A man battling cancer gave away his free pizza prize — and got more pizza in return.

For a fleeting moment leaving the chemotherapy treatment center, Josh Katrick forgot about the year he'd been having.

He'd just gotten an email telling him that — out of roughly 1,200 names — his was the one randomly selected from a raffle at Mario's Pizza in Northampton, Pennsylvania. A lot of free pizza was coming his way.

The family-owned local hot spot had held a promotion giving away two large pizzas and one two-liter beverage every month throughout 2017.  


"I remember coming out of [the chemo treatment center] thinking, 'I just won pizzas for a year!'" Katrick told WFMZ-TV 69 News of that moment in early December. "'That's cool!'"

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

For Katrick, the news came amid quite a surreal few months.

The 36-year-old learned he has colon cancer in July. He had surgery in August and has since completed seven of 12 rounds of chemotherapy, NBC 10 News reported.

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

"It’s been a fast time," he told the outlet. "It still feels like the blink of an eye."

Most people would argue a guy like Katrick is more than deserving of a few free slices considering what he's been through lately.

Katrick, however, had other plans in mind.

Katrick asked Mario's — his favorite pizza joint in town — if his free pizza could be given to the Northampton Area Food Bank instead.

"I've been getting so much from family, friends — people I don't even know well — the last few months," he explained to WFMZ, that he didn't think a year's worth of free pizza should be spent on him.

GIF via WFMZ.

At first, Frank Grigoli, a manager and co-owner's son at Mario's, didn't know what to make of the request.

Before he knew Katrick wanted the pizza to be given to the food bank, Grigoli was a bit befuddled. Mario's has been in business 37 years, after all, and quality is baked into every bite — why would someone pass on a delicious free lunch?

After learning it was about helping Northampton's most vulnerable people, however, Grigoli says Katrick's request brought "tears of joy." "This guy has a big heart," he said.

Still, something was bothering him. "That night, I went to sleep and something didn’t feel right," Grigoli admits. The next day, he decided, "we’re gonna give [Katrick] a gift.”

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

Inspired by Katrick's selfless deed, Mario's decided to give both Katrick and the food bank a free year of pizza.

"It's better to give than receive," said Giuseppe Aiello, whose father, Giovanni, co-owns the restaurant. "Especially during this time of year — Christmas — it's a great time to think about that and see examples of it around town."

The food bank can choose between having either the same deal Katrick won or throwing a pizza party with the entire year's worth of food and drinks — 24 large pizzas complemented with 12 two-liters — all at once, Grigoli tells Upworthy. So all in all, Mario's is giving away 48 pies to very deserving recipients next year.

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

Free pizzas aside, things are looking good for Katrick in 2017.

Feeling better with the holidays here, and more than halfway through his chemo treatments, Katrick is expected to make a full recovery, according to NBC 10 News.

Regardless of his prognosis, though, Katrick is someone who always wants to see the glass as half-full.

“The old attitude of, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," he said. "Life gave me pizza, so I made peace.”

Watch WFMZ-TV 69 News' report on Katrick's story below:

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

Keep Reading Show less