The week's good news: May 5, 2022
California condors make a triumphant return to the northern coastal redwoods
California condors are back soaring over the Redwood National Park in Northern California, 130 years after they were last spotted in the area. On Tuesday, four condors bred in captivity were put in a staging area with a remote-controlled gate. After the gate was open, two of the condors took their time peering out before finally making their way through the opening and flying away. The other two will have another chance to take off in the near future, The Associated Press reports. The California condor is a New World vulture and the largest North American bird. Starting in the mid-1800s, their numbers began to dwindle, largely due to the condors being shot for sport, the introduction of pesticides like DDT, and habitat destruction. When the wild population dropped to just 22 in the 1980s, biologists started captive-breeding programs at the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos. These programs are working; today, the Los Angeles Times reports, there are 300 wild California condors in the state.
DoorDash driver saves customer's life during pizza delivery
In an instant, Sophia Furtado went from delivering a pizza to saving a life. On Feb. 11, Caryn Hebert Sullivan ordered a late-night pizza, and waited for the delivery outside of her home in West Island of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Sullivan previously injured her knee, and as she stood outside, felt it give out on her; she dropped to the ground, hitting her head. Furtado, a DoorDash driver, pulled up to Sullivan's house, and when she saw that Sullivan was unresponsive and bleeding, her previous emergency medical technician training kicked in. She yelled for help, and Sullivan's husband, who was asleep inside, heard her and called 911. Furtado stabilized Sullivan's neck to protect her spine, and didn't move until medics arrived. Sullivan was hospitalized for three weeks, and while she's still recovering, was on hand to see Furtado receive a lifesaving award from the Fairhaven Police Department and a $1,000 educational grant from DoorDash. Sullivan told CNN she is "so thankful" for Furtado, her lifesaving skills, and their new friendship, adding, "She's my guardian angel."
Amputee athlete runs 104 marathons in 104 days
Whether it was on a course near her home in Arizona or through the streets of Boston, Jacky Hunt-Broersma spent 104 consecutive days making sure she ran 26.2 miles before the sun went down. The 46-year-old set the goal of running 104 marathons in 104 days to not only break an unofficial women's world record, but also show the power of perseverance. After Hunt-Broersma was diagnosed with a rare cancer, her left leg below the knee was amputated, and she runs with a carbon-fiber prosthesis. Hunt-Broersma started her quest on Jan. 17, running on a loop course. Some days she would run on her treadmill, and for her 92nd run, Hunt-Broersma competed in the Boston Marathon. Her 104th — and final — marathon was on Saturday; she actually hit the unofficial record for daily consecutive marathons two days earlier, but really wanted to secure the honor. (Guinness World Records told The Associated Press that it could take up to four months to review and ratify the record.) She shared her progress on social media, and raised $27,000 to help other amputee blade runners purchase expensive prostheses.
Couple on their way to Las Vegas to get married end up tying the knot over Arizona
They met the officiant an hour earlier, their guests were strangers, and the ceremony could have been derailed by a "fasten seatbelts" announcement, but Jeremy Salda and Pam Patterson wouldn't have changed a thing about their wedding on board a Southwest Airlines flight to Las Vegas. The plan was for Salda and Patterson to fly from Oklahoma to Vegas on April 24 to get married, but after landing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, dressed in their wedding attire because they were on a tight schedule once they made it to Vegas, their connection was delayed and then canceled. They met an ordained minister also going to Vegas, and a plan was hatched: the trio would book a Southwest flight out of Dallas Love Field Airport, and if Patterson and Salda didn't make it in time to their pre-planned ceremony, the minister would marry them. Once the Southwest crew heard what was happening, plans went into motion to hold the wedding on the plane. As soon as it reached cruising altitude, the ceremony started, somewhere over Arizona, with Patterson telling Salda she'd be "his co-pilot for life."
This Florida high schooler has been accepted into 72 colleges
When it came time to start applying to colleges, Ja'Leaha Thornton decided to turn the stressful process into a game — one that she ultimately won. Thornton, 18, is a senior at Glades Central Community High School in Belle Glade, Florida. She told Good Morning America that filling out applications and writing essays for colleges and universities can be "overwhelming," so instead of "stressing myself out, I decided to make it a competition ... and see how many I can actually get into. I wanted to broaden my horizons and explore some different schools outside of my state." She used the Common App and Common Black College Application to apply to several schools, and said with fee waivers, it only cost about $20 to submit applications to 90 schools. She was accepted into 72 institutions, including her dream school, Howard University. As thrilled as she was to get in, Thornton has decided to attend Xavier University of Louisiana. It's "exciting" to have so many options, Thornton told GMA, and she's looking forward to studying pre-med psychology, with the goal of becoming a forensic psychologist.