The week's good news: April 19, 2018
It wasn't all bad!
Arizona woman with rare brain disorder adopts four kids with same condition
Kristi Smith was born with a rare brain disorder called Phenylketonuria (PKU), and understands what it's like to live with the condition. That's why it was so important for her and her husband, Matt, to adopt four children who also have PKU. When it's not treated, PKU can lead to seizures and intellectual disabilities, and Smith told Today she's been on a strict, low-protein diet her entire life, which helped her thrive. In 2015, the Tucson resident and her husband adopted two toddlers from China who have PKU, and last month, the family welcomed two more sons from China with the condition. "They came to us not knowing how to go up stairs or how to run and jump — they were overwhelmed, but now they are just flourishing," Smith said. "They're becoming kind and courteous, and it's just like a light bulb went on for everything."
Virginia state trooper rescues orphaned bear cubs
Virginia State Senior Trooper D.H. Cepelnik can now add "bear cub rescuer" to his résumé. Cepelnik was called out to a car accident in Franklin County last week, and when he arrived, discovered a bear had been hit by a vehicle and killed while crossing the highway. She left behind two cubs stranded on the side of the road, but Cepelnik was able to wrangle the active cubs and take them to Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro. The cubs weigh about four pounds each, the center said, and once they are fully recovered, will be released back into the wild. For now, they are enjoying playing with each other and skipping their bottles — the cubs prefer to eat wet dog food mixed with a formula designed specifically for black bear cubs.
Once homeless, this single mom of five is about to graduate from law school
Without her children pitching in to help and offering words of encouragement, Iesha Champs likely wouldn't be graduating next month from Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The Houston resident had to overcome several obstacles to get where she is today, from being homeless to losing the father of four of her children to cancer. Champs rallied and earned her GED, then went on to the University of Houston-Downtown before entering law school. As a child, she dreamed about becoming a lawyer, and her own kids helped make it happen, quizzing her with flash cards and serving as a mock jury. To celebrate her graduation, Champs held a photo shoot with her kids, who held up signs reading "I helped" and "We did it." When she looks at the pictures, Champs told CBS News, she sees "a woman who knew the odds were against her and she destroyed them."
Student and principal, both playing hooky, run into each other at Cubs game
Tucker Speckman was hoping his principal would see him on television in the stands of Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs home opener last week, but Patrick Versluis saw him in person because he was playing hooky, too. Speckman, a fourth-grader at Wells Elementary School, made a sign that read, "Skipping School. Shh! Don't tell Principal Versluis." He didn't make it on television — although Major League Baseball did tweet out his photo — but Speckman was able to show Versluis his sign when they ran into each other at the stadium. "I wasn't nervous because I know he's such a great principal he wouldn't be mad or anything," Speckman told WLS. Versluis said he had permission from his boss to attend the game on a school day and does not condone skipping class, but "I also believe in those experiences."
Troop of homeless Girl Scouts sells 17,000 boxes of cookies in two days
A Girl Scout troop from New York City is being saluted for its cookie-selling skills. Troop 6000 was founded in 2016 to offer youngsters who live in homeless shelters the Girl Scout experience. Last week, the group began its first ever cookie sale, and hoped to sell 6,000 boxes. Within two days, the girls had shifted 17,000, with hundreds of buyers queuing up at their stall. "It's important to show other girls that it doesn't matter where they're from, they could still be a Girl Scout," says 10-year-old Sanaa, a Troop 6000 member.