Even as a child, Kathryn Thomas knew she wanted to be a helicopter pilot.

After watching a helicopter demonstration at 11, her dreams were set in motion. Thomas earned her wings of gold in 2009, certifying her as a U.S. naval aviator.

But while on deployment, Thomas broke her ankle and later suffered complications. She was told she'd never fly again.

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CW Valor

We thought the Aral Sea was dead.

Photo from Didier Bizet.

Located between modern-day Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea was once one of the world's largest freshwater lakes.

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Heroes

Amelia and Manny made clear plans when they got married.

They planned to travel around the world. They planned what they’d want their family and their futures to look like. It was all so normal and real.

And then something they couldn't have planned for happened: Manny unexpectedly passed away soon after they'd tied the knot.

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Prudential

This kid's reaction to finding out he's cancer-free is a tearjerker.

7-year-old boy beats cancer, freaks out adorably.

In March 2013, Ben Morris had just turned 4 years old. That was when his parents, Casi and Mike Morris, learned he had cancer.

A few short weeks later, acute lymphoblastic leukemia had transformed Ben from his rowdy self into a frail, weak child near death in a hospital bed. “We almost lost him,” Casi says.

She describes the years to follow in this way: “Have you ever had a kid reach for the stove or step off a curb and a car is coming? That moment when your stomach clenches, adrenaline dumps, right before you throw yourself in front of the danger? That's what it is to have a kid with cancer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To say we were a mess is an understatement.“

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