Category Archives: Heroes

Fabrice Muamba Receives Honorary Doctorate on Behalf of Those Who Saved His Life

On March 17, 2012, Bolton Wanderers played the Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup quarter-finals. In the 43rd minute of the match, Fabrice Muamba, 23, collapsed on the pitch. The central midfielder had gone into cardiac arrest. Players frantically called for the paramedics and fans watched in silence. Five fully trained medical assistants and a St. John ambulance unit rushed to perform CPR on Muamba. Muamba’s heart had stopped for 78 minutes was in the hands of medical professionals and one fan, Dr. Deaner, who is a cardiologist,  rushed onto the pitch.

It was a scary and tragic moment around the soccer world. However, a joint effort from the medical staff on the pitch, Dr. Deaner, paramedics, and doctors, Muamba’s heart began beating again. The medical staff at London Chest Hospital and the medical staff at the match had saved Fabrice Muamba’s life. Muamba’s recovery was nothing short of remarkable as he was able to recognize his fiancee, son, and declared that he was “fine”. Two weeks after his collapse, Muamba posted a picture on Twitter of him smiling to show his fans that he was okay.

On May 02, 2012, Muamba returned to Reebok Stadium to watch his team take on the Tottenham Hotspur once again. Muamba was greeted by the staff and fans in an emotional return to the pitch since March 17. Chants of “Fabrice Muamba” echoed throughout stadium in a show of appreciation and love.

The University of Bolton is awarding Fabrice Muamba an honorary doctorate degree. Muamba’s recovery is an incredible accomplishment that was achieved through an amazing effort from the medical staff at the pitch to the doctors and nurses at London Chest Hospital. Muamba is a recipient of this degree as a way of honouring all those involved in his revival and recovery. The emergency treatment Muamba received saved his life and is an amazing accomplishment by all those involved.

Hopefully we can see Muamba lace up those boots for the 2012/2013 season of the English Premier League. Follow Muamba on Twitter!

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MasterChef’s First Blind Contestant

In it’s third season, MasterChef has returned with one of the most interesting seasons yet. A competitive cooking show which has the contestants presenting their dishes to the three judges. The nicest of the three judges, in my opinion, is Graham Elliot, a restaurant owner and chef. Many are familiar with Gordon Ramsay from his show Hell’s Kitchen. Lastly, Joe Bastianich may be one of the toughest judges these contestants will face. Bastianich’s sharp glares are enough to make any chef feel like a sub-par home cook. It’s these three judges that the contestants have to appeal to.

What sets this season apart from the other seasons is one contestant in particular. Christine Ha is the first ever blind contestant on MasterChef. Christine Ha is just 33 and has been diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), a disorder were the person’s immune system attacks their optic nerves and spinal cord. Despite her condition, Christine is an amazing person with an amazing talent – cooking.

Instead of using sight, Christine relies on her other senses to cook. Touching the food, smelling the food, and tasting the food are the main techniques that Christine uses. What is even more impressive is that Christine gets little help from her guide. Her guide is only there to help her collect ingredients and to make sure she does not burn herself. The judges do not treat Christine differently either.

Christine possesses a remarkable skill in her ability to cook. However, when it comes to baking, there is a heavy reliance on sight. When baking a cake, one looks to see the cake rising. On Monday, the contestants were asked to bake an apple pie. Christine Ha was at a great disadvantage compared to her fellow contestants. What Christine accomplished is incredible and heart-warming.

Make sure you follow Christine Ha on Facebook and Twitter.  Tune in to MasterChef every Monday and Tuesday to watch Christine Ha cook!

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Justin Blackmon and His Inspirational Friendship

Justin Blackmon, of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, had an incredible performance in the Fiesta Bowl game on January 2nd. Blackmon was named MVP for the 2012 Fiesta Bowl after an overtime win. Blackmon had eight catches which totaled 186 yards and three touchdowns.

There is more to the wide receiver than just his on field performance. Justin Blackmon has an incredible friend who gives him strength. Olivia Hamilton, 9, is dealing with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Olivia is nearing the end of her 108 week treatment process. Nevertheless, it’s a horrible thing for any child to go through.

In a Coaches vs. Cancer at Oklahoma State, Olivia met Justin Blackmon. At first Olivia was shy and Blackmon was unable to receive a high five. A few months later, Blackmon tracked down Olivia and went to visit her hospital where he received a huge hug from Olivia. It doesn’t stop there, Blackmon would go and see Olivia in the hospital a few more times. From there, an amazing friendship was born.

When Olivia, for the first time, went to watch Blackmon play against Tulsa, she left two things for Blackmon in his locker. Olivia had made a sign for Blackmon as well as given him a pink silicon bracelet which read “Liv’s laugh beats ALL”. From that game on, Blackmon has worn the bracelet. Blackmon says that every time he sees the bracelet, he’s inspired. Olivia always cheers on her favourite player and watches to see her bracelet, as he celebrates every touchdown.

