Remember this viral Hurricane Katrina photo? Finally, these two reunited.

About 10 years ago, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, this photo was taken.

It changed Michael Maroney’s life.

Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Maroney, seen on the left above, saved over 140 people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history. But one rescue in particular stood out.

He helped save then-3-year-old LeShay Brown, and the joyous moment was caught on camera by the Airman 1st Class Veronica Pierce. The picture, taken amid overwhelming heartache, reflects a pivotal moment for Maroney.

“When she wrapped me up with that hug, I just melted, and the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders,” Maroney told
ABC News. “Everything in the world just stopped, and I wasn’t in New Orleans or in the devastation, I was just being hugged by a beautiful little girl.”

But Maroney who said he was especially “drawn to her” because he had two boys about her age hadn’t caught Brown’s name at the time.

He spent the past decade wondering who and where she was.

In March 2015, Maroney launched a social media campaign to find the girl who changed his life.

He created the hashtag
#FindKatrinaGirl in hopes that it’d eventually lead him to Brown.

And, thankfully, it did.

One of Brown’s friends contacted Maroney’s son on Instagram, according to ABC News, and the connection led to their meeting during an episode of BET’s “The Real” talk show, which aired Sept. 16, 2015.

A photo posted by The Real Talk Show (@therealdaytime) on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:26am PDT


It was a reunion they’ll both remember forever.

Maroney finally met Brown, who now lives in Mississippi and is “a straight-A student with dreams of becoming a lawyer,” according to Loni Love of “The Real.”

The tear-filled experience was an emotional one especially for Maroney.

“If I can explain to you how important your hug was … that small gesture it helped me through bad days and dark days.”

GIFs via “The Real.”

Watch the moving clip of their reunion below:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/remember-this-viral-hurricane-katrina-photo-finally-these-two-reunited?c=tpstream

This amazing photo of a boy at an anti-gay march went viral for all the right reasons.

On Sept. 10, 2016, a young boy faced off against thousands of anti-gay-marriage protestors.

Journalist Manuel Rodriguez captured this amazing photo during a Frente Nacional por la Familia march in Celaya, Guanajuato, in central Mexico. Frente Nacional is a nationwide pro-family organization that essentially condemns same-sex marriages.

Rodriguez says he initially thought the boy was just goofing around when he saw him stand in front of the crowd with his arms out.

But when Rodriguez interviewed the boy, who’s about 12, the boy told him he has a gay uncle. He said he doesn’t like the hatred his uncle faces from people like the ones he faced head-on in that march.

It’s important to remember that the “machista” mentality unfortunately still runs rampant in Mexico.

Homophobia remains a big problem among Latino men, many of whom feel a cultural expectation to be the big, strong head of the household something they feel is stereotypically contrary to gay culture.

But this incredible image is certainly one that speaks a thousand words. It shows that the younger generation is bringing a more open and accepting mentality into the mix in Mexico.

Yes, hate is a strong emotion. But love is even stronger. And it’s love that made this boy take this huge stand against thousands of people.

We’re born without judgments. And it’s only after we begin to understand the world around us that we form prejudices and preconceived notions about people who lead different lifestyles than those we’re used to seeing.

So let’s lift this boy up as an example of what it means to choose love over hate.

To me, his grand gesture is proof that there’s inherent good and acceptance in all of us. And that’s worth celebrating.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-amazing-photo-of-a-boy-at-an-anti-gay-march-went-viral-for-all-the-right-reasons?c=tpstream

The Moment Deaf Woman Hears For First Time Will Warm Your Heart

The Moment Deaf Woman Hears For First Time Will Warm Your Heart

Joanne Milne suffers from Usher Syndrome, a rare disease that left her deaf since birth and even took her sight in her twenties. 

Thanks to the power of science, she has just regained some hearing with the help of a cochlear implant.

British news channel Birmingham Mail News posted the powerful moment, originally uploaded online by Joanne’s friend Tremayne Crossley, when she hears for the first time at the clinic, and naturally breaks down in tears. 

Read more on DailyMail

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2014/03/27/the-moment-deaf-woman-hears-for-first-time-will-warm-your-heart/

Everyone Who Bullied This Girl For Her Looks Is Blown Away By What She’s Doing Now

Chantelle Winnie Young-Brown, better known as Winnie Harlow, was diagnosed with a skin condition called vitiligo when she was just four years old.

