The Friday 5: Your Uplifting Stories of the Week

Sometimes the news can be, well, not so inspiring. When headlines get you down, it’s important to remember that positive things are still happening all around us. Here are five hopeful and encouraging stories to pay attention to this week:

Muscle Memory: When a High-Five Means So Much More

When Gabe Scott moved a mile and a half from Andy Gullahorn in 2014, the two acquaintances began a tradition of walking to give one another a high five once a week. They established a routine that progressively became known amongst their friends and family, who sometimes accompanied them on their weekly walks. When Gabe began to have memory loss due to an aggressive form of Encephalitis, he was hospitalized. Even though he still has fuzzy memories of the time surrounding the hospitalization, his muscle memory kicked in when Andy tried to high five him. Gabe reflected, “Revisiting it, and it feeling real again. I don’t know the right word other than recovery. Getting better. It felt like getting better.” Six years later, the best friends have rarely missed a week, and don’t plan on stopping this tradition any time soon. Read more.

Great News for Cyclists: The Great American Rail Trail Will Expand

The Great American Rail Trail, a system of bike trails built on unused railroads, is to be expanded in the coming year to connect from coast to coast. The project is already underway, with nearly 2000 miles completed, connecting more than 145 existing paths. Due to the pandemic, the trails have been seeing much more use, as people look for safe and healthy ways to enjoy the outdoors. Read more

53 Acts of Kindness for 53 Years of Life

Although quarantine prevented Debra Ferrell from celebrating her birthday in a normal fashion this year, she found a way to use her special day to bring joy to others. Taking to social media, the Minnesota woman asked people across the country for suggestions for acts of kindness — 53 of them, to be exact — that she could perform during her birthday month. Responses flooded in, and Debra was able to fill the month with kind gestures and even brought her teen granddaughters in on her mission to spread joy during a challenging year. Read more.

A New Type of Pregnancy Test for Those With Sight Loss

“Accessible design isn’t something that’s far off in the future; it’s here and now, and we wanted budding designers to be able to think accessibly,” says Eleanor Southwood, chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Women with sight loss aren’t usually the first ones to find out they are pregnant, but the designers behind a new pregnancy test prototype are seeking to change that. The test would have highly contrasting colors, to help those with partial vision, and a tactile positive-negative aspect, so those with total vision loss could still read and receive their own results. Read more.

A Super Bowl for Superheros

The NFL will give away Super Bowl tickets to 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to show their appreciation for the health care heroes who risk their lives every day. The NFL wants to promote healthy practices, such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated to prevent COVID, while also inspiring other Americans to thank health care workers. Each of the 32 NFL teams will get to select health care workers in their communities, each of whom will receive a special game day experience. The CDC is working with the NFL to accommodate every guest in “a safe and responsible” way. Read more.

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