurs in these subsequent few years, we’ll all the time be collectively and I am going to all the time love him.”

Lacking canine saves household from home hearth

A neighborhood stray saved a Virginia household from a home hearth in early December. Afterward, he was reunited along with his household.

Charity Golloway was at residence together with her two youngsters when a fireplace erupted from the skin entrance wall of her residence. Golloway was unaware till Butter, the stray canine in the neighborhood, barked incessantly at her bed room window. 

Golloway instantly known as the Valley Volunteer Fireplace Division, which safely evacuated the household.

Firefighter Justin Stidham posted an image of Butter on social media, hailing the canine as a hero. The put up attracted the eye of the canine’s unique house owners, who reached out to Golloway.

“If it wasn’t for him, who is aware of what might’ve occurred. It might’ve been method worse,” Golloway advised WJHL. “I’m actually grateful for that stray canine that wandered up into my yard.”

Listed below are different tales that had us smiling this yr

Contributing: The Related Press

Attain out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.

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