It wasn't all bad!

The week's good news: Dec. 2, 2021

1

This 20-year friendship was sparked by a wrong phone number

Twenty years after their first phone call, Mike from Rhode Island and Gladys from Florida finally met in person. Mike Moffitt told The Providence Journal that two decades ago, he started receiving phone calls from an elderly woman who was trying to reach a relative in Maryland. She accidentally dialed area code 401 instead of 410, connecting her with Moffitt. After several calls, Moffitt said he asked her name "and we started hitting it off." Every few months, Moffitt and Gladys Hankerson chat on the phone for a few minutes, catching up on what their families are up to. This Thanksgiving, Moffitt decided it was time to meet face-to-face, and the day before the holiday he showed up at Hankerson's house with a bouquet." I just said, 'Hey, I'm Mike from Rhode Island,'" he told the Journal. "Her eyes lit up." Moffitt is looking forward to strengthening their unconventional friendship, and wrote on Facebook that he's learned there are "incredible people in this world that are a wrong number phone call away." 

2

To celebrate his 90th birthday, skydiver makes 9 jumps in 4 hours

Pat Moorehead decided to dive right into his 90s. On Nov. 20, Moorehead celebrated his 90th birthday at Skydive Perris in Perris, California. From 8 a.m. to noon, he completed nine jumps, one for each decade of his life, as hundreds of relatives and friends watched from the ground. A Navy and Air Force veteran and retired fire battalion chief, Moorehead got the skydiving bug in 1969, and since then has made nearly 6,700 jumps. He's appeared in commercials and movies, founded the Skydivers Over Sixty Society (SOS), and even met his wife of 37 years on a skydiving plane. "You might say we fell for each other," he told KTLA. Moorehead turned his birthday into a fundraiser for the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame, and donated more than $16,000 to the organization. Moorehead said he's not "trying to set an example for anyone," but if what he's doing "inspires people to realize that aging is a gift that you can make something of, that's great."

3

In an encouraging sign, more monarch butterflies are migrating to California

More western monarch butterflies are migrating to California for the winter this year, and biologists are cautiously optimistic that this is just the beginning of their resurgence. In the 1980s and 1990s, the butterflies would head to the coast in droves, with biologists and volunteers counting more than a million every year. Due to pesticide use and habitat loss, the numbers have dwindled — only 30,000 were counted in 2019 and just 2,000 in 2020. Things are looking up in 2021, with more than 100,000 monarchs already counted so far this year. This is encouraging, biologists say, and the number is expected to rise, as the count continues through Dec. 5. Emma Pelton with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation told NPR it's too early to know why there are so many more monarchs in California this year, but it's "a really good reason to take to heart that there might still be time to make a difference." 

4

British patient receives world's 1st 3D-printed prosthetic eye

Moorfields Eye Hospital in London says one of its patients has been fitted with the world's first fully digital, 3D-printed prosthetic eye. The eye looks more realistic than traditional prosthetics and offers "clearer definition and real depth to the pupil," the hospital said. It usually takes about six weeks to develop a prosthetic eye, but the hospital said 3D printing could cut in half the turnaround time. Additionally, it's a less invasive process when dealing with 3D printing, as the patient only needs to have their eye socket scanned digitally in order to create a detailed image. The patient, 47-year-old engineer Steve Verze of London, was fitted with the prosthetic last Thursday. In a statement, Verze said he's "always felt self conscious" about needing a prosthetic, but this "new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it's only going to be better and better."

5

Minnesota woman uses handmade cards to help friends through tough times

Phone calls and emails are nice, but to Mary Jane Steinhagen, nothing beats a card with a handwritten message. For the last 25 years, the Richfield, Minnesota, resident has made her own cards and sent them out to dozens of people a month in need of an uplifting message, to show that there's someone thinking of them. In 2019, she mailed the first of several cards to friend Dan Rode, following the death of his wife Therese. Every card she sent featured an image of a dogwood tree, Therese's favorite. "First of all, it was a surprise," Rode told the Star Tribune. "Second of all, it was someone saying we care about you. It meant something." It's not a one-way street — when Steinhagen was diagnosed with cancer, her circle began sending encouraging cards to her. She's undergoing chemotherapy and is "doing very, very well," and appreciates all the love being mailed her way, with some people even sending her cards she gave them previously. "What goes around comes around," she said.

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