Vitiligo causes melanin-producing cells to malfunction, and the result is typically a patchy appearance that’s more noticeable on darker skin tones. It isn’t contagious or deadly, but the most devastating side effects of the disease are psychological, since those who suffer from vitiligo are often bullied for things that are beyond their control.

And that was certainly the case for Harlow, who was constantly taunted by her peers for the way she looked. You can imagine their surprise when the gorgeous, talented woman effectively took over the modeling industry.

Before we get into the life of this truly one-of-a-kind woman, let’s just take a moment to appreciate her slayage.

Okay, now we can dive in. Winnie Harlow stunned judges and viewers alike when she auditioned for “America’s Next Top Model.” What she had to say when she stepped in front of the camera set the tone for her history-making rise to supermodel stardom.

Her goal is to celebrate the beauty of difference — the quirks that set us apart and help us become the most authentic versions of ourselves.

Her message resonates with fans who feel isolated by things that they’ve been conditioned to associate with shame.

Harlow’s story makes it clear that what other people see as physical imperfections should never hold us back from being true to who we are.

And that’s where she really shines. Although it’s easy to see that the camera loves her, she’s more interested in the fact that her story brings diversity to an industry that’s famous for flying in the face of inclusivity.

She heard the word “no” so many times before she finally broke through the glass ceiling that tried to hold her down as both a woman of color and as someone who suffers from a condition that few people understand.

If you want to learn more about Winnie Harlow’s life and career, check this out!

To keep up with all of the model’s adventures, be sure to follow her on Instagram. And just remember, ladies and gents…

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/winnie-harlow/

Kids at this summer camp go in heartbroken but come out stronger than ever.

Liz Eddy was only 9 years old when she lost her father to cancer, but it wasn’t until she reached college that she finally let herself grieve.

“I pretty much ignored it completely and tried to go back to normal life,” said Eddy. “There isn’t a simple recipe for grief.”

Over time, of course, grief snuck up on her, and she had to face it. That’s when she heard about Experience Camps weeklong not-for-profit summer camps designed to help kids cope with the death of a loved one, free of charge.

The camps were started back in 2009 by Sara Deren, whose husband ran Camp Manitou, a boys’ camp in Maine. That first summer they had 27 campers, and now they have almost 400 in three different locations across the country.

Eddy volunteered to be a counselor at Experience Camps back in 2013, and she now serves on the camp’s board of directors. Like 90% of the campers, she simply can’t stay away.

Experience Camps give all the kids (and counselors) the chance to deal with their emotions and grief in their own time, in their own way, while surrounded by other people who truly “get it.”

“Most of the kids they know haven’t had someone close to them die, and it makes them feel different and alone,” wrote Deren in an email. “Being at a camp like this shows them that they are not alone, gives them an opportunity to talk about their person who died, and release some of the weight they carry around with them.”

In everyday life, there’s often a lot of pressure to keep grief hidden, Eddy notes, even when around family members who are experiencing it too. “[The campers] dont want their families to hurt anymore,” Eddy explained.

At Experience Camps where there’s an underlying understanding that everyone is struggling with similar feelings day-to-day that pressure seems to melt away.

When the campers aren’t working through their grief, it’s also just a great camp filled with summer activities and lifelong friendships.

Anyone who’s been to camp knows how quickly bonds can form there. Whether kids are doing mundane things, like brushing their teeth, or exciting things, like learning to water ski, camp friends become their second family. For kids who’ve experienced a great personal loss, their camp family is often the only group of people with whom they feel comfortable being completely vulnerable.

Eddy recalled one instance were she saw a bunch of boys having a great time on stand-up paddleboards. They told her later that the excursion prompted them to go back to their bunks and show each other pictures of the family members they lost over laughter and tears. The boys ended up a whole lot closer for it.

The camps emphasize that the best way to cope with loss is often through finding a balance between grief and joy.

“It’s OK to grieve for someone and still find happiness in life,” Deren wrote over email.

The camp offers sharing circles where campers can talk openly about their feelings with clinicians and share memories of lost loved ones, but that’s not the only place for “breakthrough moments.” These moments are just as likely to occur during a rousing basketball game or while walking through a field after a bonfire.

“You just dont know when [grief is] going to come out, but the most beautiful thing is everyone is open and aware and ready to listen, said Eddy.

