More and more, people are becoming comfortable in their own skin. Plus-size model Natalie Hage shut down a fat-shamer who ridiculed her on an airplane. While the confrontation was awkward, it needed to happen. And anyway, who isn’t in love with their own curves? It’s 2018. Then again, it’s safe to say body positivity still isn’t present everywhere, especially for younger girls.
To combat this, Artist Kay Black is inspiring vitiligo sufferers, specifically, by creating dolls with rare skin conditions.
[Kay Black] began making the dolls as a hobby alongside her “normal” job. She said, “I’m motivated by everyday people I see walking up and down the streets.”
The dolls with vitiligo are made special for each customer and have been praised by a number of celebrities. But Black isn’t after fame — she just wants her buyers to feel appreciated.
“People are literally in tears when they get their dolls. I want to create dolls everyone can relate to.”
She also creates a plethora of other dolls that break the rather dangerous standards set by certain world-renowned toy companies. Other than the dolls with vitiligo, Black customizes ones with realistic features such as freckles or curly hair. This makes them super relatable for young girls.
In line with Black’s advocacy, a model with the skin condition even spoke up regarding her own life. Attached to a selfie showing Winnie Harlow’s whole body is her inspiring message.
“The real difference isn’t my skin. It’s the fact that I don’t find my beauty in the opinions of others. I’m beautiful because I know it. Celebrate Your unique beauty today (& everyday)!”
Making friends with your flaws isn’t the easiest — but it certainly is a step in the right direction. Thanks to people like Black and Harlow, young girls may be motivated to discover how to sincerely love themselves.
By now, the relationship between humans and dogs is understood by many as no doubt profound, especially through stories like how shelter dogs learned to aid in the therapy of veterans suffering from PTSD or how a man went to great lengths to return an abandoned dog home. I suppose it’s just a case-to-case question of the level of depth or intimacy of the friendship between species.
However, someone equally sweet and equally furry can also provide a deep connection to human friends. Last April, in an inspirational birthday surprise, a 103-year-old woman named Lillian Grant was gifted with a new kitty friend.
Debbie Presland, the administrator at Ridgeview Gardens Assisted Living in St. George, Utah, where Grant lives, asked the centenarian what she’d want if she could pick anything in the world for her birthday present. “A sweet cat like Sammy,” she said, according to Presland.
Sammy was Grant’s beloved cat who passed away about a year ago. Seeing Grant so obviously still heartbroken, Presland wanted to make her wish come true. Along with her brother Joseph Harradine who was an officer at St. George Animal Shelter, they picked out a previously abandoned cat named Marley.
Right before bringing out her birthday cake, Presland told Grant they had a special surprise for her. Harradine brought out Marley and Grant started cuddling her. “The cat just took to her immediately,” Presland told TODAY.
Grant seemed to think that her present was just Marley’s visit. She initially didn’t realize that the cat was going to be hers. When Grant found out that Marley now belonged to her, the 103-year-old woman was almost in tears. Presland herself almost cried as well.
“Just to see her reaction choked me up . . . It was so sweet.”
After the birthday surprise, Grant and Marley are already inseparable. When two lonely species meet, it seems they can give each other life and be each other’s happiness, which makes me want to say… a shelter cat might as well be a woman’s best friend, eh?
Putting a family member before yourself is often a no-brainer. Mary Jane Fields prioritized her cancer-stricken sister by undergoing a risky skin transplant. Preteen Jacee Dellapena delivered her own baby brother. 74-year-old Wayne Winters kicked off a compassionate autumn season by walking miles every day in search of a kidney donor for his wife.
“She’s on dialysis and she doesn’t like it, it’s horrible,” Winters [said]. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen her. She don’t look good.”
The determined senior wears a sandwich sign advertising wife Deanne’s blood type and his contact number. Even more inspiring is what the rear sign reads: “1,000 kidneys needed in Utah and Idaho.” Several offers have since come through, but the wait is far from over. Yet, Deanne remains positive.
Deanne says she has “hope and faith” that a kidney match will be found somehow. “I have a lot of living left to do,”
Winters has vowed to find a donor for as long as it takes and continue to raise awareness even afterward. That’s true love right there — and it goes beyond blood.
It is in a typical mother’s disposition to nurture, even beyond their own families. A full-time mom and part-time coupon collector, Kimberly Gager used her stash to help Hurricane Harvey victims. A teacher at Pathways Learning Center, Bennie Berry was a mom to hundreds of students. But when 16-year-old Anthony asked Berry to adopt him, true motherhood became a reality.
‘Well, at first I thought he was making jokes until he actually explained the situation,’ said Bennie…
‘And then we struck a deal: Finish an assignment and then you can show me the website.’
In foster care since the age of 9, Anthony gave up hope on becoming part of a family — until enrolling in Bennie’s English class. Though Anthony’s swift request came as a total surprise, Bennie didn’t hesitate to take the youngster in.
‘I have a son. I’m more than elated,’ she said… ‘I have a son for the rest of my life.’
Sometimes, love happens in ways that can’t be taught — not even by an English teacher.
Athletes have a long history of charitable acts, donating medals and paychecks to those in need. While most have the means to make monetary pledges, others make more personal contributions. When local Kansas man Roy Coe grew sick with lymphoma, an anonymous NFL player donated bone marrow.
