9 Good News Stories: Strong Hearts And Grannies, Betty White Cats

·5 min read

ACROSS AMERICA — Bernard China’s new heart is still beating. The old one began to quit on him in 2017. He got on the transplant list in 2020 — and by the time the year was about to close, his new heart was inside him, doing the work the old one couldn’t.

The New Jersey man's Dec. 30, 2020, surgery took place at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center amid a maelstrom of viral activity. COVID-19 was everywhere. No one could visit him. His appreciation swelled for his medical team, and other patients' medical teams.

China’s heart beat on. It’s been in his chest for a little more than a year now, giving the now-58-year-old man the chance to do the things — so small, but infinitely more meaningful now — he thought he’d never do again.

“This Christmas was extra special for me as I was able to watch the kids open their presents. The last two years, I had to watch on FaceTime from the hospital, and it just wasn't the same,” he said. “I feel blessed beyond belief to be alive and with those I love.” » By Eric Kiefer for Newark, New Jersey, Patch

(Photo courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)
(Photo courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)

‘We Did Not Break’

The grande dames of the Wisconsin parade circuit, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, are persevering. Three members of their troupe were among six people killed when the driver of a pickup plowed through the Waukesha Christmas Parade route on Nov. 21. They have dubbed the 2022 season, set to begin with an appearance in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Milwaukee, a year of “rebuilding, practicing and focusing on the future, while always remembering our past and the ones we tragically lost.” » By Karen Pilarski for Waukesha, Wisconsin, Patch

‘They Were Babies, And They Needed Help’

From inside her Denver apartment, Dusti Talavera saw tragedy unfolding Sunday afternoon: Three children in a group playing on an icy pond crashed through and plunged into the icy water. There were no adults around. If anyone was going to save the children, it was going to have to be her, the 23-year-old said at a news conference recognizing her lifesaving efforts. But why did an ordinary citizen step in? “They were babies,” Talavera said, “and they needed help.” » By Beth Dalbey for Denver, Colorado, Patch

How The Story Of Stories Began

The idea for a program to read to older Americans to ease their pandemic isolation came as Gabriella Ager, 16, read to her grandmother, Judith, “and I began to realize I could apply this to other seniors.” She enlisted the help of her brother, Eli, 13, and the two Mendham, New Jersey, teens soon formed “Bringing Stories to Seniors,” and friends volunteered as readers. » By Jennifer Jean Miller for Mendham-Chester, New Jersey, Patch

Super Bowl Champ Back In School

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has been a restaurateur and philanthropist since his 2006 retirement following Super Bowl XL. On Monday, he returned to the role he left nearly three decades ago: college student. Bettis, 49, is at the University of Notre Dame to finish his final semester of college. » By Eric Heyl for Pittsburgh Patch

Who Wore It Better?

It's not every little girl across the pond from London who catches Her Majesty's attention. But it's not every little girl who so perfectly nails Queen Elizabeth II's signature style. Jalayne Sutherland, 2, dressed up as the now-95-year-old queen for Halloween trick-or-treating around Florence, Kentucky — and if her costume didn't inspire "who wore it better?" conversations, it was an opportunity lost. The toddler’s mom sent a photo to the queen, whose staff sent note back that noted Jalayne’s “splendid style.” » By Beth Dalbey for Across America Patch

(Photo courtesy of Katelyn Sutherland)
(Photo courtesy of Katelyn Sutherland)

And The Golden Globe Goes To ….

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, who grew up in Newark, New Jersey, won the 2022 Golden Globe for "Best Television Actress - Drama Series" for her role in "Pose." With the award, Rodriguez becomes the first openly transgender person to win one of the prestigious awards. The show for which Rodriguez was nominated spotlights the legends, icons and "ferocious house mothers" of New York's underground ball culture, a movement that first gained notice in the late 1980s. It features the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series. » By Eric Kiefer for Newark, New Jersey, Patch

(Rachel Murray/Getty Images for ELLE)
(Rachel Murray/Getty Images for ELLE)

Purr-fect Tribute To Betty White

Meet Betty White — one of them, anyway. In Morris County, New Jersey, at least two rescue pets bear the name of the beloved actor, comedian and animal rights activist who died on New Year's Eve at the age of 99. This Betty White is a gray tabby kitten at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. The other is the first female rescue dog of the year at Second Chance Pet Adoption League. The shelters are taking part in the “Betty White Challenge” circulating on social media. The idea is for fans and animal lovers to donate in her name to local pet rescues and shelters around the country on Monday, which would have White’s centennial birthday. » By Josh Bakan for Morristown, New Jersey, Patch

(St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center)
(St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center)

When Dolphins Play (Video)

Several dolphins were recently caught on camera playfully chasing a large school of fish in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s that time of year when large schools of mullet pass through the St. Pete side of Tampa Bay, and Michael McCarthy, of See Through Canoe, caught the whole thing on video. » By Nikki Gaskins for St. Pete, Florida, Patch

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This article originally appeared on the Across America Patch

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