Let's talk about some more good stuff that happened this week.

Wonderful, surprising, and happy things happened all over the world this week. No, really!

Take, for example a new migraine-preventing drug that could one day help millions of people. Then there's the town in Sweden that is considering paying its residents to have sex with their partner (of course it would be in Sweden). Oh, and don't forget that Nokia is bringing back the 3310, otherwise known as everyone's favorite, blocky, indestructible cellphone from the year 2000!

And that's not nearly all.


Here's a look at some wonderful things that will make you feel G-R-E-A-T about the world.

1. A video surfaced of the most friggin' enthusiastic kid ever during a sing-along at school.

I'd like to make a motion that we all begin each morning like this.

The little guy in blue will change your mood

I challenge you not to smile Credit: ViralHog

Posted by Viral Thread on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2. More and more people are adopting senior dogs. They're cute, and they won't eat your shoes!

We all know most everyone wants an adorable puppy, but gray-muzzles need good homes, too. One organization that specializes in rehoming senior pets happily reports they're seeing more interest from people in bringing an older dog into their home. Let's keep it up!

3. India's Ministry of Health just said it's OK to be gay (and some other cool things). That's a huge deal.

Official laws in India are a bit behind the times on issues like homosexuality and consent, but the education community at least is making a push to change that. New guidelines encourage educators to tell young people it's OK to be attracted to the same sex and that consent is important in any sexual encounter.

4. Scientists say sea snails might one day save us from pain. Yippee!

Opioid addiction and overdose is a major problem in America, but the drugs are super important and effective in mitigating pain. Early testing shows that venom from sea snails (though the snails themselves aren't all that easy on the eyes) could one day be a safe and effective alternative.

5. People are already banding together to hide and shelter undocumented immigrants.

CNN reports that people all over the country are already working together, forming a network to help house immigrants who may be wanted by ICE for deportation.

I don't know about you, but watching people stand up for their neighbors, documented or not, makes me swell with pride for our country.

6. A small-town hero gave a stranger his own car so he could make it to a funeral on time.

Todd Steinkamp's car gave out on him during a long drive to a funeral, stranding him in unfamiliar Wild Rose, Wisconsin. A mechanic there said he could fix it, but it'd take a couple of days, and the town was fresh out of rental cars.

So the kind mechanic gave Todd the keys to his own truck and told him to get going.

Let me tell you the story of Glenn. I had to go to a funeral yesterday up by Green Bay, Wisconsin. As it was a long...

Posted by Todd Steinkamp on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

7. New trials for an HIV vaccine are extremely promising.

A new study out of the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute in Barcelona reports that a hybrid of existing vaccines helped curb or eliminate HIV in a number of participants. If the drug progresses successfully, it could one day eliminate the need for expensive, daily treatments for HIV patients.

8. This baby hugging a cat.

This is the best.

9. A trope-busting horror movie about racism scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Director Jordan Peele. Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

We all know the ancient trope about the black guy dying first in horror movies, but in Jordan Peele's "Get Out," the black guy is the main character, and the film isn't afraid to tackle the racial issues of today's America head-on.

Oh, and apparently the movie is good. Like really good.

It's awesome to see a smart filmmaker of color pushing forward in a genre in desperate need of change.

10. Fashion FTW. A report just claimed Fashion Week in New York was as inclusive as it's ever been.

A model for Marc Jacobs during Fashion Week. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images.

The Fashion Spot reports that the recent mega-fashion event in New York City held earlier this month featured at least one model of color on every runway, which hasn't happened since anyone has been keeping track.

11. And finally, a woman in a wheelchair broke major barriers in the Miss World Australia competition.

There's no such thing as too many stories about inclusivity. Beauty comes in every shape, size, color, and ability, as Justine Clark proved by advancing farther than anyone using a wheelchair had in the competition before.

I love my job. The impact I'm able to make just by being a part of other people's lives in whatever makes them feel whole. This year I decided to help people do more of what makes people happy. In case you missed it, over the weekend I hosted the Adelaide @missworldaustralia preliminary with contestant; Justine. @fitalicous_vegan_barbie Being in a wheelchair does not define her or limit her abilities to represent our country with the #missworld #crown and I congratulate my boss @pageantqueenaus for always supporting and empowering us women in more ways than our exterior beauty. Love, serve and nurture. I was in tears when I presented this group of girls. They make me proud to be a part of a social and emotional revolution which is changing history in the way beauty is being viewed. #lovemyjob #wellnesscoach #mc #presenter #Adelaide #author #healthyliving #wheelchair #eveningwear #beauty #beautywithapurpose #beautiful #model #rolemodel @dailymail

A post shared by Author / TV Presenter (@andi.lew) on

There's bound to be great news next week, too. You might have to look a little harder for it these days, but I promise you, it's worth it!

Since his first hit single "Keep Your Head Up" in 2011, award-winning multi-platinum recording artist Andy Grammer has made a name for himself as the king of the feel-good anthem. From "Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)" to "Honey, I'm Good" to "Back Home" and more, his positive, upbeat songs have blared on beaches and at backyard barbecues every summer.

So what does a singer who loves to perform in front of live audiences and is known for uplifting music do during an unexpectedly challenging year of global pandemic lockdown?

He goes inward.

Grammer told Upworthy that losing the ability to perform during the pandemic forced him to look at where his self-worth came from. "I thought I would have scored better, to be honest," he says. "Like, 'Oh, I get it from all the important, right places!' And then it's taken all away in one moment, and you're like, 'Oh, nope, I was getting a lot from that.'

"It's kind of cool to break all the way down and then hopefully put myself back together in a way that's a little more solid," he says.

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Since his first hit single "Keep Your Head Up" in 2011, award-winning multi-platinum recording artist Andy Grammer has made a name for himself as the king of the feel-good anthem. From "Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)" to "Honey, I'm Good" to "Back Home" and more, his positive, upbeat songs have blared on beaches and at backyard barbecues every summer.

So what does a singer who loves to perform in front of live audiences and is known for uplifting music do during an unexpectedly challenging year of global pandemic lockdown?

He goes inward.

Grammer told Upworthy that losing the ability to perform during the pandemic forced him to look at where his self-worth came from. "I thought I would have scored better, to be honest," he says. "Like, 'Oh, I get it from all the important, right places!' And then it's taken all away in one moment, and you're like, 'Oh, nope, I was getting a lot from that.'

"It's kind of cool to break all the way down and then hopefully put myself back together in a way that's a little more solid," he says.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."