POPSUGAR Celebrity

The Best Feel-Good Stories of 2013

Dec 31 2013 - 2:12am

Who says the news has to get you down? The past year was filled with heartwarming stories that will restore your faith in the world. Malala Yousafzai shared inspiring words with the world, San Francisco came together to cheer on Batkid, and Boston celebrated a World Series win after the tragic marathon bombing. Meanwhile, celebrities like Angelina Jolie [1] and Kate Middleton set refreshing examples for women, and viral videos made us all smile. And Pope Francis, who was just named Time person of the year [2], struck an inclusive tone that gave many hope. Relive the good news from 2013 now.

Source: Getty [3]

Angelina Inspires With Honest Op-Ed

In May, Angelina Jolie announced she underwent a preventive double mastectomy [4] after learning she was at high risk for breast and ovarian cancers. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Angelina revealed she made the decision for her family. Angelina opened up about her own mother's death from ovarian cancer at age 56 and how she talks to her kids about their grandmother, saying, "They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer." Her announcement sparked a conversation about women's health.

Gay Marriage Makes Major Strides

When we look back at the history of the gay rights movement decades from now, 2013 will surely be considered a landmark year [5] right up there with 1969, the year the Stonewall Riots gave birth to the movement. In the Summer, the Supreme Court threw out the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop. 8, and a handful of states legalized gay marriage this year [6]. And back in April, NBA player Jason Collins came out, becoming the first man on a major American team to do so. His announcement came on the heels of the WNBA's Brittney Griner coming out.

Batkid Saves the Day

San Francisco became Gotham City in November. Make-a-Wish helped 5-year-old Miles Scott, who has battled leukemia for years, fulfill his dream of becoming Batkid [7]. All over the city, fans came out to cheer him on, and they shared support and snaps on Instagram using the hashtag #sfbatkid. Batkid was spotted driving around in his Batmobile Lamborghini and rescuing a damsel in distress from the cable car tracks. If you weren't feeling weepy-eyed yet, Batkid's little brother dressed up as Robin. And even President Barack Obama congratulated Batkid on saving Gotham.

Kate Makes New Moms Proud

The day after his birth, Prince George made his first public appearance [8], leaving St. Mary's Hospital in London with his parents. Prince William called the moment special, and Kate shined in a polka-dot Jenny Packham dress. Following the heartwarming appearance, moms praised Kate for proudly showing off what a postpartum woman looks like.

A Gay Marriage Proposal Goes Viral

Late last year, Washington State legalized gay marriage. By Summer of this year, the whole country got to share in the happiness of gay couples there when Seattle couple Jeanne and Alissa posted their proposal video on YouTube. Alissa wrote: "On July 30th I was pulled out of a meeting because of a 'disturbance' on the street. When I got to my office window, I saw my girlfriend standing on a bus across the street. What came next was the most genuine, funny, heartfelt marriage proposal."

Boston Strong Wins

Boston Red Sox fans took to the streets to celebrate their World Series victory [9] in October, partying "like it's 1918" — the last time the Red Sox won the championship at home. The city's victory felt all the more special after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing this past April. Not to mention, the Red Sox finished in last place just last year.

Malala Wins Our Hearts

Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person [10] this year to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Although she lost out to a chemical weapons watchdog group, clearly she succeeded in getting her message out either way. During her tour of the US, she met with President Barack Obama and Jon Stewart [11], and the UN even declared her 16th birthday in July — that's right she's only 16 — Malala Day.

Pope Gives Hope

Ever since Pope Francis became pope in March, he's surprised everyone with his more open-minded outlook. In July he remarked [12], "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can't marginalize these people," and he's said the church is too obsessed with abortion. He also apparently sneaks out of the Vatican at night [13] to serve the homeless in Rome. Pope Francis is said to be a pope of the people, and when a little boy in yellow jumped on stage [14] in October during an official Vatican event, he didn't seem to mind.

On-Air Mammogram Coud Save Host's Life

When Good Morning America correspondent Amy Robach participated in an on-air mammogram [15] in October, she thought that if it saved just one life, it would be worth it. As it turns out, the life she saved was her own. On the morning show, the 40-year-old mother and TV personality opened up to viewers at home about her new cancer diagnosis, saying, "It was just six weeks ago that pink took over GMA. I had no idea then, of course, how quickly my life was about to change."

