The week's good news: Jan. 5, 2023
Man raises $1 million for charity by running a marathon every day in 2022
On Dec. 31, Gary McKee completed his goal of running a marathon on every day of 2022 — and he has more than 20 pairs of worn out sneakers to prove it. A father of three, McKee lives in Cumbria, England, and would run the 26.2-mile route before going to work. This wasn't just about hitting the pavement — his goal was to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and West Cumbria Hospice at Home, and he did just that, bringing in £1 million ($1.2 million) from supporters. On his final run, a crowd cheered him on, and fireworks went off when he was finished. "It was raining, but everybody was out clapping and shouting," he said. "It was fantastic seeing everybody there. It's something I'll always remember." McKee ended up running more than 9,500 miles total, and this was an "unbelievable challenge," Hayley McKay, director of funding and communications for Hospice At Home West Cumbria, told BBC News. "The physical and mental strength he has shown is incomprehensible. Gary has not only raised money for two fantastic charities, he has sprinkled magic on the local community and brought people together supporting him with the challenge."
Mom hides books across town to get kids outside and reading
In the Australian town of Braidwood, residents never know when they'll stumble upon a book. Samantha Dixon, a mom of 10, came up with the idea of hiding books in local parks and store windows after hearing about people doing this in the U.S. and U.K. The books are placed in plastic bags, and after kids find and read them, they write their name inside the cover and then hide the book again or pass it along to a friend. "I enjoy the fact these books are being read and are not just being left on the shelves and that kids are outside finding them and not on screens," Dixon told Australia's ABC News. The fun is spreading, as some of the books have made it down the coast to Canberra, and there are also "some lovely community members who are out there regularly hiding new books for the children to read," Dixon said.
4 sisters in their 80s put on a show at Minnesota retirement home
The four Bonnema sisters have been making music for decades — and in December, they put on a performance like nothing the Orchard Path retirement community in Apple Valley, Minnesota, has ever seen. Growing up, the sisters — 88-year-old Vicki Hall, 83-year-old Carol Hall, 81-year-old Val Duininck, and 80-year-old Jan Goris — all took piano lessons, and in recent years they rented a music studio so they could play together. Vicki lives at Orchard Path, and the community's music therapist, Jennifer Ackland, offered to let her practice on the pianos at her house. In December, Vicki and her sisters held their second public performance — the first one many years ago at their mother's 90th birthday party — at Orchard Path. It was standing room only, with lots of relatives in the audience. Dressed in matching vests decorated with sparkly musical notes, the sisters played several of their favorite songs, simultaneously — two on one piano, and two on another. The crowd went wild, and the sisters were just happy to play together. "Our love exceeds any differences we might have," Jan told KARE 11.
U.S. approves use of 'breakthrough' vaccine to help honeybees
This is buzzworthy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted a conditional license for a vaccine to help protect honeybees from American foulbrood disease, which can weaken and kill hives. This is the world's first vaccine for honeybees, and is a "breakthrough," Annette Klesier, chief executive of vaccine manufacturer Dalan Animal Health, said. There is no cure for foulbrood, which is caused by the larvae of the bacterium Paenibacillus. It originated in the United States but has spread around the world, The Guardian reports, and when it's discovered, beekeepers must destroy and burn infected colonies. The vaccine is given to queen bees, which pass on immunity to the next generation. Studies conducted by Dalan suggest vaccination will lead to a drop in the death rate due to foulbrood.
Grandfather creates 200-foot long backyard sledding course for his grandkids
A Minnesota grandfather used the massive amount of snow that fell in his backyard to his advantage. Nicole Warner shared on TikTok a video of the 200-foot long sledding course that her dad, Steve, made to surprise her kids. Warner said it took 80 hours to finish the course, which is lined with sparkling white lights. The kids were thrilled when they saw the course, and named it "Papa Bear Plunge" in honor of their grandfather. "They have spent hours sledding already, and plan to use it for the rest of the winter," Warner said. "Their reactions have been priceless, smiles from ear to ear."