One night, Eddy was walking back to her bunk after the final bonfire of the week a time when many kids finally open up with a 9-year-old girl who had been closed off most of the week … until that very moment.

“She looks up at me and says, ‘I didnt cry,'” Eddy recalled. “I started to go into mom mode saying, ‘No. its okay! You dont have to cry. It doesnt mean you dont feel anything!’ And she stopped me and said, ‘No, but you dont understand. I feel her. I feel my mom in my heart.’ And we both immediately just start crying in the middle of this field.”

At the end of the summer, campers leave Experience with the tools they need to continue working through their feelings as they grow into adulthood and to help others do the same.

Campers learn there’s no one magic way to get through grief, that everyone processes it in their own unique way, and that the feelings that go along with it are going to change over time. They leave knowing there will be great days and terrible days, but that they’ve got a support system that will always be there for them when they need it most.

It comes down to a story the counselors tell the campers about an invisible string: Even though they can’t see it, this string ties all the campers and counselors of Experience together and acts as a constant reminder they are never alone.

Check out a video on Experience Camps here:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/kids-at-this-summer-camp-go-in-heartbroken-but-come-out-stronger-than-ever?c=tpstream

Rice Engineering Students Build Robotic Arm For Disabled Teen

Rice Engineering Students Build Robotic Arm For Disabled Teen

Dee Faught was born with the genetic disease Osteogenesis imperfecta, causing his bones to be extremely brittle. His bones are so weak, he can’t even lift lightweight objects. 

A very special engineering team of students at Rice University went above and beyond the call of duty to bring Dee and his parents hope by building a special robotic arm to give Dee more independence and spirit. 

The web loves this uplifting story, and as a result it has gone viral, amassing over 415,000 views in less than a week. The video is further featured on HuffPost, Neatorama, and KHOU

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/09/28/rice-engineering-team-build-robotic-arm-for-disabled-teen/

Terminally ill 7-year-old gets his Halloween wish granted and fights off the walking dead.

Civilization has collapsed. Supplies are scarce. Oh yeah, and there are a bunch of undead, flesh-eating creatures roaming around every corner and they’re coming after
you.

The zombie apocalypse has become a popular fantasy these days.

That’s thanks in no small part to the success of “The Walking Dead,” which has been, ahem, killing it for years, and its spinoff series, “Fear the Walking Dead.” But most of us won’t have a chance to put our encyclopedic knowledge of the undead to practical use.

Then again, most of us aren’t Spencer Holt.

Somebody call a hero? Photo by Pasco Sheriff’s Office, used with permission.


The 7-year-old boy from Pasco County, Florida, got to do what many of us secretly wish we could try: living a day as a hero in the middle of a zombie attack.

Spencer is battling a terminal mitochondrial disease that has no known cure. With doctors unable to establish any firm timeline of what lies in store for him, he and his family are simply taking life one step at a time, hoping that tomorrow brings better news than the day before.

Thanks to a few kindhearted deputies, he received exactly that last week in the form of a day spent living out his fantasy as a real-life
Rick Grimes.

Watcha gonna do when he comes for you? Photo by Pasco Sheriff’s Office, used with permission.

After receiving a call from Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco inviting him down to the station, Spencer a lover of all things law enforcement and zombie-related was whisked away to the sheriff’s office with a full motorcade escort in tow.

Before he could even begin to make heads or tails of the situation, he was informed that an army of zombies (played by local high school drama students) had infiltrated the facility.


Insert Me before my morning coffee” joke here. Photo by Pasco Sheriff’s Office, used with permission.

“We’re overrun, buddy. We need your help. We need a team leader out there,” Nocco told the boy as he adorned him with an official badge.
“This is going to be an important day.”

With a NERF dart gun in his hand and a troop of SWAT members and K-9 units providing backup, Spencer proceeded to dispatch any and every zombie threat facing the jail with sniper-like precision.

When all was said and done, Spencer was treated to two more surprises.

The first: a Thriller”-inspired victory dance from several on-duty officers (a reference that I’m pretty confident was a little before his time).

GIF via
WFLA News Channel 8.

The second: a minivan, donated to Spencer’s family by a local roofing company to help transport him around.

Spencer’s mother, Cher, was overwhelmed by the generous gestures. “This is what I treasure, the good days,” she said.
Make the most memories of every day because no one is promised tomorrow.”

