The week's good news: July 7, 2022
Father and daughter doctors partner up to perform heart surgery
This was one father-daughter activity Dr. Harold Roberts Jr. and Dr. Sophia Roberts will never forget. Sophia is a general surgery resident physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. That's also where her dad Harold serves as an associate professor of cardiac surgery. Because so many doctors are having to provide additional care due to COVID-19, Sophia was recently able to fill in for another physician and assist her dad during a aortic valve replacement surgery. On the day of the operation, Sophia started off by helping open the patient's chest, and the rest of the surgery "was really very smooth," Harold told Good Morning America. "I wouldn't have done the case any better if I had another heart surgeon assisting me." Sophia told GMA she was glad to work with her dad, but didn't let that take her focus off the patient, who is recovering well. "What can be better?" Harold said. "I taught this kid how to ride a bicycle a few decades ago. Now, to get to teach her how to operate on a human heart is pretty mind-blowing."
Hopes are high as rhinos are reintroduced in Mozambique
Conservationists in Mozambique are excited by the return of the rhino, an animal that became extinct locally 40 years ago. Rhinos are endangered, following decades of habitat loss and poaching, and to try to save these animals, conservation groups are relocating them to safe spaces. Once in these new areas, they will hopefully be able to breed and increase their population. The Peace Parks Foundation recently captured and sedated several black and white rhinos about 1,000 miles away from Mozambique, and then transported them to the country's Zinave National Park. More than 2,300 other reintroduced animals live in this protected space, including elephants, and the goal is to get at least 40 more rhinos to the park within the next two years. "Rhinos are important to the ecosystem, which is one of the reasons why we're moving them all this distance and doing all this effort to get them there," conservationist Kester Vickery told Reuters. He said it's his hope that 10 years from now, there will be a large population of rhinos living in Zinave.
Florida woman strives to make beaches accessible for all
Sabrina Cohen loves everything about the beach, from soaking up the sun to feeling the ocean breeze, and she wants to make this experience available to everyone. Cohen, 44, was in a car accident 30 years ago that left her paralyzed from the neck down. Through her Sabrina Cohen Foundation, she brings attention to stem cell research for spinal injuries, and also hosts beach days twice a month in Miami Beach, welcoming people with disabilities and special needs. About 100 volunteers, including lifeguards and physical therapists, set up temporary platforms and specialized equipment to ensure participants can safely get on the sand and into the water. Since 2016, about 8,000 people have participated in the beach days. "The freedom of being in the ocean is such a beautiful experience," Cohen told People. Her goal is to now raise $10.5 million to build an adaptive facility in Miami Beach with a rooftop pool and specialized lockers and changing rooms, which can be used as a model for other buildings around the world. "The best use I could make out of my injury is to help other people through the same scenario," Cohen said.
Discarded tires find new life as a park trail in Tennessee
Thousands of tires that were dumped around T.O. Fuller State Park in Memphis, Tennessee, are now a welcome part of the landscape. Last week, officials unveiled a brand new hard-surface walking and biking trail that was made from the rubber crumbs of those illegally discarded tires. The trail goes for nearly three miles, and is one of the longest rubber-bearing paths in the United States, The Good News Network reports. "This is a quintessential example of recycling in full circle, collecting dumped material then converting it into positive use," David Salyers, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. "It's exactly the kind of responsible environmental activity Tennesseans can be proud of, where an area can be cleaned up then have people enjoy the benefits in a new way." Hundreds of volunteers and local contractors started picking up the tires in 2019, and eventually they gathered 24,000 tires that had been used on passenger and commercial trucks and heavy equipment. The tires were then dropped off at Patriot Tire Recycling in Bristol — the only facility in Tennessee able to recycle them into crumbs.
Firefighters rescue kitten from a Pepsi vending machine
While on her lunch break, Lindsey Russell heard a strange noise coming from the Pepsi vending machine inside the Walmart she works at in Morristown, Tennessee. She got up to investigate, and found that a tiny, gray kitten had somehow managed to get into the vending machine — and try as she might, Russell was unable to get the cat out. She asked some of her co-workers to help, and they too were unable to free the kitten. Russell quickly called the Morristown Fire Department, and firefighter Doug Allison told WVLT as soon as they arrived, they could tell the cat was stressed. The firefighters removed a few panels from the machine, and after 10 minutes, the kitten was out. "If we can help save a life, animal or human, we'll do what we can do," Allison said. Russell and her mom have rescued animals before, and they have taken in the kitten, who now has the nicknames Pepsi, Pep, and Pepper. The cat is doing well, Russell said, and in high spirits.