Some Good News For A Change:

Some Good News For A Change:

1. North Carolina town raises money to build inclusive playground for all kids

It will be called the Harmony Playground, where all children are free to play in their own way. The town of Clayton, North Carolina, is planning to break ground on this inclusive project in 2019. The inspiration came after planners heard about the difficulties some families face when it comes to finding places where their children feel welcome. “It really broke my heart when I started talking to parents that when they have children with special needs, that they avoid playgrounds,” Dean Penny of the Clayton Recreational Foundation told WRAL. Harmony Playground’s design takes into account all kinds of special needs and disabilities; for example, the sidewalks will be at different elevations, so a child in a wheelchair will be able to wheel down to the lower level. Several businesses in the area are supporting the effort and helping raise funds, and the town is about halfway to its goal of $800,000. [WRAL]

2. After 2 decades of giving, Chicago man makes 500th blood donation

It all started with a blood drive at his church. Richard Packman, 74, first donated blood in the early 1990s. After being told by a phlebotomist that he had “big veins,” the Chicago resident made the switch to platelets. “It takes longer than a blood donation, but it’s well worth it,” he told theChicago Tribune. “I really enjoy being a platelets donor because you really know you’re saving lives.” It takes about two hours to donate platelets, which are commonly used for cancer patients. Packman has spent an estimated 1,000 hours giving blood or platelets, and on Friday, made his 500th donation. A small celebration was held, with streamers and carrot cake. But Packman has no plans to stop giving. “Just remember one thing: It’s better to give than to receive,” he said. [The Chicago Tribune]

3. 10-year-old runs 50 races in 50 days to raise money for cancer research

After watching a movie about the Iron Cowboy — a man who completed 50 triathlons in 50 days — Niall McDermott thought, “I could do that.” The 10-year-old from San Francisco tweaked the challenge a little, telling his parents he’d like to run 50 5K races in 50 days. After getting the okay from his pediatrician, McDermott ran his first 5K, with his parents letting him know he could stop whenever he wished. He kept at it, and on Sunday, ran his 50th 5K alongside a friend. He told KPIX that while he was running, “I was thinking, ‘I’m gonna finish this and I can do it, and when I finish it, I won’t have to do it anymore.'” McDermott’s grandfather has lung cancer, and McDermott turned his running into a fundraiser, receiving $4,000 in pledges, which will be donated to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. [KPIX]

4. Rescue dog learns how to ice skate, fetch hockey sticks

This isn’t a desert mirage — Benny the yellow lab from Las Vegas really does ice skate. The 5-year-old dog was rescued from a Las Vegas shelter right before he was to be euthanized. His new family realized that he learned things quickly, and they had custom ice skates made for Benny’s front paws so he could practice skating. He picked it up almost immediately, and now he goes around the rink with an American flag on his vest and a hockey stick in his mouth. Now Benny has branched out from skating in front of his family during weekly practices: He’s also been entertaining fans ahead of local hockey games. [WTHR]

5. Well-traveled baby set to visit every state before her 1st birthday

Harper Yeats is only five months old, but she’s already seen more of the United States than most seasoned travelers. Harper’s mom, Cindy Lim, and dad, Tristan Yeats, are originally from Australia, but they’ve lived in Canada for the last three years. In June, the family visited Maine, and came up with an idea: What if they spent their leave traveling to all 50 states? It was something they’d always wanted to do, and they thought it would be even better if their newborn daughter joined the ranks of the All Fifty States Club. “It was just our plan to do it together and have fun,” Lim told CBS News. The family has documented their adventure on Instagram with photos of Harper smiling in front of giant trees in California and sleeping next to a “Welcome to Maine” sign. [CBS News]

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