Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

Rescuing a blind dog


Firefighter Dan Estrada is being hailed as a hero after he took a leisurely stroll into the woods only to emerge with a beloved blind family dog – who had been missing for eight days – slung over his shoulders.

12-year-old Sage the dog had been reported missing from his family home in San Lorenzo Valley, California in late February. The family had searched the town, put up missing posters, and even hired a dog tracker without any luck. Since Sage is also blind, they assumed the worst.

Dan and his friend Vincent Lopez were out hiking amongst the local redwoods when they found Sage lying down by a river. Dan ran towards the Labrador and coaxed it awake. Seeing that Sage couldn’t move, he slung the hound across his shoulders and carried it back to town.

WATCHDog Completes Hardest Race in the World Just to Find a Home

Immediately after Sage was taken to the local veterinarian for a checkup, the family threw a neighborhood-wide celebration for the pup’s return. They also offered Dan a $1,000 reward, which he turned down, saying that he was just happy that Sage was safe.

Dan instead suggested that they donate the reward to an animal charity.

“It’s too easy to be caught up in daily life,” Dan said. “Too easy to miss the opportunity to be a blessing in your community.”


Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

Getting a new heart


Ari Shultz had been waiting 211 days for a new heart, so when he finally finds out that he’s receiving the transplant he so desperately needs, he can barely contain his excitement.

The 5-year-old boy, who was born with critical aortic stenosis, had been living in the Boston Children’s Hospital with his parents for most of the last year while they waited for a donor. Then on March 3, they found a match.

When Ari’s parents Mike and Erica first broke the news to their son, it didn’t seem like he could grasp what they’re telling him. Then, his face broke into a big smile.

Ari continued asking his parents questions that would twang on anyone’s heartstrings; like whether he will feel any pain during the operation, whether he will get to go home, and where his new heroic heart is going to go.

Having undergone the operation, Ari was deeply sedated but in stable condition. In the coming months, along with taking an abundance of medicine and returning to the hospital for appointments, the baseball fan will be able to finally move back home.

Ari had been given a 70 percent chance of surviving his first year while on the transplant list. Now that he has the heart he needs, Ari is ready for a recovery home run.

You can help with the family’s medical costs and keep up with Ari’s progress on the Shultz’s GoFundMe page.

Go Ari! No 5-year-old should have to go through this. It brings tears to my eyes, but this kid is…



Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

Stepping in to help


Victor Hubbard had been standing on the same street corner waiting for his mother to return for the past three years – that is, until Ginger Jones Sprouse finally decided to step in and lend a hand.

Victor, who is a mentally ill 38-year-old homeless man, was dropped off at the corner by his mother and told to wait for her to return. Three years later, he was still waiting for his mother to return.

“He stands and looks, taps the pole, squints, dances, waves and sometimes just stares,” wrote Ginger in December. “He is a sweet, gentle man that happens to be mentally ill. If you have ever heard the term ‘falling through the cracks’ he is the definition.”

Ginger drove by Victor’s street corner in Clear Lake, Texas four different times a day on her way to work at the Art of the Meal. As winter approached, Ginger started to worry about how Victor would handle the cold. Whenever her lunch break would roll around, she would visit her homeless neighbor and chat about their lives.

The two eventually struck up a friendship and Ginger invited her new acquaintance to stay at her place whenever the weather got too bad. As a way of drawing awareness to his situation, she created a Facebook page titled “This is Victor”.

“I drive by Victor’s corner at least 4 times a day. I listen to people talking around town and keep hearing ‘someone needs to do something about that guy’,” Ginger wrote on the crowdfunding page. “So, I will be the organizer and I hope that we as a community can be ‘someone’ together.”

Since they became close, Ms. Sprouse has brought Victor into several mental health clinics, doctors appointments, gotten him a job at her restaurant, and helped him off the street. A GoFundMe page for Victor’s living costs has raised $17,500 in just two months.

The Facebook page has given regular updates on Victor’s life – and he has reportedly been doing fabulously.

“Tonight Victor laughed. I mean really laughed. The kind where you fall back on the couch kind of laugh. Where you have tears streaming down your face and you can’t catch your breath. It wasn’t really even that funny. But as he laughed I could almost see the tension leave his body, the years of stress and worry and the anxiety that was clinging to him slowly melting away,” wrote Ginger.

