Chiefs Player Who Abandoned His Team Is The Real Winner Of Super Bowl LV

By | Food for thought, football, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Motivation, sacrifice, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif missed the season that took his team to their second Super Bowl in two years to work as a doctor in a Montreal hospital.

And despite his team’s chance to win it all again on February 7, he’s at peace with his decision to help others.

He opted out due to COVID-19

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif blocked for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes when their team won the Super Bowl in 2020, but when it came time to go for a repeat, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the season due to COVID-19.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally,” Duvernay-Tardif said on Twitter.

“That is why I have decided to take the opt-out option.”

“If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”

He was on the frontlines

Before Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by the Chiefs in the sixth round, he studied medicine at McGill University in his hometown of Montreal.

When the pandemic hit, Duvernay-Tardif rushed home from a sailing trip in the Caribbean and volunteered to pitch in however he could. He was placed in a long-term care facility where he tended to patients who didn’t have coronavirus.

Since he hadn’t studied enough to be a full-on doctor, he did work that nurses do, like drawing blood, administering medications, and even feeding and bathing patients. He only worked a few days a week, but that’s all he could manage emotionally.

“I was working there two to three days a week, and I don’t see how I could have done more,” he told The Washington Post.

“Not necessarily from a scheduling standpoint but from an emotional standpoint. Those people that are there for the past 20 years, it’s crazy. I have so much respect for them. … The amount of sacrifice is unbelievable. I feel like I’m going to be a better physician down the road because of that experience. I understood what it was all about.”

Duvernay-Tardif recalled one young patient who had been in a terrible accident and due to COVID-19 protocols hadn’t been able to see family in months. Duvernay-Tardif noticed how not seeing his loved ones was hard on the patient, so he told him: “Come on, let’s find your wife’s number.”

He used his phone to call the man’s wife on FaceTime and when the couple saw each other’s faces for the first time in two months, they cried.

“You cry, too,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “What else is there to do?”

“The definition of what it means to be a hero changed because of those people.”

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

At peace with his decision

Despite the inherent risks of a football season — and the infections some teams, including his own, faced — Duvernay-Tardif always agreed that a season should take place, if only to simmer down the fierce political divisions in the United States. And it’s been hard to watch as his teammates reached the pinnacle of their sport yet again.

“It was never black or white,” he said of his decision to opt-out. “As the season progressed and the stakes are higher, I do miss football even more, especially now with the playoffs. There’s more than one way to look at it, and it’s not always simple.”

Duvernay-Tardif, who lost millions in contract money during the skipped season, wouldn’t say he has no regrets, but he is at peace with his decision.

“I felt it made sense to make that decision, in order to look back at 2020—five, 10 years from now—and be proud of myself,” he told TIME. “I’ve said no to money and the NFL season in order to care for patients.”

While Duvernay-Tardif is planning a long career in the medical field, he does hope to return to his team next season.

“I feel like something was taken a little bit away from me,” he said. “I still have some football left in me. I can be a doctor for the next 40 years. I still have the passion, and that’s why I’m working out on my patio at –15°[C].”

An honourable sacrifice

You can’t help but be in awe of Duvernay-Tardif, who is not only risking his career in the NFL, but also his own health being around a hospital taking in COVID-19 patients.

His sacrifice is yet another reminder to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated so we can bring an and to this pandemic and everybody can return to doing what they love.

It’s also a poignant testament to living with integrity, according to your own values and definition of success and excellence.

More inspiring celebrities:

Dad Suffers Through 30-Hour Tattoo To Help Son Feel More Comfortable In His Skin

By | fathers, Food for thought, Motivation, parenting, self-confidence, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Eight-year-old Derek Prue was self-conscious about the birthmark on his stomach and chest. So much so that he wouldn’t go swimming without a shirt on.

So Derek’s dad, Derek Sr., did something drastic — and the story will put a smile on your face.

A big surprise from dad

Derek was swimming in a hotel swimming pool with his sisters when his dad called out. Derek looked over at his father and dipped back into the pool with a smile on his face when he saw what happened. Derek Sr. had gotten a huge tattoo to replicate the birthmark on his son’s torso.

“I was happy and I was a little confused,” the young Derek told CBC Edmonton. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”

Derek’s dad saw how uncomfortable his birthmark made him and didn’t like that his son wore a shirt in the pool to cover it up — so he got the tattoo.

