Best friend's kidney
Jonas Read, 19, and Austin Pence, 22, grew up together in Florida, playing videogames, going to movies, and racing go-karts. But last year, Pence learned that his kidneys were failing and that he would need a transplant. No relatives could provide a match, so he began grueling, thrice-weekly dialysis sessions. Then Read got tested and learned that he could safely donate one of his kidneys to his friend. The surgery took place on July 31, and both donor and recipient are doing well. “I don’t know how to explain it,” Read says of their friendship.” It’s just like a connection you get.”

Five-year jog
Rosie Swale-Pope, a 61-year-old British grandmother, has returned to her hometown in west Wales after running 20,000 miles around the world in five years. Swale-Pope endured freezing temperatures in Alaska, an ax-wielding man in Siberia, and stress fractures that forced her to hobble to the finish line on crutches. By day she pulled her equipment along in a small trailer; by night she camped or stayed with people she met. Swale-Pope undertook her grueling journey to raise awareness of prostate cancer, which killed her husband in 2002. “It’s a journey that came out of sorrow,” she said, “but it’s a journey that has turned to joy.”

Lottery ticket saves church
The True North Community Church in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., could hold only about 200 of its 650 members. “Unless God drops a couple million dollars on us,” Pastor Bert Crabbe said, “we’re going to have to rent somewhere else.” Soon there­after, a congregant—whom Crabbe says wishes to remain anonymous—gave Crabbe a winning $3 million lottery ticket, which he or she had bought shortly before, but had not yet cashed in. “When someone gives away $3 million,” said Crabbe, “that’s a miracle.”