The friendship these two have is nothing short of beautiful and incredible. Both draw on the strength and inspiration of one another. Justin and Olivia send text messages back and forth, especially before games. Their story has attracted media attention, especially from ESPN. Watch the video below to hear their story, be sure to have a tissue box with you.

Wherever Blackmon goes in the NFL, the team has received an amazing athlete and an incredible person. I’m sure that wherever Justin goes, he will be bringing Olivia out to watch him play.

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Student Shares His Free Throw Winnings

What comes to mind when you hear the words Compton, L.A.? I’m sure it’s not a very positive image. Court Crandall was inspired after watching his son play basketball with some of the Compton students. With a large racial and social divide, Crandall wanted to find a way to unite people. How could this be accomplished? A free throw shooting competition was going to be held in Compton to bring everyone together.

A pre-requisite for the free throw competition was a 3.00 or higher GPA. Crandall received 100 applications and 8 of the students were chosen, at random. The winner of the competition would receive a $40,000 scholarship and the runners-up would receive $1,000. Crandall’s “hope was that what started as a competition would become a collaboration with the kids supporting each other”.  However, it became much more than that. At first, I struggled to see how a free throw competition could foster support of the participants. After watching the clip below, it was the fans supporting the shooters in such a positive way that made me understand.

The winner, Allan Guei, 18, was a point guard on the senior basketball team with a full scholarship to Cal-State Northridge. What Guei did with his winnings is even more incredible. After three months of winning the competition, Guei donated the money to his seven fellow participants. For Guei, he wanted his fellow classmates to have their academic dreams come true. “I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we’re living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates”. Guei says, “it was the right decision.”

The goal of Crandall was to create a sense of community and support. I can bet that Crandall did not expect the unity to spread in the way it did. Cal-State Northridge has picked up an amazing basketball player. Better yet, they managed to find an even finer human-being. You give someone the opportunity and it’s amazing what they will do with it.

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A Story of Robbery, Courage, and Kindness

On March 28, 2008, National Public Radio produced a story on a robbery. However, this isn’t your normal robbery story. I’ve read a lot of stories on crime and no story on crime can ever touch this one.

Julio Diaz takes the subway home every day, from work. One stop away from the Bronx, New York, Julio stops at his favourite diner. Unfortunately, one evening in February, Julio Diaz’s trip to his favourite diner was interrupted by a teenager with a knife. The teenager wanted Julio’s money.

Like most of us are taught, Diaz complied and gave his money to the teenager. Just as the teenager walked away, Diaz told him, “You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

With the teenager responding with a puzzled look, Diaz said, “if you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.”

So, Diaz and the teenager took a seat in the diner and Diaz gave the teen a lesson on being kind. Diaz greeted the manager, servers, and the dishwashers. The teen was surprised at Diaz’s actions and asked why he was so nice to everyone. Diaz asked the teen if he was ever taught to be nice. The teen responded, “yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way”.

The bill arrived and Diaz said, “look, I guess you’re going to have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.” The teen gave Diaz his wallet back and Diaz gave the teen $20. In return, Diaz asked for the teen’s knife. The teen complied and handed over the knife.

Diaz leaves us with these words: “I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”

To read the full story by Michael Garofalo, visit the NPR site.

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The Kindness Crew

The Kindness Crew is a group of four friends from Victoria, B.C. that is dedicated to engaging in acts of kindness. Val Litwin, Erik Hanson, Chris Bratseth, and Brad Stokes have come together to do good in the community. Ranging from handing out flowers to renovating a community daycare, these four young men bring a smile to the face of their community through kindness.

Beginning after the tragic events of 9/11 and the passing of Stoke’s mother due to ovarian cancer, the group has engaged in acts of kindness to lift the spirits of everyone around them. Their success has led to two books, speeches at schools, invitations to talk shows, and even consulting in the corporate world! Watch their story below!

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“The beautiful thing is every time you do a random act of kindness, it makes you feel great and increases your belief that the world is a wonderful place,” Hansen said.

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Dr. Riley Senft Raises Funds and Awareness for Prostate Cancer

To continue the theme of ‘Movember’ and prostate cancer awareness, a story regarding a local Vancouverite was featured by the Vancouver Canucks. Dr. Riley Senft embarked on an incredible journey across Canada (from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia) to raise proceeds for prostate cancer research.

What’s even more impressive about this man’s journey is about who he is. Growing up with a permanent hearing loss in one ear and ADD is no easy feat. However, Dr. Riley Senft was able to overcome that and spend four years at Yale University. You can read more about Riley’s background more here.

For 10 hours, 71 km, a day, Dr. Senft was able to complete this long journey. It took five months of daily running and a total of 6,621 km before Dr. Senft reached the finish line. What did Dr. Senft accomplish? Dr. Senft was able to raise $500,000 and awareness for prostate cancer. The run was dedicated to his grandfather and uncle who had past away from prostate cancer. Recently, Dr. Senft’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer for the second time, as well.