“I knew he was self-conscious about it… I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”

Derek Prue Sr. told CBC.

A good deed, punished

The tattoo was a complete surprise for the eight-year-old — and the procedure was a surprise for Prue too.

When he first came into the studio for the tattoo, he thought the artist would be done after three or four hours, but by that point only the outline was finished.

“He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” said tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the studio where Prue had the work done. “It’s pretty painful.”

In all, the tattoo took 30 hours of work over six to eight weeks.

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how long it was going to take,” Prue said.

The artist was happy to contribute

“I think it’s amazing to be able to comfort your son like that,” Gibbert said.

“It’s more than just your kid seeing your name, or something, you get to actually, like, really change the way he feels about himself.

Tattoo artist Tony Gibbert told CBC.

“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do.”

No regrets

Did the tattoo work? It seems so.

When asked by his mother if he’ll now swim without a shirt, little Derek said: “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off.”

As for Prue, despite the painful tattoo he has no regrets.

“Now we have the same marks for life.”

It’s hard being a kid. It’s also hard being a parent when you know your child is lacking confidence.

If you’re a parent, you can’t always shield your children from the unexpected things in life, but you can make them feel special.

More uplifting news:

Woman Raises More Than $140 000 For Girls Who Needed Taco Bell’s Wifi For School

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Many families are currently opting to do remote classes in lieu of sending their kids to school amid the continued risk of coronavirus. However, this hasn’t been an easy adjustment for everyone. For some, there are difficulties to worry about, such as “how can you do remote learning if you can’t afford the proper technology?”

While most of us take our Internet service for granted, it’s sadly not the case for everyone.

Last week, the Internet quickly responded after a photo was taken of two young girls in California who were using the free WiFi in a Taco Bell parking lot to do remote school work.

The photo showed two girls can be seen sitting on the sidewalk outside a Taco Bell in Salinas, California.

An employee noticed them

The girls were working on laptops, when a Taco Bell employee went to talk to them. They were doing their schoolwork, sitting outside of the restaurant.

The picture caught the attention of the Salinas City Elementary School District. They “immediately provided the family with a hotspot,” as Richard Gebin, public relations officer for the district, told USA TODAY, so that they wouldn’t have to use the free wifi to connect to their lessons.

One woman decided it wasn’t enough

Moved by the picture, Jackie Lopez decided started a fundraising campaign for the family after learning the family was going to be evicted from their home, according to a GoFundMe.

She managed to track down their mother, Juana, a migrant worker. The picture is a drastic reminder of the divide in incomes and how, for many migrant families, daily life is a constant struggle.

“I asked her if I could get her girls a desk for distant learning and she mentioned there was no space in their home for that,” Lopez wrote on the GoFundMe page.

She then said she shared a small bedroom with her 3 girls in the home she was living in.

Lopez started the fundraiser after she learned the family was going to be evicted from their rented room. The fundraiser has since raised more than $140,000 and the family is working with an accountant to manage the funds.

According to Jackie’s update on their GoFundMe page, Juana is incredibly touched by the kindness of strangers and has plans for her daughters’ future.

She has a lot of plans for the future; she plans to use some of the funds to purchase her first vehicle. She will also use part of the funds to rent a home while they look for their forever home. Another part of the funds will be used for College Funds for her three girls because education is one of the most important things to them.

Watch this Goalcast video for a less negative outlook on life:

The school district responded too

“The digital divide is very real and delays in
receiving needed technology are a statewide concern,” Amy Ish, president
of the Salinas City Elementary School District, said in a statement. “We
are grateful the State is making technology a priority and look forward to
receiving these hotspots in our District.”

The Salinas City school district is currently in full distance learning mode, according to Gebin and they have distributed 8,245 Chromebooks and 1,500 hotspots and are now waiting for 2,500 additional hotspots to be delivered.

“This is California, home to Silicon Valley…but where
the digital divide is as deep as ever,” Kevin de León, president pro
tempore of the California Senate said in a tweet Friday. “Where 40% of all Latinos
don’t have internet access. This generation deserves better.”

Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo also shared the photo on Twitter Wednesday saying, “we must do better & solve this digital divide once & for all for all California students.”

Taco Bell also stepped in

A spokesperson for Taco Bell Corp. called the photo “a
tough reminder of basic inequalities facing our communities,” in a
statement emailed to USA TODAY.

