It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: April 4, 2019

Catherine Garcia
The Mona Lisa.
Wikimedia Commons


Stray kitten becomes cyclist's companion on around-the-world adventure

Dean Nicholson started his around-the-world cycling trip solo, but he's going to end it with a furry companion named Nala. Nicholson left his home in Dunbar, Scotland, on Sept. 1, and as he neared the border of Bosnia and Montenegro three months later, he heard meowing. A tiny, hungry kitten started chasing him, and "it was obvious someone had dumped her," Nicholson wrote on his Instagram page. He picked her up, made room for her in the front of his bicycle, and they've been together ever since. 
The pair have explored abandoned villas, frolicked on beaches, and even went kayaking, with Nala curled up on Nicholson's shoulder. They are now in Greece, where Nicholson will spend the summer working in Santorini. Nicholson is sharing their adventures on Instagram, while also raising awareness about plastic trash littering the environment — and, of course, the importance of pet adoption. [Edinburgh Live]


Utah woman sends encouraging letters to women battling breast cancer

She doesn't know the recipients of her letters, but Lisa Arrington-Radulovich hopes her words of encouragement bring them comfort and healing. During the holidays, Arrington-Radulovich looked for ways she could volunteer from her home in Lehi, Utah. She found an organization in California called Girls Love Mail, which collects handwritten letters for women across the U.S. newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Arrington-Radulovich got to work, writing positive messages and letting the women know she's rooting for them. "All of a sudden, it dawned on me that I was writing to myself," she told KSL. Arrington-Radulovich has spent the last several months recovering from multiple surgeries, and it turns out she's also been personally finding strength in her letters. She has no plans to stop writing. "A small thing can be a big thing, and make a difference for someone," she said. [KSL]


Police officers pool money to replace hard-working gardener's stolen equipment

As the sole supporter of his family, gardener Adrian Salgado was in a bind when his truck, rent money, and equipment were stolen, leaving him without any way to work. Police in Santa Ana, California, were able to find Salgado's truck thanks to the Find My iPhone app, but all his equipment was gone. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez told CNN his officers come from working-class backgrounds, and they saw their own fathers in Salgado. The officers decided to fundraise to replace Salgado's items, and after pooling their money and getting a donation from the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, they had $1,000. Thanks to a few outside donations and special discounts, the officers were able to present Salgado with new equipment. "I've been doing this job for 27 years," Gonzalez said. "Every so often it's a good day. That was a good day." [CNN]


Dad uses his paintbrush and the Mona Lisa to teach daughter life lessons

When Laurence Cheatham's 9-year-old daughter told him she wanted to draw the Mona Lisa but was afraid it would be too hard, it sparked his creativity. "I wanted to show her that with time, patience, and practice, she can do anything she sets her mind to," he told Good Morning America. Over the next three months, when Cheatham came home at night from his full-time job as a security guard, he worked on a painting of his daughter as the Mona Lisa, keeping it hidden in a closet. After 400 hours of painting, he surprised her with the work of art. She squealed, laughed, and thanked her dad profusely for the gift, a "priceless" reaction, Cheatham said. Cheatham, who has no formal art training, finds painting "very therapeutic," and wants his daughter to remember "if you're passionate about something, and it keeps you awake at night, you should always pursue it." [Good Morning America]


Prostate cancer is on the decline worldwide

A new study finds that in most countries worldwide, both new diagnoses and deaths by prostate cancer have either stabilized or declined. Funded by the American Cancer Society, the study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on Tuesday, determined that the U.S. has had the biggest drop in new diagnoses after analyzing data from 38 countries from 1980 to 2012. Prostate cancer is the second most common and sixth deadliest type of cancer in men. The study's authors say that these results are "encouraging," and the decline is due in part to the prevalence of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, screening. A PSA screening is a blood test that searches for a type of antigen that is usually high in men with prostate cancer. The screenings can aid in the early diagnosis of prostate cancer and improve the odds of survival. [American Association for Cancer Research]