At Brooks and Kirk, a lot has happened in 2017. As a matter of fact, our team has grown and we had some brilliant results in our learner review survey. We found out 100% of our learners would recommend us to a friend! Brilliant, eh?
What’s not so brilliant is that all we see on the news is doom and gloom. Mainstream news especially make it so easy to forget about any good news – if there is any. Did anything good actually happen in 2017? It sure did, and here’s a recap of a handful of them…
Israeli scientists found a new treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease
Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS is a fatal, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It affects the motor nerve cells in both the brain and the spinal cord and leads to paralysis and failure of the respiratory muscles.
Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge that went viral a couple of years back? The money raised from that challenge has lead to real progress in treating and curing the disease! In May 2017, Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University found a way to stop the increased activity of glial cells. Glial cells damage and kill the body’s motor neuron cells. This restores the immune system defences and increases life expectancy. The university hopes that the new drug could also be used to treat a range of other degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
Guinea worm disease almost eliminated
Guinea worm disease is caused by a parasitic worm. Until recently, it was very common in large parts of Africa. It starts with dirty water that contains the parasite being drunk by humans. This worm is the largest of the tissue parasite affecting humans. The adult female can measure 60 to 80 cm in length. It migrates through the victim’s tissues causing severe pain. The worm eventually bursts out of a sore on the body. For the most part, it leaves patients bedridden for weeks and they often get secondary infections in the wound.
In 2017, it was revealed that there had been only 26 cases of Guinea worm disease reported worldwide. That’s down from 3.5 million 30 years ago! How has this happened? Simple things, like people being encouraged to filter their water and keep infected people away from the water. On the whole, this small but significant source of human misery is super close to being eliminated!
Huntington’s disease breakthrough
Huntington’s is one of the most devastating diseases. Some patients described it as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neurone disease rolled into one.
In December 2017, there was a breakthrough. An experimental drug, injected into the spinal fluid, safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brain. The research team at University College London said that there is now hope that the deadly disease can be stopped. Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years!
Chinese twins separated at birth reunited
In December 2016, 10-year-old Audrey Doering asked her adoptive parents for a sister for Christmas. Her adoptive mother, Jennifer Doering, thought this wasn’t possible. However, she did think that Audrey would like to see photos of her with her foster mother from years before.
They found a photo that showed Audrey with her Chinese foster mother – and to Jennifer’s shock, an identical twin sister! The two girls were separated in China when they were babies and adopted by two different American families. Audrey grew up in Wisconsin whereas her twin sister Gracie lived almost 1,500 miles away in Washington. The girls were delighted to find out they had a twin sister and they were reunited on Good Morning America in January 2017.
80 people formed a human chain to save a drowning family
The Ursrey family were enjoying a day on the beach in Panama City, Florida when the two youngest boys of the family were swept away by a riptide. Roberta Ursrey, the boys’ mother, and the rest of the family jumped into the water to rescue them.
Then, the situation got much worse as all 6 family members became trapped in the strong current. Some others jumped in to save them but also became stuck, and this left 9 people fighting for their lives. People on the beach saw the struggling group of people and over 80 people formed a human chain from the beach to get the exhausted swimmers back to safety. The grandmother of the Ursrey family suffered a heart attack in the water, however, everyone luckily survived and are safe, thanks to the help of many strangers.
In December of 2017, the marriage equality law passed Australia parliament after a landslide vote! Both houses of the legislature voted massively in its favour after a voluntary mail survey showed obvious public support. It was announced that on the 9th of December, same-sex couples will be able “to lodge a notice of intended marriage”. Same-sex weddings will commence as early as the 9th of January 2018.
The Animal Kingdom
60 animals flown from Houston to San Diego and saved from Hurricane Harvey
When a hurricane like Harvey devastates a city, it isn’t just people that are affected. Pets and rescue animals find themselves stranded. Shelters become over-crowded or refuse animals. In August 2017, Southwest airlines stepped in to rescue more than 60 animals from overcrowded shelters. This was in partnership with Texan rescue group ‘Operation Pets Alive!’.
Their flight transported the furrier than usual passengers from Houston to San Diego. There, they found new homes through the Helen Woodward Animal Center. In addition, the Helen Woodward Center previously partnered with Southwest Airlines in 2012. Similarly, it was to move 60 dogs and cats on a plane out of New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.
Snow leopards are no longer endangered
Good news for cat and animal lovers alike came in September 2017. The International Union for Conversation of Nature announced that snow leopards have been reclassified from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’. For a species to be considered ‘endangered,’ there must be fewer than 2,500 left and they must be experiencing a high rate of decline. Additionally, being classed as ‘vulnerable’ means a species has under 10,000 breeding animals left, with a population decline of at least 10% over three generations. In light of this, whilst vulnerable isn’t a great class to be in, it sure is better than being endangered!
Indian government ban wild animals in circus performances
The Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) passed orders in November 2017 that ban the training and exhibition of wild animals in circuses countrywide.
Following year-long inspections which brought extreme cruelty to animals to light, the new order is an attempt to keep a check on animal abuse. The orders now also ban the use of elephants in circuses. They were excluded from previous legislations. Circus animals are often beaten by trainers and they suffer from loneliness. Not to mention the boredom and frustration they have from being locked in cramped cages and chained for months as they move from city to city. In December 2017, the Italian parliament did the same. 40 nations now have animal circus bans in place.
Last but not least, who can forget these videos that went viral in the year 2017?!
Children interrupt BBC News interview
This video went viral in March 2017. Professor Robert Kelly was being interviewed live by the BBC and was hilariously interrupted by his children. However, he kept his composure and finished the interview successfully, and the world loved it!
President Donald Trump – A Bad Lip Reading
On the whole, Inauguration Day 2017 will be a day difficult to forget for many Americans and people across the world. But in light of this, the ‘Bad Lip Reading’, channel on YouTube uploaded this video on the 25th January 2017. It became an instant hit.
Man slides down London tube station escalator
This is one that you have to watch more than once. It went viral towards the end of 2017. It shows Freddie Andrews sliding down the escalator in a London tube station after 10 pints at the darts. All things considered, it didn’t end well for him… regardless, it’s hilarious for others to watch and him to look back on!
So, that’s just a small handful of some of the better things that came out of 2017. Let us know the good moments that stick out to you and what you thought of the ones above!
Let’s hope we have more of these heart-warming and hilarious moments to look back on at the end of 2018. Happy New Year!