“We and our franchisees have always been passionate about supporting youth education, and the owner of this restaurant is looking into additional ways to support these students and the broader community,” a spokesperson said in an email.

More uplifting news:

A Brain Injury Made Her Lose Her Memory–This Is How He Fought For Her To Remember Him

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Rebekah Nesbitt’s story is like something out of a movie plot: woman excitedly plans her wedding when a disastrous car accident causes her to lose all memory of her engagement.

Rebekah got engaged after her partner, James Anderson, planned a romantic proposal during a trip to London. Less than a year later, she was in a terrible car crash and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“It makes me so sad, but I don’t remember my engagement at all,” says Rebekah of partner James Anderson’s proposal .

This is the amazing story of how she recovered her memory and a newfound strength within herself.

Her life was almost perfect

“We had been together for four years by then, we’d bought our first home together and James, the thoughtful character that he is, whisked me away to London and proposed in Hyde Park,” Rebekah tells The Sun.

He tells me he was completely stressed out trying to find a quiet spot to ask me to marry him, and I’m so gutted I don’t remember it.

Rebekah Nesbitt to The Sun

“But hopefully there are many more years to make special memories.”

In September 2016, Rebekah’s was involved in a disastrous car accident on a Sunday morning.

They had planned fo their wedding to take place during a holiday weekend in August of the following year, but sadly, it never had a chance to happen.

Before the accident everything was great. I had finished university and was working full time in asset recovery.

Rebekah Nesbitt

“We had bought a house two years earlier and we were planning our wedding. I felt like a lucky girl,” she added.

Then, tragedy struck

“Then that morning I left James off at the gym and had a car crash on my way to a horse riding lesson,” Rebekah says. “I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I have always said I feel like I was avoiding a white and ginger cat.”

The truth is, she doesn’t really know for sure what caused the life-changing accident.

I can’t tell whether that’s the truth or something I have conjured up in my mind to make my actions make sense. I guess I’ll never know for sure. 

Rebekah Nesbitt

“What happened is in the past. Now I have to focus on moving onwards and upwards, and enjoying everything my new life has to offer.”

Her fiancé never gave up on her

Rebekah, who was 24 at the time of the crash, was in a coma for three months, but er fiancé sitting at her bedside much of that time. She finally woke up on Christmas Eve.

“It was the best Christmas gift for my parents,” says Rebekah.

I must have been trying to talk previously, and mumbled the words, ‘I have no voice’ on Christmas Eve. But my mum was overjoyed and she said, ‘Oh Rebekah you do have a voice!’ 

Rebekah Nesbitt

When she woke up, she had no evident trace of the accident on her body. “Strangely there wasn’t a mark on my body,” she adds. “I suppose you could say it was ‘lucky for me’ that I wasn’t harmed in any other way.”

You would have thought I was sleeping peacefully if it wasn’t for the tubes.

Rebekah Nesbitt

But the reality of her suffering was invisible; she may have not had a scratch on her body, but her brain had suffered traumatic injuries, including significant memory loss.

Rebekah doesn’t even remember her time at the hospital

Rebekah spent four months in hospital, though it’s something she has “zero memory of”, and then was transferred to the regional brain injury unit in Belfast in January 2017 and spent nine months at a specialist rehabilitation hospital.

Rebekah now writes her own blog ‘Rebroken’ where she shares her experiences, and learning to live a new normal.

“I have lost a lot of my independence due to the left side of my body not doing what it’s told all the time,” says Rebekah, who moved back to her parents’ home when she was discharged from hospital. The effects of brain trauma meant that her “speech has changed, [her] memory can be unreliable and [she had] lost some of my mobility.”

Yet, Rebekah never lost her “sense of humour and love for life.” In fact, that’s what motivates her to keep pushing.

“But I’m working hard every day thanks to a brilliant physio and the support of James and my family,” she continues. “I’ve pushed further than was originally anticipated and I have no thoughts of slowing down any time soon.”

Throughout it all, her relationship anchored her

The couple may have encountered a lot more pre-wedding struggles than anticipated, but their feelings for each other are as fierce as ever.

My relationship with James hasn’t really changed in how much we love each other. I would say if anything, it’s stronger. I feel more sure than ever.

Rebekah Nesbitt

“One of the things that has always been so special about Rebekah is that everyone has always loved her,” James said.

“She’s just one of those people who could walk into a room and talk to anyone,” he gushes. “She’s inquisitive and fun-loving, and people have always loved her.”

