The Upbeat Everyday Acts
  • Defibrillator sign (file photo via Thinkstock)Defibrillator sign (file photo via Thinkstock)

    Talk about the miracle of birth.

    After Erica Nigrelli's heart stopped beating, the pregnant teacher's co-workers used CPR and a defibrillator to get the heart pumping again, Click2Houston.com reports.

    Nigrelli was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed an emergency delivery of baby girl Elayna.

    Via Click2Houston.com:

    The school nurse, her assistant and the athletic trainer started CPR and used a defibrillator to get her heart beating again. They kept the 32-year-old teacher alive until paramedics arrived and rushed her to the hospital. Doctors delivered the baby by emergency C-section one month early. Technically, it was a postmortem delivery because Erica's heart was not beating.

    Elayna is now three months old and weighs nine pounds. Doctors told Click2Houston.com that she may go off oxygen as early as next week. Erica was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, according to Mayo Clinic.

    Erica told

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  • Woman posts photo of $1,000 tip on $60.42 meal

    Receipt posted by Tumblr user (photo: casualcynic.tumbr.com)Receipt posted by Tumblr user (photo: casualcynic.tumbr.com)

    A waitress and Tumblr user who goes by the handle "Casual Cynic" posted a photo of a receipt that made her mom's day.

    A mysterious customer recently gave Casual Cynic's mother, also a waitress, a $1,000 tip on a $60.42 meal.

    Next to the tip, the uber-generous customer wrote, "Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!!"

    On her Tumblr blog, Casual Cynic explained that her mom had been chatting with the customer about her desire to see Italy and how her ancestors come from Florence.

    From casualcynic.tumblr.com:

    SHE’S [her mother] GOT 8 YEARS OF ART EDUCATION AND SHE’S WORKING A WAITRESS JOB. IT’S PRETTY… SAD AND DISAPPOINTING, I GUESS. HER AND MY FATHER DIVORCED 6 YEARS AGO AND SHE HASN’T HAD A REAL JOB EVER. JUST BEEN STUCK IN A SMALL TOWN SHE’S NOT FROM.

    THIS MAN WHO WE HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE TIPPED HER 1,000 DOLLARS FOR A TRIP TO ITALY. WALKED OUT, NOT ANOTHER WORD.

    …YOU KNOW. JUST WHEN I START TO LOSE FAITH IN HUMANITY…. HM

    The post drew more than 100,000 notes on Tumblr. And yes, Casual Cynic is

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  • Donations continue to pour in for Cleveland victims

    A patrol car in front of Ariel Castro's boarded-up home in Cleveland. (Mark Duncan/AP)A patrol car in front of Ariel Castro's boarded-up home in Cleveland (Mark Duncan/AP)

    The Cleveland Courage Fund, a charity established to help Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, has raised more than $480,000.

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that there have been over 5,100 donations from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Berry, Knight and DeJesus were allegedly held captive for roughly a decade inside the home of suspect Ariel Castro. Lawyers for Castro have said their client will plead not guilty.

    Key Bank is providing financial guidance to the three women, according to the Plain Dealer. The bank is not taking any compensation for its help. The money will go into trust funds established for the victims.

    Smaller businesses are also assisting the three women. Lakewood Patch reports that Angelo's, a pizza shop in Lakewood, Ohio, recently raised over $35,000 for Berry, Knight and DeJesus.

    The pizza shop gave 100 percent of the proceeds from an evening's worth of sales. In addition, the employees donated 100 percent of their pay from the night to

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  • "Imagine a world where when the sun goes down, that's the end of your day as well. You can no longer see," says Jessica Matthews, the 25-year-old co-founder of Uncharted Play. "That is the reality for 1.3 billion people—practically one-fifth of the world—and one that we set out to solve."

    The result is the Soccket, a soccer ball that harnesses kinetic energy with every kick to it and can power a lamp for three hours from just 30 minutes of play. It all started in 2008 when Matthews and Julia Silverman, juniors at Harvard University, were paired together in an engineering class for nonengineers. The professor challenged them to create something that combined art and science to ease a global problem.

    "No one was paying attention to the importance of play. Amplifying existing enjoyment to make the world a better place," is how Matthews described their idea. But packing technology into an airless ball that looked and moved like a normal soccer ball was not easy. In fact, the engineers

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  • Top 10 items found in oceans in 2012 (chart via Ocean Conservancy)Top 10 items found in oceans in 2012 (chart via Ocean Conservancy)

    The Ocean Conservancy recently reported that volunteers removed millions of pounds of garbage from beaches and oceans during the organization's 2012 International Coastal Cleanup day.

    That's admirable by itself. But we're particularly impressed that the volunteers also counted and categorized each and every bit of garbage. That's dedication.

    The top item picked up, according to the report from the Ocean Conservancy: cigarette butts—2,117,931 of them. Other trash included: food wrappers and containers (1,140,222), beverage bottles (1,065,171), plastic bags (1,019,902) and bottle caps (958,893).

    The volunteers also found unexpected bits of refuse, including 40 lottery tickets (we're guessing none were winners), 236 toothbrushes and 117 mattresses.

    Interested in helping out? This year's International Coastal Cleanup day is Sept. 21.

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