“I wondered when was the last time he laughed that way? And how sad and lost he was on the corner. And how all of our hearts hurt to see him that way. And how thankful we can be that now he’s not just smiling, but laughing. A deep belly laugh, the kind that comes from a joyful heart. And now we can smile too.”


Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

A note from someone who knows


Erin Maddison is the mother of a 2-year-old boy with nonverbal autism named Kyler – and even though she’s his mother, she is apparently not the only one looking after the young child. He also has a friend and guardian in an 11-year-old girl named Giulia.

34-year-old Erin was picking her son up from daycare in Barrie, Ontario, when one of the workers gave her a note from a mysterious youngster. The mother knew that there had been a girl spending time with her son at daycare, but she had never seen or spoke to her directly.

The letter read: “My name is Giulia. I’m 11 years old. My brother has autism, so I thought I’d share some ideas that helped my brother.”

“Music helped my brother build up his vocabulary. He started talking when he was 1 and a half, then stopped at 2, and started again when he was 5.

“I feel very passionate about autism. I enjoy helping Kyler. He seems to like the piano at daycare and enjoys getting others to listen. I’ll put a list of the ideas under the letter, please write back and tell me what you think of the ideas.”

Giulia then goes on to list several tips on how to entertain and calm autistic children – and it is actually really good advice. For starters, she suggests using a therapy brush to calm down Kyler when he is upset. She says that weighted vests are helpful in keeping a child from moving around too much. And then she finishes the letter by saying that her mother also has some “helpful papers” that she could send along to Erin, should she need them.

Needless to say, Erin was blown away.

“I spoke with Giulia last night and thanked her for the letter, and today I wrote her back,” Erin said. “I had tears when I first read her letter, I’m just so happy that my little boy has a friend like her.”

Once she crafted her response, Erin said that she is absolutely going to be putting Giulia’s suggestions to the test – after all, who wouldn’t?

“I am going to use all of her tips. It’s great advice,” says Erin. “This little girl would be a great occupational therapist in the future.”

Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

An inspiring dance


Despite being told that he was never going to be able to walk again, that doesn’t stop Bruce Mansy from keeping his spirits up in any way possible.

The 7-year-old was injured in a car accident in September. Though he survived, he was told that he had complete paralysis.

Not wanting to give up hope, Bruce’s parents starting taking their son to Project Walk, an organization that helps patients with spinal cord injuries.

Thanks to the help of physical therapists, Bruce has slowly but surely been moving more and more. All that matters is he can no perform one of his favorite activities: dancing.


Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

Sending someone home


This beloved ice rink janitor may work in a chilly place, but his story will warm your heart.

Minasie Theophilis came to America from Ethiopia 33 years ago. Five years later, he started working at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a janitor.

Not once during his career has he been able to afford going home to see his family.

That’s why the university’s men’s hockey team decided to hold a fundraiser in order to send Minasie home.

“Beyond his faith, positive energy, and daily smile, the Ice Arena is spotless,” writes Christopher Johnson, a member of the hockey team. “From cleaning the locker rooms and bathrooms to washing the glass before weekend games, the pride Minasie takes in his job is contagious.”

“Recently, his mother passed away, a very sad and emotional day at Augsburg. We found out he was unable to afford to see her, so we wanted to provide him the opportunity to visit his father and family.”

The players set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $5,000. When the campaign successfully raised the necessary funds in just nine hours, the team was able to present Minasie with a check the very next day.

“We feel that after all the time and energy of Minasie serving us, we would like to return the favor and unite him with his family,” Christopher said.

Posted in Daily Dose of Awesome

Police helping fulfill a dying wish


All Patricia Kelly wanted before she died was to walk on her favorite beach one last time —but her failing condition meant she couldn’t make it without assistance.

That’s when a police department near Long Beach Island, New Jersey stepped in, after the family asked for help.

When the 78-year-old was first diagnosed with AML leukemia and told she had only months to live, her family started planning a final weekend trip to the beach. Before the big day arrived, however, she became too weak to walk any distance.

The police decided they could drive her through the thick sand that leads to the seashore, and Officer Holloway used a 4-wheel drive cruiser to undertake that mission of compassion earlier. She was able to get out and stand on the shoreline, while her family took memorable photos.

The family says they will never forget Officer Holloway’s good deed – and never forget those moments on the beach, made possible by the ‘boys in blue.’