The week's good news: June 10, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
Athlete's dream comes true when she's surprised with entry into Special Olympics USA Games
Lumene Montissol is ready to make her mark at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Montissol, 26, lives in the Boston area, and has earned 12 gold medals competing in basketball, track and field, and soccer at the Special Olympics Massachusetts. Her nickname is "The Lightning," thanks to her fast sprint, and she told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts this week that participating in the Special Olympics has helped boost her confidence. During Montissol's appearance on GMA, her dad handed her a box, and Roberts asked her to open it. Inside was a Special Olympics hat, and Roberts told Montissol her dream was coming true: She is advancing to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. A surprised Montissol began to cry, telling Roberts they were happy tears and she is "super grateful." Montissol also shared a message for her fellow athletes: "Keep believing in yourself and keep training hard and be proud of who you are."
Woman finds a one-of-a-kind way to share her famous fudge recipe
Kathryn "Kay" Andrews was known for the delicious fudge she brought to parties and other gatherings, and that recipe lives on in an unexpected place: the side of her headstone. Andrews died in 2019 at the age of 97, and is buried in Logan Cemetery in Logan, Utah. After her husband, Wade, died in 2000, she selected several images that represented him for their shared headstone — including a graduation cap, because he was a professor, and an airplane, a nod to time as an Air Force captain during World War II. Andrews' children told her she should also have something honoring her on there, so she decided to have her fudge recipe etched in the stone. Andrews' daughter, Janice Johnson, told Fox 13, her mother "really loved people," and she would get a kick out of knowing that photos of her headstone regularly go viral online.
Waffle House employees work together to get co-worker to his graduation
When Timothy Harrison showed up for a shift on the day of his high school graduation, his co-workers rallied, racing against the clock to get him to the ceremony so he could celebrate his accomplishment. Harrison told manager Cedric Hampton he came into work because he didn't have a ride to the ceremony or tickets for his family, but Hampton and co-worker Shantana Blevins said there was no way Harrison was going to miss out. "I had people want to see me succeed, so it kind of made me excited," Harrison told WVTM 13. The Waffle House team — with the encouragement of diners who heard what was happening — got Harrison an outfit and cap and gown, and Blevins drove him to the ceremony. When Lawson State Community College heard Harrison's story, the school offered him a full scholarship. "Now he can go to college and figure out what to do in his life, and we're gonna help guide him," Hampton said.
Drug reduces relapse, death in some breast cancer patients
In a study published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, British drugmaker AstraZeneca said that in a late-stage trial, its drug Lynparza reduced the risk of relapse and death in breast cancer patients with certain gene mutations. Lynparza was developed with Merck, and works to inhibit PARP, a protein that repairs DNA damage to cells — including those that are cancerous. It can be given as a maintenance therapy or an active treatment after chemotherapy. The study found that compared to a placebo, Lynparza reduced the combined risk of recurrence of breast cancer or death from any cause by 42 percent, Reuters reports. Globally, breast cancer is now the most common form of the disease, the World Health Organization said in February, accounting for almost 12 percent of new cases every year.
2 days after her wedding, bride donates kidney to new husband's ex
When Debby Neal-Strickland married Jim Merthe on Nov. 22, she described it as being "the most amazing day of my life, until two days later. That was also the most amazing day of my life." It wasn't because they arrived at a fabulous honeymoon destination — on Nov. 24, Debby went to a Florida hospital and donated one of her kidneys to Mylaen Merthe, her new husband's ex-wife. Before they began the donation process, the women were friendly — Mylaen and Jim share two children and are on good terms — but not close. Debby told The Associated Press she wanted to make sure Mylaen was able to meet her first grandchild, and also remembered the pain she felt when her brother died of cystic fibrosis before he could receive a double lung transplant. Debby's kidney donation, Mylaen said, came straight "from her heart." The women now call each other kidney sisters, and look forward to taking their blended family on a summer trip to Georgia.