Jennifer Lawrence Comforts a Fan

Not only is Jennifer Lawrence [16] a great actress, she is also an incredibly nice person. The star showed off her softer side when she walked off the red carpet at The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere [17] in London in November to comfort a crying girl in a wheelchair. Jennifer spotted the girl sobbing while sitting behind a barrier and decided to take matters into her own hands to comfort the young fan.

Tips For Jesus Gets Generous

"Doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time" is what the Instagram profile for @TipsForJesus reads [18]. And in this case, the Lord's work means leaving tips as high as $10,000 on bills that often total under $100. The effort appears to have left over $50,000 in tips.

Source: Instagram user tipsforjesus [19]

15-Year-Old Orphan Gets 10,000 Responses

Fifteen-year-old orphan Davion Only [20] made headlines in September after he went to a Florida church service looking for a family to adopt him. He addressed the congregation saying, "My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born . . . I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either." During an appearance on The View, he confirmed that he received more than 10,000 responses.

An American Cup Comeback

You don't have to be into sailing, or sports at all, to appreciate an epic comeback story — not to mention picturesque photos of the San Francisco Bay. In September, Oracle Team USA made history [21] on its 72-foot catamaran by winning the America's Cup after being down eight races to one. They bested Emirates Team New Zealand for the trophy, which is the oldest in international sports.

Michelle Obama Produces a Hip-Hop Album

It's a first lady first — Michelle Obama released a hip-hop album called Songs for a Healthier America [22]. The album, featuring "artists" like Dr. Oz, promotes her Let's Move campaign, and the kid-targeted selection gets the message across with song titles like "Veggie Luv" and "U R What You Eat." With the help of stars like Jordin Sparks, Ashanti, and Run DMC, the down-to-dougie Michelle put together 19 tracks and 10 music videos to help fight childhood obesity.

The Power of Friendship

On an episode of POPSUGAR's In Her World [23] in October, we sat down with 2 Broke Girls star Kat Dennings and her best friend, photographer Rodene Jones, for a surprisingly honest, candid talk about the realities of facing cancer and the transformative power of friendship. Kat and Rodene first met as teenagers. Like any close, longtime friends, the two weathered their share of successes and setbacks together in the years since — but nothing prepared them for Rodene's breast-cancer diagnosis last year at age 31.

Banksy Sells Art for $60

In October, international man of mystery Banksy invaded the streets of New York [24], where the elusive British street artist spent a monthlong "residency." He gave New Yorkers a chance to buy his artwork, which often goes for hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a very affordable price. On his website, Banksy wrote, "I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each." And he posted a video that shows an old man selling the spray art and also offering hugs and kisses to the customers. One woman even negotiated 50 percent off!

Mom Dances to Beyoncé Before Mastectomy

When Deborah Cohan had to go in for a double mastectomy, she decided to have a little fun with the surgery prep. The mother of two orchestrated a dance party, showing off her moves in the operating room [25] as Beyoncés "Get Bodied" blasted on the speakers. And just like Beyoncé, Deborah has her own crew of backup dancers. As she moved her body, the nurses, anesthesia team, and other scrubbed-up staff got down with her. You could tell they were smiling ear to ear behind those surgical masks.

Homeless Teen Becomes Valedictorian

In the midst of graduation season came an inspiring story. Chelesa Fearce, 17, became her school's valedictorian despite being homeless for much of high school. A local Atlanta TV station caught up with Chelesa [26], who shared her journey to getting a 4.466 GPA and 1900 on her SATs. Even if you don't know the current SAT scale (it's 2400), that sounds pretty legit. Not impressed enough already? She's started at Spelman College in the Fall as a junior, since she already had enough college credit.

Obama Bonds With MLK's Granddaughter

August marked 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. President Barack Obama spoke from the Lincoln Memorial steps [27] to honor the half-century anniversary. King's family, including his precious 5-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda, were on hand as bells rang at 3 p.m. to mark the historical moment.

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