The week's good news: January 14, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
Couple reunites after 65 years, thanks to an assist from their siblings
They last saw each other 65 years ago, but to Frederick Paul and Florence Harvey, it felt like no time had passed. During their teens, Paul, 84, and Harvey, 81, courted, but they lost track of each other after Paul left their hometown of Wandsworth, Newfoundland, for work. Their brothers live in the same retirement home, and last February, Harvey's brother slipped her Paul's phone number. Her husband had died three years earlier, and Paul's wife died in 2019; knowing Paul would be lonely, Harvey gave him a call. Soon, they were spending hours on the phone with each other, nearly every day. Paul lived 10 minutes away from Harvey's son, and in June, she came for a visit. When she arrived, "I knew right away that she had taken my heart back again," Paul told CBC News. Harvey felt the same way, saying, "there was still something there after all those years." Two months later, they were married.
Woman starts a sanctuary at her home after a goat wanders up her driveway
The day Marvin walked up her driveway and made himself at home, Meagan Frederick knew it was finally time to realize her dream of owning a goat. "I kind of took it as a sign that the universe was saying, 'This is your goat,'" Frederick, a New York resident, told Good Morning America. Once Marvin was settled, Frederick and her husband started putting up fencing and building structures for the Frederick Farm Goat Rescue and Sanctuary. That was seven years ago, and the sanctuary is now home to eight goats, lots of chickens, and several dogs. It is open to the public, but due to the pandemic, only virtual visits and small tours are being offered. Frederick said as people watch and play with the goats, they see how smart and curious they are, giving them new perspectives on farm animals. "That's a gift that I'm able share them in that way with people," she said.
Man credits learning how to knit with changing his life
Nelson Mendonca wouldn't be where he is today had he not learned to knit. For two decades, he struggled through a cycle of drug addiction and incarceration. While in prison, he joined a knitting program, which made beanies to distribute to the homeless. Upon his release last July, Mendonca knew he wanted to continue providing hats for people in need. While knitting, Mendonca realized that he couldn't cut corners — he had to follow every step "one at a time, over and over again," he told CNN. Being able to create something from scratch to give to someone else "sparked joy in me that I have never felt before in my life," Mendonca added. He has since started a knitting group at the Phoenix Society, an integrated addiction services center in British Columbia. There are 10 members, and the men have knitted more than 200 beanies to donate to homeless shelters, while also building a community.
Hundreds of Seattle bakers are keeping local food banks stocked with bread
Through Community Loaves, home bakers in Seattle are able to keep the shelves of local food banks filled with nutritious and delicious homemade bread. Katherine Kehrli runs this network of volunteer bakers. Twice a month, participants whip up batches of the group's signature honey oat bread, with the loaves then given to Hopelink, a nonprofit agency that runs food banks in the Seattle area. Community Loaves started small, with just a few bakers delivering 19 loaves to Hopelink. Today, there are nearly 500 bakers, with the group recently donating 1,300 loaves in one day. Over the holidays, the bakers branched out, donating thousands of dinner rolls and nearly 4,000 pecan finger cookies. The project has "restored my faith in the collective good that we can actually do," Kehrli told Today. "And it restores my faith that we can be more self-determined even in the face of the pandemic."
Vaccine maker BioNTech reports potential multiple sclerosis breakthrough
BioNTech, the German biotechnology company that paired with Pfizer to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the U.S., reports in the journal Science that a new vaccine using the same mRNA technique has proved effective in treating or stopping multiple sclerosis in lab mice. MS is caused not by a virus but by the immune system malfunctioning and attacking the protective covering of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting signals between those cells and their targets in the body. BioNTech said it successfully encoded MS-specific autoantigens that, when delivered via its experimental vaccine, stopped MS symptoms in mice bred with a condition mirroring MS in humans, and prevented further deterioration in mice with early signs of MS. Mice given a placebo showed typical MS symptoms. BioNTech's vaccine did not compromise normal immune function, and the researchers said their findings suggest that mRNA vaccines could soon be used to treat "disease-causing antigens of individual patients."