James never left her side

“It still is tough in many ways,” James shares. “All those months in the hospital were grueling.

But he did not give up on her. Instead, he did everything in his power to help her return to consciousness.

I’d play her favorite music by Jack Johnson and these little Disney songs she loved singing. I don’t know if any of it helped, but it helped me feel like I was making a connection.

James Anderson to The Sun

“For a lot of the time, the silence was horrendous, and I didn’t even know then if she’d survive.”

Their future together is brighter than ever

For now, they are just focused on Rebekah reclaiming her life and staying healthy. In many ways, the two have had to accomodate to her new way of life and it doesn’t come without its difficulties.

I sometimes feel that I’m being selfish if I take myself off for a few days with the boys, but I think if I don’t look after myself then I’ll be no good to anyone.

James Anderson

However, James shares that “it does get easier in many ways.”

“We still have fun. Rebekah is still that same person, she’s just had something really difficult thrown at her.

Suffering is not always visible

As for Rebekah, the whole experience has given her one major insight: some people’s suffering is not always visible to the eyes. “Many traumatic brain injury survivors are invisible, too, but they face other challenges that could never be appreciated until it happens to you,” she says.

I have a new-found respect for anyone out there going through their own challenges, whether that’s through an injury or just what life has thrown at them. 

Rebekah Nesbitt

Indeed, a lot of people go through incredible pain and suffering in silence. Whether it’s traumatic brain injuries as in Rebekah’s case, or the the effects of mental health conditions, many people around us are fighting silent battles.

That’s why it is important to remember to be compassionate and understanding, as we can never tell what someone else is going through.

More uplifting news:

Man Saves Cop From A Deadly Car Crash Despite His Past With The Police

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Daylan McLee had a really rough history with the police. Having been falsely accused of pointing a gun at a police officer, he spent a year in jail for a crime he didn’t commit before finally being acquitted.

He’s also been stopped many times in traffic when he was doing anything wrong. He had every reason to hold a grudge, but when it really mattered, he put all that aside and inspired us all.

His past didn’t prevent him from doing what’s right

“Oh, a typical run-in is you’re just pulling out from your house and you get pulled, no traffic violations,” McLee told CBS News when asked about his history of interactions with the police.

“How does that make you feel about police, in general?”

“Definitely a lot of animosity, as in, if I see them, I want to go the other way,” McLee said.

So, McLee had every right to feel some bitterness, but when he heard a huge crash on a Uniontown, Pennsylvania street corner, none of that mattered.

There was just a lot of screaming, a lot of chaos. Ah man, I get chills when I think of it.

Daylan McLee

The police officer was trapped inside a burning car

What McLee saw before him was bad traffic accident involving a police car. The officer was trapped inside and the gas tank was leaking. As flames spread towards the cabin, there was no time to lose. McLee put himself at risk,  stepping toward the burning car.

“I don’t know how I got that door open, and I grabbed him out.”

“All of a sudden the door just gets ripped open,” said Jay Hanley, the officer whom McLee rescued.

It’s amazing when there’s true love in people and they can get you out of something like that — no matter who you are or where you come from. There should be more people like that.

Jay Hanley

The world needs more people like Daylan

Last week, McLee visited Hanley and his wife. McLee may have been through a lot, but he still believes there are a lot of good cops out there.

“We’re waiting for you to get back out there,” McLee said. “I appreciate it, man, thank you,” Hanley said.

I want people to start to look at everybody as Americans and not, ‘He’s White, he’s Black, he’s Asian.’ We’re people – and when we start realizing that, things should get better.

Daylan McLee

More uplifting news:

Nurse Finds Firefighter Who Saved Her Life 37 Years ago

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Firefighters are the most obvious, and perhaps overlooked every day heroes. From saving lives to rescuing cats stuck on trees, they put theirs lives at risk every day. Yes, it is their job but we tend to forget the dangers they face on a daily basis.

On the other hand, the current pandemic has revealed another set of heroes: our nurses who have been fight the coronavirus on the front lines, putting themselves at high risk of infection and in some cases, being unable to see their children or families for weeks on end.

And sometimes, heroes are rewarded with their own heroes. This is the story of a nurse who, due to the coronavirus, was reunited with the man who saved her life, 37 years ago.

