- 1. Wounded Army vet makes it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro
- 2. School social worker writes notes of encouragement to all 600 of his students
- 3. NYC library lets job seekers check out interview attire
- 4. New pilot takes elderly residents of his village on their first flight ever
- 5. Toddler in need of a new liver and kidney gets both right before her birthday
1. Wounded Army vet makes it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro
Adam Keys was given a second chance at life, and he's making the most of it. In July 2010, Keys was serving in Afghanistan as an Army paratrooper when he was severely injured by a roadside bomb. Doctors gave him less than a 1 percent chance of survival, but he beat the odds, making it through more than 100 surgeries and learning how to walk and talk again. Keys, who has three prosthetic limbs, is living life to the fullest in honor of the soldiers who didn't survive the bombing, and decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Accompanied by a friend and several Tanzanian guides who pushed him and kept his spirits up, he recently reached the top after five grueling days. He left behind his Purple Heart, "for everybody that's ever been in the service," he said. "We owe you big time and we always, always appreciate it."
2. School social worker writes notes of encouragement to all 600 of his students
When he was a kid, Kevin Boyer's parents left him special notes in his lunch box, and he's keeping that tradition alive with his own students. Boyer is the family and student support coordinator at Gorsuch West Elementary in Lancaster, Ohio. Last year, he wrote a personalized letter to every student in the school, and he's doing it again this year. Every day, he pens six notes, so that by the last day of school, he will have written a letter to all 600 students. Boyer makes it a point to learn the name of every kid in the school and finds out their interests and hobbies so when it's time to write their letters, they are one-of-a-kind. Boyer told The Lancaster Eagle Gazette that some students tape their letters to their desks, while others have told him they proudly display the notes on their refrigerators at home.
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3. NYC library lets job seekers check out interview attire
You can check out more than books at the New York Public Library's Riverside branch on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Through a new program proposed in August by young adult librarian Michelle Lee, the library is lending out purses, briefcases, and neckties to people looking for work who might not be able to afford the items necessary for job interviews. Lee came up with the idea after a girl attending an employment workshop told her she didn't have any nice clothes to wear to an interview. While the program is targeted to young people, anyone with a library card can stop by and borrow a purse or tie. Community members have been dropping off donations in droves, and Lee said she wants to see more job seekers use the service, telling The New York Times that "this hopefully gets them started on their career, first job, or first internship."
4. New pilot takes elderly residents of his village on their first flight ever
After earning his pilot's license, Vikas Jyani gave several of his neighbors a flight they'll never forget. Jyani is from the village of Sarangpur in India's Punjab state. He always wanted to be a pilot, and promised several elderly residents of his village that he would take them on their first-ever flight as soon as he was able. Jyani's father, Mahendra, told the Times of India that his son recently flew 22 people from the village to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, and Wagah Border. The passengers were thrilled, and all were impressed that Jyani came through with the plane ride. As one 90-year-old woman told Jyani's father: "Many people make promises to the elderly, but he kept his word."
5. Toddler in need of a new liver and kidney gets both right before her birthday
Ahead of her third birthday, Lilah Joiner received the two best presents she could have received: a kidney and a liver. Lilah was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes cysts to develop in the kidneys and can lead to failure of other organs, and last year, she was placed on a transplant list. There are not enough deceased donors in the United States to help all of the patients who need transplants, but two living donors stepped forward: Joseph Smith, a family friend, was a match for the liver, and another family friend named Missy Lathem was able to donate a kidney. Exactly one year after she was placed on the transplant list, Lilah underwent surgery. She is "just loving life with her new kidney and liver," her mom, Katherin Joiner, told GMA. "She said, 'I'm so excited I get to eat pizza now!'"
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