The run ended with a storybook ending. Senft was able to take his girlfriend, whom he met in med school, out on a picnic where he proposed to her. Her response was just what Dr. Riley Senft had hoped for.

Follow Dr. Riley Senft’s blog to learn more!

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12-Year-Old Break and Enter Detective

Jessica Maple, 12, has solved a break and enter and theft of her great-grandmother’s things!

In Fitzgerald, Georgia, Jessica’s great-grandmother’s home was broken into. However, Jessica’s great-grandmother passed away in 2004 and the house has been unoccupied ever since. Family members check up on the house periodically but it remains empty.

Neighbours reported to the police one afternoon that the door on the house was left ajar. Jessica, had enrolled in a six-week Junior District Attorney program in the summer and was eager to inspect the family home. Jessica and her mother drove down to Georgia, from Atlanta.

Once on the scene, Jessica began questioning Detective Sergeant James Tilley. She began asking questions like: “do we have any latent fingerprints?” and “the point of entry?” Detective Sergeant James Tilley was absolutely shocked at being questioned by the 12-year-old and wondered how she knew this information. The police assumed the criminal had a key to the house.

However, Jessica was able to prove the police wrong by finding a broken window in the garage with fingerprints on the door. Inside the house, it was missing furniture and appliances belonging to Jessica’s great grandmother. It was clear that the place had been victim to a crime.

Jessica and her mother went to visit a local pawnshop where they found the stolen property. Upon finding her grandmother’s property, Jessica stated: “they weren’t thinking, they put everything in the same shop!”

Photographs were pulled from the stores security cameras and given to young Jessica. Jessica and her mother went to the place of one of the criminals and confronted him. At first he denied it but eventually confessed.

Watch out Nancy Drew!

Why Always Me?

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is not always in the media for the right reasons. Balotelli, 20, has been criticized for being young and immature. September 5, 2010, Mario Balotelli crashed his Audi R8 and when asked by police why he had £5,000 in his back pocket, he responded, “because I’m rich”. Also, in 2010, Balotelli (now cleared) was investigated for possible links to the Italian Mafia. Recently, the night before a derby match between Manchester City and Manchester United, Balotelli’s house caught fire as he was lighting fireworks from his bathroom window. These are just a few of the antics of the Manchester City striker.

A story that many people did not know, is one that has converted me into a fan of his. Balotelli, after practice, was outside of his training facility when he stopped to sign an autograph for a young fan. As he was signing his autograph, he asked the kid why he wasn’t at school. The boy told Balotelli that he was being bullied. Balotelli told the boy to hop into his Maserati and got the boy’s mom and drove to the school demanding to speak to the headteacher. Mario Balotelli made the boy confess to what has been happening and identified the bully. The boy and his bully shook hands before Balotelli drove off.

You can love him or you can hate him, but you cannot deny that he did the right thing. Mario Balotelli was not obligated to do this for the youngster but his belief in education and anti-bullying has now changed a life for the better.

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12-Year-Old Builds 27 Homes

Rachel Wheeler, from Florida, is just 12-years-old. After attending a meeting for charity work in Haiti, when she was 9, Rachel got up on a chair in front of everyone and promised to help Food for the Poor.

In grade 4, Rachel promised to build a dozen homes in Haiti. Rachel held bake sales, passed around a can at her school’s sporting events, and appealed to the parents of her community. Using Facebook and word-of-mouth, a cherry farm in Washington heard about her cause and donated its proceeds from one seasons harvest. In three years, Rachel had raised $250,000!

With that money, Rachel was able to build not just a dozen homes but 27 earthquake-proof homes that can house a family! What’s next for Rachel? She’s looking to rebuild a school. What this young girl has accomplished is more than many adults have accomplished in their whole life. Rachel is truly a remarkable young girl.

Learn more about Rachel’s story.

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What’s obvious to you is amazing to somebody else

Your ideas are just as amazing as everyone else’s. Watch the video to see what I mean!

Sportsmanship at its Finest

High school football in the United States is kind of a big deal. Myrtle Beach High Seahawks played Hilton Head High Seahawks in a playoff game. Myrtle Beach High beat Hilton Head High 64 to 16. With such a large deficit, it’s easy to assume that the Hilton Head High students hung their heads in shame.

Instead, the final play of the game is enough to make everyone on the field and in the crowd happy. Chip Mullen, a senior for Hilton Head, has down syndrome and was playing in his last game as a Seahawk. The coach of Myrtle Beach, Mickey Wilson, decided that Chip should score a touchdown. Mickey Wilson told Hilton Head’s coach to give Chip Mullen a handoff for the last play of the game.

For this story, you’ll just have to watch the ESPN coverage that this young man’s play received.

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Citizens Come Together to Save Biker

In September, there was a story on the news of a 21-year-old Utah State University student who was in a very serious bike accident. Brandon Wright was riding his motorbike when it collided with a BMW. Wright was trapped under the BMW but what is more amazing is the courageous act of twelve strangers to help Brandon. These citizens are not just every day humans but incredible heroes.

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