She thought she would never find her savior

An out-of-town nurse, Deirdre Taylor, 40, had joined the front lines to lend her hand in the battle against the coronavirus in New York. Little did she know that her lifelong quest to thank the man who saved her would find its resolution in the city.

As a child, Deirdre was rescued from a deadly fire in a Manhattan building almost 40 years ago. At the time, she was only 4 years old. After the fire, her family left the city but Deirdre never forgot the brave firefighter who gave her the life she leads now.

I always knew I came close to losing my life that day. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I had a second chance at life, thanks to him.

Deirdre Taylor to CNN

All that Deirdre had was an old newspaper clipping from the Daily News reporting the fire, and the name of her saviour: Eugene Pugliese. For years, she tried to locate the man and find him but to no avail.

Deirdre feared the worst had happened, thinking he might have been amongst the firefighters who lost their lives in 9/11. “I wondered about him on 9/11 and hoped I would get the chance to thank him, and I finally did,” said Deirdre.

“I didn’t know if he was still alive, particularly after Sept. 11,” said Taylor. All her Google searches had come up empty. “Part of me thought I waited too long to track him down.”

A twist of fate put the right people on her path

Deirdre, like many nurses all over the world, left her husband and children in Virginia to go to New York, returning to the city where the traumatic fire happened.

She was working a shift at NYU’s Langone Hospital, when a group of firefighters walked in. They had brought pizza to show their appreciation for all the health care workers who have been working tirelessly in the emergency room.

That’s when Deirdre seized her chance.

She followed them as they were leaving and told one of them her story. The firefighter then decided to call his captain at Manhattan’s Ladder 20, which is where Eugene Pugliese used to work.

Lo and behold, the captain had Eugene on his speed dial.

He said, ‘Oh, Gene. I know Gene. I’ve got his number in my phone.’ I didn’t think I was going to be able to track him down.

Deirdre Taylor to Daily News

Her savior always wondered what became of her

Now 75, Eugene Pugliese, a Vietnam Marie Corps veteran and passionate Yankees fan has been retired for 24 years. To this day, he still has a copy of the front-page article covering his heroic act and the valor medal he received for rescuing Deirdre.

You’ve been on my wall for 25 years.

Eugene Pugliese

Eugene never forgot that fateful day, 37 years ago. It was December 1983, and he had been checking pipes in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan when a man alerted him of a fire down the block.

When he reached the building, he saw smoke coming out of the 6th floor. He didn’t think twice and went inside. “I didn’t even have gear on,” Eugene remembered. “I had a helmet and an ax. We took the elevator up and we went to the floor below. We went upstairs. The hallway was pretty well charged. There was a lot of smoke.”

He rescued her mother–but Deirdre was still inside.

“She kept screaming, ‘My baby!’ so I went back in and found a young girl who was unconscious,” Eugene said.

Eugene performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until Deirdre was back to consciousness.

I didn’t see her ever again after that, but I always wondered about her.

Eugene Pugliese to CNN

Hearing Eugene’s account of her rescue brought Deirdre to tears, who could not remember much of the event beyond what was reported on the newspaper article she had kept with her.

The fire obviously shaped the rest of my life. I always knew I was given a second chance at life. The copy of the Daily News was in my keepsake binder since I was a young child. I’ve always had a copy of the cover.

Deirdre Taylor to Daily News

The two fighters hope to meet in person

Both Deirdre and Eugene are die-hard Yankees fans. They plan to meet in person, as soon as it is safe enough to do so.

“I hope to meet her soon, maybe later this summer. I’d love to meet her two children and go to a Yankees game together,” Eugene said.

Their story is an exceptional tale of fate but also of human will. Deirdre never gave up on her quest to find the man who saved her, even when things looked hopeless. This is what enabled the two of them to find each other after all these years.

More inspiring heroes:

Woman Takes On Third Job At Nursing Home to Care For Her Mother

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Janie Kasse has had a ritual for several years. Every weekend, she would visit her mom’s assisted living facility and take her out for the day. They would go out shopping or eat at a restaurant, but regardless, they’ll always spend that day together.  

That was not the only time during the week she’ll see her mom, Carol Chesser. Janie often visited her a few times during the week just to chat.

But that all changed recently, as the assisted living facility, in a countrywide effort, had to close its doors to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her mother’s spirits were low

On New Year’s Eve in 1976, Carol suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, when Janie was just a baby. While Carol did learn how to speak and walk again after the injury, she was never able to read or write like before. Additionally, her memory skills had taken a blow.

