11 Good News Stories: Finding Joy In The Midst Of A Pandemic

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ACROSS AMERICA — Simple joy in a time of complexity: That was the underpinning of a wedding ceremony in Manhattan that allowed Dorothy Roberts to be part of her daughter’s wedding, despite a coronavirus pandemic that has changed how families visit and talk with parents living in nursing homes.

Robyn Roberts-Williams told Patch that seeing the unfading smile of joy that stretched across her 89-year-old mother’s face when she married Tim Williams had been a priority, “no matter what.” Not even a pandemic could get in the way of that moment.

The couple had planned a more traditional wedding next spring but moved it ahead to last Saturday amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. The wedding went on, with panes of glass separating the couple and a few guests from Roberts, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

(Photo courtesy of MJHS Health System)
(Photo courtesy of MJHS Health System)

"That day was my 52nd birthday, and this is my first marriage,” Roberts-Williams said. “So for my mom to be there, my prayer has always been that. Even when she went to the nursing home, it was always that my mom would be at my wedding no matter what." By Gus Saltonstall for Washington Heights-Inwood Patch

Below, from Patch editors across America, are 10 more stories that will bring you joy.

Joyful Conspiracy For WWII Vet

Not many World War II veterans are still living — about 300,000, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — and city officials eager to recognize their sacrifices to the nation often conspire with their families and relatives in big efforts to celebrate milestone birthdays. And so it was in Evergreen Park, Illinois, when Frank Brzeczk’s 95th birthday approached. He expected cake and coffee — certainly not the noisy parade past his house and a village proclamation in his honor. By Lorraine Swanson for Evergreen Park Patch

(Lorraine Swanson/Patch)
(Lorraine Swanson/Patch)

Jimmy Kimmel A Conspirator, Too

Lillie Washington is a dedicated enough fan of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that she didn’t mind telling the late-night television host that some of his summer guest hosts fall short in matching his humor. The Dearborn, Michigan, woman was surprised when he read her letter on the show — and even more stunned when she received a signed T-shirt, hat and card from Kimmel on her 95th birthday. By Joey Oliver for Dearborn Patch

(Photo courtesy of Donna Brandt)
(Photo courtesy of Donna Brandt)

The Joy Of Empowering Others

David Egan lives with Down syndrome, but he hasn’t allowed it to hold him back. The Vienna, Virginia, man recently wrote a memoir, “More Alike Than Different: My Life with Down Syndrome.” Egan, now recognized internationally as an advocate for others living with disabilities, told Patch: “There are times that things happen that we do not expect and times we must make our voices heard for ourselves and others. I call those times ‘opportunities.’ They are events that open doors. This book is that moment when a new opportunity came up for me to speak up for myself and my fellow individuals with Down syndrome and others with intellectual disabilities.” By Emily Leayman for Vienna Patch

(Photo courtesy of Will Schermerhorn)
(Photo courtesy of Will Schermerhorn)

The Joy Of Cooking

Eileen Scherzinger is one of the latest devotees of the Lasagna Love movement. The Reston, Virginia, woman was looking for a way to help her neighbors struggling with food insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic when she stumbled upon a Lasagna Love Facebook post looking for volunteers to prepare meals for hungry families. Cooking is her passion, so she decided to become one of the “Lasagna Mamas” and “Lasagna Papas” cropping up across America. “Food and love, that’s how I look at it,” Scherzinger said. By Michael O’Connell for Reston Patch

(Photo courtesy of Eileen Scherzinger)
(Photo courtesy of Eileen Scherzinger)

Why These Nurses Feel Joy

In the midst of the pain and sorrow of the coronavirus pandemic, moments of joy are worth celebrating. The nurses and medical staff seized a moment of joy when the 1,000th coronavirus patient treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland was discharged. A line of workers cheered 35-year-old Claudia Solorzano as she was wheeled out of the hospital. By Jacob Baumgart for Annapolis Patch

(Photo courtesy of Anne Arundel Medical Center)
(Photo courtesy of Anne Arundel Medical Center)

Spreading Joy — And More — On TikTok

Abby Izaks started making humorous and fun videos as an antidote for boredom during the early days of the pandemic and quickly shot to fame on the social media app TikTok. The 14-year-old Deerfield, Illinois, teen discovered quickly enough that her makeup tips, dancing and gymnastics had given her a platform to help others — including Sloane Caston, a 3-year-old girl in Delray Beach, Florida, who is battling two forms of cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant. By Eric DeGrechie for Deerfield Patch

(Video image courtesy of Abby Izaks)
(Video image courtesy of Abby Izaks)

Towering Joy

There’s a world record for everything, and a Cedar Park, Texas, teen has claimed hers: Maci Currin, who stands 6 feet, 10 inches tall, has the longest legs of any female in the world, and the longest legs of any teenager. Self-conscious about her height until her sophomore year in high school rolled around, “I just stopped caring what people thought of me” and now considers her height a gift. She’s sharing positive body image images with a substantial social media following. “You shouldn’t be ashamed that you’re tall,” she said in a Guinness World Records video. “You should really embrace it.” By Tony Cantu for Cedar Park Patch

Do Pups Feel Joy?

Years ago, the idea that dogs have feelings would have been scoffed at, but scientists and animal behaviorists now generally agree that dogs experience emotion. We’d like to think that it was joy and happiness that propelled André, a plucky little rescue pup, to become a contender for “most talented animal” in a “best of” Long Island competition. In any case, he brings joy to many through his social media accounts, canine beauty pageants and in other ways Alyssa Tuthill never expected when she adopted André in 2015. By Lisa Finn for Riverhead Patch

(Photo courtesy of Alyssa Tuthill)
(Photo courtesy of Alyssa Tuthill)

“Deputized” At Age 4

Sophia Colavito, a 4-year-old from Toms River, New Jersey, has had a rough go of it. Doctors found a tumor on her optic nerve, but it was so close to her pituitary gland that it’s inoperable. As word of her condition spread across the community, police and first responders in the area were all in, coming up with different ways to make her day. One of them was to give her patches stitched with their department insignias, and a police benevolence group took it from there and put out a call for other agencies to do the same in an effort that even reached NASA and the International Space Station. By Karen Wall for Toms River Patch

(Photo courtesy of Lindsay Colavito)
(Photo courtesy of Lindsay Colavito)

Kayaker’s Harrowing Survival Story

Kayaker Jesse Downing’s concern turned to full-blown fear when a routine fishing trip on Long Island Sound became a fight for his life. He paddled into choppy water when he saw a large gathering of birds — usually a sign of large bass and other fish swimming below — and was hit by a large wave that swelled perpendicular to the tide and broke to the east. “It seemed to rise up randomly from underneath the boat — and I didn't see it coming,” he told Patch. “There was no time to edge the kayak into the oncoming wave, or to shift my center of gravity. The kayak capsized immediately." He had gone prepared, which no doubt saved his life, and decided to share his story for a simple reason: “If this could save one person’s life,” he said, “it’s worth sharing.” By Lisa Finn for North Fork Patch.

(Photo courtesy of Jesse Downing)
(Photo courtesy of Jesse Downing)

This article originally appeared on the Across America Patch

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