Blind Woman Represents US in International Triathlon

Constantly reading and writing about the kindness and heroism of some people inevitably make me reflect upon their stories. And I’ve noticed an important pattern. First, age doesn’t really matter — a 58-year-old woman can save factory workers from a fire, a 4-year-old girl can donate her tiny allowance to a cancer patient, and a 99-year-old man can even break a world record on swimming. And neither can status hinder people from being kind or heroic — a multi-billion company can surely fund children’s hospitals, but an ordinary ticket agent can save children from human trafficking.

Today’s reflection involves another thing that cannot hinder people from achieving extraordinary things: disability. This is proven by a blind woman from San Diego named Amy Dixon, who will represent the United States in the 2020 Paralympics, to be held in Tokyo. She will be competing in the triathlon.

When Dixon is not working to improve her best personal race time, she is working on improving the lives of those in our community. For the past two years, she has held camps that teaches the visually and audibly impaired how to race in triathlons. Additionally, Dixon has been able to raise enough money each year to provide this camp at no cost to its participants.

Also known as “Super Woman,” Amy Dixon only has 2% of her vision left. But looking at her community work and sports career, this has not left the blind woman helpless. In fact, it seemed to do the opposite, as she has been inspired to accomplish so much, not only in the field of sports.

While working to better the lives of those impaired, she is actively working on saving the sight of others through her work as the Vice President of the Glaucoma Eyes International Foundation . . . Since she is such an inspiration to San Diego, Senator Joel Anderson recently honored Dixon’s efforts by presenting her with a certificate of recognition for her tremendous athletic achievements and her dedication to better the lives of those in our community.

If we cannot let age, status, and disability be significant in performing great deeds and becoming our best selves, then what else matters? I think, if you have time to reflect upon many people’s lives (and I hope you do), then you’ll be quick to answer this. For now, here’s a clue: it starts with an h, ends with a t, and in the middle, has a bodily organ used to listen. To really find the answer, maybe you should listen to your heart. Wink.

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103-Year-Old Gets Sweet and Furry Birthday Surprise

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?

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58-Year-Old Woman is a Hero in Factory Fire

We have seen a dog protect his human family from a house fire. We have seen a 77-year-old man refuse to evacuate so he could save animals from a wildfire. Today’s hero is a 58-year-old Indian woman who saved 20 people from a factory fire, which was happening beside her apartment in Delhi.

In a swift course of action, Jyoti Verma threw one end of her sari to the employees in a higher floor of the neighboring building so they could climb down to her terrace. However, one worker jumped the distance and Verma had to find another way.

Not wanting anyone else to injure themselves by jumping, Verma rushed inside to find something more useful. In the midst of her apartment, she found a small bamboo ladder. With the help of a neighbor, Verma propped up the ladder onto the roof of her terrace so that it stretched across to the factory window. Over the course of the next half hour, twenty workers were able to crawl to safety.

In the reports, before the ensuing hullabaloo, Verma was making breakfast in her apartment at 6:30 a.m. Her neighbor suddenly called her attention to the burning factory and so she rushed to her window, saw the people crying for help in the third floor of the neighboring building as their lower floors were engulfed by the factory fire, and decided to act.

According to one of the workers, the owner of the illegal factory locks the gates to the building every night in order to prevent theft. If it had not been for Verma’s heroic ingenuity, the employees may not have been able to escape.

Whoever said age is just a number has never been more correct in light of kindness and heroism.

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