She definitely knows who I am and knows my name for sure, but everyone else there, she could not tell them their name. She does not know people she sees every day.

Janie Kasse to Good Morning America

Janie heard that her mom was having a hard time with the changes at the facility, including the new rule stipulating that the residents had to stay in their rooms.

“She’s incredibly social,” Janie said of her mother. “She was getting really moody and angry and depressed, but the staff would tell me that if my mom talked to me on the phone she was happier and she would listen to me.”

So Janie had an idea

So, Janie had an idea that would allow her to see her mom. She decided to get a job at the facility. She first tried to apply as a volunteer, but was told that it wasn’t possible. But then, she was given another offer from an administrator.

She said she had a job opening for a hospitality aide and would that be something I was interested in. I said yes. There really wasn’t an option.

Janie Kasse

Janie already has a busy schedule, working two jobs as an office manager at a financial services firm and an events coordinator for a local nonprofit organization. But now she’s added 15 to 30 hours a week at Windsor Ridge, the assisted-living facility.

She has managed it by working from home for her other two jobs and limiting her exposure to only her home and Windsor Ridge in order to protect herself and the residents.

“I deliver meals and I play games with the residents,” she said. “One of the residents asked me what I do there and I said, ‘I bring dinner and joy.’ Basically anything they ask me to do, I do.”

Seeing her mother is worth it

Janie has been able to see her mother on a regular basis but it hasn’t been easy. “To see her energy deplete right before your eyes is heartbreaking,” she said. “I keep telling mom that we just want her to be alive at the end of this thing.”

I try really hard to make sure she knows I’m there and knows that I’m not going anywhere and knows that when all of this is said and done, we’ll do our shopping trips again.

Janie Kasse

Because Janie has always visited Windsor Ridge so often, the other residents already knew who she was. And they are grateful for her presence too.

“She’s got such a bubbly personality, and that’s very comforting to other residents, to see her and be around her,” Melissa Prenatt, Windsor Ridge’s administrator-in-training, told Good Morning America.

It’s made a world of difference to have Janie here.

Melissa Prenatt

Janie has been “doing a lot of one-on-one games with the residents that are keeping them active.” But most importantly, she has been an emotional comfort to them.

If she’s delivering a tray or something for dinner and she sees one is kind of down, she’ll go back after dinner and ask if they want to take a walk.

Melissa Prenatt

To her, it’s an honor to be able to help

Yes, seeing her mother is a definite perk of her new job but Janie also feels incredibly thankful to be a part of the effort against the pandemic.

The staff there are working so hard. I’m just amazed by the amount of love and care and concern and how many hours they’re working to keep everybody alive.

Janie Kasse

Her incredible efforts remind us of the importance to find ways to stay connected with each other–now more than ever. The more vulnerable people need us more than ever.

More uplifting stories:

Single Dad Adopts 13-Year-Old After He’s Abandoned At Hospital

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Foster children are so vulnerable, and it is all too often they are abandoned or lost in the system. It can take years for a foster child to find a family and when they do, their whole lives are changed.

Recently, the most heartwarming adoption happened–and it involved an unlikely parent and a child who had been abandoned in a hospital. The heartbreaking story found its happy ending, in the unlikeliest of hero.

From Uganda to becoming a single dad in America

Peter Mutabazi lives in Charlotte but he hails from a completely different continent. And his childhood was also rough.

I grew up in Uganda. I grew up the poorest of the poorest. I didn’t have a good childhood. I ran away from home and became a street kid.

Peter Mutabazi

Peter said that he realized his calling to be a foster father after he himself was rescued and taken in when he needed it the most. “How can I not give back?” Peter explained. 

