It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: April 16, 2020

Catherine Garcia
Tom Moore.
REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

1.

World War II veteran raises millions for health-care workers by walking laps around his garden

Tom Moore raised millions for the United Kingdom's National Health Service, and he didn't even have to leave his backyard. Moore, 99, is a World War II veteran living in Bedfordshire. He turns 100 on April 30, and decided before reaching this milestone, he wanted to do something to thank the "magnificent" NHS doctors and nurses who treated him for cancer and a broken hip. Moore decided to raise money for NHS Charities Together — an organization that supports the medical staff, patients, and facilities of the U.K.'s publicly-funded health-care system — by walking 100 laps around his garden. His goal was to raise $1,250 for NHS Charities Together, but as word spread, the money came flooding in. In a staggering show of support, more than 600,000 people so far have donated to the cause, raising close to $15 million. NHS Charities Together said it is "truly inspired and humbled" by the generosity. [BBC News]

2.

Sleuths track down 10 apple varieties thought to be extinct

These aren't your typical detectives. E.J. Brandt and David Benscoter aren't looking for bad guys, but rather good apples. The retirees formed the Lost Apple Project to find abandoned orchards in Washington and Idaho in the hopes of rediscovering apple varieties believed to be extinct. Last fall, they collected hundreds of apples and sent them to the botanists at Temperate Orchard Conservancy for identification. The results are in, and it turns out Brandt and Benscoter found 10 lost apple varieties, the largest number discovered during a single season. "It was almost unbelievable," Brandt told The Associated Press. All together, the apple detectives have rediscovered 23 varieties. During their searches, Brandt and Benscoter cover hundreds of miles, and use old maps and county records to track down the forgotten orchards. There were once 17,000 named varieties of domesticated apples in North America, but just 4,500 are known to still exist. [The Associated Press]

3.

Colleagues surprise doctors with in-hospital ceremony after wedding is postponed

Dr. Shelun Tsai was supposed to get married on Saturday, but with the wedding postponed until October because of the coronavirus pandemic, she donned scrubs instead of a gown and went to work at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. Tsai is an OBGYN resident, and her colleagues at the Duke Birthing Center decided they wanted to hold a surprise, symbolic ceremony to mark the occasion. "It started out small, that they wanted to make me a wedding dress, then it was a veil, then flowers, and then it became everyone chipping in and jumping onboard," Tsai told Good Morning America. A Labor and Delivery nurse presided over the ceremony, with the groom, Dr. Michael Sun, participating via Zoom. After they exchanged vows, Tsai was whisked away on a hospital transportation cart with a "Just Married" sign on the back. The day was "absolutely amazing," Tsai said. [Good Morning America]

4.

High schoolers create hotline for quarantined seniors to help them feel connected

High school students in Alberta, Canada, want to make sure senior citizens who are in quarantine and away from their loved ones don't feel alone. The Calgary teens launched Joy4All, a free hotline seniors can call anytime to hear a pre-recorded joke, poem, positive story, or feel-good quote. "A lot of folks who are in isolation are really missing their families right now," teacher Jamie Anderson told CBC News. "So we're just trying to fill in some of the gaps and bring them a little bit of joy and levity during these difficult times." Student Jared Quinn said he knows that people his age might not have a lot in common with senior citizens, and this is one way to bridge the gap. "I think we can learn a lot of respect for each other and a lot of wisdom from our elders in the community," he said. [CBC News]

5.

Virginia teen flies medical supplies to hospitals in rural communities

Once a week, TJ Kim makes a very special delivery, flying into a rural community in Virginia and dropping off medical supplies. Kim, 16, was disappointed when the coronavirus ended his school year early. He started taking flying lessons last year, and thought that with the extra time he now had, he would collect as much personal protective equipment as possible to distribute to hospitals in rural areas. His first delivery was on March 27, when he packed his plane with gowns, masks, and gloves, bound for a 25-bed hospital in Luray. "Everyone was wanting to send donations to big city hospitals," Kim told The Associated Press. "Every hospital is hurting for supplies, but it's the rural hospitals that really feel forgotten." It hasn't been easy to find some items, Kim said, but the effort is worth it once the supplies are dropped off. [The Associated Press]