“That was a pretty good day,” he explained. “It was good to know that there was somebody out there.”
Doctors revealed only two years later that Coe’s donor was, in fact, a famous athlete. Though his identity will remain a secret to the public, Coe will soon get to meet his mystery savior.
“He probably saved my life,” Coe explained. “I owe him a big old ‘thank you’ for that.”
Not only did Coe go into remission — he got to witness a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl. I guess modern-day fairytales do come true.
When shelter dogs are out of luck (because, let’s face it — not everyone is as big a dog lover as the South Korean president), there isn’t much hope that remains. A few fortunate pups might end up as therapy dogs, but otherwise, burdens weigh heavy on shelters themselves. Realizing its need to take a different approach to potential pet parents, Animal Ark Rescue set up a Tinder account. For star resident Henry, it totally paid off.
“I vaguely remember silly things from Tinder in my single swiping days,” [coordinator Miranda] Morrison, who is now married, explained. “I think I once matched with pizza? I thought, what if I make Henry a profile? That would be worth a shot.”
Henry’s profile claims that the lovable pooch enjoys road trips and hiking. Morrison even outlined Henry’s perfect date, which involves Netflix and cuddling. While the adorable mutt has yet to score a new home, Tinder has helped AAR up its adoption inquiries.
“I know Henry deserves true and unwavering unconditional love for the rest of his life. He leaves paw prints on the hearts of those he loves,” she said.
Looks like finding love on Tinder may go beyond just romance.
As the saying goes, a parent will do whatever they can for their children. If you’re anything like military mom LeAnn Boudwine, who sends care packages to soldiers, family goes beyond blood. Whatever the case, parenthood often demands sacrifice — or, for Jalandhar Nayak, moving mountains. To help his children cut down their 3-hour trip to school, the vegetable seller paved a 5-mile route by hand.
“My children found it hard to walk on the narrow and stony path while going to their school. I often saw them stumbling against the rocks and decided to carve a road through the mountain so that they can walk more easily,” he [said.]
Armed with only a chisel, hoe, and axe, the dedicated father spent two years picking away. Naturally, his actions became a subject of public interest, to which the local government responded by paying for his services. It will also construct the remaining 4 miles, which Nayak predicted would’ve taken another three years to carve through.
“Nayak’s effort and determination to cut mountains to build a road left me spellbound,” the local administrator, Brundha D, told reporters.
Truly, nothing compares to the love we receive from our parents.
It isn’t every day an act of kindness makes a lasting impact. Thanks to a stranger, you might witness the birth of your child or reunite with a lost pet. Or if you’re 12-year-old refugee Mohammed Khaled, you’ll enjoy getting into shape. Gym owner Engin Dogan offered the shoeshiner a lifetime membership, in the hopes of inspiring others to pay it forward.
“A boy, looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his backpack.
“Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here. And, we did it.” [said Dogan.]
With over 3.3 million Syrian refugees taking shelter in Turkey, a simple favor goes a long way. Since going viral on social media, Khaled has finally begun training with his unexpected saviors.
“He found me and helped me,“ Khaled said.
“I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out.”
Many Turkish establishments are famed for their ground-up histories. It’s no wonder their hardworking citizens look out for one another — even for those who are different.
Nothing compares to the heartbreak of a cancer diagnosis. Every year, 12.7 million people fall victim to bad news, of whom 7.6 million don’t make it. Though breakthroughs such as personalized vaccines have been gradual, nonprofits have been helping to ease the pain of chemo. And, of course, nothing beats the support of family and friends. To help recovering leukemia patient Bridget Kelly feel at home, hundreds of neighbors welcomed her back to school.
“Her classmates wanted to let her know, ‘You were out for 15 months, but we absolutely did not forget about you,” [said] Kristin Healy, a school parent who helped organize the gathering.
The 8-year-old, diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia in 2016, underwent chemotherapy for 88 days. Bridget’s then-3-year-old sister acted as donor for her stem cell transplant. For over a year, the bright second-grader caught up with studies at home. The massive welcoming committee was more than well-deserved.
“It was almost overwhelming,” Bridget’s mother, Megan Kelley [said]… “She felt so special and so welcomed after such a long and hard road.”
Understandably, surviving the trying condition is every patient’s ultimate goal. Life is just a little less bitter with a hand to hold.
In rare instances, people put their lives on hold for others. For troops, it’s an everyday thing. Where military parents have prolonged time away from their children, military couples have postponed weddings. Many have since figured it’s time to give back. Mother to U.S. troops Michael and David Scott, LeAnn Boudwine began sending care packages to her sons and their comrades. Since 2007, Support the Troops WI has mailed 10,000 bags to deployed soldiers all over the world.
“Every box is different,” [Boudwine] says. “I always tell people when we are putting them together, make them neat and make it a ‘gift’ from you … around the holidays this may be the only box they receive, make it special.”
Support the Troops WI is run entirely by volunteers and shipping is covered by donations. Boudwine shops according to a wish list, giving packages a personal touch.
[Boudwine] goes on to say, “I really can’t believe that we have come this far. I never take for granted the donations … no one could do this alone, it takes a village. Or in my case a caring, giving, compassionate community.”
The group’s slogan is “They’re Still There, We Still Care” — a mantra that volunteers clearly, religiously live by.