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This is what I call The Fostercare Manual (MAPP + TBR). After my second class I thought to myself, how do I back out of this whole foster thing? I felt unequipped in every way. That maybe with a military background or therapist degree (or may be if I have 20 of my extended family members living with me under the same roof) I would be a qualified foster dad. Luckily, I did stick in the training (even though I hoped I would fail at the requirements). Of course that didn’t happen and I was finally licensed. At last, my first placement arrived, then a 2rd placement, then a 3rd, 4th, 5th. By then I had been called all sorts of names, yelled at, peed on, and the list goes on. A few of my home flips have even been trashed but I still have not quit fostering. Even through all this, I would say dealing with construction contractors and buyers have been the most difficult. Their demands and lack of commitment has given me all the grey hairs (surprisingly 😋). Every time l I will choose the fostercare training manual to guide me because at least my kids eat my poorly cooked meals without cursing 🤬. Edit by @ruraldad #fostercare #fosterparents #fostercareawareness #fostercareadoption #fostertoadopt #fostercareawarenessmonth #fosterthepeople #fosterneeded #fosteringsaveslives #fostermoms #encouragement #handsandfeet #waitingforyou #waitingkids #dadsofinstagram #singledads #solodad #singledadlife #singledad #blackdads #teendad #lookingtoadopt #diversity #fatherhood

A post shared by Street Kid To Foster Father. (@fosterdadflipper) on May 31, 2019 at 7:45am PDT

I understand where [these kids] come from. Someone stepped in to help me, and now I’ve adopted my oldest.

Peter Mutabazi

In 2017, Peter made the decision to start fostering while in Oklahoma. He went to a local agency. Initially, he was afraid that being a single man would mean that he was not a good candidate. But he signed up nonetheless and took the required classes to qualify as a foster parent.

About four months later, he got his license. 

He believes they were meant to meet

Peter believes that him and his newest (and oldest) son Tony, were destined to meet. Indeed, the two make the perfect father-son pair–it was a match right away.

Tony had previously been adopted by a couple in Oklahoma when he was 4 years old. He had been waiting in the system since the age of 2 years old. But then, when he was 11, his adoptive parents abandoned him at a hospital.

For Tony, it meant a devastating return to the foster care system. “I could not fathom … who could do that,” Peter said

One day, Peter was called by a foster care worker who asked him if he could take Tony for the weekend. As soon as he met Tony, he instantly knew they were meant to be family.

I remember telling him, ‘You can call me Mr. Peter.’ And Tony was like, ‘Can I call you dad?’

Peter Mutabazi

As of November 2019, Peter and Tony legally became father and son. 

“ADOPTED TODAY!!! I was chosen, I was wanted, I was cherished, I grew in his heart, I was the missing piece and I’m loved today despite of my shortcoming,” Peter wrote in a post celebrating the big day on Instagram

“‘Little souls find their way to you, whether they’re from your womb or someone else’s. I found my little/big soul today!”

There was yet another celebration in store for them

Just two weeks later, Peter also celebrated becoming a U.S. citizen, with his son by his side. 

“Today I became an American Citizen: I’m proud, thankful, grateful and hopeful! A dad and U.S citizen in just two weeks can’t describe in words the joy in my heart and house after a long journey,” Mutabazi said. 

He made a huge difference in a little one’s life

Peter gushes about his new son, who is wise beyond his years and “has read more than 500 books.”

He’s 13 years old, so he thinks he’s 40. He’s a fun kid. He loves to play video games and bike and go places.

Peter Mutabazi

This unlikely duo reminds us that we’re capable of making a difference in someone’s life. The process is rewarding: Peter and Tony have a special bond that will strengthen with time. We don’t have to be biologically related to someone to be family.

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Dad Organizes Surprise Prom For Daughter During Coronavirus Lockdown

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

As coronavirus has forced much of the world to shelter in place and isolate from all areas of their lives, rites of passage like graduation and the prom will be missed by many.

Losing out on the prom, which is often an event seniors look forward to since they started high school can be really rough on teenager. After all, it celebrates the end of a chapter and sets the beginning of a new one.

In coronavirus lockdown, these life achievements can seem to lose their value, especially in the face of much more urgent concerns.

But a high school senior from Alabama who was feeling pretty hopeless about her own prom received a major surprise from her father.

He surprised his daughter with a celebration

Marli Odgers’ story was recently posted to Facebook, showing her in a beautiful prom dress dancing with her father, Robby Odgers, to the song “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts.

“Marli Odgers was supposed to have her senior prom today,” Natalie Rodgers, Marli’s sister, posted on Facebook.

“She just thought it was canceled. My sweet dad made her get up and go to prom this morning. Memories we will cherish forever- even in the middle of the chaos and craziness.”

How did he pull it off? Well, Robby left Marli a note that read the following: “Today is prom, one dance with dad? Will you go with me?” on their home’s staircase.

He left the note on top of a garment bag that contained Marli’s dress.

