Good News Monday: Week Six

Good News Monday is an online bulletin of Rotaract Club Madrid Capital whose purpose is sharing good news from Madrid and elsewhere in these challenging times. We have teamed up to share positivity all over our MDIO and beyond. Here are the highlights of the week between April 26 and May 3. 

Top Three of the Week

  1. Woman creates neighbourhood ‘giving tree’ with her free homemade face masks ( United Sates )

55-year-old Deb Siggins has made more than 400 masks, all of which she paid for out of pocket as a doctor’s office employee. Siggins realized that she could not hand the masks directly to her neighbors without violating social distancing guidelines; she decided to hang them on a local tree so passerby could take the masks at their leisure.

Since Siggins made a Facebook post about her giving tree, the masks have been a hit within the community. Although the tree can hold about 30 masks at a time – most of which are gone within a day of being hung – Siggins says she is constantly making new masks and using new patterns to restock the tree’s inventory. Siggins is reportedly determined to continue with her labour of love until the pandemic is finally over.

  1. Nicholas Winton: man who saved 669 children during the Holocaust ( United States )

In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, a young British stockbroker called Nicholas Winton did something truly incredible. He risked his life to successfully save 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia by ensuring their safe passage to Britain. And then, like a real hero, he never spoke of it again until fifty years later when his wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home that contained names, pictures and documents of the children he saved.

Sir Nicholas, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 and received the Czech Order of the White Lion in 2014, died on July 1, 2015, aged 106. Dubbed the “British Schindler” by the British press, he appeared on a UK television program called That’s Life! in 1988. He was invited as a member of the audience, totally unaware that the people sitting around him were only alive because of his bravery and selflessness. At the end of the show, they surprised him by standing up and thanking him for saving their lives. 

  1. Neighbor provides free coffee to essential workers from his kitchen window ( United States )

If you are an essential worker living in San Francisco, you can grab yourself a free cup of homemade coffee from Ben Ramirez who has started an impromptu to-go coffee shop out his kitchen window.

Ramirez makes about 15 cups of coffee a day for local essential workers including nurses, doctors, and postal workers. To comply with social distancing, he hands the coffee out the kitchen window of his North Beach home with the help of an extended toy gorilla arm, a suggestion from his young son. Ramirez is up at 6 a. M. and brews coffee in his kitchen until noon. He says workers and neighbours swing by for a delicious cup of coffee and a chat. His setup is complete with a small menu board and he even offers the choice between light and dark roast. 

Humans of New York

“My partner and I were looking to foster a child, so we decided to attend some parenting courses. There were about five different couples in the class. And we were doing this ‘ice breaker’ thing, where everyone shared their reason for wanting to become a foster parent. When it came around to one guy, he sort of shrugged, and said: ‘We already have three kids, but there’s an extra seat in our minivan.’ Everyone started laughing. The whole room relaxed. And that’s my first memory of Larkin. He was attending the class with his wife Katie, and I was drawn to them immediately. They were just such obviously good people. We started eating lunch with them on our breaks. We’d visit them on weekends. One Halloween we were trick-or-treating with their kids, and Larkin sat me down on a stoop, and asked why we hadn’t fostered yet. That’s when I told him about my health problems. My mother had given me a kidney transplant fifteen years earlier, and it was beginning to fail. I was on heavy dialysis. I needed blood transfusions. Soon I would need another kidney, but I couldn’t find a match. I never asked him. I’d never do that to someone. But the next day Larkin called me and told me he wanted to be tested. It was a miracle. We were a perfect match. We went through months of preparation. But four days away from the surgery, my blood test showed an abnormality—and we were suddenly unmatched. It was devastating. I felt like giving up, but Larkin kept pressing me to consider a paired donation. He offered to donate his kidney to an absolute stranger, if the hospital would find me a match. And they did. Larkin gave his kidney to a woman, and I received one from her husband. I was forever changed by this man. Larkin is someone who truly lives his life for other people. Not only did he give me the gift of life. But he’s shown me what it means to be a human on this earth.”

Hero of the week

Esther Brea Rodríguez (IG @estherbrea97) imported 2,500 approved masks from China to Burgos, Spain, for distribution in more than 12 centers and above all, nursing homes, since they are home to the most vulnerable.

What makes you happy?

My family and knowing that I am doing a bit for a better world, thanks to Rotaract and above all to my club.

What’s one of your hobbies?

Reading is something that I have always loved, but especially now I feel that it helps me to learn day by day and to escape from these difficult moments.

Fun fact about you?

I’ve lived in more than five different cities in Spain.

If you had a microphone that could reach every person on the planet, what message would you send them?

That we learn from our individual mistakes and as a society, to continue moving forward. And that we give more importance to mental hygiene, because it is just as important to as taking care of our body.

Know a local hero? Share their story with Rotaract Madrid Capital and they will introduce them in their Good News Insta stories.

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