The year saw miraculous tales of survival and brave acts by good Samaritans.

Miraculous tales of survival. Brave acts by good Samaritans. Medical and scientific marvels. And a 40-pound cat that took the Internet by storm.

Here’s a look at the top feel-good news stories from 2023.

1. Daughter surprises dad by being his kidney donor

Delayne Ivanowski of Missouri planned for months in secret to donate her kidney to her dad, who was diagnosed with a type of kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure, despite his objections to her undergoing the surgery.

A day after his successful transplant surgery in February, her dad, John Ivanowski, learned his anonymous donor was his daughter when she walked into his room wearing a hospital gown. A video Delayne Ivanowski posted of the emotional moment went viral on TikTok.

She told ABC News she hopes her family’s story helps raise awareness of the need for organ donation.

“It hurts, but all the pain is worth it in the end, I think,” she said.

Delayne Ivanowski secretly went through the approval process to be her dad's kidney donor after he was hospitalized with kidney failure.
Delayne Ivanowski secretly went through the approval process to be her dad’s kidney dono…

2. Viral cat dubbed ‘largest cat anyone has ever seen’ gets adopted

PHOTO: Kay Ford adopted Patches the cat earlier this week after seeing a photo of the 40-pound cat in a social media post shared by Richmond Animal Care and Control in Richmond, Virginia.
Kay Ford adopted Patches the cat earlier this week after seeing a photo of the 40-pound cat in a social media post shared by Richmond Animal Care and Control in Richmond, Virginia.
Courtesy of Kay Ford

When the Richmond Animal Care and Control in Virginia put out a call on Facebook to adopt Patches, “the largest cat anyone has ever seen,” hundreds of interested applicants were up for the challenge of putting the 40.3-pound feline on the path toward a safe and healthy weight.

The following day, the shelter determined that a local woman named Kay Ford would be Patches’ new owner.

“He’s very easy to fall in love with,” Ford told “Good Morning America” at the time. “I truly feel incredibly blessed that I was the chosen one.”

Ford has chronicled Patches’ journey on social media in the months since the adoption, reporting recently that he’s down to 28.63 pounds.

“35 weeks ago today Patches joined our family,” Ford said in a Dec. 20 post. “I cannot imagine our lives without him.”

3. Teen saves sister from attempted kidnapping with slingshot

PHOTO: 13-year-old Owen Burns spoke about how he used a slingshot to prevent his 8-year-old sister from a suspected kidnapping.
13-year-old Owen Burns spoke about how he used a slingshot to prevent his 8-year-old sister from a suspected kidnapping.
WGTU

A Michigan teenager was hailed as a quick-thinking hero after he helped save his younger sister during an attempted kidnapping in May by shooting the suspect with his slingshot, authorities said.

The teen — Owen Burns — told “Good Morning America” he saw the suspect grab his sister in their backyard. He grabbed his slingshot, a marble and a rock and shot the suspect three times in the head and chest, he said.

His parents said they were “extremely proud and forever grateful” for their son’s bravery.

The 18-year-old suspect pleaded guilty this month to one count of kidnapping-child enticement and one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

4. FedEx driver helps rescue man from burning car

PHOTO: Jonathan Rohrbach at the scene of a car crash on Interstate 15 in San Diego on July 26, 2023.
Jonathan Rohrbach at the scene of a car crash on Interstate 15 in San Diego on July 26, 2023.
KGTV

When FedEx driver Jonathan Rohrbach happened upon a burning car while driving during his overnight shift in July, he didn’t hesitate to act. The Californian helped pull the injured driver from the car before it became fully engulfed in flames.

The dramatic aftermath of the crash was captured by a cameraman from San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV who had also responded to the scene.

“I just happened to be the right guy in the right place at the right time,” Rohrbach told ABC News at the time. “I did what I think anybody would do. Just saw a guy that needed help so I stopped and helped him.”

During a reunion nearly two weeks later in the hospital, the driver — Jorge Herrera — tearfully thanked Rohrbach.

“I don’t think I would be here without his help,” Herrera said.

5. Ocean cleanup group removes record level of trash from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

PHOTO: Tens of thousands of pounds of trash are sorted after being removed from the Great Garbage Patch on August 10, 2023.
Tens of thousands of pounds of trash are sorted after being removed from the Great Garbage Patch on August 10, 2023.
The Ocean Cleanup

It’s been a record-breaking year for one ocean cleanup group.

In August, nonprofit environmental engineering organization Ocean Cleanup said it removed about 25,000 pounds of trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — its largest single extraction ever.

The following month, the group said it broke its own record by removing more than 40,000 pounds of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The world’s five ocean garbage patches — the largest of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — pose dangers to the local ecosystem by entangling marine life in fishing nets, animals eating plastic and other debris and by transporting non-native species from foreign habitats, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 90% of floating plastic from the oceans by 2040, which they believe is achievable.

6. Scientific breakthrough helps woman speak for 1st time in 18 years after stroke

A team of doctors and researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley discovered a way to use Johnson’s brain signals and translate them into words and avatar movements using AI. They used a clip from her wedding video to restore her voice to the way it sounded.

“Seeing her reaction to the work is really I think what motivates all of us,” Sean Metzger, a Ph.D. student who worked on the research, told ABC News in August. “She described that it was an emotional moment to hear her voice again.”

