The week's good news: August 17, 2017

It wasn't all bad!

A lion rescued from a zoo in Aleppo cuddles her newborn cub.
(Image credit: Four Paws/Ahu Savan An, via AP)

1. Lioness rescued from Syrian zoo gives birth in wildlife reserve

It took three weeks for Dana, a lion rescued from a zoo in Aleppo, Syria, to make the journey to her new home in Jordan, but when she finally arrived at the al-Ma'wa reserve, she gave birth to a cub named Hajar — Arabic for "the immigrant." Dana was one of 12 animals to leave Syria for Jordan, thanks to the efforts of the charity Four Paws. The team was concerned she might give birth while in the cage she had to travel in; had that happened, Dr. Amir Khalil said, the cub probably would not have survived. The vet thinks Dana waited until she was in a secure area to finally have her cub. Dana and Hajar already have a strong bond, something Khalil is happy to see. "After the dark," he said, "there is light."

The Associated Press

2. Woman finds long-lost engagement ring on a carrot growing in her garden

When 84-year-old Mary Grams lost her engagement ring while she was pulling weeds on her farm in 2004, she never expected to see it again. But 13 years later, she found it in the most unexpected of places: wrapped around a carrot plucked from her garden. Grams' daughter-in-law, Colleen Daley, unwittingly dug up the missing jewelry while she was picking vegetables for dinner. Daley said she immediately knew it must belong to "to either grandma or my mother-in-law." Grams had tried to keep her lost ring a secret over the years, even going so far as to buy a similar ring in the hopes her husband wouldn't notice (he didn't). But Grams certainly felt the loss. Now, five years after her husband's death, she finally has her engagement ring back. "It fit," Grams told The Associated Press. "After that many years it fits."

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The Guardian The Associated Press

3. Pilot donates her kidney to flight attendant in need

It's been five months since an Alaska Airlines pilot donated her kidney to a flight attendant, and both are excited to be flying again — and educating others about the importance of organ donation. For 15 years, Jenny Stansel lived with chronic kidney disease, and after a health scare in mid-air last year, she was put on dialysis. Captain Jodi Harskamp said it wasn't hard for her to decide to donate one of her kidneys to Stansel. "There is nothing more fulfilling as a human being than to help another human being live," she said. The pair, who have been friends for a few years, have both recovered well from their surgeries, and in June, Harskamp competed in the Mount Marathon Race in Alaska; Stansel waited for her at the finish line, holding a sign that read, "My kidney's other half is on that mountain."

ABC News

4. To ease his grief, widower installs pool in his backyard for the neighborhood kids

Keith Davison turned his grief into a gift for the children in his Morris, Minnesota, neighborhood. After the 94-year-old's wife of 66 years, Evy, died from cancer in April 2016, he became lonely and accustomed to the silence. While he has three adult children, Davison doesn't have any grandchildren, so he came up with a way to ensure he'd have plenty of guests, at least during the summer months: He'd install a pool in his backyard, open to all the kids in the neighborhood. The town doesn't have an outdoor public pool, and Davison's generosity ensures that every child on the block can spend their afternoons swimming and splashing. "It's him spreading joy throughout our neighborhood for these kids," neighbor Jessica Huebner told WXIA.

WXIA

5. 98-year-old and 94-year-old marry after meeting at the gym

Gertrude Mokotoff, 98, and Alvin Mann, 94, aren't your typical newlyweds. The pair met eight years ago at a gym in Middletown, N.Y., and they've been together ever since. Mokotoff asked Mann to marry her — "I was tired of chasing after him," she told The New York Times — and they tied the knot on Aug. 5 in front of family and friends. It's been a momentous few years for Mann: In 2016, he received his bachelor's degree in history, and the World War II veteran and retired businessman said he and his new wife, a former biology professor and the first female mayor of Middletown, aren't going to slow down. "Age doesn't mean a damn thing to me or to Gert," he told the Times. "We don't see it as a barrier. We still do what we want to do in life."

The New York Times

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