Watch the action here, courtesy of Fox 13 News:

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/terminally-ill-7-year-old-gets-his-halloween-wish-granted-and-fights-off-the-walking-dead?c=tpstream

Nicest Good Samaritan Ever Helps Stranded Motorist On Highway

ButUncle Mulletis not most of us. The kind good Samaritan loves helping others and knows enough about cars to actually fix the problem. In this video, he,and many others kind strangers, helps a woman whose minivan broke down on the highway on an extremely hot day. We need more people like this guy.

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2016/06/24/nicest-good-samaritan-ever-helps-stranded-motorist-on-highway/

Today’s Pep Talk, Brought To You By An Adorable, Fierce Girl

This is Eunice.


She’s in fifth grade at the Kibera School for Girls in Kenya, and she’s given herself quite the pep talk. It’s one I think we all could benefit from hearing.

Eunice says she has a dream.

But she knows that everything great starts from something small. Just like her dream.


She says the journey is just as important as the destination.

Yeah, I know it sounds pretty cheesy. But to hear this tenacious little girl say it with such determination? Whoa.

And she reminds herself that dreams are there for the taking.

This is the part where I’m like, “YEAH, EUNICE. Let’s do it!” And I get all inspired and motivated.

“So, dream!”

For the full effect, head on up to the video at the top of the post and give it a watch. But even if you don’t have time for that, isn’t this girl so great? This is the best motivational speech I’ve heard in a long time.

Eunice has a dream. What about you?

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/todays-pep-talk-brought-to-you-by-an-adorable-fierce-girl?c=tpstream

She survived the car crash, but her memories of their wedding didn’t. So they’re doing it again.

They say your wedding day should be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

And it would have been for Justice Stamper before a car wreck nearly took it all away.

She and her husband, Jeremy, were married on August 1, 2014, in tranquil Hungry Mother State Park, in a country sunflower-themed ceremony before family and friends.

Justice and Jeremy were first married at Hungry Mother State Park. All photos by Kayla Williams, used with permission.

On August 20, 2014, just weeks after her wedding, Justice Stamper was in a traumatic car accident that erased every last one of her wedding memories.

From planning and cake tastings, to walking down the aisle, to her and Jeremy’s honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains.

All of it gone.

It took her months to work up the courage to admit to her husband that she had no recollection of the day they had dreamed about together for so long.

It was one of the happiest days of their lives but the joy was short-lived.

When she finally told Jeremy, he promised her they would do it all over again.

He started a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to scrape together enough money to give Justice a wedding day she’d remember forever. One even better than their first.

And as of this writing, Jeremy has raised nearly double his original goal of $5,000.

There’s never a good time for tragedy to strike, but for some people, it hits at the absolute worst moment.

In 2007, Katie Spinks suffered an epileptic seizure just hours before her wedding and woke up not knowing where she was and not even recognizing the tuxedoed man standing across from her. She only remembered her husband-to-be halfway through the ceremony.

In 2013, Amanda Karth suffered an extreme heart attack the night of her wedding that knocked her unconscious for days, wiping away the happy memories of her nuptials in the process.

And in 2014, just two months before his wedding to fiancee Leizl, Rowden Go Pangcoga was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Doctors said he’d never make it to the ceremony.

Each of these brave individuals, along with their loving partners, found a way to overcome the obstacles.

Katie made a memory book full of photos so she’d never forget her wedding, her kids, and her life with her husband.

Amanda renewed her vows with her groom in a tender ceremony after their story gained wide attention.

Rowden and Leizl moved their wedding up almost a full month and were married in a hospital. All because the moment meant that much to them.

And on August 1, 2015, Justice Stamper will have her moment one that she and her husband will share forever.

Justice and Jeremy will get married again on August 1.

Love is built on these shared experiences weddings, births, and all the day-to-day moments in between. It’s built on an ability to look back in awe of everything you’ve been through together.

The good and the bad.

Jeremy and Justice will tie the knot for the second time, and this time in front of not only their family and friends, but everyone who helped them make this great day possible.

And afterward, they’ll finally be able to put the accident behind them and begin a new chapter of their lives together.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/she-survived-the-car-crash-but-her-memories-of-their-wedding-didnt-so-theyre-doing-it-again?c=tpstream