This type of technology has been in the works for decades, according to Dr. Leah Croll, a neurologist and stroke specialist.

“This is the first time that it’s starting to feel like a real medical miracle is potentially in our grasp in the future,” Croll, who didn’t work on this particular case, told ABC News Live. “We could really restore neurologic function in patients who have lost it.”

7. American caver rescued from Turkish cave

PHOTO: U.S. caver Mark Dickey, on a stretcher, is carried out of the Morca cave as his rescue operation comes to a successful end near Anamur in Mersin province, southern Turkey, Sept. 12, 2023.
U.S. caver Mark Dickey, on a stretcher, is carried out of the Morca cave as his rescue operation comes to a successful end near Anamur in Mersin province, southern Turkey, Sept. 12, 2023.
Umit Bektas/Reuters

American caver Mark Dickey was more than 3,400 feet below the surface when he fell ill while on an expedition inside the Morca Cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains on Aug. 31.

Too sick to climb out and suffering from life-threatening bleeding and vomiting, what followed was a complex rescue operation that began with his fiancée — Jessica Van Ord, a fellow caver and paramedic — making the difficult decision to leave Dickey and make the hourslong climb to the surface to alert authorities on Sept. 2.

The call to help him went out from the European Cave Rescue Association that same day and hundreds of aid workers from various countries responded. After days of prep, Dickey was safely extracted from the cave at around 12:37 a.m. local time on Sept. 12.

While recuperating in the hospital following his rescue, Dickey told ABC News that he’s “alive because of the rescuers,” whom he called “heroes,” but also credited his fiancée with “initially” saving his life.

“She saved my life, period,” he said. “She is one hell of a woman, one hell of a caver, one hell of a rescuer, one hell of a paramedic.”

8. NASA astronaut breaks record for longest trip to space by an American

PHOTO: Astronaut Frank Rubio set a new U.S. spaceflight record, eclipsing the previous record of 355 consecutive days aboard the Space Station.
Astronaut Frank Rubio set a new U.S. spaceflight record, eclipsing the previous record of 355 consecutive days aboard the Space Station.
NASA

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio spent most of 2023 in space — for a record-breaking feat. He became the longest-serving NASA U.S. astronaut in space and the first American to spend more than a year in space after orbiting the Earth for a total of 371 days.

The record wasn’t intentional; his original six-month mission at the International Space Station was extended after a leak was detected from the spacecraft that was to return the crew back to Earth and they had to wait for a replacement.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” prior to breaking the record, Rubio said he felt honored to hold the title and that he expected the record would be broken again in the future.

“I think this is really significant in the sense that it teaches us that the human body can endure, it can adapt and as we prepare to push back to the moon and then from then onward onto hopefully Mars and further on in the solar system,” he said. “I think it’s really important that we learn just how the human body learns to adapt and how we can optimize that process so that we can improve our performance as we explore further and further out from Earth.”

The current record for most consecutive days spent in space overall belongs to Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 437 days in space.

9. Construction workers rescued in India

PHOTO: National Disaster Response Force personnel and rescue operatives gather at the entrance of the Silkyara during a rescue operation for trapped workers after a section of the tunnel collapsed, in the Uttarkashi district of India on Nov. 28, 2023.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel along with other rescue operatives gather at the entrance of the under construction Silkyara during a rescue operation for trapped worker…
Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

The year saw another complex, dramatic rescue in India, when dozens of construction workers became trapped in a collapsed tunnel under the Himalayas.

Forty-one workers became trapped early on Nov. 12 when a landslide in Uttarakhand state caused a portion of the tunnel they were building to collapse about 650 feet from the entrance.

Rescuers used pipes to send food, water and oxygen to the trapped workers. Heavy machines and hand-held drilling tools were used to help dig them out.

After more than two weeks trapped in the collapsed tunnel, all 41 construction workers were rescued in good health on Nov. 28.

A rescuer told the New Delhi Television channel that “the trapped workers were overjoyed when they spotted us in the tunnel. Some rushed toward me and hugged me,” The Associated Press reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the successful rescue operation emotional and said the workers’ patience and courage were inspiring.

10. Hiker survives 1,000-foot tumble from Hawaii hiking trail

PHOTO: Ian Snyder, 34, speaks at a news conference in Hawaii on Dec. 12, 2023, about surviving a 1,000-foot topple from a hiking trail in Hawaii.
Ian Snyder, 34, speaks at a news conference in Hawaii on Dec. 12, 2023, about surviving a 1,000-foot topple from a hiking trail in Hawaii.
KITV

A California father of three was hiking alone on the Ko’olau Summit Trail in Hawaii earlier this month when his outing went from routine to treacherous.

Ian Snyder told reporters during a news conference this month that he was hiking along the peaks of the trail and doesn’t remember exactly when happened when he toppled and fell 1,000 feet, breaking his arm in the process.

When he never returned from his hike, his family reported him missing to police. Snyder spent three days stranded at the bottom of a waterfall before he was found by a rescue crew.

Snyder said it was a “miracle” he survived.

“I’m glad to be here, incredibly glad to be here and glad to be in mostly one piece,” he said.

Amber Fonte, a member of the Oahu Hiking Community, also said at the news conference that she was resigned to just returning Snyder’s body to his family.

“When we found a whole human living and breathing and waving at the sky, I was like, ‘Merry Christmas,'” Fonte said.

By Admins

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