5 Most Uplifting Stories of the Year
The ones that made us laugh, cry, and vow to be better in our own lives
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2014 3:33 AM CST
This undated file photo provided by the Maynard family shows Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old terminally ill woman who died under Oregon's law that allows the terminally ill to end their own lives.   (AP Photo/Maynard Family, File)

(Newser) – An end-of-the-year assortment of the stories that inspired us in 2014:

  • KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: 30K Birthday Cards Arrive for Man With Down Syndrome (November): With Manuel Parisseaux's 30th birthday coming up, his mother sent out a Facebook request for a few cards for her son, who has Down syndrome. Dozens of cards started arriving at the family's home in Calais, France; then the dozens turned to hundreds. By the time Parisseaux celebrated his actual birthday, the family had received a stunning total of 30,000 cards. "Manuel is ... moved to tears," his mom said. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Paraplegic Vet Surprises Bride, Stands Up for First Dance (November): Sgt. Joey Johnson—an Afghanistan war vet who lost all feeling below his chest after a 2012 motorcycle accident—wanted to make his wedding to Michelle extra special. So he recruited pals to help him build a device that would allow him to ditch his wheelchair and stand up for their first dance. "It was so amazing to be eye to eye with him again, and such a dream come true," Michelle says. There were a few things that made the couple feel fated to be together from the start. (Runner-up and No. 3.)

  • SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: Boys Rescued After Being Buried in Snow for Hours (November): A snow fort nearly became a snow tomb for two cousins in Newburgh, NY. Police say the boys, ages 9 and 11, were playing across the street from their apartment complex when a snowplow buried them. A frantic search began, and they were finally found after four hours under more than 6 feet of snow at 2am after police spotted a small shovel sticking out of the snow mound. The boys were conscious and hospitalized for exposure but otherwise in good condition. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • FOUR-LEGGED PALS: Rescued Goat Overjoyed at Reunion With ... Burro (May): A goat named Mr. G was rescued from squalor and taken to a California sanctuary. Problem was, rescuers didn't realize how attached Mr. G was to a burro named Jellybean. Mr. G. didn't eat for six days and moped about in a depressive funk—until rescuers reunited him with Jellybean. As a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle notes, you might need a tissue before watching their emotional reunion. (Runner-up and No. 3.)
  • MOST AMAZING PEOPLE OF 2014: Woman Choosing to Die Has Completed Her Bucket List (October): The story of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman with a terminal brain tumor who chose to die on her own terms, captured the nation. Before she died Nov. 1, she checked off every item on her bucket list. She crossed off the final item at the end of October: visiting one of the most famous places in the world, which she called "breathtakingly beautiful." (Runner-up and No. 3.)
Click for more uplifting news—and hope for lots of additions in 2015.