Get ready for a dose of cute, because you’re about to get it. This little girl listening to her parents’ wedding song is so adorable, so preciously and perfectly overcome with emotion, that you may just tear up yourself. Watch the video on The Stir…
This holiday season, a dozen Missouri kids whose parents couldn’t afford gifts received an ornate, handmade dollhouse, all thanks to an 81-year-old retiree named Earl Hurshman. For the past year, Hurshman has been using nearly all of his monthly social security checks to buy dollhouse supplies at his local hobby store, and assembles the miniature Victorians, Tudors, and Colonials (plus fire stations and barns for boys) in the basement of his modest home. He finds recipients for his dollhouses by putting up flyers and asking around the community for families that might need some help with gifts. “He is a real angel on earth,” says the mother of a dollhouse recipient. “Earl makes me want to be a better person. There’s no way I’ll ever be able to repay him, but I’ll pay it forward.” As if Hurshman’s heartfelt deeds weren’t touching enough, wait until you hear the reason he started doing it… Keep reading »
“When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer.” So began a letter written by Brenda Schmitz, a mother of four who had passed away in 2011. A month before she died, Brenda gave the letter to a friend and asked her to keep it a secret until her husband, David, had found love again, at which point the friend was instructed to mail the letter to Des Moines radio station Star 102.5. Why the radio station? Because every year, Star partners with local businesses to grant listeners’ Christmas wishes, and Brenda had some very specific wishes in mind for her husband, his new wife-to-be, and their family. Here’s an excerpt of her beautiful letter: Keep reading »
Was there a lot of covert onion-chopping going on at the office or was 2013 particularly packed with heartstring-pulling stories? After reviewing our archives, I’m going to go with the latter. From tearful dog reunions to tales of heartbreaking loss to kids showing kindness and compassion far beyond their years, here are the stories that had us unabashedly sobbing at our desks this year: Keep reading »
Since he was just 6 years old, David Allen Welsh has been living on the streets and in shelters. Now 50, Welsh is still homeless, bouncing between shelters and park benches in Vancouver, Washington with only a backpack of belongings. But there is one place he always feels at home: sitting down to play a piano at a local thrift shop. Since he was young, Welsh has been able to play beautiful original melodies on the piano. He’s never had a lesson, can’t read music, and even though his fingers are badly frostbitten from years living outside in Minnesota, his performances often move onlookers to tears. ”I don’t know how to play music, but I like what I hear in my head,” Welsh says. “Sometimes I don’t even know what key I’m pushing. My eyes aren’t even open. I’m just letting the music play the music.” Click play to watch Welsh play a song called “Aerial Aquatas,” which he describes as his own version of “Amazing Grace.” You might want to grab a tissue, just in case. [YouTube via KATU]
Two years ago, OC Weekly concert photographer Andrew Youssef was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Two months ago, his oncologists informed him that his diagnosis was terminal. They gave him weeks — maybe months, if he was lucky — to live. Throughout his cancer battle, Youseff kept shooting concerts and writing about his experience in a column called “Last Shot.” He also continued to find comfort in music, especially his favorite band, Nine Inch Nails. Somewhere along the line, NIN’s frontman, Trent Reznor, caught wind of Youssef’s story and invited him to a rehearsal for their Tension 2013 world tour.
Reznor and Youssef had lunch together, talked about everything from “Breaking Bad” to how much cancer fucking sucks, and quickly became friends. Keep reading »
On April 15th, Jane Richard was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon with her parents and brother when a bomb went off just feet from the family, killing her 8-year-old brother Martin and seriously injuring both of her parents. Jane lost a leg in the attack and spent 39 days in the ICU, but miraculously survived. After months of surgeries, physical therapy, and a new prosthetic leg, Jane, now 7, is recovering well. So well, in fact, that before yesterday’s Boston Red Sox game, she triumphantly walked to a microphone in the middle of Fenway Park and sang the national anthem. She was backed by Martin’s school choir. In a statement released in August, the Richard family spoke of the deep grief they felt daily after losing Martin, and how amazed they were at their daughter’s resilience: “Jane continues to be an incredible source of inspiration – and exhaustion,” they wrote. “The loss of her leg has not slowed her one bit, or deterred her in any way.” An appearance at Fenway was the perfect way to share that inspiration with the world. And the cherry on top? The Red Sox won. [Boston Globe]
No one knows how the battered, bleeding pitbull escaped her chains and ended up in the yard of a North Nashville home, but one thing’s for sure: she chose the right house. The person who lived there just happened to be an animal hospital employee, and was able to give the dog, who is now known as Mama Jade, the immediate care she desperately needed. She was also able to interpret the heartbreakingly obvious signs that Mama had been used as a bait and breeding dog in a vicious dog fighting operation. After learning the extent of her injuries, Mama Jade’s rescuer posted an open letter on Craigslist addressed to the monster in her community who had hurt this sweet dog so badly. Here’s an excerpt (warning: it’s very graphic):
Last Friday night, your dog wandered up onto our porch. Signs of the abuse she had somehow escaped, riddled her body. The fresh bite marks on her muzzle, the scars that covered her body, the exposed pink and purple flesh around her neck, where she was obviously tied up with ropes that cut their way into her skin, over and over again. The obvious signs that she had been bred, relentlessly, time after time. The pressure wounds on her elbows that bled whenever they touched anything, from being tied and forced to lay on cement ground and metal cage mesh.
None of those things are even the worst part. Upon examining her teeth to gauge her approximate age, I burst into tears. I found that you had pulled the majority of them out and the ones you left, had been filed down. And you did this without anesthesia, this I am sure of. You did this so she couldn’t fight back. You did this so she couldn’t injure any dogs you had trained to fight, when you threw her in there with them. With each bite of her they took and each yelp she cried, they’d look at you for reassurance. Because all they wanted to do was please you. Loyalty is in their blood. Violence is not.
The story gets worse before it gets better (but it does get better!) … Keep reading »
Back in 1995, Minnesota first grade teacher Barb Bratvold asked her class to make “get well” cards for a guest speaker who had fallen ill. The students loved the project so much they asked to make more cards for people who needed cheering up, and the Evansville Elementary Kindness Club was born. Since its inception, the club has met twice a week to make colorful, personalized cards for over 50,000 people in their community. “The Kindness Club is a way to teach my kids that the world isn’t all about them, there are people who are hurting” Bratvold told People. “Even though they’re only in first grade, this is a way they can make a difference.” Keep reading »