That was the first time he got to slow-dance with his daughter

Robby sensed his daughter’s disappointment at not being able to celebrate her senior prom.

I just began to think what we could do. She was very much looking forward to her senior prom, and I just started thinking what we could do to at least… make her think, well — maybe not prom — but a version of prom.

Robby Odgers to TMX News

The surprise brought Marli to tears. “I was really emotional, and I’m not an emotional person. It’s something I’ll never forget,” Marli said.

Robby said it was actually extra memorable since it’s the first time he got to slow dance with his daughter.

“Typically, maybe besides maybe at a party or whatever, until your daughter gets married, you really haven’t danced like that,” he said.

“Obviously, that was not a wedding, but probably the closest thing to it in my perspective, to be able to hold your daughter close and dance with her, and have that special feel.”

“She just absolutely looked stunned,” he added.

A special moment during hard times

Both Marli and Robby hope that their special moment could help someone feel a little better as the world is facing a pandemic.

In the world that we’re living in, and all the negativity and all the sickness, and all of that stuff going on, if it cheered somebody up or made somebody happy, if it was just one person, to me it was worth it.

Robby Odgers

Marli and Robby reminded us that we can always find something good in a bad situation. While we deal with this pandemic, it’s important to make time to celebrate victories, whether big or small, and the people around us.

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Childhood Sweethearts Got Engaged After Spending More Than 13 Years Apart

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Puppy love is often seen as sweet and cute, but it usually does not last forever. These very early crushes at school usually don’t translate to the lifelong relationships but they are rarely forgotten.

Yet, sometimes, childhood crushes can come back into your life in the most unexpected ways. This was the case of Beth Fenwick and Steven Lyons from Sommerset, who first started dating when they met at the age of 11 in secondary school.

Many years later, they found their way back to each other and fell in love all over again.

She wrote about him in her journal

Back in 2009 was the beginning of Beth and Steven’s love story. Although they probably believed in enduring love, like most children do, they never expected that their future selves would reconnect down the road.

Beth even found some diary entries that she wrote at the time, talking about her relationship with Steven.

“I recently found some diary extracts from 2009 where I have explained how I was in a relationship with Steven, which are really funny to look back on,” she told Daily Mail.

This is what the adorable journal entry said:

I suppose I should tell you that I am going out with Steven. We started going out a few weeks ago. The same week he bought me pink roses! He is the first boy to ever buy me flowers.

Beth Fenwick to Daily Mail

But at the time, it was not meant to be. After school was over, Steven, who works in IT, moved to Australia. Both went on to date other people, as life took its course.

Years later though, the two reconnected on Facebook.

 They fell in love…again

Beth was first to find Steve on Facebook. “I initiated a conversation after I noticed he’d gone traveling which is something I’d always wanted to do.”

But what really brought them together was Beth’s health scare. She had found a growth and at the time, was nervously awaiting the results. As it turned out, it was only a benign tumor.

Steven was so supportive and stayed up at all hours to talk to me despite the vast time difference. I didn’t expect anything to come from it, but we quickly became inseparable and we began talking every single day.

Beth Fenwick to Daily Mail

That challenging period strengthened their connection but what Steven would do next convinced Beth that it was the real deal.

Steven was due to continue his travels to Japan but he came back to our hometown instead. My tumor was benign, but it gave me a real push to not hold back in life as anything can happen.

Beth Fenwick

Steven proposed during that visit in August 2019, and they are now planning their wedding for 2021.

Steven always knew he wanted to be with Beth

What makes their story even more touching is that, for Steven, it was love at first sight. Yes, he had always hoped they’d ultimately end up together.

I had my heart set on Beth the first moment I saw her.

Steven Lyons to Daily Mail

“It’s not often that you hear about people marrying those they went to school which makes us feel even luckier to have found each other again,” he admitted.

Their loved ones could not be happier. “Our families think it’s really cute too as we’ve known each other practically our whole lives,” Beth said.

Love can always surprise you

“I never imagined things would progress into this,” Steven revealed. While they had initially planned on marrying in 2020, the ongoing pandemic put a dent in their plans. Instead, they’ll be tying the knot next year.

Beth too cannot seem to believe her own story.

I’d always wanted a fairytale ending but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me.

Beth Fenwick

Steven and Beth prove that love can and will always surprise you when you least suspect it. So even if you might have given up on finding the right person, it’s worth keeping yourself open to the possibility of being surprised. You never know.

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