The Upbeat Everyday Acts
  • (Photo from Adrian Lomas' blueleaf blog)Thirty-four years ago, Emmanuelle Demeautis, then 9, was walking her dog along beach in the French coastal town of Cherbourg, when she found a message in a bottle.

    The note read:

    "My name is Adrian Lomas — I'm aged nine and live in England, if you find this letter please write to me."

    Demeautis did as Lomas requested, and for the next three decades, Demeautis and Lomas were penpals.

    "I can't believe that after throwing the bottle off the ferry on the way back from my holiday when I was nine, that Emmanuelle found it on the beach when she was walking her dog. It's just amazing," Lomas said of the beginning of their friendship.

    "We wrote for many years and, at one stage, we planned to meet in Tahiti but, for one reason or another, it didn’t happen." Lomas told the Chester Leader. "However, thanks to the power of Facebook, Emmanuelle spotted that I was riding the Tour de Force and got in touch."

    Last week, 34 years after first writing to each other, the long-distance friends finally met.

    Read More »from Message-in-a-bottle penpals meet after 34 years
  • The No Worries Now Prom brings sick teens together

    Fred with his friend SheriWhen Fred Scarf was 15 years old, he lost one of his closest friends, Sheri, to cancer. "I felt like I died inside," he said, "and I knew I had to do something big. I was driven." With their plans of going to their high school prom together tragically derailed, he was inspired to throw a prom for teens with cancer. What started out in 2006 as 20 patients having the time of their lives for one special night has now grown to hosting annual proms in five cities. The resulting nonprofit is called No Worries Now, reflecting its mission to immediately improving the lives of teens with life-threatening illnesses. To date, over 3,000 teenagers have attended proms thrown by No Worries Now.

    Marta Belcher, the executive director of No Worries Now, emphasizes that “For teens who have been in and out of the hospital the opportunity to let go and dance and celebrate life is a really meaningful experience."

    Cecy with her mom and boyfriend at PromOne of those teens is Cecilia "Cecy"

    Read More »from An Unforgettable Night for Teens with Life-Threatening Illnesses
  • File photo of firetruck (Thinkstock)File photo of a firetruck (Thinkstock)

    A Fresno firefighter searching a fire-damaged home came across a kitten clinging to life, reports CBS47.tv.

    "I looked down and you can actually see the cat shining in the spotlight of my flashlight. And I looked back and that's when I saw the cat and grabbed him," said Cory Kalanick, the firefighter who found the kitten.

    CBS47.tv reports that the kitten was not moving when Kalanick picked him up. Careful not to put the struggling cat on the hot pavement, Kalanick held it in his glove, poured water on its fur, and gave it an entire tank of oxygen. After around 15 minutes of massage, the catsince named Lucky came back to life.

    The cat's amazing rescue and resurrection were captured on Kalanick's helmet camera.

    In an interview with CBS47.tv following the rescue, Kalanick said that he is sometimes teased by his fellow firefighters for being a vegan.

    "They raz me or give me garbage for it. It's a pretty cool thing that we get to help a kitten out," Kalanick told the CBS affiliate. The

    Read More »from Firefighter’s kitten rescue captured by helmet camera
  • The Atlanta Zoo's Lun Lun is expecting her fourth cub (AP Photo/Journal Constitution, Vino Wong, File)The Atlanta Zoo's Lun Lun is expecting her fourth cub (AP Photo/Journal Constitution, Vino Wong, File)

    Lun Lun, the 15-year-old giant panda who resides in Zoo Atlanta, is pregnant with her fourth cub.

    Zoo Atlanta announced the pregnancy in a press release. Raymond B. King, president and CEO of the zoo, said, "We’re thrilled about the possibility of a fourth cub for Lun Lun, but we remain cautiously optimistic at this point. Giant panda cubs are extremely fragile, and the chance remains that the fetus does not go to term."

    Lun Lun was artificially inseminated in March, and the zoo staff expects her to give birth in 2 to 3 weeks. Assuming everything goes well, her cub will be the first giant panda born in the United States this year.

    Two years ago, Lun Lun gave birth to Po, a panda who was named after a character in the animated movie, "Kung Fu Panda."

    According to Lun Lun's biography on  Zoo Atlanta's website, her birth name was actually Hua Hua. Taiwanese rock star Su Huilun, who "adopted" Lun Lun, renamed her. Her favorite smells are cinnamon and mint, and she is considered to be

    Read More »from Lun Lun the giant panda pregnant with fourth cub
  • "Do you know it's impossible to hug a cow and have a bad day at the same time?" That's what Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn Foundation, tells visitors to her six-acre barnyard in Santa Clarita, California.

    The nonprofit organization is a sanctuary for animals. "We rescue severely abused and neglected animals that no one else wants," says Laks. "We bring them in, and we rehabilitate them. And once they're healed and happy, they stay here for the rest of their lives and then they help us heal abused and neglected children."

    Laks describes The Gentle Barn as one "giant storybook." The Gentle Barn has 170 animals, from horses and donkeys to sheep and goats to turkeys and pigs. Each animal has its own story of abuse and, thanks to Laks, healing. She believes the animals' stories can help children who also suffer from abuse and neglect. "There's an animal here that mirrors every single solitary person's story. Whatever a person's gone through, there's an animal that's gone through it

    Read More »from Rescued Animals Make a Difference in the Lives of Kids

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